Friday, July 31, 2009

Politics - the intellectual vs the visceral

My interest in politics comes in two flavours, the intellectual and the visceral.

The intellectual interest is that part of me that says I could do this better, or with less ego, that this could be done better. This makes we what to be involved in politics but it lacks the urgency to turn the vague desire into something more concrete.

The visceral interest is that part of me that says we must do this better because the way we are doing it now is evil. This visceral urge turns a vague desire into real action.

Because governments, even nice ones in relatively honest first world western liberal democracies, can be evil. In the Australian context I believe the Howard government had some policies that were essentially evil. I am not using that word lightly, the willing fanning of racist fears, the imprisoning of children as a deterrent, and a range of other policies were, by any of my moral measures - EVIL. These were the things that turned me from a passive voter to an active citizen involved in politics, ultimately joining the Australian Labor Party and even running for council as a Labor member in local government elections.

But Howard has gone and my visceral urge is missing and so I'm wondering if I can find my desire to get involved in politics again.

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