Friday, April 28, 2017

660: The danger of populism.....

In the lecture of last Tuesday I showed you how current our theme is: the meaning of life. 
I told you, that on one day two columnist in my newspaper brought it more or less to the attention of the reader.
Stevo Akkerman focused on the fact that many people, voters, are floating. They seem to lack a strong hold, which tells them how to vote.
The second columnist, Rob de Wijk, also made me think of the present subject of our project. It is about  populisme. 
He offered the following argumentation:
Recently, research revealed, that a significant proportion of the Dutch population lives on a day by day basis
and that part of the impotence to  save money for unexpected expenses  is to some extend even genetically determined. 
Many can only poorly  resist short-term determination, lack of self-control and the temptation of quick rewards.
This acknowledges again that the idea that all people are rational beings who can make their own decisions is a fiction.
And here I had to think of the meaning of life. Apparently is the short-term and quick rewards the guiding principle in their life.
De Wijk relates this to political developments in the world regarding populism. 
In the first place we observed that  a lot of people are floating voters. De Wijk continues in fact on this phenomenon.

Populist politicians have known this mental state of floating or angry voters for a long time. They enchant voters with beautiful talks
and promise that everything is better when they come to power. A large group of voters thus is inconspicuously deceived.
Erdogan leads his country away from democracy towards an autocracy. People vote yes expecting that their country will be safer and more prosperous the very next day.
The British people was told that paradise would return on earth with a Brexit. Free from immigrants, refugees and the oppressing rules and regulations of Bruxelles.
The real effect of the Brexit is, however, that the problems have  increased. The financial situation is deteriorating and so on.
And then we have Trump. America first, a wall along the border, a stop on immigrants, abolition of Obamacare, coalmines open again.
Many Americans voted  for this and might realise after a 100 days, that they are deceived. Not a single one of these promises is feasible.
What the Turkish referendum, Brexit and Trump have in common is, that these are examples of the same phenomenon.
Part of the population stands behind leaders who promise quick solutions to their problems. They believe 
that if the sovereignty of their country is restored, they automatically become more secure and prosperous.
In all three cases it was a 51 - 49% like victory of the populists, which means that the interests of almost half of the population are ignored.
The final result is not  this more secure and prosperous sovereign country, which was promised,
but an increase of polarisation and a weakening power of the state, which opens the door to more insecurity and lesser prosperity.
These populists offer people a fake meaning of life and a lot of people are looking for a meaning of life and even  the indelible dream of the magic “there has to be more”
These political leaders are a danger to this world. Either they don’t see the  consequences of their actions themselves
or they are political opportunists only looking after  their own gain by abusing the good faith of voters.
Thank you for your attention again… ^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Julian Baggini, What's It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (2004)  
Richard David Precht, Wer bin ich, und wenn ja, wie viele? (2007)

Stevo Akkerman, Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017
Rob de Wijk,        Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017

The Discussion

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Its just the same as when Hitler came to power once again
[13:24] CB Axel: I think you put your finger on a big problem here in the US.
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exactly same there, he decieved and promised everyone and in the end 100000s were murdered
[13:24] CB Axel: It's taken decades for this country to get into the poor condition it's in.
[13:25] CB Axel: Our problems are not going to be fixed in one or even two presidential terms.
[13:25] herman Bergson: I guess the first thing Americans have to learn is sharing and solidarity
[13:25] Faust Saenz: Racism was probably a big driver in the U.S.
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): racism and greed
[13:26] CB Axel: Yes, Faust. And racism has been going one here since Columbus landed.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Just imagine FAust....segregaation was still existing inthe 60s in the US!
[13:26] CB Axel: It's not going to be ended in 4 years.
[13:26] Faust Saenz: White is a minority of new births in the U.S. now
[13:26] Faust Saenz: It’s fear.
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not with trump for sure, if anything it will get worse
[13:27] herman Bergson: the meaning of life is closely retaed with fear
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this ship need to be turned around but everything constantly turn it in the wrong direction
[13:27] herman Bergson: related
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:28] Faust Saenz: I think he has a simplistic trickle down economics belief system.
[13:28] herman Bergson: that need for this "There has to be more to life than..." is based on fear, I'd say
[13:29] Faust Saenz: Terror management theory is a fascinating body or research.
[13:29] Faust Saenz: *of
[13:29] herman Bergson: Like our secular materialist thinking was disqualified..... leading to emptiness
[13:29] Faust Saenz: Fear of death drives us to make meaning.
[13:30] herman Bergson: That is so peculiar Faust.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: I still wonder what there is to fear regarding death....
[13:30] Faust Saenz: To me one of the chief goods of philosophy is overcoming the fear of death.
[13:31] herman Bergson: when you are dead you are dead...finito..ended...all over...nothingness....
[13:32] CB Axel: I never understood why people who believe in heaven and believe they are good people are afraid of death. Are they afraid that they'll discover that there is nothing after death?
[13:32] Faust Saenz: Stay busy so you don't have to think about it!
[13:32] herman Bergson: I have known a priest.....!
[13:33] Ciska Riverstone: more afraid to be less good as they thought cb  ;)
[13:33] herman Bergson: He had terminal cancer.....and he was sooooooo scared of death......
[13:33] herman Bergson: very confusing...
[13:34] Faust Saenz: Maybe he had some skeletons in his closet?
[13:34] herman Bergson: But yet...there is a relation between our need of a meaning of life and fear, I think
[13:34] CB Axel: I'm not afraid of death. I'm afraid of the pain and suffering that often goes along with it.
[13:34] Faust Saenz: What is imagination?
[13:34] herman Bergson: YEs CB, that can happen....
[13:35] Faust Saenz: Infinite possibility can be almost as frightening as death (no possibility)
[13:35] herman Bergson: You really think so Faust....
[13:35] herman Bergson: Infinity is such a meaningless concept for me
[13:36] Faust Saenz: Condemned to be free
[13:36] herman Bergson: that is what Sartre says....
[13:36] Faust Saenz: indeterminate may be a better term
[13:36] herman Bergson: The point in this is however...WHO condemned you?
[13:37] Faust Saenz: Its embedded in the nature of imagination.
[13:37] herman Bergson: You discover that you are free....and that frightens people....
[13:37] herman Bergson: they want a lead....a father...a hold....
[13:37] herman Bergson: a guide....
[13:37] herman Bergson: so there is religion to fill that gap
[13:38] herman Bergson: Just dont question it and you are freed of your fear
[13:38] Faust Saenz: Care and play. What more is needed?
[13:38] herman Bergson: a Second Life, maybe?
[13:39] Faust Saenz: Another means to care and play. :)
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:39] herman Bergson smiles
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: esoteric puts it like this: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: so we constantly search for someone who "knows better"
[13:40] herman Bergson: But why is our light frighten us......???
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: and give power there
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: thats one explanation for the voiting
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: which happens right now
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: people think: I do not know how to alter things - but that one - he must know
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: they don't understand that they need to do it themselves
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: and their own mistakes are often much better
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess thats how it is
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: then the one big politics make
[13:41] herman Bergson: and one mistake is to vote for populists....
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: well its giving away responsibiltiy
[13:42] herman Bergson: those who promise the solution of all problems
[13:42] herman Bergson: yes it the LEADER
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): = troublemaker
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: who won’t take it
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: but the power
[13:42] herman Bergson: The LEADER gives meaning to life....
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just result in everything getting worse
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: no I do not think its about meaning
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: its about not owning our mistakes
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Hitler, Erdogan, Trump
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they will only make things even worse
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:43] herman Bergson: I am not that pessimistic....
[13:44] herman Bergson: there still is the other 50% of the people...
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes thats true
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its always the wrong side that wins it seems
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): evil and greed
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and quick dirty solutions
[13:45] herman Bergson: If you look at history you'll see that you are mistaken Bejiita...
[13:46] Faust Saenz: Why are there differences in political orientation to begin with?
[13:46] herman Bergson: Europe was a collection of autocratic states....
[13:46] herman Bergson: a king...and so on...
[13:46] herman Bergson: now all countries are democracies
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at many places it have at least went in the right direction
[13:46] herman Bergson: it took a few hundred years..ok....but nevertheless
[13:47] herman Bergson: it takes another few hundred years for the rest of the world
[13:47] CB Axel: I think it may be time for another Magna Carta to tell the people in power that they are not above the law.
[13:47] herman Bergson: North Korea will be the last one
[13:48] Faust Saenz: Conservative: emphasis on internal locus of control and security. Liberal: emphasis on external factors and compassion.
[13:48] Faust Saenz: But democracy for what?
[13:48] herman Bergson: equality Faust....
[13:48] herman Bergson: all man are equal
[13:49] herman Bergson: that is the startingpoint
[13:49] Faust Saenz: equal in what way?
[13:49] herman Bergson: equal in rights to live
[13:49] herman Bergson: to live a decent life
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: all **hu**mans please
[13:50] CB Axel: I've always considered "all men are created equal" means that we are all equal under law.
[13:50] herman Bergson: food, shelter, a meaingful existence
[13:50] herman Bergson: Ciska....females are more equal...:-))))
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: thats the problem : no ;) - but some men still seem to think that ;)
[13:51] Faust Saenz: Maybe we are equal in deserving to not be made to intentionally suffer arbitrarily.
[13:51] herman Bergson: The law only comes into play when fist is accepted that all human beings are equal
[13:52] Faust Saenz: I think the equality is on the negative side.
[13:52] herman Bergson: That is the same as the right to live a decent life, I'd say Faust
[13:53] Faust Saenz: Emotional wellbeing is highly heritable. That does not seem fair that some people just tend to feel good.
[13:53] herman Bergson: What do you mean Faust....negative what?
[13:54] Faust Saenz: I think we are equal is deserving to not be made to suffer
[13:54] Faust Saenz: unwanted suffering = negative
[13:55] herman Bergson: which means that we are equal in the right to have shelter and food and the liberty of our own body
[13:55] herman Bergson: a decent life implies for me that you ar enot harmed by others
[13:56] herman Bergson: the simple  biological drives regarding pain and pleasure
[13:57] Faust Saenz: What is the bare minimum needed for a good life? We are all equally deserving of the conditions necessary to realize that.
[13:57] herman Bergson: The bare minimum in our present world is related to the context we live in.....
[13:58] herman Bergson: In Sudan it means....not to starve....
[13:58] Faust Saenz: That to me seems to be the only legitimate basis of rights.
[13:58] herman Bergson: in the US it means it means to be able to pay your bills
[13:58] Faust Saenz: What must be present in a life to say that it is a good life?
[13:59] Faust Saenz: The bare minimum.
[13:59] herman Bergson: That is an abstraction Faust....
[13:59] CB Axel: The bills are because what we need to have the bare minimum (food, shelter, health) cost money.
[13:59] herman Bergson: you can not generalize have to relate it to contexts
[14:00] herman Bergson: Yes Cb.....and that is in our reality different per context...
[14:00] CB Axel nods
[14:00] herman Bergson: we cannot deny that reality
[14:00] Faust Saenz: I am thinking of the most simple objective list of goods possible.
[14:00] herman Bergson: you cant Faust....that makes no sense...
[14:01] herman Bergson: there si no basic as such minimum world
[14:01] Faust Saenz: One must have at least one good from the list in order to live a good life.
[14:01] herman Bergson: we can not generalize
[14:01] herman Bergson: in South Sudan it is a bag of rice....
[14:02] Faust Saenz: but isn't equality a generality of sorts?
[14:02] herman Bergson: in the US it is a job
[14:02] CB Axel: It is a job to pay for the bag of rice.
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you need a job for that
[14:02] herman Bergson: yes the end all people should have the same opportunities chances and so on in life....
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a chain of things
[14:03] Faust Saenz: "Finally, basic activities are ones that if a human life did not involve the pursuit of any of them, then that life could not be a good life. In other words, a human being can have a good life by pursuing just some, and not all, of the basic activities. Some of the basic activities are as follows: deep personal relationships with, e.g., one’s partner, friends, parents, children; knowledge of, e.g., the workings of the world, of oneself, of others; active pleasures such as creative work and play; and passive pleasures such as appreciating beauty."
[14:03] herman Bergson: food, shelter, education, healthcare and so on...for everyone equally on this globe
[14:03] CB Axel: The bare minimum is not the job. The job exists so we can get the bare minimum at the very least.
[14:03] Faust Saenz: Human Rights as Fundamental Conditions for a Good Life
The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights
[14:04] herman Bergson: That is what I mean CB...a minimum income for everyone
[14:04] Faust Saenz: Its the shortest list I have seen from an objective list theorist.
[14:06] herman Bergson: Well..I guess we saved the world once again today :-))
[14:06] Faust Saenz: A job seems necessary but might not be sufficient.
[14:06] Faust Saenz: Yay!
[14:07] herman Bergson: SO...time to save some part to save later...:-))
[14:07] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:07] Faust Saenz: :)
[14:07] herman Bergson: We have a mission Bejiita ^_^
[14:07] Guestboook van tipjar stand: CB Axel donated L$100. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[14:07] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed we have
[14:08] Ciska Riverstone: hehehe
[14:08] herman Bergson: Thank you all agian for your was a pleasure again....
[14:08] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[14:08] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa
[14:08] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[14:08] Ciska Riverstone: thank u herman
[14:08] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well cu next time then
[14:08] Faust Saenz: Thank you!
[14:08] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):


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