Monday, November 27, 2017

Leaders Who Betray

- I get the impression many of your ideas you make up as we go along. Am I right?
- You're right.
- So you won't be offended by my saying that often your ideas could be clearer.
- Do you have any particular ideas in mind?
- I have a particular problem in mind, one we've already talked about which I think many of your other ideas might help us solve.
- If they were clearer.
- Yes.
- And what problem is that?
- Why political leaders, the ones with the best ideas, betray the people who elect them. It seems that they don't do it out of self interest, not directly, but rather they do it to serve the interest of their class - the class of leaders. But why do they do this? Wait, don't answer. First I'd like to gather together what you've said in the past. You've said leaders who betray have been educated to follow rules they haven't learned or confirmed by their own experience.* Science, laws relating classes of things with classes of things, isn't good enough for leaders. They need the individual experiment with ideas philosophy provides. Correct?
- Yes.
- You found a model for this in the Genesis story of the expulsion from Eden. Adam is condemned to agriculture, to work the land with pain. Agriculture is repetitive, thus rule guided, compared to the free wandering of a shepherd. God favors the sacrifice of the shepherd Abel over that of the land-working Cain.** You cite, from Ezekiel 34,*** King David watching over stray sheep as a model for self government in society: every individual is responsible for bringing back those in their community who stray. A leader can behave like a shepherd or a farmer: to be rule guided in harvesting votes, or genuinely concerned with saving those at risk. Leaders have to know how we go wrong, and to be able to teach others to recognize this in time to stop it from happening. Leaders have to understand that democracy is sharing of power between equals in power. Equality in power comes from economic independence. Having place to live and food to eat allows discussion of how life might best develop from there to go on without fear and resentment. Prostitution shows how political power is not identical to social power. The security of home which is the basis of political equality is lost when the prostitute exchanges control over her body for the freedom represented by a sum of money.**** Politicians who gain their position by compromise are a kind of prostitute: acting by rule guiding choice which compromises to accept, which to reject, they are agriculturalists, are incapable of the power arising from the self determination of democracy. They do however share power with other leaders who they enact their compromises with, and their loyalty is to them rather than to the people as a whole. Loyalty to social class arises like the belief of the buyer of a prostitute that he acquires the prostitute's beauty and admiration in exchange for his money.*****
- I said all that?
- You know you did. Prostitution, agriculture, leaders as class, science vs. philosophy, rules coming out of social practice vs. individual practice. We can't trust leaders who prostitute themselves by making a principle to always compromise, who "harvest" votes rather than shepherd people, who've learned "scientific" rules of compromise by a life in politics, who lack diverse experience outside of institutions.
- And you'd like me to clarify all this?
- If you can.
- Let's talk about it further, now really I can't, except maybe add what to look for in a untrustworthy leader. Leaders might say all the right things, might even say what we say here. But look to the company they keep. Democracy, remember, is founded on bodily freedom.****** The democrat in his body desires, likes the company of other democrats; their public habits are in accord. Don't trust a Bernie Sanders who throws his arm around his supposed opponent Hilary Clinton. Don't trust the ex-Greek finance minister, now founder of the European Diem party Yanis Varoufakis who took as advisers influential neo-liberal economists who agreed with him that their operating principles were inapplicable,******* who nevertheless insisted the ruling myth of the leadership class must be compromised with for the sake of retaining power and having an opportunity to accomplish anything at all.
* Philosophy & Science of Betrayal
** Abel Is More Able  
Eve In The Garden Of Eden
*** Bringing Back Stray Sheep