Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Where our enemy hides

In my view a significant proportion of the public sector generates junk. This is largely achieved by ignoring efficiency and by gold-plating regulations.

The private sector also generates junk via market logic – if the customer can be persuaded to accept it, then junk it is.

So we end up with two broad types of junk and have been conditioned to accept both. This is politically convenient because it generates an endless source of misdirection over those we see as the political good guys and those we see as bad. Good junk versus bad junk.

In order to form an idea of an unknown situation our imagination borrows elements that are already familiar.
Marcel Proust - À la recherche du temps perdu

The real problem seems to be one of power – obviously. If governments, bureaucracies or global companies have too much power then they abuse it by filling our lives with junk. They don’t necessarily abuse it because ratbags are running the show, although that’s often the case, but because there is no adequate opposition. We are insufficiently junkphobic.

So we have far too many regulations, far too many constraints on individual freedom and vast global companies buy their way into the corridors of power and our lives. These trends are obviously not desirable, but the surest way to misunderstand them is to present modern politics as an antiquated left/right dichotomy.

There is no left/right dichotomy except in our political traditions which have long outlived their usefulness. The same applies to traditional political parties.

The only political issue is who has the power, what they are doing with it. If those with the power collude as they now do, then we have power structures which cannot be effectively opposed from a traditional left/right standpoint.

So the only political reality is global trends in political and economic power. The old left/right dichotomy doesn’t even come close to an adequate narrative.

This is not where our enemy hides.

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