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“None of these political parties really represents me…” Oh get real, you whiny kids!

April 16, 2015


I get sick and tired of hearing this from the whiny little sprogs.  Of course “none of these parties really represents YOU.  You’re YOU.  There’s only one YOU.  A party that perfectly represented YOU would have only one member – YOU.  The party of YOU, membership YOU, manifesto – YOU, political influence ZERO.

Of course you’re not going to find a political party that perfectly reflects you or your beliefs.  So give it up.  But don’t GIVE UP.  Powers that be are depending on you giving up.  Powers that be are too busy chasing the dwindling pool of oldsters who do actually vote to ever think of representing you.  They love your abstentionist bitterness and sense of exclusion.  It makes life easier and cheaper for them.  They’re counting on your sulky posturing.

By boycotting the political process, you’re not undermining the political process but rather following a script anticipated and reinforced for you by the very people you’re boycotting.  Wanna play Russell Brand?  Great.  That makes you ignorable and trampleable.  Every time you say “none out of these political parties represent me”, you ensure that you’ll be represented even less.

Edmund Burke had a few wise words to say about political parties.  All young people know Burke don’t they?  Of course they do.  I might be a bit out of touch but I’m not THAT out of touch.   Burke (who was more of a gadfly than a pillar of the establishment for most of his career) justified political parties in the following terms:

In a connection, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the public.  No man, who is not inflamed by vainglory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens.  When bad men combine, the good must associate, else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

In other words – you might choose to “virtuously” abstain from the contamination of party politics, but in the meantime, the bad guys are getting organised.

Your beliefs are important to you are they? From a Burkeian point of view, beliefs are only important if they are actualised, and belief is only vindicated and demonstrated retro-actively by some visible effort of practical realisation.  To feel smug within the impotence of your own ideological purity represents a peculiarly hubristic expression of hypocrisy.

We don’t live in a world of ideal choices, but we have an absolute moral obligation to identify the best (or least worst) choice out there and to help to make it happen.  If we have any choice at all in this world then we are obligated to judge, and judge wisely.

Perhaps the reference to someone “inflamed by vainglory into enthusiasm” refers to Burke’s prophetic vision of Russell Brand.  He could be quite a prophetic guy, could Edmund Burke.


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