Brexit & EU Politics in the UK: A "Philip K. Dickian" sub-creation for voter consumption?
One of the major characteristics of our politics is the surreal and unreal "bubble effect" of the major arguments promoted between different groups and parties and support bases. This perogative to win the majority becomes the result as opposed to the arguments which hold the highest value to the most people.
This effect is old, described by Juvenal in Ancient Rome:-
"Bread and circuses" (or bread and games; from Latin: panem et circenses) is metonymic for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the generation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered "palliative". Its originator, Juvenal, used the phrase to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the commoner.
“acting as a protector against the arrogance of the powerful,”
"This, however, is not the full extent of it. An equally powerful aid to understanding is Philip Selznick's theory of bureaucracy, in which he developed (if not actually coined) the principle of "self-maintenance" as a determinant of institutional behaviour.
Distilled to its very essence, "self-maintenance" dictates that, wherever the founding principles of an organisation might be, its structure is shaped by the characteristic and commitments of participants and influences from the external environment. From this, over time, it develops means of self-defence.
This self-defence develops into a series of activities which Selznick defines as self-maintenance, and his particular thesis is that these activities eventually become the superior goal. In effect, as with biological entities, the need to ensure its own survival emerges as the most powerful of driving forces - taking precedence over all else."Just as I write this we have Nick Robinson rambling on about "accepting Freedom of Movement" pinning down Diane Abbot as if he's sniffed out a stinking great "controversy" of Labour. Again, I'll repeat this is "sub-creation" as if the Nazis won the World War II and are ruling half of North America along with the Japanese Empire of the Rising Sun, taken from Dick's The Man In The High Castle for imagery of this idea of sub-creation (a word technically defined in use of fantasy writing by J.R.R. Tolkien). If you want an example, today, of this idea, again today's blog by Dr. RAE North recounts Christopher Booker's Sunday Telegraph column at EUReferendum.com provides an immediate illustration with reference to historic trend of such "mistakes" by "the great and good" (aka argument Appeal To Authority and the mass delusion that such strongly fault-ridden decision-making process entails): Brexit: eleven judges getting it wrong.
Now if we come back to Juvenal's insights about the dangers to Civic Society (aka the decay of the relationship between state and society) involving the population of citizens:
(1) "Consumption > Production" + "↑Distraction"
With the latter masquerading this growing imbalance in societies functioning (commentators over at EUReferendum.com often referred without realizing it, to this principle at the heart of the rise and fall of civilizations) and proactively encouraged and induced by the leadership who hold onto centralized power (their interests become parasitic to the host's interests: Instead of serving, subjugating) (note: the examples referenced above to support this assertion). If you take (1) then the picture created for Brexit/EU Politics is a bit like the title picture: The Word Cloud (actually in a cloud, rather neatly!) is a huge mess of mangled meanings creating a world that looks very different and behaves very differently. A huge distraction in effect from progressing arguments and resolving problems productively.
Is such distraction necessary, however? As said, if the "foundations" of society are not in place, or are eroded over time then this seems to dictate the resulting behaviour of our politicians in commandeering the EU Referendum Campaign to such dire levels of output - almost as if this was intentional - as we might rehearse saying for the umpteemth time again: "With the EU/Brexit nothing is as it seems". Mentioning the EU above, we also mentioned the UK system of governance and that needs looking at next. In a previous comment, I made two observations:-
- I've never seen any reason to communicate with MP's: All I see is greedy social-manipulators working towards a group message control agenda.
- As for the UK, again there's predominant "democracy is the least worst option" type of conventional resignation/wisdom" assumed by 'everyone' of no more thinking required; whereas if you look at the contradiction of this made by The Harrogate Agenda (hence it's inclusion in FLEXCIT: Stage 6)
Currently, I'm listening the journalists contribution to the above consideration and it's all "being slapped down!" and two politicians bitching with each other in ritualized but empty rhetoric of "doing politics for the people" about "immigrashion" (note: Dick's writing was very effective at warping language with just the right nuance of alternate meaning in his alternate worlds!). To illustrate this danger of growing volume of words with lowering meaning:-
The Laughing Cavalier at The Wallace Collection
The above, I took on a recent visit to The Wallace Collection, for as with "Representative Democracy" which is mostly neither representative nor democratic, the The Laughing Cavlier is neither laughing nor is he a Cavalier, either!
Again we come full circle: The current Brexit news is ephemeral, it's probably indeed a smal cog within the great machinery of modern politics, that few are aware of an even fewer understand (if any?). To conceptualize it as a sub-creation to entertain and passify, as Juvenal says, a "palliative" that takes away the keeness of pain experienced without healing the decay that has crept into the "body politic". That negative feedback painful as it may be must be listened to however. So the surface level of events are entirely forgettable, the Supreme Court will likely finish it's circus act before long and be long forgotten in time too. On the other hand, lurking and latent within every person is an opportunity to rectify the poltical decay with creation towards a more healthy and productive politics where things are as they appear and words mean what they do more so too. If one looks at Brexit: It changes nothing, the political machinery will creak along (you could call the current phase an "inverse square law" relationship of reaction management by the politicians):-
(2) Intensity (of reaction) ∝ 1/Distance²
What the f! does that mean? It means several things which were already recorded in FLEXCIT but because of the failure of our political productivity, the proactive decay of politics by politicians and journalists (and others "in power") and the seemingly eternal distraction of people by the way in which society is structured (short-hand see Juvenal), these are:-
- Brexit as an event has been dominated by EGO not QED.
- Hence emotional reaction takes precedence over rational reception/acceptance.
- Due to the severity of the intensity both to the UK and the EU, it must be attenuated as a result (see distance relation above).
- As per FLEXCIT's prediction it's inevitable that it will amount to a transitional or interim phase of withdrawal.
- This will last years to decades.
At the heart of this is the fear invoked by holding power disproportionately over others and the reactions and negative potential built up over time that this as we looked at at the beginning invariably leads to. However, Brexit itself may change nothing but: For people, some of these layers are being stripped away from central authority, and it's a question of how productively active and energized people choose to be at this juncture in time, place and people, that will lead to future results and future forms of our politics - an opportunity presents it's possible (not necessarily probable) success, with positive not negative potential:-
"Our objective is to recover power. Our focus is on the acquisition of power. And once we ourselves, the people, hold the power, we can then attend to the many problems and injustices that plague modern society. But without power, there is only protest – and we achieve nothing of any lasting value. To help us acquire power, we are adopting the original strategy of the Chartists. Like them, we felt it was vital to frame a very limited number of achievable demands – six in number. These are listed below."