The problem with politics, at least in Brazil, is definitely a terrible lack of corruption.
(Yes, i say those things just to shock, but let me rephrase…)
Politicians are supposed to exercise power but not use it for their own good. But this does not make any sense. If you have power, you should be using it to please yourself. Just as much as, if you have intelligence you should be using it to make a better living or if you have money you should buy the stuff you want. It’s, like, common sense.
The idea that politicians should somehow isolate their persons from their public role is either naive or crazy.
Any group of persons must act — collectively — in ways that make their chances of survival and development the best they can. This is as true to groups as it is for individuals. And for groups it many times means putting some of it’s members as leaders, and following what those guys say.
But when this happens, the leaders do not cease being human to become part-of-the-group. In fact, they are as human as always. And also: being human is being part of the group. We are condemned to it by our own anatomies. That’s just how humans are, they are suckers for group-experiences.
But those group experiences — though they also contain seeds of extreme selflessness like dying in war to save your brothers — is also a selfish thing. Picture the guy who wants to be centre of attention all time in every social occasion.
And that means that, if a given society puts someone in a leadership role, it will have a selfish leader. This guy will be a person, just like you and me, and will be doing his best to use his position to advance his own goals. Just like he would be using his position to advance his own goals if said position was that of a beggar or a dentist or a salesman.
Now the genius of the thing is that, many many times, it is possible to make it so that the personal goals of the leader and the collective goals of the rest of society are in synergy. That is, having a selfish leader who seeks his own best can be a very rewarding thing for the society as a whole, if all the factors can be correctly adjusted.
And the fact is that it is pretty easy to find such balances. Humans do depend greatly on their peers for sustenance and happiness, so that it is very likely that someone will be happier if he can make the society healthier.
And this all, not even for a minute, means that society makes leaders unselfish, that it forces them to put their own agendas second. A person’s aims are always her own. This does not change with context.
If we do not shy away from acknowledging that politicians have huge personal power, you can control politicians through the same cultural ethnic gossipy means that exist in uninstitutionalized communities (like: a tribe or a family). That is, if we can deal with a overly greedy politician as we deal with a affection deprived brat who is misbehaving. It is easier to regain balance when the social order loses it.
But, since politicians are supposed to be completely selfless, we can’t! The moral imperative over politics, instead of preventing people to advance personal goals, forces them into pursuing those goals in hiding. But, being underground or not, the power he uses to do that stems from his political position. This cannot be split.
But now that people do have this “honest visage” maintained, you can only call him if you have proof. You have institutionalized not only the politics (that is, the power structures) but also the ethics of it. And institutionalized ethics is morals…
In other words, the simple assumption that politics would be perfect if politicians were honest is a guaranteed way to hinder discussion of ways to enhance the control populations have over their assigned leaders. If we continue to make discourses (or blog posts) loathing corrupt politicians, we will simply make their schemes better hidden, and as such probably augment the values involved.
To make it clear, i am not advising that we throw away every corruption-fighting law and policy. Nor am i naively saying that without such laws and policies politicians would stop hiding their dirt.
What i am saying is that requiring politicians to be “honest” is like forgetting they are human beings. And i do not mean that they are flawed, in a “whomever never sinned throw the first stone” way.
What i mean is that to expect politicians to refrain from using their public power to personal reasons is treating them as machines, as unthinking automata. To say that a politician “needs to be honest” you deny him the chance of self-fulfilment in the job. You say that he cannot be himself, that he must put his own dreams and desires in the closet when he enters office and just get them back after work. You are denying politicians the chance to be wholesome human beings — exactly when we as a society most need them whole, with their good intentions together with their nastiness.