I REMEMBER reading Aristotle’s Politics as an academic subject a long time ago and a profound point deliberated is that man should be expected to do good by design. It is not an option and it is the purpose of man on earth, but it sounds totally out of vogue and ridiculous in this day and age, doesn’t it? Quite contrarily, man’s only goal is to fastidiously enrich himself by whatever means, as it appears.
It would be interesting to note that in the same literary work, politics is defined in many different ways: as the exercise of power, the science of government, the making of collective decisions, the allocation of scarce resources, the practice of deception and manipulation, and so on.
Aristotle made no mistake when he stated, “Every state is a community of some kind and every community is established with a view to some good; for mankind always acts in order to obtain that which they think good”.
In other words, politics, in its broadest sense, is the activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general rules under which they live. All associations are formed in order to achieve the Good as Aristotle pronounces.
Juxtaposed to this is also Aristotle’s iteration that “man is a political animal” and politics is thus inextricably linked to the phenomena of conflict and cooperation.
It cannot be denied that the existence of rival opinions, different wants, competing needs and opposing interests guarantees disagreement about the rules under which people live.
To make matters worse, politics is usually thought of as a “dirty” word: it conjures up images of trouble, disruption and even violence on the one hand, and deceit, manipulation and lies on the other. There is nothing new about such associations.
As long ago as 1775, Samuel Johnson dismissed politics as “nothing more than a means of rising in the world”, while in the 19th century US historian Henry Adams summed up politics as “the systematic organisation of hatreds”.
Now, you must be wondering why the research on politics when the nation is on fire.
Well, the reason is precisely that, because the nation is being engulfed by politicians expostulating against one another, and joining the fray is Covid-19 to make the situation nothing less than bizarre.
It all started with the former prime minister calling it quits after days of political unrest in the country and now that the eighth prime minister has been sworn in, the dust is still yet to settle. In tango with Covid-19, we also have Povid-20 (political virus disease 2020), which has been endemically spreading to all states.
Fatigue from Povid-20 is real, people are completely vexed and frustrated, everyone, including business operators, hawkers, stall owners, corporates, companies, etc, with the exception of politicians, have come out with a singular voice , “we do not care any more who the prime minister is or who isn’t, we don’t even want to know if it is man or ... occupying the ministerial positions, we shall not be anxious if the PM and his accomplices came through any door at all or parachuted themselves into positions, all we want are jobs and food on our table”.
The message cannot be any simpler than this, people want to move on, let’s just accept and get the government to take on the economic and Covid-19 issues head on and provide speedy solutions and reprieve. Let’s at least remove Povid-20 from the list.
Those who have been vindictively sidelined, the querulous frogs who disappointed the voters and the mandate entrusted upon them, the grudging ex-PM, the griping ultracrepidarians and the overzealous keyboard warriors, let’s just move on and show our strength and mettle in GE15.
We must have all heard of the Machiavellian inclinations in politics. Once in power and at the levers of political control, Machiavellian politicians are likely to serve their own selfish ends.
They seek success by saying what people believe, or can be made to believe, rather than what is demonstrably true. They think of the next election, rather than of the next generation. They look for the success of their party rather than that of their fellowmen.
They grant benefits and confer entitlements to the most numerous class of voters, who in turn, pledge their votes for election and re-election. At the same time they impose financial burdens on citizens who can be ignored at the polls.
This is what we have, Machiavellian politicians who have nothing to lose by fighting their own cause and everything to gain.
The narcissistic politicians have reigned for more than six decades now and we will continue to nurture them into decades to come if we do not stand united in the face of adversity.
Let’s change, let’s clean up, let’s act when the time comes.