Friday, April 17, 2015

Money, trust, and politics

It surprised me recently to realize it had only been about three and a half years since putting up publicly my own ideas for a political party. Seems longer. And it is fascinating to contemplate how quickly the creative excitement faded after talking to just a few people.

Turned out I gained #1 in web search--which has sense faded--rather quickly, which means I had a conversation starter and actually remember just one conversation in an Irish bar where it's so much fun to talk politics! And was talking with a nice Irish couple, as yup, plenty of Irish hanging out there, and we were mentioning things a political party should have. And I was so excited as we kind of mutually came to the same conclusions, and then I mentioned my search. They could do it on their smartphone. They did. And I got smiles.

Of course later I'm like, wait a minute, what if? What if I DID come up with a new political party which went on to become the dominant party in the United States of America?

Was one of my favorite hangouts, now closed. Picture from 2008.


With money in politics a big deal, I can gleefully state years later there's no money thrown my way. Core Middle Party is an idea of mine, without an infrastructure, and NO money whatsoever. But of course money is a big deal so I figured it out, and came to the conclusion that our monetary system depends on and benefits from limited social trust.

Money means you only have to trust that person in a transaction, so much.

Money lets you get a lot done without the deep social trust had between close friends, family, and close community.

So money enables modern civilization. Without it, we'd all need to live in small villages.

But limited social trust only goes so far. That person you pay is only obligated to the limits of the contract, which may be stated, written, or implied.

Which is why we don't like bought politicians.

Whether we, the people, like it or not, the people have to have deep trust in political leaders who are trusted with leading the nation in its defense against all enemies foreign or domestic. They can literally agree to the sending of our young people to die on missions necessary for our defense as a nation.

There must be a deep social trust for modern society to function.

But if a politician is actually money-focused then he can be bought by the highest bidder. All you need is enough money.

Turns out you can see if money is corrupting your politics easily: politicians get rich.

Thought it was hard? Why?

Have you seen many people just fall into wealth without doing anything for it?

Duh.

It doesn't work that way. People don't just make you rich for the fun of it, in general. And people don't just happen to get rich by accident.

And you know? Our modern society rewards money-focused people who can give so much in their pursuit of riches.

So you can say that modern society needs money-focused people.

We just don't need them in politics.

Yeah, some people get vast wealth forced upon them, but I think that's a small club.

Usually, you have to try to make money to get money. Believe me, I know.

Politicians dedicated to public service don't have time or inclination to get wealthy.

Yes, it can happen anyway. You can get lucky, like winning the lottery. Or have a great investment firm, but it's not like it would be important to you, you know? After all, what could it possibly represent that is better than community? Service?

The best of us, get what they aim to achieve. Your focus determines your direction.

And if you are community focused, there your most proud accomplishments will be found.

Someday I wonder if I'll face hard questions about money. But regardless have calmed down a lot about many things. Like the best thing about my story of the Irish couple was that we were chatting along easily enough about politics and agreeing.

Consensus is a wonderful thing, as it's not really about my ideas after all. I very deliberately went in search of our best American ideas. And maybe the best thing isn't whether or not those lead to a new political party or not, but that we remember.

Our politics will be ok, eventually. After all, it's not like you can hide when money is your focus, and plenty of people want better.

It doesn't take many conversations to figure out the politics that people want from their best selves either.

So I know I'm not alone.


James Harris
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