I was always fascinated by politics, but never untrusting enough to be able to deal with the distrust others had in me.
What I mean by this is that I expected people in politics to rub along well with me – sincerely I mean, not faking it. If I had untrusted more, maybe I wouldn’t have got so confused. I’d have mostly accepted the inevitable any potential politician needs to accept from the outset: politics is dirty, and nice people lose.
Or maybe not. Maybe nice people learn to separate the inevitable nastiness of any working life from the way they lead their lives outside of political activity.
Today, my Political Compass post from late 2014 was read by some curious soul who weirdly alighted on its content. In this post I describe how I was a religious soul who hadn’t discovered his religion. These are the results which I got in 2009 or earlier versus 2014. (You can try it for yourself here.)
Not much changed for me in the intervening years, as you can see – despite the terrible upheaval in financial sectors which was probably due, or at least we might imagine, to the large-scale unfettering of pertinent regulation.
So I had a quick read over the post, bit TL;DR, but not so much compared to other stuff I have written over the years. And then I decided to take the test again. And interestingly, now, things have changed a tad. Here are the results.
As far as Social Libertarian versus Social Authoritarian is concerned, I’m still quite the former, and though things have changed I’m definitely in the same camp.
Economic Left versus Economic Right is a different matter, though. I really have moved quite a bit towards the centre ground – at least the centre ground as defined by Political Compass’s methodology. I find this interesting. I posted the below on Facebook a few minutes ago, in particular (I think) in relation to my recent post on emerging from eleven years of a depression I was unaware of being afflicted by:
Just did the test again. I’m just as libertarian (so is that good or bad?), but now much closer to the centre between left and right … I think my life changes have played a part in this – or maybe my change of political attitude has allowed me to change my life?
Can how we feel about life make us more left-wing or right-wing? It hardly seems counter-intuitive.
And I mean from an emotional point of view, not necessarily intellectual. I mean in the sense that being riven with resentment about one thing or another – which translated into terms we can empathise with means feeling powerless – is bound to make you want to side with the underdog. And siding with the underdog is – conversely – a momentarily empowering choice. It aligns us with many others, whose badges of courage we begin to attach to ourselves. We stop thinking from scratch, but this happens on either side too.
And when I say either side, I mean to say that a left-wing dictatorship has as many underdogs as a right-wing junta. Underdogs – and their proliferation – are not the preserve of left- or right-wing environments.
So if we are to resolve the issue of the disengagement – the real unlife – of so many people from the levers of power, we first have to address the purpose of politics: and in so doing we must decide whether it is actually its main goal to grab levers of power out of the hands of the majority in order to impose the will of a substantive minority. The results of many elections in Western nations of late certainly describe this pattern. It would seem logical to say that this has become the rationale and objective of most Western politicians: keep the others out, then grab the votes and run.
But what if the purpose of politics was to facilitate access to the levers of power – share it around, I mean – instead of diminishing it? Is that such a strange idea? Couldn’t the very adoption of moderately left-wing libertarianisms – carefully framed by clear touchpoints of interventionist government on certain key social matters such as education, health, crime and national security – help devolve the power, and maximise the levers everyone could grasp, without slowing down the processes of democratic consultation or process?
Allow people to participate without participation becoming a chore, I mean. Systemically create an enabling environment where choice was reduced judiciously so the process of choosing was no longer onerous.
In a sense, identify what could safely be done by us all with limited requirements for upskilling – and move on from there.
I don’t half feel it might be a good idea, though.