The Politician’s (Devil’s) Advocate

This blog post is an extremely simplistic version of what the video explains. Please watch it before you read the article.

We Are Deluded

We, the voters/common people, make the mistake of thinking that when we vote for a guy, he must act objectively and take care of us.

Well, that would be ideal because that is the tenet of representative democracy.

But because we are humans and are, therefore, inclined to address individual interests, do you think for a second that he will have our interests at heart if it threatens his survival?

Case Study

A friend of mine used to be a class monitor in high school (boarding) and one day, the class was chaotic. It was noisy as hell.

When the teacher came in and demanded to be told who the noisemakers were, he could have reacted in two ways:

Option A: Give the teacher a list of culprits.

Option B: Refuse to give the teacher any names and bear the consequences himself.

Let’s put ourselves in his shoes…

Think about Option A:

If he goes this way, he is giving up the troublemakers for the greater good of a quiet class that is conducive for learning, which purists will say is the right move, right?

But, who wins when you give your comrades up for the greater good?

Let me tell you one thing: you will be the loser.

Do you think the teacher will like you?

Maybe he will for the splendid job you have done, but his duty will end and the mileage you will have made with him will be gone. You will have to start all over and suck up to another teacher.

And by the way, you are not even guaranteed that the teacher will like you, especially if he is a staunch disciplinarian because he will start thinking you are not good enough for the job. 

He won’t like the fact that the class was chaotic, to begin with!

If he is an extremist, he will reason that you clearly can’t control your classmates, so you suck at your job and should be replaced!

Now, how will your colleagues react bearing in mind that this is a boarding school?

Unfortunately, when the teacher leaves, you will still have to share your dorm with your colleagues.

Naturally, if you give your people up, your friends will not like you. They will view you as a snitch. The guy who tried to win favor with the teacher at their expense.

Do you think they will want you to join them when they do fun illegal activities? No!

Do you think they will want to play poker with a fucking snitch? Of course not!

In fact, they may start to actively sabotage you; make your life a bit unbearable. They will try to harm your reputation, and in some “extreme” cases, harm you physically. I know of people who had to switch schools because they had been labeled snitches. 

If you are the snitch, life will suck.

What of Option B?

Now, what if you refuse to give up your rogue colleagues and, therefore, carry the cross for them.

The teacher will either punish you or tell you off… and that will be it.

He will go home and his duty will end.

But your colleagues will like you for being cooperative and life will be amazing.

Your fellow students will resonate with you and they may listen to you when you tell them to do stuff.

They will let you engage in fun activities, and life will be good.

You only have to deal with those pesky teachers once in a while… the rest of the time, it’s a fucking paradise.

The Politician’s Dilemma

Now take that and amplify the stakes a million times and you will start to understand the politician’s dilemma.

The leader is the class monitor and the colleagues are his cronies.

The cronies are the kingmakers; the people who ACTUALLY help him stay in power. These are the business leaders who bankrolled him during his campaigns, the military generals who stay loyal to him thus avoiding coups, his politician friends who have dirt on him, and the likes.

The activists and the noisy opposition are the occasional disturbance that he has to bear with. They may cause a bit of damage if they try hard enough, but it will be nowhere near what his cronies are capable of if they were to be at odds.

The leader will let his people cronies get permits easily, he will reward them with positions in government, he will slap them on the wrist when they steal billions, and he will protect them when they do shady things.

All this because they have their guns aimed at him. If he loses them, he will not survive politically.

If he appealed to the masses before satisfying them first, they are very capable of making his life miserable or even replace him.

And another thing, if the politician is cunning enough, he can pacify the masses and make them easier to rule.

All he has to do is divide them, get them to hate each other for some flimsy reason… like along tribal lines, religious differences, etc. which will give him an easy time as he and his friends “get to work.”

So, that’s how life works the way I see it.

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