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A cornucopia of beans

Monday, March 13, 2017 12:01
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Wandering through the political maze certainly doesn’t do anything to cure a chap of rampant cynicism. For example, one of the biggest icebergs of political life is a hidden assumption that the future is tolerably predictable and policies can be made to work as planned. Our bean policy will lead to a cornucopia of beans – that kind of assumption. Unfortunately it is easy enough to point out the problem, but not so easy to eradicate it. Why is that?
It may be that all political faiths also require a concomitant faith in predictable futures, rosy futures where political schemes achieve fruition and good intentions reap their just rewards. The alternative seems to be a somewhat grimmer, apolitical attitude which accepts and even relishes the inevitable roles of uncertainty, luck and misfortune.
Unfortunately democracy has not evolved to acknowledge this distinction effectively. It seems designed to foster naive expectations that elected representatives will grasp the levers of power to confer predicable benefits on our collective future. We refer to those naive expectations as policies. Maybe it seems more dignified.
Yet the future, the hurly-burly of ever unfolding events remains largely unpredictable. The levers of power are not connected to a predictable future and quite often not connected to anything real as far as one can tell. Yet the traditional political game requires political parties to propose some kind of dubious policy alternative to counter the dubious policies the other lot are busy promoting.
This confrontational futility is what we constantly struggle to get out of, but the issue is not so much the confrontation itself as the inescapable necessity to confront in kind, to play the crystal ball game. The need to have a traditional political identity is the problem and from that there seems to be no democratic escape.


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