Talking Politics……

3 Apr

‘We hear political rhetoric on a daily basis.  Whether it’s a ‘pathway’ or something ‘in real terms’, is it the standard language of politics or does it have a more sinister and deceptive purpose…..?’

Personally, I believe political rhetoric is used to deliberately confuse, deflect attention, add ambiguity or in some cases, cover something that the orator knows to be simply untrue.  Even the most experienced journalists will fail to get a straight answer from a politician, no matter how many different ways they pose the same question (the infamous Paxman/Howard interview springs to mind, in which Michael Howard avoided answering the question; ‘Did you threaten to over rule him?’, 14 times).

Democracy – The People’s Power……

In our democracy it is by the will of the people (demos) that rule (kratos) by consensus operates.  Therefore, the people have a right to know what is being done in their name.  Most of us are not experts in linguistics and should have the right to explanations of policy given to us in terms that we can all understand.  This is not something that poses any difficulties to politicians and the armies of special advisors and speech writers they have working for them.  It is their choice to use convoluted language to convey ideas, or to avoid giving straightforward answers to unfavourable questions asked by journalist..

The Language of Stereotyping and Association……

This appears frequently and has the unfortunate result of achieving its vile objectives.  It serves one purpose; to separate people into groups with the aim of setting one against the other.  It is truly the language of ‘them and us’, ‘you’re either with us, or you’re against us’.

After George W. Bush created ‘the axis of evil’ the invasion of Iraq by foreign forces soon followed.  Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ consisted of Iraq, Iran and North Korea none of which was linked to 9/11 either financially, organisationally or practically but it served its purpose in demonising them.

There is the ambiguity of who this ‘axis’ referred too.  Was it their governments or independent radical groups residing there?  Or, was it, as I believe the message was supposed to convey, whole groups belonging to a particular religion?  Broken down it said different things to different people but largely it said this:  Islamic states are ‘evil’,  Muslims are terrorists, these countries pose a threat to our freedom, they are responsible for 9/11 and, any action we take against them is justified for the security of our country.

The people living in the ‘axis of evil’ are just like me and you.  They have families, friends, social lives, jobs, aspirations and a desire to live peacefully.  This was taken away from most when Iraq was invaded.  Although Iraq was a dictatorship and human rights abuses took place there, it is just one of many.  Western governments are quite happy to do business with a lot of non-democratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen including the sale of arms and stun guns.  Stun guns have no role in a nations defence against foreign invasion but are useful for ‘crowd control’ and public protest, particularly against the leadership, which is banned in Saudi and Yemen.

The invasion of Iraq was sold to the US & UK citizens in very different ways.  However, on both sides of the pond it soon became known as the ‘liberation of Iraq’.  An ideology that allowed the aggressors to take the moral high ground with the claim that they had freed the people from tyranny.  In doing so they also destroyed the country’s infrastructure, killed approximately 200,000 innocent civilians and left behind a power vacuum.  The battle for power in Iraq continues and the death toll increases.  At least we can sleep soundly in our beds at night knowing that a country that posed no threat to us, still poses no threat to us.  Mission accomplished.

The conflicts which followed 9/11 were all manipulated in the public imagination with emotive words; words which had little meaning to those using them, or worse, knowledge of their misrepresentation.

The same trick of stereotyping whole groups of people, then giving the impression that they are somehow manipulating ‘the system’ for personal gain at your expense, is rife in the language of domestic politics.  What’s more, the politicians driving it are doing so in the knowledge that their statements are simply not true……

Welfare and Immigration……

Two of the favourite subjects that our MPs just love to talk about.  Hardly a day goes by when welfare and immigration are not in the news.  Given the current abysmal state of the economy you could be forgiven for thinking benefits and immigration were the cause and, the solution.  Here are some of the phrases that use the ‘them and us’ mentality:

‘We are the government for people who want to work hard and get on’.  What this statement implies is that are people who don’t want to work hard and don’t want to get on.  If you accept the premise that there are people who don’t want to work hard, by implication they will be in receipt of benefits, paid for by you.

‘Making work pay’.  This too gives the impression that not working pays and that there is a correlation between the amount of benefit an unemployed person receives and a working wage.

‘Unless they have disabilities to cope with, no family should get more from living on benefits than the average family gets from going out to work’.  George ‘Gideon’ Osborne made this statement which is misleading to say the least.  The average income is around £25,000.  If both parents work that would be an average of £50,000.  If the average family has two children they receive child benefit regardless of whether they work or not.  An average family would receive £18,000 in benefits, including £8,000 in rent and £6,000 in child tax credits, which they would receive if they worked and earned less than £25,000 per year.  It also includes £1,400 for Council Tax.  So, clearly George Osborne’s average family do not get more than a working family, making his statement misleading and untrue but perpetuates the myth that living on state benefits is a comfortable way of life……

Other Divisive Rhetoric……

‘Benefit Tourism’.  This implies that EU nationals (who are the only people entitled to claim) have come to the UK with the express intent of exploiting the benefit system.  Well, the statistics do not support this idea.  The taxes received from EU nationals working in the UK far out way benefit claims.  But in two words it serves its purpose and ‘Mr Average’ will probably tell you, if asked, that immigrants are here for the ‘generous’ benefits we pay, when in reality they support the NHS, pick our crops, build or homes and mend our boilers……

‘Health Tourism’.  People who come to the UK to exploit the ‘free at the point of access’ health system.  Neither the Office of National Statistics or the NHS hold data with reference to ‘Health Tourism’, so yet again this is a misrepresentation based on no evidence whatsoever, or what used to be called, a lie……

Don’t Believe the Hype……

Next time you see a politician interviewed note their unnatural hand gestures.  Nobody does that in the real world.  Their ‘advisors’ have told them how it gives them an air of authority.  Note how they never answer the question they were asked, diverting back to what they want to talk about.  They constantly play the ‘blame game’ where it is either; the fault of the previous government, a problem caused by global factors or the Euro-zone or, the compromise of being in a coalition government.  Nothing they promise falls within the timescale of the current administration.  All predictions of recovery and growth have been thus far proven inaccurate so why should any new ones be any different……?

‘They lie, they put their own interests ahead of the country, they have close connections with large corporations, banking and financial institutions, they receive an average of £220,000 per year for a job with no contractual obligations and most do not understand the basics of economics.  With the exception of a few, like Dennis Skinner, they have the morals of the dictators with whom they unashamedly do business……’

 

‘George ‘Gideon’ Osborne was born into the old aristocracy and has done nothing other than be a career politician, helped along by his ‘friends’ from the Bullingdon Club and Oxford.  He has never run a large financial institution, has no qualifications in economics, has failed to accurately predict the key measures of the economy, wildly over estimating growth and underestimating borrowing and, has had to make dozens of U-turns over ill thought out political gimmicks whilst delivering tax breaks for the rich and large corporations, failing to address the plague of tax ‘avoidance’.  He is unfit to head the Treasury and should be forcibly removed from office……’

 

‘But what will happen come 2015?  What always happens:  The next election will be fought on a manifesto of lies which will never be implemented.  Once in power the government will continue to satisfy the demands of their multi-national paymasters whilst running our country into the ground and lining their own pockets.  But, we did get to put a cross against the name of whomever could afford to enter the political race, so no-one can say we are not a democratic state……’

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5 Responses to “Talking Politics……”

  1. healing wanderer April 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Excellent post. I am glad to have found your blog.

  2. Abandon TV April 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Well said…. make no mistake, by writing this you’ve exhibited global leadership and helped to steer this country forward into the future…. and in real terms 😉

    However, I question your automatic acceptance of THE most misleading political term of them all, ‘democracy’.

    There are two types of human activity we can participate in, voluntary and peaceful activities ….and coercive and violent activities. Democracy is just another human activity. If some activity happens to involve an element of ‘voting’ this does not *automatically* make it virtuous, or civilised or fair.

    Ten men might ‘vote’ on which girl at the nightclub to drug, kidnap and rape. Turning this activity into a democratic process does not make it socially acceptable. It does not stop it from being a horrendous act of gang rape.

    As with all activities, ‘voting’ (democracy) can only be a civilised, virtuous, fair, legitimate way to behave IF everyone involved, and everyone affected, is participating voluntarily and knowingly. The moment you start ‘voting’ to force other people to do things against their will ‘democracy’ becomes just another form of terrorism. The moment you start ‘voting’ to perform immoral acts ‘democracy’ becomes just another immoral activity.

    ‘Democracy’ is like piece of 2 x 4. You can use it to make shelving or you can use it to hit someone on the head with!

    If a furniture shop were to force everyone in the country to accept and pay for a new 3-piece suite every year (fail to pay and they threaten to kidnap us and put us in a cage) that would obviously be immoral. If they offered us a choice of two slightly different 3-piece suites and allowed us to ‘vote’ on which one we wanted that would not make it any less immoral. Introducing an element of ‘democracy’ does not turn evil behaviour into good behaviour.

    If a mugger mugs you that is a crime. If two muggers come up to you and offer you the choice of which one mugs you that does not magically turn that crime into freedom or civilised behaviour.

    A ‘government’ is (by definition) a group within a geographical area who claim (and violently defend) their monopolistic legal right to initiate force against everyone else in order to achieve their aims.

    Like with the mugger or the furniture shop, if they allow us to ‘vote’ on trivial issues, while continuing to INITIATE FORCE against us they are behaving in an immoral way. They are being terrorists (using intimidation and violence to get what they want).

    And the same applies to the ‘voter’. In political elections (as opposed to *voluntary and peaceful* elections, such as voting on which restaurant to go to on a Saturday night) the ‘voters’ are NOT just voting on which candidate or party they prefer. They are ‘voting’ for that candidate or party to FORCE their policies onto everyone else at gunpoint.

    If you support policy X and you wish to fund it and I do not support policy X or wish to fund it (or have anything to do with it) that is fine. But if you ‘vote’ for policy X in a political election you are voting for me to be forced to support and fund policy X at gunpoint. If I refuse to fund it your elected representatives will send round armed thugs dressed in matching blue costumes to kidnap me and put me in a cage. If I try to resist or defend my property (or escape the cage) they will shoot me.

    If you are not prepared to bully me at gunpoint IN PERSON then you should not be voting for a third party to bully me at gunpoint ON YOUR BEHALF. This is the reality of ‘democracy’. It is essentially terrorism disguised as freedom.

    And all the fluff, spin and dodgy rhetoric spewed from the mouths of politicians is just an attempt to cover up this obvious reality from the public. If politicians campaigned on the basis of “Vote for me and I’ll make sure everyone else gets threatened at gunpoint on your behalf then we’d start to see just how ‘free’ democracy really is”.

    The subversion of language is just another government program… and unfortunately for society, it works. The government controls education which means the indoctrination (subversion of language) begins at about age five. Most of us aren’t able to free ourselves from it for our whole lives.

    Schools do not define morality – if they did we would soon realise that governments (democracy) are blatantly immoral. Instead schools train us to believe that governments are automatically virtuous (despite a history full of governments ordering the most horrific acts to be committed) and that democracy is the epitome of a civilised society (again, contrary to history). Schools train us to believe that ‘authority’ is ALWAYS to be respected and obeyed, and that obeying authority is more important (more virtuous) than adhering to basic moral rules!

    The result of this training (Prussian Schooling.) is Nazi Germany. The result is genocide in Iraq. The result is the dysfunctional and violent world we see around us today.

    Nobody really *wants* to threaten me with extreme violence to make me pay for such-and-such a policy. We know this because most people DO NOT go around threatening their neighbours with guns, clubs, tasers and cages to make them do stuff and pay for stuff against their will.

    “I want a new car!”…. knock, knock …. “Hello?” …..”Help pay for my new car or else I’ll kidnap you at gunpoint and put you in a cage!” – nobody behaves like this in reality. Except that everyone does behave like this through ‘democracy’.

    If we stopped referring to democracy using government sanctioned euphemisms and started talking more honestly about ‘the violence inherent in the system’ (to quote Monty Python) we would soon reject democracy as a legitimate way to behave in society (just as we have rejected all other forms of terrorism as legitimate).

    And then we could start to come up with better ways to organise society 🙂

    All this dodgy political rhetoric is a symptom of the disease, not its cause. And its getting worse!

    • Steve Walker April 10, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      Hi, I agree with the thread of what you’re saying. There is a problem which you’ve highlighted right at the end and that’s coming up with a better way to run society. The ideology of Marxism sounds fair but, as we have seen everywhere it’s been tried, it becomes corrupted. I’ve yet to come up with a solution but I’m open to any suggestions?

      Steve….

      • Abandon TV April 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

        “I’ve yet to come up with a solution but I’m open to any suggestions?”

        You probably won’t like it 😉

        If we apply universal rules *universally* we inevitably end up with anarchy. Anarchic (stateless) societies are the only kind of society where genuine (ie universal) rules can exist. This is the exact opposite of what we are taught in schools.

        Every other system is based on us allowing a small group to have some magical exception from fundamental rules which apply to everyone else…… Nobody can steal without breaking the law, except for this small group. Nobody can murder without break the law, except for this small group (and so on). That’s how the rot sets in.

        Every problem and challenge facing society (crime, contract enforcement, welfare, healthcare, infrastructure, ‘national’ defence etc) can be solved WITHOUT a coercive government. Many of these things were being solved long before governments took them over by force. Many of the problems we face today are *created* by having a government in the first place.

        Have you ever come across Stefan Molyneux? He does a great job explaining how society could function without a coercive and violent state LINK

        However, although it’s natural to want to know answers to questions like “Who will built the roads without a government?”, it’s also not important. Nobody could predict how society would function in a post slavery world. Nobody could accurately predict exactly how the cotton would get picked without slaves to do it.

        Should previous generations have waited until every question had been answered before deciding it was ‘safe’ to end slavery? …… or was it more important for them to recognise the gross immorality of owning slaves, and that it HAD to end…. and trust that they’d be able to find homes and jobs for all those freed slaves and figure out some other way to pick the cotton?

        As it turned out we invented giant metal machines which are powered by black goo sucked out of the ground. These machines are so good at picking cotton that hardly anyone is required to work on farms these days. Who could ever have predicted that!?

        The case for anarchy in two minutes! LINK

        Of course for an anarchic society to work it requires society to evolve morally and to embrace a higher degree of personal responsibility and self respect (to not just let government organise everything by force).

        But that is no different from saying that adulthood requires we evolve morally and embrace personal responsibility. It can’t be used as an argument against achieving adulthood. But if everyone believed successful adulthood was unachievable for those reasons then it would become a self fulfilling prophecy. The same is true of an anarchic society, as long as we believe it’s impossible to achieve it will be.

        An anarchic society is more than simply overthrowing a government, just as adulthood is more than simply overthrowing your parents!

        As we mature into adults we spend a few years rebelling against our parents and moaning about them… but eventually when we truly become adults we no longer feel they are ‘oppressing us’. We simply move out and get on with our lives as free adult, self supporting beings.

        The same will happen in the relationship between society and government. When we are ready for a free society we won’t even need to have any kind of revolution to overthrow a government. We will simply get on with our lives as free adult, self supporting beings.

        Government (statism/ democracy) is just another religion. When we stop believing in it, it ceases to exist and all that’s left is a bunch of people trying to get money off everyone every week by force and trying to push everyone else around, also by force.

        When enough people realise that government authority is bogus (and grossly immoral) then politicians will become much like priests in a church. A legacy from a more superstitious age. These politicians will still be able to pontificate but if they try to order us about or demand money from us, nobody will feel obliged to obey them anymore, or help them to impose their will on others.

      • Steve Walker April 16, 2013 at 10:42 am #

        Hi, thanks for getting back to me. It’s always interesting to debate the big issues with like minded people who are intelligent enough to have seen through the ‘democratic’ autocrats under whom we live.

        I’ll start by saying that I agree with a lot of what you have to say but, as with all philosophy, it does have some intrinsic problems.

        Ideologically, anarchy appears to be a workable proposition, after all we are capable human beings, as you pointed out we existed before ‘democracy’ was thought of and, I agree with you that governments do cause more problems than they solve most of the time. Plus, any power structure is prone to human greed which is just as inherent in us as a species as altruism (something I wrote about the other day). This is why Marxism, which ideologically is the best solution to having a fair system of governance, fails. George Orwell laid out the problem eloquently in ‘Animal Farm’. I would recommend reading the original manifesto by Marx.

        In brief, the problem with your thesis comes down to a couple of fundamental issues. Firstly, we have to start from where we are, therefore, our entire planet functions on an albeit corrupt system of currency exchange which would prove difficult to replace; certainly without some form of administrative structure which gets us back to square one. Even if we were somehow able to remove all power structures the anarchy you describe is ideological and relies on everyone playing by the unwritten rules so to speak and, acting with perfect morality which I just can’t see happening. In our selfish society utilitarianism prevails and we have a tendency to look after our own. If we were able to dissolve the monetary system and replace it with bartering of some sort, there will always those who will seek to further themselves through greed so whatever the ‘currency’ is, some will try to gain more and any system put in place to equalise things would ultimately corrupt it, leaving us back at square one yet again.

        I’m afraid as I said, I agree with your philosophy but can’t envisage a situation where a consensus could be reached on a planet with 7 billion human inhabitants and, if most did agree, we would require some form of power structure to ‘persuade’ those who didn’t and again were back to where we started?

        I’m still open to solutions though. Making me the King of the Earth might work (I’ll make you the President!)

        Regards
        Steve….

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