Temps de lecture : 2 minutes
Despite society’s best efforts, including the constant reformation of the political system, it cannot prevent the possibility of a crooked government coming to power – declared Karl Popper in his work « Open Society and its Enemies,” echoing Plato that « one can never be sufficiently certain that a political ruler will be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ after coming to power.”
Civil society must therefore assume that every government shall be incompetent, corrupt, and self-serving and that an ‘honest politician’ is an oxymoron. Once it has internalized that truth, it should then focus on the question : “How can we organize political institutions so that bad or incompetent rulers can be prevented from abusing or doing too much damage? »
The problem arises when civil society leaders aspire to grab political positions and cross that sacred line.
Put another way, citizen activism is a daily affair and constant vigil of government action, an unending necessity. Don’t trust opposition political parties to fulfill that role. Their only objective is to come into power.
Most importantly, civil society should clearly differentiate itself and be content in its own unique role. The problem arises when civil society leaders aspire to grab political positions and cross that sacred line. Its objective should be to hold governments to account – all governments, and not necessarily seek to replace them. It should premise that ‘all governments are bad and should be kept in ‘check’ and “replacement » is not a solution but a constant “problem » to deal with.
I often ask political aspirants one question: What prevents them from serving society? If at all their intention is to serve society and the common good – all they have to do its to be good citizens – be good doctors, good engineers, good workers, good accountants, good lawyers, and good entrepreneurs and good businessmen – good neighbors, good friends, good parents, and good sons and daughters. There are millions of ways we as individuals can contribute to society – star teachers can provide free tuition, for instance – or rather teach well at school itself. They hardly make any efforts to be any of those, but they want to be “good » politicians.
That makes every leader who declares himself as an activist – an immediate suspect – a ‘closet politician’ conveniently disguised and without the courage to take the plunge into what he disparages as the « dirty and filthy world of politics ». It would seem we all want to voice out and demand change with everything that is bad outside in our society… and succeed. Yet, we struggle to make even small changes within our own selves… and fail.
Admitted ‘man is a political animal,’ but politics is not just about government and elections and political parties – politics is also about exercising our civic duties in a responsible manner, about making positive contributions to society and to the nation in turn.