The Pandering Problem

Is it the duty of politicians to pander to the electorate like some kind of cut-rate Saturday night sex worker, dressing up in garish knock-off jewellery and offering to moan appropriately to the name of your mother or sister if that’s what a) gets you off and b) will make you vote for them and their party?

That seems to be the miserable judgment of politics that hordes of people have – they believe politicians should fabricate and obfuscate; they should say whatever they have to say in order to dupe the bovine electorate into thinking the party will blithely succumb to every demand of the voting masses, regardless of what the party’s actual values are or what their true vision is for their country.

Frankly – this view of politics is psychopathic. It comes from the exact same mindset that says “promise whatever you have to in order to get the sale, and don’t worry if you have no ability or intention to deliver”. It’s the normalisation of this kind of thinking that has brought us into the psychopath epidemic.

I’d argue that this kind of psychopathic thinking is what got the UK into their current situation in the first place – where a serious, thoughtful man of high integrity and a bold vision like Jeremy Corbyn could lose so badly to Boris Johnson, a snotty upper-class huckster carnie wearing a discarded Muppet on his head, who made a very nice living as a journalist, doing party tricks on a unicycle, lying about the EU in the media, while privately considering it just “chucking … rocks over the garden wall” and getting a “weird sense of power” from the resulting “amazing crash from the greenhouse”. If that’s the kind of person the UK wants leading them, then there’s not much a Jeremy Corbyn can do about it.

But just as the election result isn’t Corbyn’s doing or his fault, neither is it Boris’.

The idiocracy (as Mike Judge aptly called it in his film 15 years ago) that we are living in has many fathers and has been coming a long time. For 40 years (at least) we’ve witnessed the normalisation of psychopathic tendencies in our culture. The propaganda tactics of the tobacco industry and their highly-paid public relations court jesters have been institutionalised across society. The lies and misdirections fed to a population raised on Judge Judy and Avengers movies are manufactured by the some of the finest, inch-deep minds and funded by some of the most psychopathic.

If the people are now too stupid to vote for a party that articulates a genuine vision for a better future, that is a problem of the people, not the party. We get the government we deserve. We have allowed this to happen to ourselves. And every time one of argues that a politician or party should lie about what they really think, in order to win votes, we are perpetuating the problem.

When a political party panders to win votes, they end up diluting their message and their mission. It’s that kind of execrable behaviour that has budged the parties that used to represent the Left, first towards, and then over the centre line. They’ve ended up today with many economic policies that are to the right of where their opposition was in the 1970s. And while the Left has moved to the Right, the Right, in an effort to maintain a reasonable policy differential, has moved so far to the right they have fallen off the edge of the world, ending up with insane clown posse leaders like Trump, ScoMo and BoJo.

The wretched truth is that, over the last 40 years, the Left has all but disappeared. Outside of the extremely minor fringe attempts at stretching the Overton Window, the “Left” parties, and the people who support them, aren’t truly progressive. They have been systematically watered down by psychopaths and big money, to the point where someone like Hillary Clinton could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars giving blathering, obsequious speeches to the likes of Goldman Sachs, while her slobbering fan club (who think of themselves as “progressive Democrats”) didn’t bat an eyelid. These same people will argue that the likes of Corbyn, Sanders and AOC, indeed anyone left of centre, are “too progressive”. What they mean is that these candidates have a vision for the country that is outside of the Overton Window – beyond the limits of acceptable opinion as set by the elite in control of the corporate media. They will argue that it is better to get a watered down party elected because at least they won’t be as bad as the Right. But, of course, what that watered down party ends up achieving is, usually, little to nothing of a progressive agenda. Why? Because it isn’t a progressive party. It never intended to accomplish anything progressive. It might have sounded progressive, but it wasn’t really. It’s a Centrist party. And Centrists don’t want change. They just want maintenance. Keep things the way they are. Let the psychopaths keep being psychopaths. Don’t change anything that might disrupt the system.

Don’t we want our political leaders to, you know, actually lead? If they aren’t out there articulating and pushing for a genuine vision, what is left for them to do? They become the dutiful lapdogs of the corporate media and their financial backers – which, in many cases, are lead by outright psychopaths. All the people hear are the same tired arguments – that changing the system is too risky, that we should just tinker with the system, let’s not do anything over-ambitious. Of course, that’s exactly what the elite want – no change – because the current system is working in their favour. If you’re already rich, why would you want the system to change, unless it’s going to bring you even more wealth?

This same argument, by the way, goes for politicians on the Right. They should also articulate their true vision. Of course, their arguments are often more acceptable to the psychopaths, because they have been crafted by the elite, and therefore fit leisurely within the Overton Window, and, as such, are much simpler to sell to a docile public, who, like Pavlov’s Dog, have been conditioned for decades to only think within certain pre-defined lines.