the youth are in the streets!
I think at the root of all good politics there is a level of kindness. Why else would you fight for the security and happiness of others if you didn’t try and understand? If you didn’t care?
When I look at the government, and how they use the power invested in them, I see no goodwill towards their fellow citizens. More than that, their goodwill and compassion seems to diminish the more vulnerable you are. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? From what I can remember from primary school, from the books that were read to me as a child, from my parents: one should always be kind, and one should especially be kind to those more vulnerable than ourselves. Otherwise you are a bully.
If I see an elderly person struggling to stand on the bus, or blind person unsure of the road, my first emotion is sympathy. This is of little use to that person. Sympathy and condescension are not the same as kindness, and acting in an appropriate manner. So I try and be of some help to them, and do a little to address the gap between their abilities and mine, as I am an able-bodied person. I expect people to do the same for me when I am elderly, or if something were to happen to me which would impair my abilities. The government possesses none of this attitude, and people tend to lose their kindness very quickly when what belongs to them is stripped away, by an international recession like this one or by capitalism in general. It is no surprise that capitalism encourages people to be mean, as any competition does. I know that I can be very mean when playing monopoly. A level of indifference is encouraged to ‘get to the top’, just as indifference is required by this government in making ‘tough economic decisions’. Indifference, meanness; it’s all the same. Of course, too much emotion is the main reason, according to some people, why women fail to get ahead. We are too emotional, and thus too kind.
I would suggest, as I asserted already, that good politics is kind politics. It seems sort of obvious to me, and often I’m shocked that it isn’t obvious to others. Life is, after all, the pursuit of happiness, and I would expect the government to try and make this country as happy as possible, and make the lives of those living in it better. Is that completely mad? I think not. There is only one thing that will ensure the government will do their best to achieve this: an actual concern for people. Members of the elite will only care for people if they care about them. Sadly, compassion is weeded out early on in elitist institutions, and by a genuine need for dishonesty and ruthlessness to make it to the very ‘top’ of their professions, and especially in politics.
With all this in my mind, I refuse to nod along when people tell that, yes, things might be bad now especially for the poorest etc etc, but these are the kind of measures that need to be taken to make things better in the future. What horrible lies. The ‘necessary’ economic measures taken in the 80s in the form of mine and factory closures I am pretty sure have not created lasting and eventual happiness for the families in the north who are now second generation unemployed. I’m similarly sure that the World Bank-prescribed privatisation of the health system in Zimbabwe did not create happiness when the death toll of children under 5 rapidly increased in a few years. Even if things do get better and there is a ‘boom’, the very worst off will still suffer, and the working class will just lie and wait for the next disaster and shoulder the burden again, or fall off the edge completely. All this puzzles me, and after pondering for a good while I eventually realise: this government actually requires a level of unhappiness so that those at the top can continue to be happy in their material wealth. There is no way of having a happy capitalist society because it can never exist, it is inherently mean. That is why the government doesn’t seem to care – because it doesn’t. In which case I am proud to be a socialist!
By Gus, LUU RevSoc