Whose Fault Is It?

Duly Noted

Why most of the time we have our collective selves to blame.

We like to blame government for our troubles. This tells that government’s role might be overestimated. Nevertheless, many problems would not exist if statists had not fixed what worked before their interference.

Apparently, government power is limited when it endeavors to repair something it declares to be broken. A case can be made that it is a force whose intentions tend to be misdirected, its goals falsely identified, and the means chosen unfit to solve the problem. 

While writing this, France’s voters removed Sarkozi/Sárközy. A trace of ethnic loyalty notwithstanding, the President has not been this writer’s favorite. That sentiment is independent of his efforts to disassociate himself from his background, which is Hungarian, Jewish, and Greek. The issue surrounding him makes Sarkozy into a symptom that surpasses anything beyond the pretention “Grand Nation”. 

It takes discipline not to react to the term. For more than a century, no European state is qualified to be a Great Power. A “US of Europe” would be a different case. However, there is no "Europe", which offers components that might coalesce into a country. 

What follows does not depend of the specific results of France’ election. For this essay, France is merely a case to illustrate a generalization. America’s coming verdict on Obama would serve the purpose as well as the focus on France. 

Watching the debate in France and projecting the generalized case upon Greece, The Netherlands, England Italy, and even supposedly sound Switzerland, a disconcerting insight emerges. While the thesis might be wrong, the case presented deserves to be pondered. 

What we tend to get, as a majority-sanctioned result or as the position of a near majority, are a verdict that amounts to a declaration of war on reality. The current challenges to our system and its societies might be significant. We need to cope with hefty changes whose tempo is unprecedented. Actually, only the speed by which the world evolves is new. For centuries now, anything new has that rating because we forgot the experience of those that faced evolving conditions before us. 

It would seem that, the gap is widening between what can be known and what is actually realized by the voters. Accordingly, the quality of the decisions, compared to what their level could be, worsens. After the elections, the originally uninformed tend to complain that they are “surprised”. This reveals that it is the predictable that bowls us over.

Part of the disillusionment of those that fell for illusions reflects a collective amnesia. The distracted voters’ ability to recall does not extend beyond the week’s star scandal. The promises made before the last election are sunk in a voluntary memory hole of our political culture that knows no accountability and is devoid of foresight. Take the platform of Mélanchon, France’ most leftist candidate. His program fits 1917’s Russia. As his gatherings ended, with raised fists the assembled middle-class humanists honored “the Working Class”, by intoning the International. As though in Europe alone, the pursuit of their project would not have cost forty plus million of murdered “class aliens”. Due to lobotomy, no one can remember and no one cares. Therefore, regardless of their record, programs that have proven themselves through their failure can be sold as new. It works between Los Angeles and Leningrad. 

The loss of memory is rounded out by the voter’s solid ignorance of economic common sense. No surprise. Teachers support “revolutions” only as long as their way of doing business is exempted. Beyond the verbal radicalism, there is no guild more determined to protect dated ways. Therefore, it is hardly astonishing that the profession knows little about economics. What is known about the discipline is piously limited to exhortations to replace the real world with faded utopias. 

Regardless of its missing role in the curriculum of future citizens, economics affect the political process. Incomprehended forces provoke extremist reactions Bolshevism, Fascism, and National Socialism are examples. Today the disappearance of “safe” professions, the receding jobs for the unskilled and the competition of the world economy’s newcomers prevail. For those with a traditional training and its perspective, the opportunities of the new economy are inaccessible. Correspondingly confused is the reaction to the third industrial revolution in the old economy’s leading countries. 

Bad governance is a product of faulty political choices. Misgovernment, once time had unmasked it, is explained away by the fooled mass that claims that it had been cheated. It would be more realistic to admit that duping presupposes a fool. Our electorate might not consist of nitwits due to IQ deficiency. However, the neglect of civic affairs makes the public into a purchaser of snake medicine. Devoid of the elementary knowledge regarding the public realm, the focus on the trivial and esoteric past-times are distractions that produce unprepared citizens. In modern democracies, the tendency to be neutral through unconcern regarding one’s own affairs is widespread. When a crisis develops this badly prepared mass renders an instant verdict. Its foundation is an impression derived from thirty-second infotainment that replaces thought-through arguments. These latter are, if presented, dismissed as complicated and as “boring”. Unused to examine serious contents, in-depth presentations prove to be unpalatable to the unprepared and are bypassed for the easily digested fast food version of politics. 

Buying a package of goods because of its imagined content is a likely prelude to disappointment. For the wasted years and the lost illusions, we like to blame those that served us, in response to our preference, with whipped-up PR in lieu of solid policy. This might be the place to bring up an unpleasant alternative explanation to having been tricked. Bad governance could be an expression of careless and therefore inadequate citizenship. Among its returns, we all get what we were dumb enough to have asked for.