Continued from previous posts.
The right side of history. It can seem a bit arrogant to say that something is on the right or wrong side of history. After all, some will disagree, and who am I to make such a judgment?
At the same time, I feel it’s something we are allowed to say. What generally is supportive of life and people is on the right side of history. Policies that aim to support life and people, and especially the weakest ones and the ones with no voice, are on the right side of history. Why is that? It’s partly because the weakest and those with no voice includes future generations.
It’s also because these more inclusive policies tend to be the most beneficial to everyone in the big picture and over time.
Everything is politics. Everything is politics. We all have preferences, and those preferences are politics. They intersect with policies at a social level.
If we see something as not political, it’s often because the preferences built into it – whether it’s a religion, activity, or way of life – tend to be accepted or mirrored by the larger society. As soon as this is no longer the case, it becomes clear to us how political it really is.
Privilege. As many point out, saying that we are not interested in politics, or don’t want to get involved, comes from a position of privilege. It’s what we can say if life for us and those close to us is relatively good. It’s what we say if we ignore the situation of those less fortunate than us.
Why are spiritual people often more liberal? It’s completely possible to be into spirituality and still have a generally conservative view, especially if it’s a more kind and sane version of conservatism. And yet, spiritual people tend to be more liberal. I think there are several reasons.
One is that spirituality tends to come with a natural concern for the welfare of all beings. We realize, and it’s often an alive and lived realization, that we are all one. We are all expressions of Spirit. We are all connected as part of this living planet. And that concern is best reflected in more liberal policies.
Another is that religions have conservative elements built into them. Religions seek to preserve themselves and not change too much. And that fits a conservative mindset. Spirituality tends to be more open and experimental, and that fits a more liberal mindset. Of course, these are just general tendencies. Some branches of religion are quite liberal, and some traditions have spiritual elements that can be quite conservative.
Norwegian media. I have noticed that Norwegian media – and especially the public radio and TV station – sometimes present Trump’s words and actions as more normal and sane than they are. They do it by adding their own interpretation and context that would make sense in Norwegian politics but is factually wrong.
Intelligence. It’s no news that Trump is poorly informed, impulsive, reckless, and endangers people within and outside of the US with his behavior. Michael Moore pointed out one specific danger several months ago which is now starting to play itself out: Trump’s relationship with the intelligence community within the US and of allied countries is strained. He risks either not receiving important information, or disregarding it. A likely scenario is that he will respond in a typically uninformed and reckless way to a crisis.
It’s also interesting that the intelligence community seems to investigate Trump, and especially his connections with Russia, in order to get to a truth that may eventually lead to his impeachment.
Bully. Trump is relying on the classic tactic of the bully. Intimidate people so they submit or get out of the way. It may work if you are a CEO, although it’s a misguided approach with a great many drawbacks. It definitely does not work if you are the leader of a democratic country. There are so many ways this can come back and bite him, including through creating enemies of the media and intelligence community.
Insanity. There is a question of whether Trump has a personality disorder or would be diagnosed with a psychological disorder. It’s an interesting question, although it doesn’t really matter. His words and behavior disqualify him as a political leader.
In a more informal sense, there are other forms of insanity here which is as or more concerning.
The Republican Congress allows Trump to continue. They probably do so because he is still useful to them. For instance, he creates enough chaos and drama to distract from policies they are quietly implementing which normally would draw unwanted attention.
Some parts of the media – Fox News, Breitbart – not only support Trump’s obvious lies but generate their own. I doubt they understand or care what it may lead to.
Some people still support him.
Each of those three is a danger to our democracy and progressive social policies and institutions built up over decades and centuries.
There is also another insanity here which is even more serious. It’s the insanity of ignoring the two major issues of our time: Wealth inequality globally and nationally, and our grave ecological situation. Both are issues that threaten humanity as a whole. And both are issues either ignored or not taken seriously enough by politicians, the media, and many voters. This may not yet be a recognized form of insanity, but it definitely deserves to be.
Consensus reality. As humans and a society, we need consensus reality. We need to agree on basic things about our world in order to communicate, cooperate, and function well as individuals and a group. It’s dangerous enough that Trump’s words and actions erode democracy. It’s even more dangerous that it erodes our consensus reality.
Another side of this is that consensus reality helps us make decisions in everybody’s interest. If someone intentionally tries to break down consensus reality, it most likely means they want to do things not in the interest of society or the majority of people.
Conservatives. Kaci Kullman Five, a prominent conservative Norwegian politician, died yesterday. She is a reminder that conservatives can be sane, mature, grounded, and speak up for human rights (women’s rights) and nature. She was and did all of that.
In contrast, it seems that the Republicans in the US have gradually gotten more unhinged over the last couple of decades. More accurately, they serve big money interests and gain power to implement their policies by appealing to “values”. As is obvious with Trump, they are also increasingly denying easily provable facts.
Inclusiveness. As I have mentioned before, I tend to judge policies by their inclusiveness more than whether it’s traditionally liberal or conservative, or authoritarian / non-authoritarian. How wide is the circle of concern? Does it include the weakest in society? Does it include ecosystems? Does it include future generations? And that inclusiveness can be found among both liberals and conservatives.