Monday, 14 November 2011

But we are not their friends

I've used this model before, the point being to bring out the machine-like nature of societies with our clans and hierarchies. Why for example, do political elites conspire against our interests? It’s because they respond to pressures from vested interests which for them are stronger than counter-pressures available to ordinary citizens. That's all it is - strong v weak. Vested-interests with deep pockets exert pressure on key people and sustain it whoever they may be and whatever their previous background. 

Those pressures arise from the logic of the model, from people pursuing their own interests and the interests of their clan, a clan being anything from an environmental charity to a group of bankers. In other words, a clan is a vested-interest with resources. It is a mistake to expect political elites to have the moral fibre to resist such pressures which are frequently personal, social and cultural.

But we are not their friends.

The model shows why our elites cannot resist well-funded pressure except via exposure to a sufficiently powerful counter-pressure. This is what democracy is supposed to supply via the voting system but doesn’t. In the absence of a written constitution and with only a weakly democratic society, our political elites quite naturally and frequently do two things.

  • They conspire against our interests. 
  • They act in a stupid, but understandable manner. 

All societies, particularly complex societies like ours, have at their core, this powerful, machine-like stimulus/response logic of human behaviour. The only defence we have against the machine is our highly-evolved ability to do “what if” analysis. Vested interests do the same kind of analysis, but only with regard to themselves, to their perspective of “us”.

What’s the answer? There isn’t one.

Almost everyone who aims to improve things by joining the elite will simply succumb to elite pressures, leaving behind those idealistic pressures which caused them to join in the first place. Idealistic pressures relax, other pressures, stronger and more direct, come into play. What one can say, at least for the UK, is that voting for one of the three main parties is foolish because the pressures on them are too strong and far too well-established.

Our failure to understand the machine has consequences.


Electro-Kevin said...

This explains a lot.

I'd think the first pressure exerted over the idealist is the party itself: "Things are much more complex than you realise. Now let us enlighten you with a few inside secrects..."

Thus bonding takes place and a taking into the fold - away from the external pressures.

What's the answer ?

It's all cycles. We've been through a very nice part of that cycle and are reverting to historic norms - it feels like things are falling apart but what we've just been through in terms of democracy is the exception rather than the historic norm.

Ordinary people have never had so much say and nor will they for very much longer.

Sam Vega said...

"Things are much more complex than you realise"

I am reminded of a talk by Jim Callaghan when I was at university. He described how he took over from Harold wilson, who suddenly stepped down. There is a time-hallowed meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, who quickly runs through the real big and/or urgent stuff that the new incumbent needs to know. Callaghan said that he was told stuff that made his knees buckle, and he had to hold on to the edge of the cabinet table to keep upright.

The higher you go, apparently, the more there is to find out...

A K Haart said...

EK - I agree with you, especially your last line.

SV - and in the end these people are not another species with superhuman abilities.

James Higham said...

I'm with you on this in general terms but then there is the next stage - understanding the European families and their utter craziness. This is more than just collusion, this is driven by ideology, which then filters down as PC to us. And they have the money to keep the key figures in thrall. Not only money either.

A K Haart said...

JH - I think it's the same pattern of relationships we've had for centuries. A new aristocracy in many ways. Laws are for us, not them.