Elections – and human nature

21st March 2016 | Human Nature

Elections, power and human nature:

This year is shaping up to be a momentous year. We have critical elections coming up for the USA [8 Nov] and Australia [TBA], and an important referendum in the UK [23 June] concerning membership of the European Union. There are, in fact, lots of elections of one kind and another around the world, some of the more important being Iran, South Korea and Japan. Put them all into the electoral cooking pot and we have a recipe which will affect the globe for many years to come.

So what kind of people do you get in politics:

  • The grafters – the ones who work up from the grass roots …
  • The swayed – the ones who are persuaded and cajoled by acquaintances to enter for the good of the acquaintances or some cause or other …
  • The waltzers – the ones who waltz in fully loaded and full of self-righteousness, usually there to proffer their own beliefs…
  • The ones who can’t do anything else…
  • The ones who want to really serve the community and are philanthropic with their time and efforts

Hopefully there are more of the latter, but like in any position in life any of the above can do good or bad. So how do we decide who to vote for? How many people really analyse the background of politicians and what they stand for? Politicians are a mirror of our own thoughts and actions. Not all of our thoughts, just some of them. They have the public stage. They get to answer questions from the media. They massage their appeal to the masses in a way which they think will get them votes. Often they are more concerned about gaining favour or power than about maintaining principles, or even what is good for their country.

Who do you vote for in elections?

Maybe you vote for the one who you admire the most as a person. Or the one who reflects your views the most. Indeed, many people vote the same way throughout their lives, or even mirror how their parents voted. They do not vote for the person or the policies, they vote for the party. And they never change. They should. They should really think deeply about what they have seen over the last few years, they should think big picture, they should try and analyse events. It’s not easy, in fact it’s extremely difficult, because the whole truth is rarely known.

Do you vote for the person, the policies or the party? Sometimes it comes down to the basics – if you believe you are served poorly by the current circumstances you will naturally feel like changing them. But what if that is bad for the country as a whole? After all, we’d all like to pay zero income tax, but where would that get us? Quite often you may end up choosing the person likely to do least damage. In any case, a huge victory for one party can be followed by a complete reversal at the next election. This can obviously lead to discontinuities, policy reversals and changes of tack. Sometimes, but thankfully rarely, chaos ensues. It is something we put up with, as democracy seems the only fair way of government – until we come up with a way of creating a super intelligent, benign dictator who can encompass everything, and has the good of everyone foremost in his thoughts. Sound familiar? People are human, that’s the problem.

Perhaps it is a good thing that in many countries the parties are ideologically reasonably close, and eminently sensible in the way they deal with each other.

A thought for next time:

So here’s a thought for next time. Imagine yourself as a newly arrived alien observing the world. You want to introduce yourself and approach the world leader or leaders to start some kind of interaction. Which country or person do you approach? The United Nations? China? USA? Or, like in Milijun, do you approach beings with a similar mind set. It’s a huge dilemma.

In a future blog we’ll try a bit of role reversal on the above premise.


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