We are spoiled citizens

Recently we’ve had nationwide elections for local council. Just about half of all voters decided to actually show up to cast a vote. The other half couldn’t be bothered. The enwsmedia seem to think that this is a problem of politicians: citizens have lost faith in politics. I disagree. I think it is a problem with society, we are spoiled rotten and act accordingly.

Erwin Fisser, 2006, 'Democracy'.
Erwin Fisser, 2006, 'Democracy'.

In general, people who say that they ‘have lost faith in politics’ actually mean that they ‘have lost faith that by politics they will get their way in every little detail‘. We are so used to getting things just the way like it; food in abundance, warmth and electricity everywhere, good roads, good schooling, safety and, well, ‘general wellbeing’ everywhere, that we will no longer take no for an answer. And since in politics you have to negotiate and compromise, obviously some of us will feel that politics doesn’t work. We need a ‘strong leader’ a ‘political outsider’, someone who will finally ‘voice the opinion of the man in street’. (Note: In our spoiled society, voicing opinions is more important than actually working towards solutions. Someone mailed me this quote by Soren Kierkegaard, which seems very fitting: “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.“)

‘Their fault’
Spoiled people have lost the ability to see things from a different perspective. They want exactly what they want and they want it now. If you don’t give it them, they will throw a tantrum (vote for a populist or extremist party) or they will turn their back (non-voters). In both cases, they will place blame on others for their non-constructive behaviour (‘they’ only think about their own careers anyway, it’s all because of those damn immigrants… that sort of stuff).

Journalism 2.0
And as they scream on the top of their voice how no one listens to them anyway, the news media come running. A populist views is better fitted for 140 characters than a balanced, constructive idea. That’s the downside of journalism 2.0.  Thoughtless opinions have become as important as scientific facts. An actor who says ‘vaccinations causes autism’ gets as much (or more) media-attention as all the scientific research that proves the actor is talking ‘bollocks’. Citizens no longer care to put effort into the views and idea of political parties. Voters are not interested in compromised solutions. They just want to have it all their way, since that’s what they’re used to. Fuck everyone else.  It could actually be a blessing for our democracy that those people do not cast their vote…

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