Week by Week – Politika and Civitas
“What does the CIA look like in the absence of the Free Press? Like the KGB.” – Malcolm Gladwell, Revisionist History, The Road to Damascus
I’m trying a new format beginning with this week’s post. I am going to start using the essay format for each post. Identifying themes in the week and crafting an entry that analyzes and comments on the events of the week. I am hoping this approach will help me work on my writing and analytical skills. The theme of this week is accountability and transparency.
After months of reflection and frustration from the November election, I’ve had a cathartic realization. Our emotional and visceral reaction to politics shows one thing, we have let politicians have too much influence over our lives. There is no accountability or transparency, and moreover, we forgetting to live meaningful lives that make real difference in the world around us. Transparency can help build trust and illuminate corruption and waste. Where people are given the opportunity to and resources to pursue purposeful existence, they can live without the dependence on corporate, religious, and government institutions. As a society, we can never compromise on truth and facts. We must also apply our time and money to organizations that yield results and not politicians that just promise them.
I discovered some common ground on these views with the Koch brothers while listening to a two-part Freaknomics interview with Charles Koch, “Why Hate the Koch Brothers?” It was one of the most surprising and enlightening interviews I have every heard. Hearing this conversation and facts on where they have put their money left me scratching my head. From criminal reform, educational scholarships, and the elimination of corporate welfare, I was left saying I agree more than I could imagine. I would probably not take the same path they have taken, pouring money into politics, but can agree with many of their goals. I am picking my jaw off the ground seeing myself write this. What I come away with is, politics is itself the problem.
For example, there was a key election this past week in Georgia, and I pretty much could care less on the results. Over fifty million dollars poured into a race for one position in the House out of hundreds. Most of the money coming from people who would not even benefit from the winner because they do not even live in the district. Imagine if all of those people had come together to apply that money and time to solving just one social problem. We would have gotten far better results, with a transparent paper trail, and non-partisan cooperation that does not leave us still looking for progress four years later.
Many people have forgotten that Politics comes from the Ancient Greek word Politika, meaning “affairs of the cities.” The word City comes from the Latin cīvitās for “citizenry, community.” At its roots, Politics belong to us, so your political beliefs should be about your community and what you can do to IMPROVE that shared experience for everyone. But for some reason we allow corporations, debt, and career politicians to rule our lives. I believe a goal of living meaningful and purposeful lives, while seeking to do no harm, we could self govern better than the collection of talking heads.
To exemplify these values, we’ve poured ourselves into efforts that we feel will make us truly independent and contributing members of society that can pour our resources and energies into the things that matter most. Number one, is becoming financially independent. That does not mean, making more money. It means minimizing empty expenditures and reducing our cost of living. Along with automating tasks and chores that bring no benefit from performing them ourselves while sucking away precious time. Furthermore, efficiently managing our energy and schedule to make time for the people and activities that take advantage of our skills and community first approach.
To be sure, I have no issues with Government institutions at all. I firmly believe we need established entities to collect taxes, enforce laws, provide education and infrastructure, and much much more. We all enter inito the social contract when we elect to live in communities, and the highest level of that community is the Federal Union. We need structure to make that community cohesive and ensure it works. I am just not sure we need career politicians in-between us and those institutions. I would prefer we had draft system where everyone was required to serve in government for a one-time three year term.