Why bother?

A couple of days ago I wrote: "I sometimes despair for this country". This week I came to the conclusion it is much worse then that.

It started out as a normal lunch with co-workers. There were six of us. I don't quite remember how we got there, but conversation turned to climate change. From there it was just a few small steps to the EUnion and democracy. It proved to be quite an education.

I found myself being ganged up by four others for my 'quaint and old-fashioned' notions of democracy and sovereignty. My suggestion that people should be allowed to have a say in the way they are governed was, quite literally, laughed away as ridiculous. The consensus was that allowing ordinary folks to vote on the future of the country was unworkable. It was argued that since the majority of people do not have the time and the energy to emerge themselves in complex issues, it follows that they would make the wrong choice. Ergo, best not to let them vote, best not to have a referendum on any issue. When I held up Switzerland as the obvious counter-example, the dismissive reaction was 'Yes, but they're rich because of their corrupt banking system'.

These colleagues were perfectly comfortable being ruled by mere mortals, who they assumed were current with the intricacies of 'complex issues'. And if decisions and measures were made that were not exactly legal, well, sometimes you have to bend the truth a little to safe-guard us all from harm. My question of 'What makes you think these people are better equipped to deal with complex question then you?' was met with incredulous laughter. It never did receive a serious answer.

The shocking part in all of this was: These were not evil people. These were ordinary colleagues, well-educated (there were three PhD's at the table) and, arguably, well-informed people with broad interests and tastes. But the blind, uncritical belief in the men and women making up our parliament and government was staggering.

And then it just hit me: Most Dutch aren't that interested in freedom and democracy, in having a say in their own future. They don't want to deal with 'complex issues'. They want to get on with their lives in a secure manner, safe from extraneous responsibilities. It seems that to most Dutch freedom and sovereignty are no longer a priority, are no longer an issue. This country of ours has already ceased to be.

Now, why does that bother me enough to write this blog? Why do I bother?

[UPDATE001] Serendipity strikes again as Dr. North writes:
"The key to wisdom is this - constant and frequent questioning ... for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth", says Peter Abelard, in one of many quotations extolling the virtues of scepticism. Although I am accused of the sin of cynicism, it is scepticism that I believe should be the default mode, especially – and always – when dealing with politicians, their officials, and the media.

Until we can learn that simple lesson and apply it, we are nowhere. We end up the gullible tools of the politico-media complex, ready to do their bidding at a drop of a hat, on the strength of a diet of lies and distortion that we are prepared to believe.

But whether we have the capacity as a nation to transcend our collective gullibility and develop into a mature, functioning democracy, I have my serious doubts. And recent experience has not given me any cause for optimism. These are dark days, and especially so when, as a collective, we are authors of our own grief.

9 opmerkingen:

Durotrigan zei

Although three of your colleagues sat at the table possessed PhDs, they could, etymologically speaking, literally be classed as 'idiots', for (to quote wikipedia on this occasion) "idiot in Athenian democracy was someone who was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private—as opposed to public—affairs." The 'idiotes' were thus not concerned with politics. We however, with our keen interest in the public good and politics, do not count amongst their number.

Alansimpson zei

Keep it up, just because, "average Joe", can't be bothered to look around, does not mean he/she doesn't realise that something is horribly wrong.

Lawrence zei

You write this blog because when moments come where you look back, after the world has changed for better or for worse, you want to be able to say "I was not silent. I didn't just shut up and go along with the crowd. I stood up for what I believe is right." That's my thought as I read your blog, KV. The temptation to quit is understandable, even normal I would say. But you can't do that because deep down, I suspect you hold the Truth in higher esteem than the praise of your fellow men. So you will keep writing, and other lovers of Truth around the world will keep reading.

Je bent wie je bent. Kan niks anders doen.

Sue zei

You write the blog for the same reasons that we write ours! You are not a programmable drone. 

In the last 30 years I have watched our freedoms and rights slowly disappearing down a deep dark plughole with no hope in even having the most important of them, returned. I would be quite happy to pay a government a reasonable amount of tax in order for them to take charge of my country if they did their jobs! They don't... I pay the ever-increasing taxes and they get richer, fatter and more corrupt as time goes by. It's now got to the point where I feel like I'm being mugged each time I have to pay any sort of tax (VAT, INCOME). What am I getting for my contribution? Nothing, is the answer. I don't even get a say in where it's going, whom it's spent on and if I don't pay it, I get threatened. 

That's not my idea of democracy. Its not my idea of any sort of freedom that I can understand in my "unintellectual" mind.

Trias Politica zei

Very, very recognizable. That is exactly why I bother.

MFS - The Other News zei

Waterloo 1815 ... Napoleon "La veille Garde meurt et ne se rend pas"

Klein Verzet zei

Thanks all for the feed-back. And the encouragement. Hanging around for as long as I did in this part of the blogosphere, I really had no idea that 'our' views on contemporary politics were so rarefied. The conversation I mentioned could best be described as a head-on collision with the real world. It left me quite a bit disoriented for a while, I can tell you.


Yes, they're idiots. Both in the classical and in the modern sense. But I got the impression they do not represent a minority view. Quite the opposite, in fact. Which means that if 'we' want to bend reality to our views we've got our work cut out for us: We will have to start arguing our case from the basics upward. And as the conversation proved, we have a lot on convincing to do.

There is some satisfaction to be had from the fact that we understand the dangers of our times a little better then average, but what good is that if that understanding cannot be put to good use? If you understand your chauffeur is about to drive you all off a cliff, but you're not able to get to the brakes, you're going to die a fiery death just the same.


That may be a good point. The question is then: How do we get our message across without scaring off the indigenous at the first mention of what ails us?


Yes, I'm afraid you're right. Over the last few months there have been a number of times I seriously considered shutting KV down. And then something would happen, some story would pop up, that I just had to write up, to make the point.

Thanks for the kind words and implied compliment. Love you too ;-)

Hi Trias,

Fancy seeing you here! Thanks for stopping by.


Well obviously. But who is going to be the new? Is it us. Or is it the Enemy? I worry about that quite a lot.

Morningstar zei

If the terrain and the map aren't compatible, then it is the map that matters. Cultural marxism in a nutshell.

Philip Zhao zei

Dispair for this country ?
Rather, dispair for this world !!