POLITICS

Most people find politics an absolute bore, and the way it is dealt with in television news programmes doesn't help one bit: we are forced to sit through long, dreary items about trivial management issues, royal nincompoops and pop stars' drug habits, while the genuinely interesting items are occasionally flung in without warning in little bursts so that most people miss them. The truth is that real politics is about murder and theft: it is the battle between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Notingham.
indentThe political landscape is usually described in terms of left and right, with Robin Hood being on the left and the Sheriff of Notingham being on the far right, but this doesn't mean that it is better to be to the left than the right, for it is possible to remain a moral person on both sides of the centre if you don't travel too far out. Should you go all the way out either to the left or the right, you will end up alligning yourself with evil people like Stalin and Hitler. You shouldn't actually think of left and right as being on a straight line, for it is really more like a circle drawn on a globe, with the extreme far left meeting the extreme far right way round the back in the darkness. Stalin and Hitler reached that darkest of places by travelling in completely opposite directions, but they ended up being practically identical: they were nothing more than evil mass-murderers.
indentWhile the centre is doubtless the best place to be, there is no universal agreement as to where the centre is, so it may be some way to the left or right of where you think it is, but the key thing is that the left is mainly concerned with looking after the poor in society, while the right is mainly concerned with looking after the rich. You might then think that the left has to be a better place to be than the right, but there is a major difficulty with that idea: if you spend all your time redistributing wealth from the successful to the unsuccessful in society, you can end up making things far too easy for lazy people who can't be bothered working, while at the same time you are taking so much from the hard workers who generate wealth that it ceases to be worth their while bothering to work hard. You can easily end up with a failed society in which nothing works because it isn't worth anyone's while putting in any effort, and this is why it makes most sense to be in the centre, the place where you wish to reward hard workers, but where you also make sure that you look after the people who struggle to earn enough money to be able to have an acceptable quality of life.
indentMost democratic countries follow the middle line in politics, but there is one which I am not going to name that usually sits some way out to the right of the rest, largely because the poor are predominantly black and the wealthier white people who generally regard blacks as lazy don't want to spend much money on them. Let's call this country Godland. Godland is wealthy because it has an enormous amount of highly-productive agricultural land, far out of proportion to the size of its population, but because Godland has an insatiable appetite for war, it tends to pour all of its wealth into bombs and bullets and then to use them against countries which could so easily have been its friends. Godland killed three million people in one totally unnecessary war against a poor country purely because it didn't want that country to be run by a communist, even though that particular communist had every desire to make friends with Godland and to reject the advances of Godland's big rival, a mass-murdering dictatorship run by bad communists. Because of its hatred of communism, Godland has for many decades supressed and destroyed democracy in many countries around the world, propping up dozens of right-wing, mass-murdering dictators, and it still sees democratic socialism as a communist threat, even though most of Western Europe has been run successfully by democratic socialists for the best part of a century.
indentIt is important for all of you not to let your patriotism (love of your country) get in the way of your moral judgements: most of us grow up believing our country to be one of the good ones and that our armed forces will only be used to fight against evil, but the truth is that all our countries all have skeletons in the cupboard, and you have not grown up until you have recognised the crimes your country has committed, and those which it still is committing. Blind patriotism is for the imbecile, while true patriotism involves being critical of your own country: always remember that you should remove the plank from your own eye before you try to remove the splinter from somoene else's. True patriotism is in fact indistinguishable from internationalism because it means that you care every bit as much about the well-being of people in other countries as in your own: this is the only road to a peaceful world in which your own country will be truly safe.
indentDemocracies like Godland which behave badly are not the biggest threat to world peace because their people could easily overthrow their bad leaders just by voting them out of power: it is just a matter of educating them as to what their countries are actually up to. The greatest dangers have traditionally come from communist dictatorships, though it is possible that a greater future threat will come from religious dictatorships and terrorist groups, particularly as genetic weapons are developed. The biggest danger of all, however, is likely to be climate change: it is quite possible that the planet will only be able to feed a billion people by the end of this century, which means that the other five, six, seven or eight billion will somehow have to die. You need to decide whether you want their blood on your hands: if not, then you will have to find a way to live without polluting more than your fair, sustainable share. I'm not going to waste your time telling you what you already know about green issues because the media is absolutely full of it, but you would do well to realise that the world will soon be run by artificial intelligences instead of by politicians, and those of you who haven't made a reasonable effort to live in sustainable ways will doubtless be punished severly when this revolution comes.
indentMost other political issues are trivial ones of management, but there is one serious issue which badly affects us all: the tax haven. ...I'll get back to writing this later: I want to look at how some poor people are taxed more than they earn while rich people are allowed to avoid paying tax almost completely.