Monday, June 18, 2012
So Why Do People Vote Against Their Own Best Interests?
I would argue that from their perspective they've done no such thing.
Their perspective may be wrong to be sure. But they don't know that at the time. Most often, they can't know it.
It's a matter of social and cultural conditioning, of propaganda, of deep seated fears, of threats and imprecations, of promised rewards and of an inner need to do what is right for oneself and one's posterity. All normal stimuli and responses under the circumstances.
And yet responding normally is somehow wrong? Since the result of the action can't be known in advance, it's hard to see where it is wrong for a People to vote in the way they think is appropriate under their circumstances at the time -- and hope for the best.
As we see in Greece, the issues are not clear cut in the eyes of the People; they continue to evince tepid support for a standard model rightist solution to their existential crisis, but they are trending more and more to the Left, with strong showings by the Left coalition and the even-further Left, ie: the Communists.
The odd-man-out is the Socialist Party (ΠΑΣΟΚ) which can't seem to win for losing. But then, selling out tends to have that effect.
Meanwhile in France the Socialists gained a clear majority in the National Assembly and so Hollande has a mandate going forward. Into what is the question. France and Germany appear to be on a collision course with regard to the proper treatment of the Periphery. But then, are they? Really? Frau Merkel seems quite capable of steamrolling and stonewalling to get her way until the very last minute -- or as they say the last dog dies. She seems to be modeling herself after Baroness Thatcher in her dealings with the fringes of Europe, and she's getting away with it. On the other hand, Hollande is a blank slate; the Socialist platform may be one thing and his perspective something else. Since Socialists and Social Democrats all over Europe have been more than willing to sell their People out for the promise of reward under the New World Order or what have you, I wouldn't put much faith in the Elysee Palace's ability to sway Berlin from its current path of domination, exploitation and ruin for all who don't pay appropriate tribute.
The economic policies out of Berlin and Brussels are insane on their merits, but they're typical of the predominate neo-liberal economics out of all the highest institutions in the world these days. Banksters rule with an iron fist, and they will fuck up whole nations that don't go along with them pronto and fully.
Frau Merkel, Mme Legarde and Signore Draghi all pull the wagon for the Banksters. Legarde and Draghi ARE Banksters; Merkel's service unto them and unto the Berlin Banksters in defiance of common sense and decency (let alone basic macro economics) is -- or would be -- inexplicable, but for the fact that she says the German Volk are behind her (as her party loses election after election in the German States.)
And we may at some point to ask how exactly it came to be that the Banksters were allowed to overwhelm common sense and a decent regard for mankind in their pursuit of obscene profits based on... nothing. What happened to enable this triumph of greed, parsimony and stupidity?
And what, exactly, are the People to do under the circumstances?
In Europe, it appears that the People have recognized that they are essentially unable to affect the policy decisions of their governments, no matter who they elect. So, if I'm reading the situation correctly, when they seem to be "voting against their own interests" by voting unenthusiastically for a more rightist government, they may not actually be voting against their own interests at all. They may instead be acknowledging that they aren't going to get anywhere with any of the parties or their alternatives: the situation will stay the same or worsen no matter what party is in charge of the government because the government itself is a captured entity which the People cannot affect significantly from the inside.
The only real effect will come from the outside.
I may be projecting a great deal here, following my own twisted insights about these things, but maybe not. It may well be that people who seem to be voting against their own interests are dupes and fools; but it is quite as possible that they are making a strategic decision.
Watch what happens in Egypt as their Revolution is systematically undermined through legal and electoral shenanigans. Somehow, two weeks of agitation and occupation hasn't quite turned into the New Day the Revolutionaries thought it would. And after what the Egyptians have been going thorough since their "success" in overthrowing the Regime (oh yeah?) , the Arab Spring may not have been all it was cracked up to be. A year later, it's looking to get even grimmer. And in Egypt, please note, the electoral process and candidate selection is as hamstrung as that of Iraq.
There is no way for the public interest and popular will to be appropriately acknowledged and expressed through these convoluted and highly managed electoral systems. While it is obvious in the case of the New Arab electoral situation -- elections are actually freer and produce a more representative outcome in Iran -- the shock of it is stronger because of the innocence and naivete of the electorate.
In sophisticated Europe, there is much less expectation that government will actually reflect the People's Will.
And here? Quien sabe? I think people are realizing -- if they hadn't already recognized it -- that elections are not the way toward significant policy changes. It simply won't happen -- because it can't.
How it will fall out, I don't know. We are in a Revolutionary Era, one unlike any I can point to in history because of its nearly universal aspect at the popular level, the nearly complete divorce between Peoples and their governments, and the extraordinarily widespread efforts of individuals and groups to engineer change from the ground up, without deference or reference to the ruling elites.
This is something different than Revolutions of the past.
There is a long way yet to go, but I suspect when the final act plays out, it will be quick. We'll see.