Monday, August 30, 2004

When will we be satisfied? or Can we conceive of a political candidate worth voting for?

Yes, the election is upon us. The Australian Federal election, more specifically. We are all required to go and vote - which presents us with the question, What will we put on the ballot paper? And why? It is a question which vexes, I feel - and that is even before I launch into consideration of What does it matter who I vote for, given that I live in a 'blue ribbon' Liberal seat, Is democracy in the eye of the beholder, and so forth.

But for the candidates - suffice it to say that I am creeped out by almost all of them. Howard, Latham, Brown... At least the guy from the Democrats has an element of 'subversive' about him.

Which implies, of course - my critera: subversion. Why is this any sort of criterion? The implication is, of course, that there are many things that I don't like about politics, if I want it always 'subverted'. Particularly, the fact that the candidates are pandering to the rest of the electorate, and not to me. It really galls me.

Because the vast majority [sans polling, I would place my estimate at 90%] of the electorate are either a) believers in 'family values' and 'strong leadership', or b) apathetic dunderheads.

In other words, what makes me despair at bottom is not John "now let's be sensible, kids, and stop all this tiresome political debate" Howard, nor is it Mark "I'm just an honest guy with a square head and real passionate beliefs" Latham - it is the voters themselves.

You know, back in my dreamy-socialist, Naomi-Klein-espousing youth, there was an honest streak in me somewhere (yes, I am implying that socialists are false, just like many self-righteous Christians) that considered looking into how sustainable either Tasmania or New Zealand were, in the off-chance that I could invade them with like-minded friends and set up an idealistic, arcadian society on their lush soils. A society without lowest-common-denominators. Even the violence didn't bother me too much - the populations were small, I could subdue the locals and set them on the right path. The imporant outcome would be that there would be at least one country on this miserable planet in which I could be at peace with society.

You see, of course, the mindset of the creature who is terminally indisposed to community living: their catch-cry is not "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" but "Undermine! Be dissatisfied! Mold the rest of society in one's own image!" Eternal revolution, otherwise it's just so freaking boring because there's nothing worth complaining about... though even complaining itself is just so tiresome...

So do I have a problem with society or myself?

I tend to think that all this warped criticism results from the disposition which funds almost all drives towards 'making a difference'. The logic of this drive is that the world needs to be changed because there is something that is wrong with it, something that grates against the sense of how things "should be". Nietzsche would say that this drive is anti-life, is a negative standard. I seem to think that it at least not a particularly 'healthy' way of living life, to be always fuelled by "what is wrong"... (For, after all, when will things not be 'wrong'?)

Which leaves the question - what other motive, besides chronic dissatisfaction, will fuel a desire to 'make change' to the material world?

Unless, of course, the answer to the challenge, "Why make a difference?" is also a response in the form of a question: "Why not?"


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