Monday, 27 January 2014

Political contingencies

Everything is political. Everything is infused by politics. Any decision is a political decision since you are making a decisions which has major or minor outcomes on society. The frequent refrains 'No-one is interested in politics' and 'All the parties are the same' signify a growing disenchantment with the political system. This disenchantment leads people to avoid political media at all costs. They are 'indifferent.' (Both of which are political positions.) If the political and cultural landscape are deemed to be staid, then one ought to try and create a kind of public discourse which, in some way, ameliorates this staidness. Blogs, for us amateurs, are at our disposal to do this.

All events have causes. What led me to write this blog post? Numerous neurons fired around my brain. (It so transpires that cognitive science believes there is no 'self' and that we are comprised of several individual components. But enough on that!) What cause the neurons to fire? Empirical observation. I see phenomena unfold before my eyes which leads me to take certain stances. Following this decision-making, I hastily knock off a blog post. (A blog post which has a limited readership, true. My attempts at changing 'political and cultural' discourse are largely made in vain.)

If all events have causes, this means that the levellers of power - politicians and, maybe more so, bankers - have the greatest causal influence. Since they are capable of bringing about reforms which have a tremendous impact on the rest of society, this means that a leveller of power has a greater causal influence than my local post man in Dronfield. Granted, this post man may well have a greater causal influence than I do. Whereas he delivers the post to several houses of this town in Derbyshire, I generally do useless things. I try to alter the politcal/cultural discourse with this blog, but largely fail. I write stories which hardly anyone reads. I write essays for uni, the grades of which are contingent upon my eventual degree. (And who, apart from me, really cares about that?) Without the post service, and certainly without the post man, no-one in Dronfield would receive their post. But the earnest efforts of the post man are nothing compared to the efforts of the prime minister. He successfully passes a few welfare reforms through parliament and - bam! - thousands of people are jobless.

Political legislature also shapes our essence. It shapes our state of being. If the government has made someone redundant through one of several austerity cuts, then the whole complexion of that person's emotional life changes. His predisposition changes. He might suffer nightmares. Perhaps he might commit suicide. (There have been several following the austerity measures in Europe.)

If we care about our well-being, then altering possible political contingencies can have a say. Public discourse does, to some extent, shape legislation. Sometimes a politician might pass an idiotic reform because it is populist. But if we do create a different kind of discourse, then this might have a (albeit limited) impact on the house of parliament. Political decisions are partly contingent on what we do.

Yet I have come to the conclusion that you have to play the game to some extent. There is a capitalist system. True, it is inequitable. The only solution, to me, is to make it more equitable. This can be done through regulation, market intervention and the nationalisation of several sectors. If we propose different models, we might find ourselves mired with the same problems. But, don't forget, the political landscape is contingent both what you do to change it and what it does to change your own emotional well-being.

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