Political Insanity

Consider Iran. Currently there are hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets of Iran, protesting the policies of the mullahs. The only reason the population hasn't completely toppled the existing regime is that the mullahs control the military, which is loyal to them.

This is a regime which has for decades ignored the will of its people. Personally, I consider Islamic law barbaric. And I suspect many of those in Iran do as well. But putting aside that we consider the mullahs' rules barbaric, whatever they are, the public there object to them. So much so that they take to the streets in protest.

And yet, the mullahs persist. If you were designing a government, you'd probably want to make it such that your people were happy, healthy, and thought favorably of your government. That's the ideal. No one is ever completely happy with their government. But widespread hatred and disapproval and street protests tell you that your government is not serving its people. At the very least.

And yet, the mullahs persist. I submit that this is the very definition of insanity. You proceed along a course hated by your citizenry, despite their protest. And you enforce your unpopular rules by force of arms.

Pity the poor mullahs if the Iranian population ever manages to co-opt a significant portion of the military.

Just as an aside, I wonder just how thoroughly the mullahs adhere to their own rules. It's common for those at the top to enforce rules on others which they do not live by.

In any case, I'm not here to bemoan the plight of the Iranians. Like everyone else, they'll have to solve their own problems. I'm here to liken this circumstance to ours here in the United States.

The public approval rating for our government, and particularly congress, is abysmal. Our street protests haven't reached the level of those in Iran. But our disapproval is almost palpable. And yet congress and the rest of our government continue to act in ways we disapprove of. As though we didn't matter.

The fact is that, in general, we don't matter. Congressmen and most of the members of our government are more interested in staying in power and keeping their jobs than satisfying the wishes of the population. And this has only gotten worse over time. To such an extent that young, uneducated people are now suggesting socialism as an alternative.

So, like Iran, our government is insane. Not the institutions themselves or the form of the government. Not the individuals involved in government. But as a group, the government of our country is insane. Continuing to do the same thing over and over when clearly the population they govern are dissatisfied with their activities.

And just for the record, this is typical for humans. Think that's too harsh? Count up all the wars in history, all of which were avoidable. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a pacifist. Sometimes war is your only choice. But long before the war started, the conditions which produced it could have been handled. Including tyrants who go to war for their own vanity or lust for power. Eliminate them, and the war never starts.

Humans as groups don't do well. Consider the cereal aisle of your grocery store. One or two companies (large groups) control those varieties of cereals, and almost all of them are about the worst thing you could eat. If they didn't fortify them with extra vitamins, they'd be completely useless, and actually harmful to your health. (Hey, I love Cap'n Crunch and Froot Loops. But they're complete crap.) If the people who work at these cereal companies woke up and demanded better (or we did), we'd see a whole lot more granola on the shelves. You might not like it, but it would be damn sight better for you. But humans in groups don't usually make sane decisions like that.

This isn't really a diatribe on the poor judgment of humans in groups. Groups can in fact do well, though rarely. It takes the wise judgment and leadership of a single person, and people who follow the leadership and ensure the activity isn't tainted. This worked for a time at the founding of our country. But within a decade, the forces of group thought were eating away at the foundations of the republic.

In fact, you can look at democracy as a great example of what poor decisions humans in groups make. Consider some of the terrible choices we've made in presidents. Whether you're left or right, you can surely select more than a handful of presidents who never should have risen to the office. Don't get me wrong. Democracy is the best system we have. But I suspect a better system could be dreamed up, one not so vulnerable to the caprice of groups of humans.

Anyway, the point is that our government is insane. I'm not advocating an overthrow or anything. But I think we can do better, with a little consideration. Sadly, we can only elect the people on the ballot, and they're usually the same losers who appear over and over.

But when you get a chance, you might stop and consider what we could do to remedy this situation, without destroying our civilization.

Add Comment: