Friday, November 27, 2009


Politics is almost a dirty word these days and may ever had been such. Yet isn't war the or isolation the only alternative to politics. Politics is that place where competing desires of individuals meet and decisions are made which for the individuals involved are so often not the best but the 'least bad".

Politics is the arena of words, discussion, debate, argument, confrontation, and everything short of physical violence. It's a bag of statemanship skills and back room dirty tricks.

One side wants something while the other side wants something else. It's the process of the resolution of this. It's where change and no change meet.

It's pseudo war in a sense. A fundamental law of war is time and place. Great generals assuming the other is equal recognise that they can gain advantage by choosing time and place. Hence when an enemy ambushes you, you retreat or advance thereby taking away from him the advantage of time and place.

In politics there's face validity which advertisers and marketteers love to manipulate. Validity is the rightness of a thing. Face validity is that appearance of rightness. The appearances are not the thing but can appear like they are. Covert operations like the wooden planes in WWII misrepresented the intentions of the Allies to the Germans and assisted in winning the war.
The fallacies are a collection of types of arguments used through the ages to manipulate people. These days there's always the fallacy of the "appeal to fear" and "ad hominem" being used routinely. The Nizkor Project on the net in an attempt to avoid the mass hysteria that gave rise to Hitler has put forward for free use Dr. Labossiere's brilliant brief 101 course on fallacies the essence of politics 101.

Meetings are commonly manipulated by such devices as limitting the "terms of reference'. There's also a collection of these procedures. Robert's Rules of Order one of many devices to level the playing field, assure fairness and address the process of discussion. Process the way a thing is discussed as opposed to what is being discussed.

Robert's Rules are unweildy and though AA (alcoholics anonymous) for example, has adopted this process for much of its work, Bill Wilson tried to develop the Traditions of AA as an alternative for running meetings. Today there's a "modified Robert's Rules" in AA and there's "group conscience" The idea of "group conscience" is that God is the final arbiter and will eventually unfold is God's will.

So in AA people have faith and are hopeful which is clearly not the normal response to decisions made in committees of government where the fear is so often that the process and content are really just the King's desire or these days what America, the new Rome, wants.

Politics is also about "puppet regimes" too and the fear is that so much of what goes on in the light of day is just a 'drama' to mask what is really being decided behind the scenes.

We'd all like to get our own way without effort and the work of politics is participation. As Krishna said to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita , the war will alwas go on, the only question is will you be in it.

So politics is always there. The only way of escaping it is by isolation , which really is very hard today. I paid a fortune and trained for decades to get 25 days alone at sea away from my fellow man. The longest I've been able to get alone in the wilderness is a week at most before someone happens along. And even the dead are routinely found in cities because their smell disturbs other who are forever nosy pesky busybodies. Because of others, even the dead are routinely disturbed in a matter of weeks if they try to be alone on their own.

So politics or war, it seems to be despite the romantic idea of the wild west and riding into endless horizons. I want to ride into the sunset any given day of the week. I have a Harley but then I"m also a big fan of NASA because it really gives me just that hope.

That said politics is the choice and as social animals it's here with us to stay. Best participate. Otherwise you will be coopted. Even the silent majority was used in the end. So speak up or have words put in your mouth.

And remember 2 to 3% of the population tend to do 90% or more of the work of community and those 2 to 3% are the ones that the 90% criticize. The politicians, and I love to criticize them too, are just those who are active and participating. The principal difference between them and others is that others are on the couch complaining while the politicians are at least doing something, even if it's wrong.

In the end I believe that God makes the best of it all and what we get in the end is the best possible outcome in the long run.

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