Democracy and lies (on Boris Johnson’s appointment)

 

Boris_Johnson_July_2015

Politics and democracy cannot be about LYING. “Tactics politics” undermines democracy, insofar it undermines reason. Democracy is a “difficult” form of government, because it must be based on reasonable choices.

There is a dangerous idea circulating among populists and right wing politicians: that all opinions are equivalent and there is no “truth”. For example: women have rights but misogynists also have the “right” to express their views. Gay people have rights but homophobes also have the “right” to say gay should be beaten. Poor people have rights but capitalists also have the “right” to cheat and exploit. Politicians have the “right” to say whatever they want, even lying, as long as objectives are justifiable. This does not make sense to me. These kinds of discourse are disturbingly present on some Facebook discussions I read. This is called absolute relativism and has been helped by the works of post-modernism.

Post-modernism has relativised all narratives and levelled them down: all narratives are equally valid, hence there is no “truth”. There are no more big ideas to guide us.

But politics and science are impossible without some guiding truths. Big ideas like justice, redistribution, democracy are contingent, but we must have some clear directions.

I viscerally reject the idea that we cannot discuss ideas like “truth” or “justice” because “everyone has a different idea of justice” or “everyone has their own truth”. Come on! There are some absolutes in this world and justice and truth are two of them.

It is not justice when a vulnerable person is being oppressed, for example. It is not justice when people cannot harvest the fruits of their own work. It is not justice when people get undue advantages because of their race or the family they were born in. It is not justice when a politician lies to the public in order to achieve their own petty objectives.

Theresa May’s government has started with big beautiful words, with which I mostly agree and I wish her well in her proclaimed objectives. However, hiring this man really contradicts those words, I am sad to say.

Read the article on The Guardian HERE.

Image: By U.S. Embassy photographer – https://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassylondon/19279447599/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42848289

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