Saturday 2 June 2018

The People want Bad things - so political change can't do any Good

This is something I find it hard to get across - I have been harping on the theme for about nine years, and apparently few other have reached the same conclusion, if the sustained massive interest-in and hopes-from political change is any guide.

My baseline understanding that that, in modern Western countries, hardly-any-people (only a small minority) want Good things. 

Quite the contrary, in fact. If their behaviour is anything to go by, then most people want Bad things for most of the time.

And if people want Bad things; then how could politics do any Good? Improving The System will  only make the mass majority of Badly-motivated people more successful at accomplishing the Bad things that they wish-for...

A Christian spiritual awakening is therefore not some kind of luxury, not something added-on after the prior and necessary political changes; but the pre-requisite to all Good political change.

When the people are Bad, nothing positive can be accomplished by political action of any kind. It is misplaced activity. 

Christian spiritual awakening is therefore the priority. It must happen before there is any possibility of Good politics.

...First your own awakening; then see if you can help others awaken, in some way that you consider potentially to be effective. 


Miner 49er said...

"My baseline understanding that that, in modern Western countries, hardly-any-people (only a small minority) want Good things."

They want too many things. There are too many choices in the modern world. This cacophony of choices are mostly distractions. It is not that people have completely lost their sense of the difference between what is good and bad, rather wanting or doing good is crowded out with thousands of meaningless activities (tv, over-socializing, following the latest entertainment trends, etc.). How can you even engage people now a days with any thoughtful discussion? Human attention spans are at an all time low. It is my experience in midwestern America that Christians believe avoiding bad (i.e. don't drink, don't cheat, don't lie, etc.), is the same thing as doing good. It is not.

The Social Pathologist said...

Politics is downstream from culture. Crappy culture, crappy politics.

Francis Berger said...

What are your thoughts about Hungary and Vikor Orban's defense of Christian culture? Sincere intentions or simply more political hot air?

Chiu ChunLing said...

Unfortunately, it seems that most people will not be humble until they are forced to confront the temporal effects of their lack of virtue. The old cycle of prosperity leading to pride leading to destruction before poverty can create humility leading to virtue and then back to prosperity does not seem easy to circumvent on a large scale. Faithful individuals may react to the blessings of prosperity with gratitude, thus becoming humble, but nations as a whole are defined by the grim statistical rarity of such faith.

There is an even grimmer statistic which a student of history cannot miss about the mechanism by which destruction and poverty lead to humility.

Civilization fights that mechanism, but doing so only means that poverty lingers in a state of ingratitude and entitlement rather than bringing about humility. And yet to stop fighting that which brings humility is to forfeit the premise of civilization.

Bruce Charlton said...

@PR - Yes, but they go to great lengths to do bad things too - and more importantly are refuse even to acknowledge their badness.

@SP - Yes, but it is too abstract and nebulous to use culture to explain things; also, the fatal problem with 'culture' is very specific - atheism, or more exactly, materialist metaphysical assumptions.

@FB - I only know this via the mass media. If Hungary, Czech, Slovakia, and Poland are really putting Christianity first, nationally - then they may indeed save themselves - save their souls.

@CCL - The systematic encouragement, propaganda for ingratitude and entitlement - i.e. pride and resentment - is on of the single greatest sins of the politics; because it is a moral inversion. The secular right is guilty of this in its small way, as well as the much-more-powerful and culturally-dominant left.

William Wildblood said...

Politics means outer change (supposedly) leading to improvement in people's lives. But spirituality or religion requires inner change which confronts us on an individual level with a much bigger problem. We want to think that it's the system at fault not ourselves and that's why we are becoming worse people.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William "We want to think that it's the system at fault not ourselves and that's why we are becoming worse people."

Very true. It's a temptation I have had to fight, especially over the past couple of decades. But the fact is that my main limitions have always been from myself.

Dexter said...

"Democracy" of one form or another is the prevailing form of government on Earth now, and certainly in the West. Democracy is an inherently evil form of government, because it inevitably leads to people voting themselves largesse at the expense of others (i.e., stealing). Politicians in democracies appeal to the base natures of the electorate, and positively encourage pride, greed, lust, envy, and wrath among the voters in order to motivate people to vote for them. People will never want "good things" so long as it is possible to obtain bad things by voting for them. The only way to improve "the system" would be to permit only good people to vote. But, bad people greatly outnumber good people, and bad people are hardly going to agree to be disenfranchised (and thus no longer be able to vote for bad things). Therefore, "the system" cannot be improved.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Dexter. Exactly! - good example.