Saturday, August 12, 2006

Politics as Science: Part 1- Politics as Science

If there is anything in this world I hate it’s politics. Politics is shit. I mean that in its most literal sense. I consider politics to be an actual pile of dung. It’s useless to say politicians are full of shit, because that goes without saying. They are shit. They are giant piles of poop excreted from some giant ass… or elephant, depending on the party.

There are a number of reasons why I hate politics, but I think the thing I hate the most is its ability to function for decades without ever actual doing anything. All the government seems to do today is increase its budget and get all riled up in controversial subjects which have little to do with anything.

Unfortunately, politics today attracts those very dung-filled politicians in droves. Politics sometimes attracts the idealists and thinkers, yet they never seem to hang around for very long. What happens? Where do they go? Why are the only ones who seem to stay are the ones who are the most egregious offenders of career politics? Politicians aren’t supposed to be shit. In fact, they shouldn’t be shit. When the gears are shit, so is the machine. So by extension, compliments of today’s politics, modern America is shit.

Now, I’m not so deluded as to think we are not like the “good ol’ days” where politics was clean and the ideals of America were pure. America has been full of shit since the very first days. The world, and our government, if nothing else, is getting much better as time goes on. I’m just saying that the change isn’t happening fast enough for my tastes.

Considering the exponential speed at which our civilization is growing, and the even faster growth of science, the fact that modern governmental functioning appears mired in thoughts and ideas that seem fresh out of the 1800’s is absurd. If our government had advanced at the same speed that science has our government should be nearing Star-Trek levels. Yet here we are. Clogged with ideologues, religious fundamentalists, never-ending arguments that go nowhere, and career politicians who only care about the next election, our government has a terrifying tendency to screech to a halt.

Something has gone terribly wrong.

Part 1: Politics as Science.

Politics isn’t that much different from science. Even the word politics just means the mechanics of the government. Even the janitor that cleans the bathrooms of the Capitol building is technically part of politics. So really, politics is the functioning of a machine that is designed to provide a framework in which society functions. Politics is not meant to be big and important. It is the building, but it’s the machines inside that make the products.

Unfortunately, that analogy is imperfect. We are imperfect. We have problems and since the mass of people are incapable of solving the problems we rely on an overseeing body to do the job. This is modern politics. This seemingly small aspect of the grand governmental machine is where everything that is modern government takes place.

Ideally, this would be a part of government that would arise when needed then disband when the problem has been solved. As time has gone on, this ideal has died. It has been replaced with a fleet of career politicians who can’t seem to stay away from the television cameras. And most depressingly, if these career politicians actually did their jobs well, they wouldn’t be able to be career politicians.

What’s mind bogglingly silly is that the only things about which we should be arguing are subjects related to the first part of government, the building. These are subjects of how government should be structured. Effectively, we are arguing about how the building should look and operate. At one time, very long ago, the terms ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ had to do with how the building should look. Should we have big state government and small federal (conservative), or the opposite (liberal)? Now, these terms have been loaded up with 97,000 metric tons of baggage and saying either attaches a whole fleet of characteristics to the offending person.

96,500 of those tons have nothing to do with the structure of the government. Instead, they have everything to do with problems. Problems that should be solved like any problem a scientist may encounter in the lab. You acquire all the data you can. You weigh the data. You experiment. You acquire other viewpoints. You then publish a paper and get offered a job at Harvard.

Ok, I made that last part up.

The politics about which everyone argues is easy. You have problems. You find solutions. As such, on matters of the structure of the building that is our government, I’m very biased (I’m very conservative). Everyone is. Everyone has a personal viewpoint as to how they want the government to work. Mostly, any viewpoint is as valid as any other. Being a conservative, I want the government to stay the hell out of my life. This allows me to solve my own problems. There are others who want the government to provide solutions to problems so they can then worry about other things. Either viewpoint gets the actual problems solved.

I’m biased strongly ideologically. About the problems, I’m biased to the point where I will not listen to any other viewpoints. As far as I’m concerned, they are all wrong. Don’t even bother arguing with me. You won’t win. You can’t win. I’m biased alright. I’m biased to the correct answer.

For any problem, there is a correct answer. In fact, I am of the opinion that for any problem there is only one correct answer. If you have multiple answers that seem to solve the problem, you haven’t effectively expressed the problem. This is, in fact, a problem in all of government. No one seems to even know what the god damned question is!

For example, Medicare is broken. This is a problem and must be solved. We hear about it every day. We see ads from AARP and opposing groups talking about how Medicare must be “fixed.” Well, no. It doesn’t. Medicare is not a problem. Medicare is a solution. A system is never the problem because systems only exist to solve problems. Medicare is the correct answer to a problem we don’t have.

The problem, the real problem, is that we have an exponentially growing elderly population that needs medical care. That means that Medicare may not even be the answer at all to our actual problem. We may need to create an entirely new answer. We’ll probably come up with some catchy name for that, too. I recommend ElderMed.

Things can get complicated after this, with greedy politicians lining their own pockets, pork barrel legislation and whatnot, but all that requires is a strong leader to keep hammering home the fact that there is a problem that needs solving. There is no bias, there is no argument. All ideas will be accepted and weighed by the group.

Instead, we have bickering fueled by ignorance, arrogance, and outright stupidity. When posed with 2+2. Some will scream 2, and immediately be attacked for having a bias for below 3. Others will scream 6, and immediately be attacked for having a bias for above 5. These two groups will then take to news channels and make asses out of themselves and the problem they’re attempting to solve by appearing on some insipid “debate” show. Eventually, the media, debate clubs, international politicians, talking heads, and everyone else who wants to be heard leaps into the fray. People take sides, others say everyone can be right, and some just move to Canada. What’s astonishing is that everyone overlooks the fact that the answer is 4.

No comments: