Today I feel like speaking on stuff that I don’t know about. How is that different from any other day? (HINT: It’s not.)
All of the sages, prophets, apostles, and magi of our world agree that there are exactly two topics which no one should ever discuss: religion and politics. Lately I’ve waxed eloquent on the former, which I know nothing about; so today I thought it would be fun to tackle the latter, which I know even less than nothing about.
Government. Everyone loves to hate government. I think I understand why this is: it’s because the individuals who comprise the government tend to become corrupt, and they take advantage of the citizens as well as the system. But there are different types of government, and I think that some are better than others. They’re all just models, after all; like sets of rules to follow, or a game to play; and they’re all made up of people.
My unbaked opinion is that government should be changeable and transparent. Changeable, so that future generations can continue to update the implementations of previous ages; and transparent, so that its inevitable corruption will be easier to detect.
Here’s the tricky matter: How should we go about letting people change the government’s structure and personnel? If the government is too easy to change, then its actions will resemble a tiny gnat ping-ponging around and bouncing into things like a spaz. But if it is too hard to change, then the government will resemble an army tank heading toward the brink of a cliff with a faulty steering mechanism.
One of the things that people dislike about the state of my country at present is that, although we have a changeable government—in the sense that we vote certain leaders into limited terms of office—our choice of electable leadership lacks variety.
For instance: What if you want to vote against the big banks? This is impossible; because, for presidential candidates, big banks are like Jesus in your heart: you just can’t get rid of ’em. And if an atheist dares to enter into politics, she lasts about as long as those particles that scientists find in atom smashers: the ones that live for a hairsbreadth of a millisecond.
We agreed earlier that our government is an army tank hastening toward a precipice, and its elective system is the steering column. The political parties are the drivers: one claims that it’ll save us by turning the vehicle right; the other says it’ll save us by making a left. The problem is that, as I said, the tank’s steering is shot: so each party can only change our path of travel by a minuscule amount, whereas we need to execute at least a 90-degree turn.
It makes me wonder: Why not just repair the steering mechanism? Our citizenry possesses the finest mechanics; surely someone knows how to fix an old army tank. But here’s what happens:
An engineer steps forward and proposes to make the repair. She begins to work. Immediately, however, she receives a tap on the shoulder. Turning around, she beholds a creepy villain who offers her ninety zillion dollars to botch the repair. And if she refuses to accept the bribe and honor its terms, this creepy villain threatens to cause all the pets of the world to become extinct.
What motivates this villain to want our government to plummet? Here is where I get stuck. Maybe I shouldn’t have made the analogy so drastic; I mean, maybe I shouldn’t have said that the tank was speeding toward a cliff. For, if we’re all passengers when our vehicle falls, then we all die—the creepy villain included. So I assume that the villain will benefit from the tank’s path of travel: perhaps it’s heading toward an oasis of the villain’s ownership.
Or perhaps the villain is both in and out of the tank and watching and wondering at it. As it is written: I AM THAT I AM.
Not even boundless existence can sate the mind: I don’t fancy the thought of spending my present interval redressing the misdeeds of politicians. What we must do to reverse and prevent corruption is a chore as onerous as the life that we’ll be living if the villains succeed.
But I must be wrong about that last sentence—it seems too neat. Surely the villains, whoever they are, will make our lives worse than they would be if we participated, even heavily, in our democracy. So, again, reality presents us with the familiar dilemma of having to choose between evils. That’s what I’m most tired of. I’d like, just once, to choose something genuinely good. Or beyond good and evil.
Allegedly, by remaining aloof from a rotting system, the system becomes fraught with deceit and reaches a corruption level of 100%. OK, what’s next? The villains will try to implement all sorts of rules, in hopes of guaranteeing the continuance of absolute corruption. They will strive to conserve the badness of the system, in the way that the system’s inventors attempted to bolster its integrity.
The bad news is that a system whose aim was to maintain goodness turned out altogether corrupt. The good news is that when this corrupt system endeavors to perpetuate its badness, it will end up wholly righteous.
Again, I don’t think that what I just wrote is correct. It only sounds nice, like “What goes up must come down” (which is equally false). If everyone were to speak nothing but lies henceforward, it could not lure Objective Truth from its grave.
This blog post was boring. I enjoy writing about religion, but writing about government is a tedious drudgery. I will give the last word to William Blake:
I am really sorry to see my Countrymen trouble themselves about Politics. If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not Wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyrrany. Princes appear to me to be Fools; Houses of Commons & Houses of Lords appear to me to be fools – they seem to me to be something Else besides Human Life.