Governments and Wisdom

The wisdom of governments is a rare commodity. It is difficult for those in government say things that are the right things to say for the right reasons and in their belief that governments must provide their people with their daily bread and weekly luxuries, they fall into the tempting belief which they verily want to believe – that their own government has special ideals and special qualities which will protect or enhance their masters the people.  Should any of the masters or competitors of government err, it is unlikely that those trespasses will be forgiven for the self belief of governments tends to prevent much self knowledge and less self criticism.

Governments are therefore almost always never wise. I should explain, if I can. The wise have been intent on creating wisdom. Wisdom is a quality than humans must discover; it is not an instinct with which they are endowed at birth. Wisdom is not an inherent quality of humanity; it must be created by thought and ideas and constructed by argument and discussion and by a tedious process of self examination which starts from the premise that we are all ignorant. Wisdom is never created by governments.

Governments are often foolish; foolishness is not the opposite of wisdom, but a kindred quality, but unlike wisdom, foolishness is founded upon the qualities of humanity and humans are endowed with foolishness at birth; there have been many foolish sages and more wise fools. Wise men have lived in a barrel and drunk hemlock and irritated the powerful knowing that such actions will not add to the ability of the wise to create more wisdom; perhaps they knew that they had found as much wisdom as they could create and did not need to know more wisdom, leaving it to others to create more wisdom.

Wise men do not usually make good governments. Government requires those governing to partake of so much wrong and wise men do not want to serve if in doing so they must participate in wrongdoing and will refuse to take part in the wrongs that governments inevitably inflict. Governments are clever rather than wise. Elected governments require wisdom but at best they can only appeal to the electorate and governments usually (once they attain power) are disdainful of the electorate and wrongly believe that the governments are wiser than their masters, those whom they govern.

Yet electorates are not as foolish or unintelligent as governments imagine. Electorates often perceive things by their intuition which governments and those in power do not understand with all the mass intellect of themselves and their advisers and all their education training and connection. Perhaps the electorate as a mass of people knows what it wants but cannot express itself precisely, often enabling the governments to take advantage of these imprecise expressions and then claim “we did what you wanted us to do and we did what we promised to do” shifting the electorate’s focus from the perception of the electorate (which is the electorate’s expertise) to the judgment of the electorate of the specific performance of the government (which the electorate can only judge by intuition which intuition governments will try to dispel with argument confusing the intuition of the masses.

I do not think a wise person can participate in government without being corrupted by it and in the course of such corruption the wise will lose his wisdom.

6 Responses

  1. Probably the best alternative political window there will be.

    The truth is out there

  2. Because of its qualitative populism, Ur-Fascism must be against “rotten” parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism. — Umberto Eco

  3. Here is some reflected wisdom

    Harry Patch. He was the longest surviving WW1 Tommy. He died in 2009 at the age of 111 years 1 month 1 week 1 day old.

    Here’s a quote from him… “When the war ended, I don’t know if I was more relieved that we’d won or that I didn’t have to go back. Passchendaele was a disastrous battle – thousands and thousands of young lives were lost. It makes me angry. Earlier this year, I went back to Ypres to shake the hand of Charles Kuentz, Germany’s only surviving veteran from the war. It was emotional. He is 107. We’ve had 87 years to think what war is. To me, it’s a licence to go out and murder. Why should the British government call me up and take me out to a battlefield to shoot a man I never knew, whose language I couldn’t speak? All those lives lost for a war finished over a table. Now what is the sense in that?”

  4. Here is one of the things that is behind the madness of the current and cruel empire.

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