Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Circle of Power

It's been a while since I last posted, I admit -- not at all what I intended, but, as always, the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley. I have been busy submitting my thesis, and working on applications for next year, but at last I return to my platitudinal work.

I want to look, today, at an interesting aspect of politics, namely, that it is circular. What this means is that to be a Left-wing extremist has in practice the same result as to be a Right-wing extremist, though the two differ vastly in philosophy and thus tend to hate each other anyway (cf. the USSR and Nazi Germany). The reason for this fascinating circularity, as I see it, lies with power and control. Every government, no matter what its philosophy, has to come to terms with questions of power, and to whom control should be given. Banal examples of this include industry, security, education, and so it goes on; the question is, in essence, should they be controlled by the government or the people?

This question parallels the question of big government versus small government: the question, that is, of how much the state has the right and duty to interfere, for want of a better word, with our lives. What is interesting about this is that the further Left one goes, i.e. the more one argues for socialist 'power to the people', the more one ends up arguing for big government rather than small. This certainly seems a contradiction, and indeed it is in a sense; it is indeed contradictory to the declared ideals of the Left, i.e. everything belonging to the community, everything being equal, etc, but it is also a logical conclusion from this same position. The more everything is nationalised, the more everything is given to the direct control of the people, the more one is led to ask, "Yes, I know we all have the power, I know we all own it, but who is actually going to control it?" The problem is, 23,272,737 people (ABS 2013) simply can't run, say, the military, or the public health system, nor even the education system -- There is no Council of Twenty Three Million, Two Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty Seven based on an Athenian model which can function on a day-to-day basis, and so actual control must be relegated to a small group. This, by the way, is the inherent contradiction of national socialism, but that is not the issue here.

Carry this through to a scenario wherein everything 'belonged' to the people, and you end up with the government controlling everything. This is no longer the great democracy that Left-wing politics claims to be; it has moved outside of its own realm and met with Right-wing fascism. Now, you may ask, why is Fascism Right-wing? Because it doesn't claim to give power to the people, but instead focuses heavily on the individual: too much focus on the individual being free to act howsoever he should see fit, though, results in a Nietszchean battle of wills from which one individual emerges as supreme dictator.

Thus we see that power comes full circle, and politics must follow suit. What is interesting about this, apart from it being an interesting observation to me in and of itself, is what follows from this: politics is in fact only meaningful in moderation. A discussion can only be fruitful, useful, or something else  rhyming with 'ul' if both parties are from a Centre-based position. One may be Left relative to the other, making the other relatively Right, but, as the sailor keeps the stars to his right, so must the politician keep the Centre in sight.

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