Archives for category: manipulation

David Cameron had convinced himself that by promising a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU he would help the conservatives win the 2016 elections.
And that he would then be able to steer the party away from that very idea – convince them to vote for ‘stay’.

As you already know, the conservatives did win the elections but Cameron had to throw in the towel. The ‘leave’ campaign had eventually prevailed and now Britain has to deal with that result.

One of the possible consequences being that the House of Lords might prove itself useless.

Most civilized countries are run as democracies and have two tiered parliaments. Sometimes the two chambers have slightly different fields of responsibility. Usually the lower chamber deals with the more mundane issues – money, for instance, while the upper one takes care of the more ‘symbolic’ ones – foreign affairs or the appointment of the Supreme Court Judges in the US. Also the members of the two chambers might get there following different paths.
But whenever a really important decision has to be made both chambers have to agree on it.

Brexit being one of those ‘important issues’.

As you probably know, the members of the House of Lords – the upper house of the British Parliament, are “appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister” for life, not elected ‘by the people’.

Theresa May, the current British PM, seems hell bent to see Brexit through.

The Government will pack the House of Lords with new members if peers threaten to thwart the start of Brexit, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Ministers have made clear that they will not allow peers to disrupt the Brexit process by delaying or amending the legislation when they debate it in the middle of next month.

In this very awkward situation, the Tories do not currently control the House of Lords, the present majority in the House of Lords has two options.
Vote their true minds, even if that would mean diluting the kind of Brexit promoted by May or derail it all together. The ‘only’ problem with this version being that it would be perceived as ‘against the will of the people’.
Rubber stamp the bill passed by the House of Commons. Only this would be perceived as either an abdication from the true nature of any ‘upper house’ – to offer a ‘mature opportunity’ to cool off before making a hasty move, or as a proof of cowardice.

Either way, after the Lords will have cast their votes, voices will be heard questioning the utility of the entire institution.

Giving it up, altogether, would be a rather severe blow to the British democracy.
Hailed by the populists, across the left/right divide, simply because it would make matters a lot simpler for them. It is a lot easier to control a unicameral Parliament than a double tiered one – and that is the very reason for which all authoritarian regimes have tried to ‘simply’ their parliaments.
All ‘popular democracies’ – as the communist regimes loved to call themselves – had but unicameral Parliaments. Sitting in very short (bi)annual sessions during which they did nothing but rubber stamping the bills proposed by the government. Just a reminder.

Members of the House of Lords are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister

Government threatens to create ‘sunset’ peers if House of Lords thwarts Brexit Bill

People are very passionate when discussing about their future and their rights.
As they should be.

Children are a very strong ‘avatar’ for our future while the rights to live and to freely dispose of our bodies two of the most important rights.

And this is where things get really complicated.

Some people advocate mandatory vaccination against the most dangerous diseases.
Some people advocate women’s absolute freedom to have an abortion – a few of them extending this right up to the last moment of the pregnancy.

Other people believe that vaccines are mostly benefiting the big pharma and choose not to immunize their children.
Other people believe in the absolute right of the fetus to live – so much so that some of them would even ban all contraceptive methods.

The ‘interesting’ thing here is how this four categories of people intersect each-other.

A lot of the people who advocate women’s right to have abortions also advocate the mandatory vaccination of children while a lot of people who consider abortion a mortal sin also consider vaccination to be inspired by the devil.

Now let me get this straight.
You have the right to ‘kill’ your baby inside the womb but you should not be allowed to let them die of a preventable infectious disease?
You are to defend a fetus, at all costs and against all consequences for the mother, as long as they inhabit the womb only to let them catch whatever preventable infectious disease might come across their path?

Consistency is over-rated?

We really need to restart using our common sense?

The essence of spin doctoring is to present a sequence of true facts in such a manner that will compel the audience to reach the conclusion desired by the ‘good-doctor’. The really skilled ones don’t even need to lie in order to achieve their goals. At most they ‘shave’ some of the rough edges so that the truths they choose to mention fit smoother into their narrative
In fact it doesn’t matter much whether the conclusion they mesmerize their audience into is ‘true’ or not – truth is relative, anyway. The only thing that’s important here is that ‘the’ conclusion fits the intentions of the spin doctor.
Also, it even doesn’t matter what those intentions are. Good, bad… the end is always the same.

Because of the manner in which all this works.

The principle involved here is the same as that used by the magicians who entertain the crowds of circus goers.
They first concentrate the attention of their audience to a single point and then direct it in such a way that the people are no longer able to see anything but what they are allowed to by the magician.
Or by the spin-doctor.

Unfortunately the similarities between magicians and spin-doctors end here.
While most of the circus goers have a nice experience, albeit a relatively short one, most victims of the spin-doctors have to endure long lasting trauma and/or substantial material loss.

Again, irrespective of the spin doctors’ intentions. It doesn’t matter whether the method is used by a (well wishing socialist) utopian or by a callous Nazi.  In my previous post I mentioned how ‘political hyenas’ spring up and monopolize all the situations in which their ‘dark talents’ cannot be kept in check by the rest of the society.
Here we have the explanation for why the otherwise reasonable members of the society are unable to perceive the mortal danger they find themselves in.

Because the spin doctor had skilfully overloaded their attention.
Because after living for so long ‘under the spell’, too many people have become accustomed to let others think for them and in their name.

Was that clear enough?
The spin doctor doesn’t have to be malefic in order for the tragedy to take place. It is enough that they have occupied the attention of the people and have exhausted the ability of too many of the individuals involved to think with their own heads.
In these conditions the ‘political hyenas’ will undoubtedly make their appearance and attempt to gain control over the society.

And, undoubtedly again, those attempts will be extremely detrimental for the entire society.

the-most-corrupt

“Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the Presidency… she is protected by a rigged system” said the paragon of free trade who attempted to use eminent domain in order to evict an old lady from her house so that he could spare a few hundred thousand bucks… and who later bragged about ‘women allowing him to “grab them by the pussy” simply because of his status’.

His competitor, whose slogan reads “Stronger Together”, is a former Secretary of State who has been accused  by both the State Department and the FBI of ‘gross negligence’ and ‘extreme carelessness’ towards important matters of national interest.

89797467_emailclinton

“Mrs Clinton failed to comply with rules on record-keeping, the inspector general found, and used private email for official business without approval.”

So, one of them thinks the system is rigged only when it cannot be twisted to suit his own interests while the other believes ‘togetherness’ can be build around someone who completely disregards the existing rules…

I’ve been asking myself, for some time now, ‘what’s going on there‘?
How come so many intelligent people have allowed themselves to be sucked in this extremely dirty game of deception?

In fact the answers are so obvious that I’ve lost interest in them.
(“The 2016 presidential election has seen a strange flip-flop with respect to conservative and liberal voters. In many ways, even though Trump is the nominee on the right, he is running to the left of Hillary on many issues. Hillary represents the status quo mainstream, usually denoted as the Republican nominee position, while Trump is the obvious “change agent” of the election. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton have been seen by many government officials as being more conservative than liberal, even though they use the Democratic platform to advance their hold on power.”)

But what consequences will arise from this mess?

Is Putin going to be the sole real beneficiary of this electoral process?
Because, regardless of the outcome of the vote, America has made such a fool of herself that she has already lost much of the huge respect the rest of the world had for her?

But what if, again regardless of the immediate outcome, enough Americans will eventually wake up from their slumber and bring things back on their right track?

Don’t count America out just yet.
Hitler and the Japanese militarists  have been only a few of those who had fallen into this trap…

On the other hand too many trips to ‘the brink’ are not ‘good for your health’. The Western part of the Roman Empire had fallen apart in almost similar conditions while its Eastern half had been able to post-pone  its own agony only by becoming a dictatorship.

2500 later

Rio 2016: The Syrian Refugee who swam for her life – all the way to the Olympics. BBC.Com

At some point in time 12 tribes of nomadic herders had settled down on the banks of Jordan.

Conditions were good so they had enough time to think about things further than meeting their immediate needs.
For me it doesn’t matter much whether their religious teachings were a gift from their God or just a product of their own minds. The fact that they are choke full of useful advice for all of us and that the sharpness of that advice has not been dulled by the passage of time should be enough. We’d better continue to pay attention.

“For this reason was man created alone, to teach thee that whosoever destroys a single soul of Israel, Scripture imputes (guilt) to him as though he had destroyed a complete word, and whosoever preserves a single soul of Israel , Scripture ascribes (merit) to him as thoough he had preserved a complete world. Furthermore, (he was created alone) for the sale of peace among men, that one might not say to his fellow ‘my father was greater than thine’, and the minim might not say ‘there are many ruling powers in Heaven; again to proclaim the greatness of the Holy One, blessed be He: for if a man strikes many coins from one mould, they all resemble one another, but the supreme king of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, fashioned every man in the stamp of the first one, and yet not one of them resembles his fellow. Therefore every single person is obliged to say: the world was created for my sake”

How come, then, that we are still killing each other in an organized manner?

OK, some go bonkers and kill themselves.
Some go so bonkers as to blame others for their unhappiness. They decide to go out with a bang and to kill as many of the ‘others’ as possible in the process.
The number of people going bonkers is naturally swelled by the present economic and social crises. Emile Durkheim, one of the fathers of sociology, had written an entire book on the subject, more than a century ago.

I can dig all this. It’s unacceptable but sort of explainable – aberrant behavior is not un-natural. That’s what evolution is for, to weed out aberrations that are too unfit to survive.

What completely baffles me is how come two and a half millennia after some simple herdsmen have demonstrated such acute but also noble thinking, some of us, most of whom pretend to be sophisticated intellectuals, continue to fashion religious teachings and ethnic/cultural values into wedges.
And use them to drive us into warring factions.

Why are they still doing this?
Why are we still heeding to their prodding?

Not only that we allow ‘them’ to ‘organize’ civil wars that kill hundreds of thousands of us and drive millions of the rest in exile but then we also allow some of ‘them’ to rule over some of the media that, supposedly, keep us informed.

“Unfortunately, some of the celebration was overshadowed by a completely unnecessary “omission” or outright censorship by Hungary’s public broadcaster. Refugee athletes are participating in the Rio Summer Games. Yusra Mardini, originally from Syria, is one of them and she has garnered a great deal of media attention, including in the Toronto Star.

“In the water, Yusra Mardini feels alive. In the water, Yusra Mardini swam for her life. In the water, Yusra Mardini helped to save the lives of many others”–writes Rosie Dimanno in The Star. The 18 year old ended up winning in the one hundred metre butterfly heat on Saturday. Not too long ago, Ms. Mardini had to swim to safety, fleeing her war-torn homeland, through Turkey and then across the waters in Greece. She and her sister swam for over three hours straight and, incredibly, made it to Europe safely. (They also helped save the 20 people that were in the boat they had been towing during those three hours) She trained for the Olympics in Germany.

Disappointingly, during the Hungarian public broadcaster M4′s coverage of the one hundred metre butterfly, they completely and seemingly deliberately neglected to mention Ms. Mardini. Jenő Knézy Jr., who is reporting live from Rio on behalf of the public broadcaster, mentioned four out of the five females competing–the only one he did not utter at all was the name of the Syrian refugee. It was as though she did not even exist– even though viewers could see her on their television screens. Mr. Knézy managed to avoid mentioning her, even after she won.

The hvg.hu news site wondered aloud after the incident: “Is it forbidden to even utter the name of a refugee on Hungarian public television?”

Mr. Knézy claims to have made an innocent mistake, when he forgot to mention the name of the winner of the competition.” (Christopher Adam, Hungary wins gold, breaks record on Olympics Day 1, but why did public television censor the coverage? August 7, 2016, hungarianfreepress.com)

 

“The Brexit vote may or may not have been a tragedy, but Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary appears determined to follow with a farce. On Monday, he scheduled a referendum on keeping out refugees for Oct. 2, further threatening to undermine the weakened European Union. The referendum question — “Do you want the European Union to be able to order the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without parliament’s consent?” — is a textbook example of voter manipulation.

This isn’t really designed to address the EU’s plan to settle 1,294 refugees in Hungary — the country’s share of the 160,000 people that European authorities have proposed resettling from the Middle East. Hungary and Slovakia are already suing the EU over the refugee quotas, and, in theory, Orban could veto any such plan. The referendum will help him prop up his domestic popularity and give him a “democratic” bargaining chip with other EU leaders — even though his strategy will be glaringly obvious because the question is framed in a way that produces only one answer.

Direct democracy’s biggest vulnerability may be that it can be subverted by political players who ask the people loaded, incomprehensible or otherwise rigged questions.”

“Orban has no one to correct him. Earlier this year, Hungary’s Supreme Court approved the referendum question. So now a Hungarian voter has a choice between agreeing with Orban or effectively recognizing that the EU can do whatever it pleases in Hungary without any national authorities having any say. The only other option is not to show up, thus refusing to be manipulated. If enough voters do that, Orban will be made to look a fool. But given the combined popularity of Orban’s party, Fidesz, and the hard-right Jobbik, whose thunder Orban is trying to steal with the vote, there’s a good chance the turnout will be sufficient.” (Leonid Bershidsky, Hungary’s Manipulative Referendum, July 5, 2016, Bloomberg.com.

Going back to Durkheim’ Suicide,  there is something there that I find of enormous importance. After studying how suicide rates vary, both in time and across borders and religions, Durkheim has noticed that each suicide act was indeed determined by the individual itself who, in his turn, was influenced by prevailing socio-economic conditions but that there could be noted another very important influence.
The members of the Jewish communities were the least likely to commit suicide, the Catholics came next while the Protestants were the most likely to end their lives, of those belonging to any of these three categories.
Durkheim explained this phenomenon by using  the concept of ‘social solidarity’ – for a society to survive its members need to stick together.
Then Durkheim went further and elaborated on the matter. ‘While it is good for a society to develop strong bonds among its members – the Jews have survived for so long and against such odds, these ties must not be allowed to become strong enough to stifle the individuals – otherwise that society would loose its ability to innovate, hence to adapt itself to the inevitable change that befalls upon its head, no matter what.’An equilibrium has to be met between social solidarity – which pushes us to think alike and to align ourselves to the values shared by the entire community – and individual freedom – that which allows each of us to depart, somewhat, from the social norms without being punished by the rest of the society.

I’m going to use, again, the Jews as an example. They have survived, as a people, for so long and against such odds that they must have done something right. Well… they do take care of their own and they do cherish individual autonomy.

After all they are the ones who came up with ‘God created Man in His image’. Hence all men are considered equal – because they have been cast in the same mould – and assigned a spark of ‘something special’.

Jews have done well in this world. Given the circumstances and until some of us have completely lost their minds.
Why don’t the rest of us follow their example?

They don’t kill each-other!
Not physically and not even symbolically.
No matter how much two of them might hate their respective guts, when push comes to shove  they’ll help each-other out of the mess.

Why have we, the goyim, ignored for so long such a fine example?
Why do we continue to do so even now, after we’ve found out that the only one Planet we can call home is rather small and that no one seems to be coming, anytime soon, to rescue us from ourselves?
And even if there was anybody who could have done this… would any of you lift a finger to help a bunch of quarreling idiots who are continuously threading on each-others toes? Specially when/if each of us would get their due after their death…

Then why would He?

Why would He help us before we start helping each-other?

bullshit

I’m not a Trump fan. How could I be? Just look at his face!

On the other hand….

“I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” Abraham Kaplan

Or, in this case, convince a journalist of something and he will ‘dress’ the facts to fit his new conviction.

As I said before, I don’t like Trump.
If I didn’t have a lot of trust in the overall resilience of the American democratic system I would be scouring for a big enough rock to hide behind if/when he might ascend to power.
Unfortunately the present most likely alternative isn’t any better.

But that’s another topic.

Let me go back to the present one.

What we have here is a news/opinion outlet which has a clear political option.
OK, I can live with that. I have some opinions of my own and I love to argue and defend them. In private as well as in public.

But I do believe that the quality of the arguments used in a debate are of paramount importance.

Let me analyze the four I mentioned above.

“Within 20 seconds at a press conference on Wednesday, actual Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went from suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had once called President Barack Obama the n-word to saying he hopes Putin likes him.”

The apparent implication here being that Trump has trouble maintaining logical consistency inside a rather short discourse and that he is rather gullible – “For the record, there is literally zero evidence that Putin ever called Obama the n-word. It’s hard to say where Trump got this idea, but he has a long history of naively restating things he heard from one person — even random people on Twitter.

Hard to argue against this, specially since there is ample video testimony that he really said it.

a shocked again trump

Well… after actually hearing him, things are not so clear anymore.

“Putin has said things over the last year that are really bad things. He mentioned the n-word one time,” Trump said from his resort in Doral, Florida.
“I was shocked to hear him mention the n-word. You know what the n-word is, right?” Trump continued. “He has a total lack of respect for President Obama.”
Putin doesn’t like Obama, Trump told reporters.
“I think he’s going to respect your president if I’m elected, and I hope he likes me,” Trump said.
Earlier in the news conference, Trump claimed he had never met the Russian leader.”

Not a trace of either ‘gullibility’ nor of any logical fracture here. So why not call Trump for what he really is – a callous manipulator – instead of using convoluted makeshift allegations?

normal versus anormal

Absolutely impossible not to agree with everything written here, right?
No matter what side any of us belongs to…but wait!

“The Democratic Party’s convention was a normal political party’s convention. …”
“The Republican Party’s convention was not a normal political party’s convention….”

A new cleavage in American politics: normal versus abnormal

America’s main political cleavage is between the Democratic and Republican parties. That split has meant different things at different times, but in recent decades it primarily tracks an ideological disagreement: Democrats are the party of liberal policies; Republicans are the party of conservative policies.

But in this year’s presidential election, the difference is more fundamental than that: The Democratic Party is a normal political party that has nominated a normal presidential candidate, and the Republican Party has become an abnormal political party that has nominated an abnormal presidential candidate.

No, I’m not going to take sides here. Not only because I’m not an American citizen so I’m not entitled to vote. But simply because Democracy relies mostly on mutual respect. You cannot refuse to the other party the very right to exist yet still call yourself a democrat. Pretending that your opponent is ‘abnormal’ means that you’re convinced that your opponent should not exist at all.

The way I see it ‘America’s main political cleavage is indeed between normal versus abnormal’ only it seems that both the  Democratic and Republican conventions, if not the parties themselves, belong to the realm of the ‘abnormal’.

But wait, things are getting even more juicier.

When women speak, people tend to mentally turn up the volume

Women, and women leaders in particular, often get criticized more for how they say something than for what they actually say. They have to walk a difficult line of being assertive but not too aggressive, likable but not too much of a pushover.

Even though women are interrupted more often and talk less than men, people still think women talk more. People get annoyed by verbal tics like “vocal fry” and “upspeak” when women use them, but often don’t even notice it when men do.

The same mental amplification process makes people see an assertive woman as “aggressive,” which gets in the way of women’s personal and professional advancement. Women are much more likely to be perceived as “abrasive” and get negative performance reviews as a result — which puts them in a double bind when they try to “lean in” and assertively negotiate salaries.

These kinds of implicit biases are sexist, but having them doesn’t make someone “a sexist” — or if it does, it makes all of us sexists. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or whether you are a man or a woman; everyone has some implicit biases against women.

And that may be one reason why this is the first time a woman has ever won a major party’s nomination.

OK, so what should people do? Vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she’s a woman?

And no, I don’t have any implicit biases against anybody. I cannot vouch for anybody else but I cannot see myself as ‘abnormal’ so I expect there are others in my situation.
Hence I strongly believe that candidates should be evalued ‘all around’, without any biases based on their gender.

Or race.
Hey Trump, this one is specially for you.

barack is not the cause

I’m afraid that Dara Lind, the author of the article I just quoted above, has got her ‘butterfly’ wrong.
It’s not Obama that inadvertently caused any hurricane.
Do you remember the intensity of the birther campaign that had swept across America both before and after Obama was elected President?

And while it’s clear that Trump was one of the most vocal ‘birthers’  do you know who started the whole thing?

“You know who started the birther movement? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first?” Trump asked.

“Hillary Clinton, she’s the one who started it. She started it years before it was brought up by me.”

Trump said he no longer talks about the issue because it always breeds controversy but promised to “raise it against” Clinton in a general election.

OK, we don’t have to take Trump’s word on this, even if he’s quite an authority on the subject – given his passion about the issue.

The last quote is from an article published on the CNN site. Click on it if you want more specifics.
OK, so where does all these leave us?
Scratching our heads while trying to figure out what went wrong around the ‘deep well of anxiety about America losing its culture and values’?
Or rather staring at those who drew from deep within this well and used the proceedings to stoke people’s emotions in order manipulate them? One way or the other?
It seems the he wasn’t the only one. Wannabe presidential candidate and ‘racial provocateur’.
So why keep on hoping that by choosing the ‘lesser evil’ we’ll ever reach the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’?
Why keep on trying to manipulate people one way or another instead of finally calling both ’emperors’ for what they are?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan saved his political ass last week-end by urging his “supporters to take to streets in protest of coup

gettyimages-576527614

Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan react to a Turkish military tank in front of the Turkish Parliament July 15, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Which they did and the coup eventually failed.

Leading some observers to salute the maturity of the Turkish democracy:
“The most valuable outcome of last night’s events is that many people who are not AKP supporters stood up for democratic values despite the recent crackdowns on the opposition, and despite the tension and the polarization of the country.” (Erol Önderoglu, Turkey’s Reporters Without Borders representative who is currently on trial on terrorist propaganda charges after participating in a solidarity campaign with a pro-Kurdish newspaper.)

“These people do not support Erdoğan, but they oppose the idea of a military coup. Turkey has a history of very painful, traumatic military interventions, so I was not surprised to see such united opposition to this attempt.” (an academic who wished to remain anonymous)

But ‘not everybody is happy in paradise’.
“Everyone spoke out against the coup last night and that gave me hope” … watching events unfold today this hope has shrunk quickly. Last night there was the possibility that the government would use this to return to a more unifying language, to return to the peace talks, to unite the country. But today it looks like they will use [the coup attempt] simply to consolidate power.” (the same anonymous academic)

What’s going on there? Is Turkey a real democracy?
Or, if we dare to look from the other side, ‘what’s wrong with contemporary democracy’?

Is it enough for elections to be held regularly and the votes duly counted for a country to be called ‘democratic’?

I’m afraid not.
Communist Romania did have regular elections, where a huge proportion of the people rubber-stamped the party line.
Putin is currently serving a third mandate as Russian president, after paying lip service to the Russian constitution and letting Dmitry Medvedev fill in between 2008 and 2012.
No major irregularities were noted at the time of the voting in Russia when Putin was reelected but somehow I cannot consider the process fully democratic.

Even in the United States things are no longer what they used to be. Both major parties have put forth candidates that are seen unfavorably by a majority of the people. So unfavorably in fact that 13 % of the registered voters would rather see the Earth being hit by a giant meteor than any of the two as President.

unfavorable trump clinton

Clinton trump unfavorable

clinton meteor

Public Policy  Polling, June, 13, 2016, Raleigh


So, again, what’s going on here?

I’m afraid that what has been known as ‘democracy’ is being slowly eroded to ‘mob-rule’.

You see, in a really democratic situation you get the ‘real deal’ with ‘all the trimmings’ while when having to deal with ‘mob rule’ all you get is some ‘window dressing’.
Or, as the Romanian saying goes, on the outside you are greeted by a white picket fence but once inside you’ll have to deal with a white fanged tiger.

Let me explain myself.
Theoretically democracy is a situation where everybody has some, even if minute, influence over the fate of the community to which he is a part.Practically it means “government by the people; especially :  rule of the majority”.

I’m almost sure that by now most of you have already figured out what I’m driving at.

‘Rule of majority’ can be more dangerous than a regular dictatorship if that majority has been improperly led into voting the way they did.
A ‘dictator’ might be wise enough to know that if he drives the situation way beyond the plausible something will eventually snap but someone callous enough to lie to an entire society doesn’t have such qualms. In fact this is the explanation for why not all authoritarian regimes end up in complete failures.

On the other hand most of them do exactly that while no democracy has failed yet, as long as it maintained its democratic character.

Why? Simple.

Running a complex system – and a country is a very complex system, is a matter of setting goals and avoiding making mistakes.

And while setting goals is important, avoiding mistakes – specially catastrophic ones, is paramount.

If goals are chosen improperly – not bold enough, for instance, or even misguided, that society will experience a ‘hiccup’ but if that society is led into a dead-end then it might never recover. The ‘funny’ thing here being that in many instances the authoritarian leaders were quite good at setting goals but almost always sooner or later ended up in a ditch because they were very poor at avoiding potholes.

But how come democracies are better at avoiding grave mistakes than centralized administrations?
‘Four eyes see more than two’, specially if they look in different directions.
Every authoritarian regime follows the cue of the authoritarian leader and tends to down-play, or even ignore, the rest of the problems. This tendency is accentuated by the fact that those positioned higher on the roster tend to be better insulated from the immediate effects of their decisions. So relatively small mistakes keep piling one atop the other until the heap cannot be balanced any longer.
On the contrary, in a functional democracy – where everybody has a real chance to bring his concerns to the attention of others, mistakes are not only easier to spot but also easier to avoid.
Only this cannot happen as advertised unless the members of a society have a healthy dose of mutual respect. Nobody is going to pay any attention to what is being said by a ‘pariah’. No matter how interesting, or important, that might be.

And this is exactly what happens in a ‘mob-rule’ environment. Nobody listens anymore to what ‘the other’ has to say. People allow themselves to be driven into separate herds and, once there, pay no attention to anybody else but their ‘own’ cattle-driver. Who not only that doesn’t have any respect for ‘his’ herd but usually doesn’t care for anything else but their votes. Reason would ask that he should pay close attention to the well being of his herd but since he is convinced that he can always attract new followers he will usually go for the ‘cheapest’ alternative – taking good care of a flock being more ‘expensive’ than luring some new ‘green horns’.

That’s how people become estranged from one another and end up with their eyes glued to the whip of the cattle driver. That’s how democracy becomes an empty concept.

That’s why an honest count of the ballots doesn’t mean much if the public discussion which preceded the voting wasn’t both free and meaningful.
That’s why reducing democracy to ‘rule of the majority’ is akin to putting the cart before the horse.

The real scope of the whole process being to openly examine as much information as humanly possible before starting to make decisions (vote), not to (artificially) build majorities around (charismatic?!?) political figures. Or should I rather call them by their rightful name? Con men?

 

tainted vote

“It was a fair vote. They may not like the outcome but nobody’s saying that the vote was tainted. Maybe by the misinformation ahead of it … but the actual voting process…”

If there is something to be learned from the current debacle is that democracy is about way more than honestly counting the votes.

In fact, if we resume ourselves to that, we’ll end up tied down in a cage known as ‘mob rule’. Who ever succeeds to stir up more efficiently the public sentiment will rule the day and ‘apres nous, le deluge‘.

In order for the democratic process to be efficient – actually democratic, that is – the electorate must have at its disposal all the pertinent information that is available at that moment. If the electorate doesn’t really care and doesn’t mind that information… that’s it. But the information has to be readily available.

And there’s the catch.

If those ‘in charge’ use the media to spur up public sentiment instead of honestly informing the people about the  situation at hand then we’ll have a beauty pageant instead of a democratic election. Or referendum.

What we really need to remember, fast, is that for a democracy to maintain its function – weed up the really bad leaders/ideas proposed in the public square – we need to add two things to ‘honestly counting the votes’.

‘Mutual respect’ among all members of a given society and a keen enough interest of a majority of the members of that society in the well being of their community.

‘Democracy’ won’t work properly unless the voters respect each-others, and the government they had, themselves, elected. Simultaneously  the government has to treat ‘the people’ with utmost respect, not as if they were hapless children in dire need of close guidance.

At the same time no democracy ever successfully maintained its character unless the ‘leaders’ were constantly remembered of their ‘mortal’ status.

And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”” Genesis, 3:22

The point being that those who think they can make the difference between good and evil need their feet constantly brought back to the Earth.

In Heaven it was God who did that. Here on Earth God works through the hands of Man. Hence we have to take good care of our own fate.
We won’t be able to do that efficiently unless we start respecting each-others, and each-others’ opinions – because none of us will ever be able to know the entire truth so we’ll be better off collectively if we share our knowledge.
For the very same reason – no one can master all the information that floats around us – all those who try to grab too much power must be treated with ‘extreme caution’. Again, this can be done more efficiently in a collaborative, and respectful, manner.

That’s why I’m convinced that the EU needs to be remodeled, not bulldozed.

the brexit hero

“Isn’t it funny?
You know, when I came here 17 years ago and I said that I want to lead the campaign to get Britain to leave the EU, you all laughed at me.
Well, I have to say, you are not laughing now, are you?”

 

Now let me get something straight.

This guy has been going to work, as an elected official, with one goal in mind. And one goal only.

To undermine the very institution he was working for.

Not to improve it in any way but to simply dismantle it.

I’m not going to discuss here whether he is right about the shortcomings of the EU or not. (He is)

But I am going to question his modus operandi.

OK, he did point out, very astutely, which are the weak points of the European Union.
And then, instead of proposing ways to mend those problems, he did his ‘best’ to make matters even worse.

That was all that he could do in those circumstances. That’s it. Nobody’s perfect.

But why elect a guy like this, time and time again, into a position where he gets to be paid, handsomely, for making trouble?

And no, he wasn’t a ‘whistle-blower’. He never came forth with anything new.
He just kept milling around a few otherwise well known ideas – most of which are absolutely correct – and then turned them on their head, effectively morphing them into ‘seeds of doom’.

And yes, he was the guy “who has repeatedly criticised wasteful EU spending” and then used 58 000 pounds of EU money to cover a security bill “for just five events held in modest venues such as a darts arena in Essex where there was not a single demonstrator.

Now go figure.
There are people out there who consider him to be “The Hero of Brexit”….

Shortly after becoming aware of his own awareness Man figured out that, from then on, his real job will be to attach meaning to everything that was, is and will be happening around him.

The very same moment He freaked out – because of the enormous responsibility that had just fallen upon his head – and invented god to help Him.

There is, of course, no way of knowing for certain whether a real God had interfered, in any way, shape or form, in our evolution.
The fact that so many of us think the world can be explained ‘through itself’ – that there is enough information available to construct a plausible narrative about what went on since the Big Bang – is the real proof of nothing more but the huge cockiness harbored by our inflated egos.
OK, nothing more but a long held tradition suggests that God exists for real only this is no factual demonstration about the nonexistence of God.

On the contrary. The very fact that the tradition held for so long means that God had a real contribution to our life.

It doesn’t really matter whether that God was real or contrived by us.

And the fact that so many of us use their respective gods as pretexts to commit heinous acts sends no other message than that those who commit such crimes have no real understanding about what God really means.

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