By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi
We live in a time of political upheaval. I know you are afraid. There is a sense of déjà vu hanging over the world, pressing but not quite breaking the surface of our tepid global peace. Revolution. No one wants to bell the cat but our cities are flooded with violent Marxists who are destroying property, history, and human life. It is the duty of every citizen to sit up and take an honest look at what is going on.
In all likelihood, that hour of the night is approaching where blades fall indiscriminately and fires take hold of the streets. But whose revolution is it, really?
Very few ordinary citizens fantasise about political upheaval. Instead, loosely connected activist groups have fanned out to grasp at civilisation’s corners, dragging it uphill toward carnage like slaves lashed to stone in a quarry. If the whip cracks hard enough, all of us will be drawn in to their horrific vision of ‘utopia’. The time to stop them is now, before the momentum overwhelms us. Unfortunately ‘peace’ isn’t very useful for political parties involved in dethroning stable governments. How do you get out of the monotony of opposition if the people are comfortable with the status quo? Simple. Manufacture a civil crisis by copying notes from the French Revolution and then fudge the detail with a few freshly minted micro ‘isims’.
Politicians do not like you to know that there is a mass of people who sit at the centre of politics. In Australia, where voting is compulsory, the politically disinterested are the votes that radical candidates struggle to move with their heated words and unrealistic promises. I speak of the Mrs Gafoops and Bobs of our world. Their ambivalence to the mindless shrieking of rancorous activism ties our political class down to ‘reason’ like the ballast of a ship keeping the vessel steady against the wind.
I have heard the argument that only the politically enthusiastic should vote. Young political hopefuls are especially keen on this. Surely, they insist, draped over their beer in a conniving manner, only those who follow the campaign trail have a right to decide the outcome? How can the uniformed vote correctly if they do not care?
First, it is the right and duty of every adult citizen in a democracy to vote – whether you like their choice or not. Otherwise, do not pretend to call yourself a democracy.
Second, it is the most politically devout who bring about history’s worst dictators. They are in love with the game and worship its heroes – this makes them especially vulnerable to sweet sounding lies from the lips of charismatic leaders.
Third, those who do not care for politics vote to benefit themselves based upon what they see presented. The working class and peasantry of humanity typically value security, stability, autonomy, and prosperity. It is their unwillingness to engage in personal risk that acts as the Achilles heel for revolutionary movements. More to the point, they have a habit of re-enforcing Aristotle’s theory on group behaviour in which random samples of the population average better results than small teams of experts. Can they make mistakes? Sure, but in a mimicry of evolution, groups of individual selfish motivations more accurately represent the needs of a diverse nation than an homogeneous panel of self-appointed geniuses.
This roadblock to power is what drives those who wish to deplatform democracy into breaking down compulsory voting. They want you to stay home. They want your silence. They want the majority out of the ballot box. If you don’t care about politics, you’re hard work as far as a party is concerned. After all, it’s such a nuisance to come up with sensible policies. When you hear a political leader start talking about the ‘sensible centre’, they do it begrudgingly.
And what is the centre of politics?
It is customary to refer to political theory as a flat spectrum – a single line upon which recognisable parties cluster. These parties are not stuck down to any particular point but rather have a tendency to drift around over time. Their philosophy is an average of its members; an approximation of ideas loosely connected with history. Because a party’s position on the line is defined by continuously re-written polices, it is often the case that a voter’s fond, youthful memory is no longer the reality of the party running at the ballot box. Stability does not come naturally to politics because it is bound to the flux of human thought, and, like the metaphoric boiling of a frog, it is only when parties completely abandon their foundation that people notice.
Generally speaking, in a system dominated by two parties, one sits on the left and the other, on the right, of this arbitrary line. Defining the centre is hard, especially when each country puts the centre either in a different location or uses an alternate set of ideological norms to draw the line. Suffice to say, the concept is a mess but in Australia both parties are closer to a Westernised centre line than their American equivalents while the UK sits somewhere in-between. Other European nations with deeply held Socialist histories scatter their parties all on the left so ‘right’ for them is ‘left’ for us. Religious theocracies do the reverse and single party dictatorships pick a spot and plant a flag.
To define this poorly drawn political line, the left follow the works of Karl Marx. They are the Socialists, Communists, and miscellaneous Collectivists. These are big government, low freedom, heavily censored welfare states with tightly controlled or non-existent markets who rarely employ a system of real democracy. The right are Conservatives. A misnomer, in my opinion. Far from conserving they have been agents for political change, dragging civilisation into the famous golden age of the Enlightenment. They are small government, fierce supporters of democracy and capitalists who use free markets to liberate the individual. Focus is placed on advancement through private property and economic competition.
Here is where I will pick a fight with accepted political theory.
Extremism has always been labelled as ‘far-left’ or ‘far-right’ but I believe the political spectrum has another dimension – a vertical axis where traits that belong to neither side of the line belong. Some of these are harmless, normal, and necessary – others are recognised as destructive. Their addition gives much needed perspective to the line.
Expansionism. Despotism. Nationalism. Militarisation. Personality Cults. Social Responsibility. Border transparency. Ethnonationalism. Surveillance. Transparency. Freedom to Speak. Fair legal system.
This clustering of unaffiliated ideas paints a better picture of political threat posed to the populace and its neighbours.
Take nationalism. All historic definitions list this interchangeability with patriotism. (Forget re-written ‘woke’ definitions – I refuse to play the revisionist game.) Historically, nearly every political system is nationalistic. National pride is how you hold scattered village populations together, especially if they have different cultures, languages or religions. Nationalism makes a country harder to attack and generally more harmonious internally. It is also an indicator of political health. People are more likely to love their country if they are not victimised by it. A lack of nationalism can act as a warning sign. Some Socialist parties suppress nationalism in favour of creating alliances of dictators – the last two times this played out, it ended in civil war or serious regional instability.
Let us contrast this with ethnonationalism. Despite how Europeans feel about this one, it is not an uncommon political trait across the globe. Indeed, most countries on Earth consider race to be a requirement of citizenship – many go so far as to put that in print. This can and often does lead to acts of genocide, internally and externally. Not always, though. Japan places emphasis on ethnonationality in its laws but does so dispassionately.
Expansion is an indicator that accurately predicts risk to the sovereignty of neighbouring countries. This trait exists solely for the expanding of territory and conquering of other nations. When coupled with other risky behaviour like ethnonationalism, militarisation, despotism, and a personality cult, you get someone like Hitler or Mao. Take out ethnonationalism and you have Stalin. Take out expansionism and you have Kim Jong Un. Or, a combination of expansionism and militarisation in conjunction with an otherwise open, democratic nation with a strong sense of liberty and law gives you the British Empire during its period of conquest. Put a dictatorship and personality cult in and you have the Golden Era of the Roman Empire.
With this sampling, we can see how the line of left and right tells us very little about whether a political system is fundamentally dangerous.
What does this mean for the sensible centre? Well, in reality they are not people sitting at the centre of the ideological political thread. Instead, they are the group of citizens who shy away from zealous political extras. They tend to fear personality cults. Oppose despotism. Reject expansionism. Side-eye surveillance and rise-up against racial politics.
This scepticism is a survival instinct. The common people have a collective wisdom passed down through generations. It is the sensible centre who are generally composed of citizens that find themselves on the front line of a war if one were started, oppressed by a maniac government, or terrorized by political radicals. While ever they are required to vote, these people will hold back the tide on extremism.
Not only are they the centre, they are also the majority. In most elections during dull electoral cycles when the public are casting their vote between two innocuous parties, their vote is split. But, if ever there is a time when a party manages to upset them, their invisible force underwriting politics suddenly rises up in a wave – destroying parties, leaders and entire systems of government.
Colloquially, we call this revolution. A revolution of the sensible centre.
By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi
THE SENSIBLE CENTRE by @ellymellyTweet