Amerika

Peter Hitchens: Electorate are Equally to Blame for Britain’s Mess

The always-interesting Peter Hitchens makes a point that we have made on this blog many times: the voters are ultimately to blame. Humans in groups indulge in herd behavior, where social factors become more important than the goal at hand, and so even in groups of smart people, voters settle on whatever compromise offends the least number of people. This means that they are selecting an illusion, and after the election, they can blame each other or the politicians. There is no responsibility or accountability in democracy.

Q: Peter, now you’re not known for your love of politicians. Would you bang them up …

P: No, apart from the practical unworkability of it: a selective victor’s justice which would follow, with the losing opposition being prosecuted by the government while people still remember what had been said, and all other kinds of impracticability such as that.

It’s ridiculous for us to pretend that the politicians are the only ones involved in dishonesty at elections.

In the old Soviet Union it used to be said that people pretended to work and the government pretended to pay them. The work was phony, the money was phony.

In our elections the politicians pretend to have lots of money spent on us. We pretend to believe them. And it’s by pretending to believe them repeatedly that we’ve got into the mess we have.

We’re just as complicit in it as they are. We’re far too willing to believe the blatant lies that were being told by people who are bribing us with our own money, and one of the reasons why democracy is going so rapidly down the plumbing is precisely because of that.

So to turn on the politicians and blame them for playing this game which we play with absolutely the same enthusiasm is ridiculous.

Q: We can’t blame the public . . .

P: Yes, you can blame the public.

Q: If they’re all lying . . .

P: It’s time we blame the public because the public’s self-deception is one of the reasons this country is so heavily in debt, both nationally and individually.

We will not face up to the realities of the situation. We would much rather be lied to than told the truth.

If any politician went into an election and said, “This is the real state of the economy: we’re bankrupt, we don’t make or export anything worth having, and we’re going to have to increase income tax or other kinds of taxes very heavily simply to balance the national books,” they’d lose the election.

In the same way, egalitarianism — the philosophy of human equality — removes the need for people to do good or right. If everyone is accepted equally, and given rights just for being human, the bad is equal to the good, and so people have no incentive to keep doing good, much as in socialism they have no incentive to be productive or conscientious in their work because the outcomes are roughly the same with each choice. This resembles the condition known as “heat death,” where particles stop moving because every option is approximately similar in result.

Whether in mainstream politics or the Alt Right, it is taboo to mention this failure of the electorate because if we do, we must accept that we must change from within. We would prefer to simply apply rules to ourselves so that we can control ourselves through manipulation because that requires the least amount of space in our minds, and allows us to continue to be fixated on ourselves and our desires, judgments, feelings, emotions and sensations. When change from within is required, we need to re-organize ourselves to adapt to our reality, which means that we could possibly be wrong, and this incites a fear of Darwinian consequences in us, so we create a superstition called equality which banishes that fear.

As long as there is voting, there will be decisions where people are not invested in doing good or right, but in getting along with the group or getting what they as individuals want out of it. The group, which appears to be a mindless collective, is in fact a mindless collective of individuals who have decided that they want to avoid responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Its mindless nature is created by the evasion of individuals, who are in the grip of something approximating hubris or individualism which makes them decide that their own needs are more important than those of organic civilization, the patterns of nature, moral good and cultural values.

You can see the whole video here.

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