Paris Letters #71
What is a ‘good’ politician, and does such a person exist? A good politician is simply: one with exemplary courage and intelligence to deal with this snake-like thing called politics. Why is the usual politiking so toxic? Because it relies, not on courage and intelligence, but on generating narratives of fear and ignorance. That is why dictators are often democratically elected — they are the best entertainers.
Is the state really there to ‘protect’ us, or rather to create a constant feeling of threat? Our assumption that the state is there soley to protect us leaves infantile and passive — we place our power in an abstract mother or father figure. A politician who amplifies fear, is like a dangerous and toxic uber-parent, who spreads a virus of dependence and childishness throughout the land. A society based on fear and ‘security’ can only be uprooted only by courage and intelligence.
If we feels that there is always an enemy ready to cut our throat, its very easily give up a whole world of ‘civil liberties’ and bow down to nonsensical stories about a fictitious ‘enemy’ —obviously, the enemy becomes ourselves. In fact, at that low level of intelligence it won’t matter if the enemy is real, or exaggerated, or even created by the state itself. Politics creates mythologies, because mobs love simple childish narratives.
A good leader transmits intelligence and courage, rather than mythology and fear — and a more nuanced vision. His motivation is Satyagraha to use Gandhi’s expression, or truth power. Truth power is not pacifism, however. In order to be truly non-violent one would have to have the exemplary courage, to face violence, which would require the opposite of pacifism and a great deal of courage.
That kind of courage is hard to come by, but is nonetheless transmitted by great leaders, who are very rare. It seems Martin Luther, Gandhi, and Aung San Suu Kyi — had to be ready spill their own blood to create a bridge from ignorance to ‘truth power’. Great leaders are animated by a power beyond themselves—they are ready to lay down their lives so that we can live. Very few of us are like this, and there are even fewer in the political world — which seems to be more and more about ‘management’ of numbers, than human lives.
It would appear that most so-called ‘word-leaders’ are managers and money launderers, rather than beings animated by truth power. How much ‘truth power’ a society can handle, indicates where the society is located in the truth spectrum. — For instance, if there is such a thing as the death penalty in that society we must be still living somewhere in the dark ages. And most of our societies are pretty medieval, from the perspective of truth power.
The question is: do our leaders transmit fear and ignorance, or courage and intelligence? It might be that simple. Do they generate noise and hubris, or the music of intelligence and the creativity? Do they make the world more coherent and recognisable? Do they protect primevel forests or build more secure shopping malls?
No amount of ‘security’ will create a sane society, and a society obsessed with security is surely an insane society, motivated by fear and ignorance, rather than courage and intelligence. Courage means, by definition, being willing to step into insecure and uncertain situations; intelligence means to constantly put into question popular and mob mythologies. Are there any real cultures in this world who have this as their foundation? Not yet.