Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why People Reject Politics


Most people are disconnected from the political process. They are this way not from ignorance or malevolence, rather the political process is completely at odds with their daily lives. This even goes for, and perhaps especially for, people who are otherwise highly political – the activists in the environmental, anti-war and anti-corporate movements.
 
Think of your friends and family. How long would they tolerate you acting like a politician or a government? So much of politics is the opposite of how we are. The manipulation to get us to vote for them, the dishonest attacks on each other, the lobbying, the hostility to dissent – we don't treat each other this way. They would turn their backs on you if you consistently lied, bullied, and scammed them, the way politicians or governments do as a matter of course. If six friends decide to go out for dinner together, they do not appoint one of them to decide which resto and force the others to eat there if they hate that kind of food. Instead, they would find an eating place acceptable to everyone.
 
The organizations we do belong to – reading circles, singing groups, neighborhood associations, folk clubs, activist groups - work in a more consensus-based and egalitarian way. With government the prime minister or president picks a cabinet who then bully the MPs into line. To hell with the people if it is something the leaders want to do. If we object they send in the police or the army to crush us. This is not how we run our organizations, and if anyone even attempted such behaviour they would be shown the door.
 
Aside from government and the work place, we live our lives horizontally. Government (and work) are organized in a top-down, hierarchical manner – the minority at the top telling the mass what to do and punishing them if they don't obey.
 
As for us, we tend to live ever more horizontally as time progresses. A hundred years ago, almost everyone lived in a hierarchy based upon race, gender, class, religion and age. Anglo-Saxons bullied all the other races and ethnic groups, men dominated women, age dominated youth and Christians persecuted non-Christians. Anyone who worked with their hands was deemed inferior. Child-rearing and pedagogy were exercises in emotional, verbal and physical abuse. Today with the democratic family, a leveling of race and religious hatreds, a less misogynous attitude toward women, we treat each other in a much more egalitarian and respectful manner.
 
We are more or less stuck with our work relations, its either work for a boss and all the authoritarian, hierarchical goop that goes with it, or live a life of poverty. While we can not avoid work, we can avoid politics. There is nothing forcing us to vote or support a political party. So people are free to shun politics, i.e., that which is foreign and disgusting to them. (1)
 
1.The turning away from politics is part of a greater process of withdrawal. Though still a minority, many people have turned their backs on war, GMO's, the mass media, crass consumerism, etc.

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