Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why Politics Can Suck

Politics can and does suck because politics is quite simply about power which makes inevitable the realization of Christopher hill's observation of international politics (this applies to national politics, may be even more so) being a marketplace, full of players of ranging significance, where 'power is the main currency in which these player deal'. assuming this outlook on international politics is true, this can explain all politics as those lacking in currency of politics in the postmodern global economy (workers, trade unions, students, the middle class, particularly the lower middle class, small business owners) are subject to those who have a high currency (Bankers, Industrialists, Multinational corporations).

In this context conflict is inevitable as a broad based movement, forged in solidarity (excuse my marx!) becomes the only weapon of those with no political currency.History is abound with instances of people who are of the category of the former forced to forge a movement in order to affect change realizing the only object that can gain attention of those in power is power its self. this problematic undercuts many of conflicts in postmodern politics as power in politics may be manicured through the rhetoric of some of the great liberal philosophers, the actions of politicians with respect to their fellow citizens seem to match the thesis posited by Hill. 

This can explain the crisis taking place in the middle east as citizens in those countries have abided to a social contract unfavorable to the will of the citizen in the interests of power. if this is true then there are many other venues of political conflict as the global financial crisis still remains a issue despite reports of recovery. The Tunisian and Egyptian riots were inspired not entirely by the authoritarian rule of their leaders but the the inflated food prices in the global market.The marketplace , in light of the social contract leaving no place for political legitimacy via popular will, dictatorships can only remain viable if it averts not only political but economic crisis as fluctuations in GDP in this political process on many occasions is more destabilizing than those in the political arena.

In this situation the legitimacy of the rulers lies not so much on his or hers appeal but on his performance as leader, the truism observing that 'with great power come great responsibility' has never been so real for the modern dictator. politics sucks because if power is its main currency it constantly escapes its meaning or the telos (purpose, end) and thus makes it hard to define in the process. this can be reflected by the widespread disenchantment with politics with politicians taking the same positions on many key issues on the political agenda and much similarity between politicians on those that dont.

The reaction of leaders to the political apathy in many states, regardless of politico-cultural custom falls somewhere between leaders either trying to present themselves as 'one of us' when none of 'us' could care less if they were, or present themselves using techniques long mastered by celebrities and public relations consultants, often to achieve 'one of us' status. However this is ridiculous as the public can see right through such attempts to 'connect' providing much material for the satirist, and much consternation for the political commentator which an idea of how politics should be.Another ploy used by political leaders, and probably the most embarrassing of them all, is the nationalist 'were all in this together' call for unity especially used in economic crises. read any speech from any political leader, particularly those in west, and the 'were all in this together' line of reasoning becomes explicit. this line has had gainful employment by Prime Minister David Cameron and the arch rhetorician of national telos of his generation, Barack Obama.

However for reasons stated earlier in this piece such rhetoric appears to many as what it is 'the last retreat of a politician who has run out of ideas'. if this is true then the 'brain drain' runs deep in the political class of many states as a retreat to nationalism in globally interconnected age is not only silly, but socially as well as politically pernicious.Much can be made of a retreat of political leaders to nationalist sentiments as it provides a context , mainly in, especially in the British political discourse, the ridiculously touchy debate of the rate of migration of immigrants, where groups can openly advocate a cutdown (hard to do when a considerable number of immigrants to Britian are from EU countries), active deportation (improbable, and most importantly, impossible) or assimilation (pointless). David Cameron's regarding the assimilation of the muslim community to 'british values' was not only misguided and a downright political faux pas, but pointless as this 'call to unity' only 'unifies' his rapidly multiplying political opponents in light of his  policies regarding government spending and the radical reform of the NHS. In sum, politics sucks because it has no meaning  beyond the current and the retreat to spent ideas and identities only amplifies this state of affairs.  

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