Thursday, June 22, 2006

Deciding the 'common good' by committee

I don't like committees. By and large, I have real problems with blind obedience to authority. The fundamental appeal of democratic rights for me has always been that my life is my responsibility, my choice. I can be right, I can be wrong but if it is to be, it's up to me! So, I have an inherent and deep-seated abhorrence for elitist political prescriptions that mask their self-interest behind altruistic concepts such as 'environmentalism' and 'the common good'.

Given this pre-disposition, I welcomed these comments on spiked by Josie Appleton on the new left's attempts to re-package itself as the political voice of the commoner.
What her article highlights is the overwhelming dearth of new ideas extant in today's intellectualism. It is a shortage that stems from a lack of true understanding of society.

This systemic ignorance is born out of a reliance on theoretical ideas and a concomitant insulation from real-world experience and reflection:
  • if our minds are closed to new ideas
  • if we reject information that runs counter to our pre-determined and defining constructs
  • if we never stop to reflect for ourselves and compare what we have been taught with our own life experience
  • if we never stop to question what we think, for ourselves
  • if we stay passive,ignorant and apathetic
...then we become the mass of common sheep that the new left wants to "save" and the elements of stasis persist, the world is run by committee and people are merely the 'passive objects of inequality policies, never the subjects driving policy'.

It's as if Orwell had never been born. In any politics of the 'common good' it is always important to remember that all animals are equal, its just that some are more equal than others.

Management by commitee is never that. Committees administer. And what they administer are stasis constructs that the elite foist on the collective "in their interest". It is the antithesis of true leadership. Leaders stand alone, accountable for their deicisions. Administrators hide behind the collective anonymity of the committee. What Orwell called doublespeak has morphed today into the politically accepted activity of "spin" where words are used to justify, mask, intimidate and obscure rather than illuminate the political process.

Democratic freedom requires good leadership. Good leaders are accountable for their ideas and actions. They have integrity. It is a virtue in short supply at all levels of the political spectrum.