This is written in the context of the politics of England, in the run up to Christmas 2021.
and the anthesis of all of the above, Jacinda Ardern, who holds empathy as a strength essential to healthy governance.
Healthy Governance is possible, there are honest strong politicians who can make this work. But they need a population that understands the problem, and is engaged with the putting forward and implementing solutions. Socio-political adversarial division undermines the goal.
"L'etat, c'est Moi!"
Definition: pathocracy (n). A system of government created by a small pathological minority that takes control over a society of normal people (from Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes, by Andrejz Lobaczewski)
They all sought power for personal gain, out of hubris. They all created and projected a charismatic persona for public consumption. They all gathered people around them who would carry out their policies and protect their power, ruthlessly.
Kitty Jones, an English writer on political science and social care systems wrote a detailed blog, 'How Bullying Works: Projection and Scapegoating' that is one of the best I have ever read.
She goes through the various strategies and tactics of bullying as it plays out in Politics. It is a superb piece of informative writing. Well worth your attention, and easy to read, without dumbing down in any way.
"Very few people, when put to the test, have the integrity and moral courage to stand up against bullying, harassment, abuse, threats and corruption. The targets of adult bullying are selected often because they DO have the moral courage to challenge; many people will pass by on the other side.
This really does define the mass media mistreatment of Jeremy Corbyn and Meghan Markel in the English News media of recent years. We all know many more examples of that dynamic than we should.
Albert Mayles, a film maker, once stated: “Tyranny is the removal of nuance.” Caricature is one of the tactics to obscure the humanity that detail always reveals. Right wing News Media tends towards caricature of those targeted for bullying.
So let's take a quick look at a recent example of bullying in politics, perpetrated by a Senior Minister, an incident that demonstrates some of this dynamic.
Push the strong out of the way.
We have seen how frequently some ordinary citizens who cite 'one rule for them, one rule for us' as their excuse for their own misconduct are given air time and publicity as 'vox pop' segments. That line of justifying reckless behaviour is also encouraged via online microtargeted content. The activity of encouraging reckless behaviour among supporters, justified by the simplistic analyses of matters, which is part of what I call political grooming.
Microtargeting sends content to individual users and is mostly invisible to anyone other than the targets. Three people living in the same home could see entirely different materials, targeted at their specific biases.
The encouragement of bias in this way leads to spread of seemingly emergent reckless behaviour and thus the sense of the 'right' to abuse 'enemies' spreads.
The technical term for the method of inciting street level recklessness to make it appear a natural outpouring of community level concern is astroturfing: creating the image of an organic self directed grass roots emergent movement - it looks like grass but it's plastic, manufactured.
Brexit, Make America Great Again, Oven Ready Deal. Cool Brittania.
The difficulty for those who have been manipulated by emotional methods of grooming that create attachment, habituation and internalisation of the groomers world view is that detaching from it is an intense emotional challenge to their sense of identity, of self.
What needs to be understood is that the groomers also rely upon anger aimed at the groomed by others, because that anger generates a defence reaction among the groomed. It is critical that we see the groomed as being victimised by the groomers, and that we find ways to reduce anger at them, increase empathy for them and thus build bridges that help establish humane solidarity. In that way we can turn the tide from within the grass roots. The people most deserving of our ire are the groomers.
So we can see this - loyalty and sacrifice - among those who still support Brexit, even as the massive harms it has caused are being documented.
Though Brexit will continue to damage the UK economy for years to come, I will end this #BrexitReality 🧵 on the economic self-harm caused by Brexit when it reaches 1000 entries.— R. Daniel Kelemen (@rdanielkelemen) September 18, 2021
Only 50 more to go! Please spread the word about it so more people can follow the final countdown https://t.co/k4D6Kpwmv0
"A survey by YouGov suggests a majority of them would prefer Brexit took place to a host of scenarios, including 61% in favour of it even if it caused “significant damage to the economy”.
Going further back, Austerity was accepted as a necessary sacrifice by Conservative grassroots voters, Labour centrists and business leaders as an acceptable sacrifice, in 2010 and again in 2015, 2017 and 2019, in spite of the fact that the basis for it was a lie, and in spite of the immense social harms it caused.
Even as a series of UN Human Rights report made it plain that disabled people in England were being harmed, and their Human Rights being undermined, the 'sacrifice' was accepted by voters and the right wing media. Others paid the price, carried the cost. That is the nature of sacrifice - those who promote it do not make it.
The action of the abuser is deliberate. It is intentional action designed to cause harm. The veil of 'incompetence' is accepted and often designed to pre-empt the mergence of social solidarity - if and when the population as a whole really understands what is being done, then solidarity across diverse positions within the population will emerge.
Steve Taylor writes about this in The Psychologist article.
Christmas, a break and a chance to think about a reassessment.
Healthy Democracy extends beyond voting for loyalty or party.
Green Party : Manifesto
Open Democracy : Through reporting and analysis of social and political issues, we seek to educate citizens to challenge power and encourage democratic debate across the world.
Good Law Project : using the Courts and The Law to hold Power to account.
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