On politics without vision [updated]

Politics in our age is not defined by leadership or intelligence, but by bumbling incompetence. It's my default interpretation for why it goes wrong so often, and so spectacularly. As though it's regressing or degenerating somehow, in every sense of the term.

My feeling is that if you want to be a moral, effective and productive person in society today, you're more likely to succeed by doing and thinking the exact opposite of what our leaders say and do.

When we should have trustworthy and principled leaders with vision, we instead have media-egos, moral hypocrites working to their 'base' or party-room bottom line, or to thinly veiled corporate/industrial interests.

Let me reiterate that the politicians in power do not have a vision. They see as far as the news cycle only. They are managers of spin and message, locked in a PR bubble that drones with buzzwords, dog whistles and polls.

They are not the custodians of our future. They can't articulate — let alone imagine — what Australia could look like in five or ten years, and establish some guiding principles to make that happen. They can barely manage the fiscal aspects of government.

They are not the productive enablers of society's improvement — and by that I mean everyone's improvement, not just the privileged few.

Or look at Brexit (bumbling), Trumpism (insane incompetence), Barnaby Joyce (staggering hypocrisy*). Let's not talk about the streak of populism (government by the ignorant for the ignorant) or harmful conservatism**.

Let's not talk about our offshore prison camps. Our significant energy problem. The cost of living and stagnant wages. Housing unaffordability. Lack of civic planning. Incompetent infrastructure development. The environment, jobs, our waste problem.

I just want a clear and fair vision to align with, that respects consensus and our basic humanity, so that we can rally to solve these problems, and not just 'manage' them away. I don't mean an ‘ideology’ as of old, nor an 'image' - I mean a vision.

Australia can be and deserves so much better.

* (Just) one example of Barnaby Joyce's condescending, paternalistic hypocrisy*** - in a scandal that had numerous gaffes and trainwrecks - the headline says it all:
'A grey area': Barnaby Joyce raises doubts over whether he's the biological father of Vikki Campion's baby
Now hear Barnaby in 2012: "The closer that mother and father figure is to the genetic make-up of the child, the better it is."

From the full Hansard (worth a read for its thick conservatism):
...fathers matter... a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2006 found that living in a broken home at age eight increases the chances of children committing criminal offences in late adolescence. These findings are confirmed by a study in the Journal of Pediatrics, which found that children and families without a father are more likely to be in fair or poor health.
...this is not a statement that every child who is in a broken home ends up in poor health or ends up with a criminal record. It is not saying that at all. It is just talking about the realities of the probabilities. Stability in structure that confirms and reaffirms both a mother and father figure is the best environment for a child to grow up in—and, the closer that mother and father figure is to the genetic make-up of the child, the better it is.
** Whose 'vision' is usually retrograde or isolationist or both.

*** For context: Barnaby (deputy prime minister then), espouses conservative family values, voted against the marriage equality bill; Barnaby had an extramarital affair with a staffer, who then got pregnant and which made huge media waves when the story broke (it was an open secret in Parliament); Barnaby is leaving his wife and family to be with said staffer, made a complete hash of her career (and privacy and dignity), claims these are all strictly private matters in several interviews (one of which is a top 5 all-time trainwreck in itself), then says he's not sure of the baby's paternity... and keeps the story front and centre for weeks. This man has no awareness (ie completely tone deaf in the #MeToo era), has an out-of-control ego, is paternalistic and disrespectful to all the women in his life... this man doesn't see there's a problem with all this... This man has a classic manproblem. As well as just being a bumbling fool.


Joshua Beta said...

And I used to think only Third World's countries (like Mexico, mine) had such a kind of politicians...

rino breebaart said...

Joshua, I think you're right - it's getting to be similar the world over. A journalist in Australia said that our politics now looks like a Mexican TV soap opera!