By indexer
153 days ago

Why we get the governments we deserve

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Politicians in a democracy are always keen to get your vote, and they seem to have very few scruples about how they achieve this. Most of them do not actually go around handing out money in return for votes (although this is not unknown), but they are always very keen to be seen to be in agreement with the general mood of the electorate.

However, this often leads them into a different form of dishonesty.

Recent polling in the United Kingdom has produced some interesting insights into what the electorate believes to be the state of affairs in several key areas. For example, when asked what proportion of the UK population is Muslim, the consensus view is that it is 24%. When asked what proportion are immigrants, the answer is 31%. Out of every £100 of public funds spent on welfare, the electorate believes that £24 is claimed fraudulently.

However, these figures are way off course in terms of what is actually the case. The UK Muslim population is 5% of the total, 13% of people in this country are relatively recent immigrants, and only £0.70 out of every £100 spent on welfare goes to fraudulent claimers. The situation in these, and many other areas, is nothing like as dire as people like to imagine – this is, of course, assuming that it is a bad thing that a high proportion of the population are Muslims, which is a highly contentious point in itself but many non-Muslims are deeply worried about this.

So what does the average politician do if he or she wants to garner as many votes as possible? It is hardly in their interest to start telling people that they are wrong in terms of their assessment of the state of the nation – that is not a vote-winning strategy! Instead they will go along with people’s biased views even when they know how off-beam they are.

Thus our political leaders act in a highly dishonest way and make speeches that agree with the prejudices of the electorate. The false facts thus gain a new sort of truth – if everyone believes the exaggerated figures, and governments take actions that are based on them, they have suddenly turned into reality. Forget the real facts – prejudice wins votes! The Nazis in Germany came to power using just this sort of twisted thinking – if everyone believed that the Jews were the enemies of the German people then it had to be true. Unfortunately, the same is happening with today’s “enemies”, be they Muslims, immigrants or benefit scroungers.

When a majority of people believe something to be true, whether it is or not, democracy tends to make it so.
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Justin Interesting article
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Shavkat It would be nice to have a good governance for the people's welfare.
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