I rarely meet a person who thinks governments are doing their work to the benefit of the people. The typical reaction is government is becoming theatre. Drama and comedy both. It is an interesting problem.
A few months ago, I read the Roslings book, Factfulness. It is well worth the read. One point has come up several times since.
We do not live in a binary world. The Roslings made the point that the world is not divided into the rich people and the poor people. The rich and the poor make up perhaps, 40% of the people. The other 60% are in the middle, neither rich not poor. Policies aimed at the poor, have little effect on the rich, but depending on where the resources come from, they may harm the middle.
We spend too little time thinking about or assessing the middle.
The space between known and unknown is where the action lies. Invention, philosophy, culture and behaviour begin there. Things now taken for granted were once unknown or undervalued. The internet, Adam Smith and the market, religion, and modern law enforcement began as something unknown.
It really was not unknown, it was just not organized so it was useful. Once the idea becomes formalized, it drops to the middle. People take it as self evident after a while.
We must have new ideas to change. We must see them as different and beneficial before they are accepted. Those found wanting are discarded.
Many people see the country to be governed by one or the other of the political positions. The politics may be there, but governing happens in the tried and true middle. The left and the right exist to provide contrast so people can make the decisions around what works and what does not.
They provide the new ideas, dismantle some of the old, and hope for a better tomorrow. That is a little idealistic, many politicians are there because they want to be bossy. Power corrupts. They should be driven from office. The others create a laboratory for ideas.
I have done zero research, but my instinct is that true leftists and true rightists constitute fewer than 25% of the population. More likely less than 10%. The rest are in the middle in the party of proven and practical. They don’t believe every white person is a racist. They don’t believe abortion is always bad or always good. They don’t believe unfortunate people should be denied support from the rest of society. They believe in a fair wage for a day’s work, regardless of gender. They do not believe the accuser is always right. Gun control would be interesting. Privacy is already interesting. They do not believe every rich person is corrupt. They likely believe in the value of family. They accept all religions as having value even those that are markedly different from their own. There are dozens of other metrics, and I would assess the differences are one of degree only.
I might rank abortion and right to choose at 40% important while you might say 70%. We could discuss that and likely each learn a little. There is no conversation around 0% and 100%.
You might like the idea of government regulating certain aspects of society and the economy and I might choose others. We could come to agreement on that. At worst, we could see the other argument clearly.
We are captured by our historic culture. Aristotelian logic requires truth and not truth. The law of the excluded middle.
While making logic work easier, it misses the real world by a wide margin. Most of the world is in the middle. A log is not a chair, but if you put it beside a campfire it has a certain chairness. Fuzzy logic is the idea. Lotfi Zadeh developed the mathematics of the idea in the ’60s.
Aristotelian logic is impractical. Go to your shower. Examine the extremes. Hot and cold. Do you commonly use either extreme to take a shower. Not likely. The middle is the practical part. Warm. Warm is useful, and we would not all choose the same warm. We are not so regimented. You might like barely over body temperature while I might like warmer. Both are right.
The right and left create the ideas of possible change. Like in a shower, hot and cold both get our attention and politics rides on attention, but we quickly revert to what works, warm.
An ideal government would work on making what works – the middle, easier, cheaper, and more available. It could justify its position in the middle and could explain its position. Others could disagree about the level, but not the idea of it. Politicians could hold the extremes as a place to find new workable things for the middle.
Today politics is not about governing. It is about power. Know the difference and avoid politicians who get in the way of easier, cheaper and more available services. Especially avoid those who want to regulate before analysis.
Once you understand the purpose of government, you can see the defects more clearly.
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