The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Critique of Politics #9: The Opinion Complex and the Revolt by Self-Awareness

Critique of Politics #9: The Opinion Complex and the Revolt by Self-Awareness
Tim Krenz
Revised: November 25, 2019
For Hometown Gazette
Copyright (c) 2019 The Cepia Club LLC

No state can exist without the support of its people. No government can function without the consent of its citizens. Buttressing that support and consent depends on personal opinion. In politics, opinions mean everything, because ultimately opinions determine decision-making, by the individual, a factional group, and the leadership class. What we chose to believe, even notwithstanding facts or contrary to that belief, or the proportion of good or bad a belief may cause, those beliefs affect actions, policy, and the very realities of politics with which we must contend in the future. Change can happen, peacefully at that, if everyone sees things more clearly, associates with facts, and acts on the gift of thinking.

How people form their own opinion depends a great deal on experiences, sources, environments, and expectations. And whether people make wise or poor decisions reflects a process of rational minds and emotional appeals. Having made these statements implies no prejudice for or against anyone's opinion-making and decisions. Political (and economic) decisions just get made that way—no matter how rational we think we make choices or how deluded we think other people might make their own.

But, we must understand some very fundamental points about political opinions, choices, decision-making, and their effects. First, no one person has all omniscient knowledge about everything—especially about politics. Second, no one has a perfect solution to everything or even anything in the political-economy. Third, no one has any opinion of any real value to other people, whether benign or helpful. We cannot choose what others think. Fourth, we all have imperfect opinions at the beginning and at the end of all political discussions, and therefore, we all make less than perfect political choices—in every instance and no matter what(!).

Why should we accept these four points? Because all political decisions ultimately involve trades with the less than ideal circumstances. Furthermore, the inherent nature of political (and economic power) forces others to live according to the standards and dictates of others, often by the coercion, force, theft, and violence of the state and its government. These four deadly sins of politics eventually make the power of the state and the governing apparatus of states unsustainable. If so, and if nature's god has justice, then centralized and enforced politics made from the top to the lowest denominator can have no place in the future if the world and its inhabitants want peace, prosperity, protection, and property. Therefore, within the bounds and norms of behavior, and in the normative range of political terms of debate, we will proceed to explore the nature of the state and of governments, and why the potential of individual opinions can change everything wrong in the present with a promising future if the world takes action.

As stated above, no state can exist without the support of its people. No government can function without the consent of its citizens. To define these terms, we call a state that which encompasses the territory and population of a country, one subject to or even in submission to the rules of the sovereign. In the United States of America, the state operates as a federal power, with powers shared by the central and the subsidiary states. The state has such dominion over its land and people, and the arrangement of powers between the center and the other states regulate and even define the political-economic relationships of the people and their interests. In these United States, the confederal state originated from Declaration of Independence in 1776, and became federal in 1789 with the implementation of the constitution. With the 1787 written constitution, the people as a whole hold the sovereignty, a form of ultimate power, authority, and legitimacy. Because of this, we call the United States a republic. (For example, a monarchy places the sovereignty in a king, a queen, or a prince of some kind—the opposite of a republic. Also, a group of states, like the original thirteen, held the sovereignty both individually and collectively under the articles of Confederation—hence the union of states).

When we define a government, we mean that sort of institutional resolution of processes, rules, regulations, and laws, for managing the affairs on behalf of the state, primarily a state's financial collections, management and payments, of and for the people under its control. Ideally, governments take under its care the civil order and protection of those it considers citizens. The state and its people give governments—whether elected, appointed, or assumed—the power to function on its behalf. This power represents the concentration or even the factional competition of groups of individuals behind common goals. Many different systems of government exist, and each operate according to its own rules. In the United States of America, the government of federalism comes from a written and amended constitution. It uses a system of elections of ballots cast by qualified electors. Hence, we call this system of government a democracy, even if we define the state as a republic. These terms, while exclusive of each other, do not contradict themselves. Even a country with a monarchy, like Great Britain, functions as a democracy, albeit with an unwritten constitution.

States and governments require one thing each more than any other to function: Legitimacy to call it a state and the consent of the people for governing it. When rulers of a state or leaders of a government fail to protect their people, or oppress them or abuse or murder them, people have revolted, in some ways peacefully and in other ways violently. This rebellion against the sovereign state or the institution of government has happened in significant times and in significant countries: in North America in the eighteenth century, France also then, and many times later, and Russia twice in the twentieth century.

Loyalty supports a state, if that state does its land and people good. Popular opinion supports governments when governments perform competently. Remove any benign the natures of the state, and if governments manage badly, then people and citizens change them. It takes enough people, of a common opinion, whether an opinion that does good or creates mischief, to withdraw their endorsement from the state and from the government to bring a better condition of state (or no state) and a better, more responsive government.

In a republic that practices democracy, opinion matters. So often in modern times, with the nature of time, the media, distraction, greed, fear, and misinformation, the differences of opinion make for disorder and disunity—indeed a general weakness of the body politic. Remember the four sins of political opinion above? It takes a broad aggregate of a large sampling of opinion to find the common denominator in a political policy or action. But such common points of reference exist—even today. We must always watch for those vendors of hate on both sides of the two-party question. On television, on social media, and in public places, many leaders of social, cultural, economic and political organizations want to influence other people's opinions, and by default keep themselves in control by controlling options and what they want people to hear, see, believe, and choose between only two sides.

A society that recognizes only elite opinion-makers sows its own seeds of self-destruction. I ask readers to remain skeptical of everything in the world of politics, this article included. Question anything and everything. Forming an opinion takes work and an effort to discern the reality, and not just casual glances at feeders, headers, headlines, and titles. And what could we do with enough people making better opinions, not adopting someone else's opinion, and coming to clearer conclusions? We could very well withdraw legitimacy from the failing state and withdraw support from the government that serves elite interest. We can do better without the force, fraud, coercion and violence they need to exercise to stay in control. Opinions matter. Inform yours more rigorously. Then, ACT on it.