In a democracy versus a dictatorship scenario, I am of course, a democrat. That said, having lived in the Arabian Gulf for several years, I can see the advantages of benevolent monarchies. Though they are essentially absolute powers, oil wealth has been used to bring massive transformations in the lives of ordinary citizens, many of who a generation ago did not have electricity, health care, and other basic services we take for granted. Under these systems of governance, populations may not express even mild political points for many reasons. Fear might be one, but a genuine distancing of the population from politics might be another. Contrast that with other places. Provided that the dollars/dinars/dhirhams roll in, I can see why many folk are politically mute and more than happy to go about their lives (and privileges) in a kind of political vacuum. Money can buy contentment, and perhaps even importantly, a kind of docile silence.
For some time now, I've drifted away from hardcore politics and too much reliance on the promises made by politicians. As a result I find that I haven't voted for several years, and not because I am unconcerned about the world. On the contrary, I care about many issues around me and if I lived in a part of the world where civic duty/citizenry was directly linked to partaking in the political process, then perhaps I might be compelled to cast a choice at the ballot box. Potentially I am open to some level of political discourse, but I guess I need convincing as I remodel my own, multi-layered, political identity and if I appear to have fallen off the political spectrum and I do not get a voting card, then I am not greatly affected. For now, my general approach is to keep the media at arms length and my involvement in daily politics at an even greater distance.
That level of cynicism perhaps comes across as a contradiction for someone who is essentially a democrat. It is not that I do not have some very strong opinions on matters of religion, finance, education and society - all of which could be expressed politically. This blog is testimony to the many issues I am passionate about. The problem with politics, in my view, starts with politicians. I have very little respect for the manipulation and lack of integrity that has become symbiotic with politics. Add to that a blurring of political ideologies in a modern age, so that what is on offer is simply more of the same. I tend to turn my back on things like that because voter choice is, in actuality, an illusion.
Freedom is a state of mind and playing the part of the frustrated anti-authoritarian has become way too old for me. Karl Hess once said, “Radical and revolutionary movements seek not to revise but to revoke. The target of revocation should be obvious. The target is politics itself.” I can think of no simpler way to revoke politics than to actively purge its importance from my life.Sound advice.
Jeffrey Tucker recently quipped, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste on politics.” So here I leave you with a challenge: unsubscribed everyone that posts political things on Facebook, refuse to watch the news, avoid social media generally, always change the subject away from politics, and always make sure to notice the how beautiful the flowers are. Take a holiday away from politics and see where it takes you.
Quote taken from Students For Liberty.