Monday, February 14, 2011

Paranoia Politics

For the lionshare of the last 30 years or so there has been a systematic suspicion of leaders, especially when they take a stance with regard to what they think is right to do in the interest of the public. politicians in the modern age have found hard to lead there countries as their policies before even put forward in legislation are seriously questioned and torn apart. in this age the politician that captured the imaginations of the public articulating a future just little bit better than the present state of affairs would find himself mocked constantly by commentators and ignored by the public.

Politics has always been the ideal realm of the pragmatist however the greatest changes in politics have been instigated by idealist prepared to see things in simplistic moral terms. politicians hardly ever take con the public especially when such course of action is required. Barack Obama presidency serves up plenty of examples of why politics in this age of paranoia with regard to those in power, is comically ineffective. when Barack Obama proposed reform to healthcare to the public,a section of which who dont think he is qualified  to be president based on his fake birth certificate, the response of ihis opposition party and the public was one of unmitigated paranoia.  Republicans were shouting from the rooftops about 'death panels' where government officials will make life and death decisions by committee and a confused but numerous mob holding posters of a joker-faced Obama shouting at the top of their lungs of Obama's credentials as the next Hitler.

Obama was forced to compromise on many of the key tenets of his original proposal in order to pass the bill in congress with nobody, including his own party, satisfied. This paranoia comes from many sources however in analyzing this phenomena two factors stand out, firstly, the lack of a clear definition over what is the end of politics, which has always been damaging to politics, and secondly, the corrupt acts of politicians in the first place. The lack of a clear of definition of what politics is leads to key question over the legitimacy of the politician's powerful position with regards to fate of the citizen and the nation. inequalities in the wider society do not help such matters as many of the politicians in the modern age emanate  from privileged or middle class backgrounds, a clear example being those who hold the most powerful position in British politics are all publically educated, some of which came into office as millionaires.

With this knowledge, commentators in the media and  members of the public at large are subject to the logic how can a politician be serving my interests if my interests are not his? This is why calls of elitism, many of them justified, is prevalent in the culture political criticism, ever questioning the efficacy of politicians, placing a critical eye on issues that never seem to attenuate or disappear with the political process  at the centre many criticisms of what's in the way of change. The lack of defintion of what politics is in an age where very few hold onto the ideologies of the past (or at least without a razor sharp critical eye) which shaped definitions of politics, the meaning and the telos of politics has come to become irrelevant with it despite this being very important. 

However, what Politicians cannot argue is that the skepticism shown by the media and the wider public towards them is not justified. The paranoia of media commentators and the public with regard to Politicans has come in a age when the folly of politicians makes good for front page headlines , uber-critical documentaries, dramas and comedies readily consumed by the public with both actors becoming distrustful of politicians. This is exacerbated by the enormous democratization of information once controlled by the state now open for scrutiny by a public looking for mistakes and contradictions between the facts and political narrative. The widely perceived cosy relationship between politicians and other centers of power, particularly members of the financial world is supported by well researched exposes of political corruption via the allocation of campaigns funds for political favors and the actions of politicians and members of the financial world during the (still ongoing) financial crisis. 

The expenses scandal in Britain is the ultimate example of politicians vindicating the well earned distrust of the public as politicians help deepen the already well anchored belief  that politician are nothing but well dressed 'crooks and thieves'. The fallout of the expenses continues as members of parliament have come under investigation, some facing time in prison. The social contract between the public and politicians has never been weaker as politicians have very few answers to the concerns of the public and if they do they have to earn the trust of an public unwilling to give it. In sum, the politics of paranoia will not weaken but get stronger in an age where politicians have no hiding place with their faults clear for all to see, analyzed by commentators with more avenues for attack than ever and a public defined by their distrust for anyone in authority.          

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