Tuesday 4 December 2018

If there is to be a Good 'politics of the future' it will be incredibly simplistic

The age of complex politics - politics you needed to study and learn - is past, long past. And probably that's a good thing; probably that it the proper path.

The past 50 years has seen politics degenerate into a collection of dumb and destructive slogans - mostly-directed against marriage, family, and even sexual reality - what we need to replace this is a collection of dumb and constructive slogans.

(By 'slogans' I mean 'principles' - but of the kind that can be reduced to a slogan.) 

(And when I say 'collection' I mean a very small, simple, easily memorable, and coherent collection.) 

They need to be dumb if politics is to be anything other than an imposition by a grossly-corrupt, increasingly purposively-evil, intellectual elite.

As often noticed, any movement that requires leaders can and will be destroyed (or subverted and co-opted) - and if a movement doesn't require leaders, it must be comprehensible by a great mass of people of ordinary, and less than ordinary, ability.

What is lacking here-and-now is motivation; and ordinary people will only be motivated by something simple-enough that it can be fully grasped and known as a whole; and if it is to be Good, then simple-enough to be known intuitively as true.

If this does happen, therefore, intellectuals (including you and me, probably) will hate it reflexly - not least because they/ we will be marginalised, not needed, not used. We will be asked to subscribe to something that strikes us as ridiculously simplistic; and we will find it difficult to so subscribe - it will so very be easy to 'pick apart' and ridicule or fear.

Nonetheless, it is either simplism or doom.

And if it is to be Christian, the same applies... it will be either a simple Christianity, in which it is clear and easy to understand what is asked and wanted; or else we won't get Christianity at all, but something else clearer and simpler and (thus) more motivating for ordinary people (and I think I can guess what).


Chiu ChunLing said...

I suspect that the majority of the intellectually gifted are bound to deride politics anyway.

Statecraft, the process of selecting leaders for the task of actually building up civilization starting at the foundations, has nothing much to do with politics as we know it. It does have the tenor of being "ridiculously simplistic", positing basic principles of sound government that seem incredibly obvious to nearly every 'civilized' man. This is because when a new civilization is at the founding point, the men must fight, literally, to secure it. Either from barbarism or from competing civilizations.

That means that the articulation of the principles which make the nation worth fighting for has to be suitable to the comprehension of the fighting men. After all, you don't have a long-established tradition of subordination of the fighting man to the politician when the civilization itself is not long-established.

Not all 'intellectuals' will hate this, if I am to be included in that category at all. Although I learned from my own time in the military that the general level of intelligence of fighting men is not terrifically above average, they as a whole tend to more reliably understand that government (and thus civilization) is an exercise in applied organized violence on a large scale.

The fundamental purpose and method of all government is to decide whom you are going to kill so you may live as you please, and who is going to do the killing. Every 'political' question is of this nature, legislation codifies the criteria for resorting to force, and the resort to force is always backed by the ultimate threat of irresistibly lethal force should there be resistance to lesser force prove ineffective. When your government is no longer willing or able to resort to irresistible lethal force if all else fails, why then it ceases to be the government, and either anarchy or conquest ensues in short order.

Fighting men are more likely to understand this than the typical "intellectual" (however we decide to define that term). They may not arrive at it by sound philosophical inquiry, it seems more likely that they know it by some primitive instinct derived from territorial competition in prehistoric (and even pre-human) times.

The great problem of society isn't how to persuade people to be reasonable. The ancient philosophers intuited that it couldn't be by appealing to their reason, modern mathematics proved it as a fundamental logical truth. The fighting man has always known that the way to persuade people to be reasonable was to be ready to respond to unreason with violence.

This means that the great problem of society has always been, and always will be, how to persuade the most effective fighting men. Not necessarily, and certainly not exclusively, to see reason, though societies where reason is important are nicer than those where it isn't. No, the thing that you need to persuade those fighting men to do is fight. First to establish your social order, then to defend it.

And when you can no longer persuade them anymore, why then your social order is finished.

Chiu ChunLing said...

The simple fact that every social order ultimately depends on the voluntary cooperation of the most effective killers is repugnant to many moderns, and to intellectuals of every decadent civilization. But this is simply what social order is. The alternative is to be on the losing side of a war (formally declared and organized or not), and that war will inevitably end with the side that has the voluntary cooperation of the most effective killers being in charge. We can and should prefer voluntary cooperation of the most effective killers to be based on reason rather than instinct, and failing that for some instincts to be preferred to others.

But we cannot, and should not, forever depend on the cooperation of the most effective killers while we deride the need or justification for their consent to our social order. They only way to get any killers under control is by having the most effective ones on your side...and they all know it.

Everyone else forgets that at their peril.

But of course they prefer to avoid remembering it as much as possible. Another primitive instinct, I suppose.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL "This means that the great problem of society has always been, and always will be, how to persuade the most effective fighting men. "

Has been, yes - but from here I am not sure what will be - since the current situation is unprecedented.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - "The simple fact that every social order ultimately depends on the voluntary cooperation of the most effective killers... "

That's actually a pretty useless and over-reductonistic comment about civilization; and without explanatory or predictive value - because the only way it can be made true is to reduce the specificity of meaning to such a level that it is true by definition.