I was on facebook tonight, and despite all my filters, I saw some political posts. And this made me sad because people still buy politics and religion and I don’t. I like to think I have moved on/ evolved/ healed from all that.
It’s not that I am not political or spiritual, it is more that I think the set-in-stone groups and parties don’t work anymore and should be consigned to historical footnotery.
I understand greedy people as I see them the most, but I wonder most at people who are lefties. Not just Marxists or Communists, but Socialists. Those Card-Carrying Labour Party members, those Labour voters, people in Trades Unions. Even members of co-operatives.
These people intrigue me because they purport to be caring, chummy and folksy, but take pains to be awkward and weird. Seeking equality and fairness somehow defines them as elite and special and unusual/individual. Martyrs as well.
I am not a fan of fascists or totalitarians either. I dislike Capitalism as much as anything else.
If I lived in the 15th century, things would be different. But hey ho; I don’t.
I genuinely wonder at these political ideologies – why do they exist still – seriously – in this day and age?
As I have aged and mellowed, I realise that there has to be some grains of truth in all of these ideas for them to still have that traction. This gave me the idea for a thought experiment.
What if they could be blended? Would it be possible to find a solution that was a blend of political/ religious ideologies?
At that point I remembered hearing about a couple who exhibited communist behaviour in restaurants – that seemed perfectly authentic to me; been then done that so many times!
A couple go into a restaurant and order dinner. The female sees everything ordered as common property – and feels able to help herself to any and all of the dishes on the table – even the ones ordered by her date. This is small scale Communism.
“I won’t order that if you are, then we can share two dishes”
This shows that Communism works – but can it be scaled up? That’s the rub – I just don’t think so.
It only works small scale on a family or close personal level, and it works in a capitalist context (the restaurant). So the problem with Communism is not the ideology itself; it’s the fact that it cannot scale up.
Equally, conservative capitalism is horrible at that scale – you order your meal competitively, trying to get the best deal, get the best value for money – beat your date, no sharing, just winning. Split the bill. Hmm. That doesn’t work well either.
Running a country is more complex than a dinner (I hear you scream), but I would suggest that it is the the essence and underlying principles that are what matter in real life.
In real life, things are actually complicated in that very way. For example, take the NHS in the UK (The National Health Service in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). This is a socialist enterprise in a capitalist country in a capitalist world. This is the interface of one ideology with another. Fact.
The socialist NHS principle meets the Big Pharma capitalist model head-on. The pharmaceutical companies have shareholders and supply the NHS with all the drugs it needs to function. These drugs (pills, injections, rubs, lotions, potions etc) cost money and are under the capitalist rules of a free market. It’s oranges meets apples.
This is two systems clashing, it’s how it is, it is the real world. These ideologies exist still, so they have to somehow co-exist. Ideologies are designed to work only when there is no opposition, they are founded on the principle of being the only system, and not a bit part. Not only is this a flaw in itself, but I am pretty sure that if there was only one political system in the world, regardless of what it is, it wouldn’t work.
There is only one conclusion from this thought experiment: it’s clear that we need to accommodate the facts of life, the truth as it actually is – even if we just don’t want to (because we want to win, and for our favoured political ideology to be the only one, pure and universal game being played, even knowing that this still wouldn’t work).
This is the problem.
But I say that they can work together. I would even go as far as to argue that “universal” is bad, and that completely different political systems actually need to work together – just like the above socialist dinner in a capitalist restaurant setting. (I could even argue the same about religion, but I’m sticking to politics for this article).
I tend to agree with Johanna “Hannah” Arendt – that politics needs a rethink, that it is outdated, that it suited circumstances in another time, and that it is all no longer fit for purpose. She knew that Socialism, Capitalism, Liberalism, Republicanism, and all the rest, needed to be binned in favour of new things that actually worked in the modern world and would prevent totalitarianism and other ills as a result.
Look, if you were the “Dad” of a family, you wouldn’t ask for a vote; you would be expected to be the the “Dad”, to know what to do, what action to take. This is an example of a dictatorship that works (because the Dad is beneficent), but which cannot be scale up without problems. For biggest governance, other people need to be asked their opinion.
I could go on -with example after example of how each and every political ideology works in the real world at one scale or another, and it proves nothing more than that each has truth, but is not The Truth, not The Answer – and that – extraordinarily, and unexpectedly – ideologies can (and perhaps ought to) co-exist with others to produce a fairer society.
Arendt thought that the defining point of entry for politics was when you HAD to say: “Hey; that’s not fair!”, and than had a mechanism for fixing the problem. I would go along with that.
Fixing society should be free form the shackles of politics. The NHS ought not to be a “political football”.
It’s terrible that when you address issues that matter, you have a colour/ political affiliation or allegiance to explain/ address/ or be associated with. You ought to be free to solve the problem in whatever manner is appropriate without having to think about tribal labelling.
Don’t you think?