Polis for our time
Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-05-02
There must be a photograph or video clip of Kevin Rudd taken in the last few days that will become as much a symbol of failure and stupidity in Australian history as the English have with Neville Chamberlain coming out of a plane, waving a piece of paper that was the result of meetings with Hitler, and proclaiming "Peace for our time" later at Downing Street.
Perhaps the only thing stopping such a striking photo or clip is that KRudd’s can’t make such clear remarks when announcing policy, only when speechwriters put words like "greatest moral challenge of our generation".
I wonder how long it will take for some Oz comic to put together a clip of KRudd similar to the John Cleese and Peter Cook spoof of Chamberlain with his spin doctor.
The analysis of Cleese is brilliant – "I hold in my hand a piece of … sh*t", as Cleese loses it. Rudd has lost his grip too… and the policy is sh*t.
However, we must remember not just Chamberlain and Rudd proclaiming failure as victory, we must remember the cheering crowds in 1938 Downing Street, we must remember all those in 2010 who cheered or even ho-hummed Rudd’s appeasement of planet-destroyers. Doubtless there are few, if any, of the 1938 crowd who would confess their cheers a few months later. Doubtless there are few, if any, of the 2010 population who will confess their cheers and ho-hums a few years hence.
This all points to what could be called the greatest moral and intellectual challenge of human history – how a population of a country or planet can choose wise, honest, and steadfast leaders, then how that population can let such leaders do what needs to be done in the long-term interest of all.
Can our politics, both the electoral systems and elector attitudes, evolve in the timeframe required to meet the challenge, is revolution required, or will an opportunity arise only after the disaster
Each of those possibilities is probably too optimistic.
Could it be that we need to have the class of guardians Plato imagined, indoctrinated from birth with the desire to serve the population, and given the intellectual tools to do it properly, and prohibited from owning private property so that corruption was avoided? Would effective government be achieved with that indoctrination and education of guardians making up a minority of the population, or do we need everyone raised as guardians, and no property held by the individual, but everything seen as the common inheritance of all?
The narrow education provided in modern times by all schools in all countries to all students cannot suffice. We either find a way to get current political classes to create education systems that give leaders an understanding of every aspect of human society and the planet that hosts it, or we educate everybody broadly enough to appreciate enough elements of everything in that huge scope.
Even with such an ideal education system, under democracies or dictatorships with individual nation states, leaders will be forced to appeal to populations seeking advantage compared to other nation states – which in a world of finite resources, is no different from seeking the disadvantage of people in other nation states.
So, in a world of finite resources, the only way of removing the desire for disadvantage of other populations in the hope of saving any is to remove the borders between us.
One planet, one population, one parliament.