“Good men are unwilling to rule, either for money’s sake or for honour…. So they must be forced to consent under threat of penalty…. The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.” — Plato (The Republic)
Plato was a very smart man even for today’s age. The above quote is often misquoted as “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber” which sounds cool, is shorter and simple to understand. However it does not really capture what Plato is trying to say.
Plato gives two reason’s why good men may not willing to rule, that is to participate in politics or exercise their authority. It is either money or honor. More I see people more I see these two trends.
Businessmen happen to be the most powerful entities in society because they have a lot of money. But they are extremely cautious not to get caught on the wrong foot with the government because that can hurt them in short term hence they prefer the long term doom.
There are far too many intellectuals who sit on the shore and give us instructions about swimming. These people are full of wise words. Pretend to be people of character but when it comes to taking a stand on any controversial issue push other people instead of taking a stand.
These are the people who wear mask of honesty, integrity and honor. The integrity which was never subjected to difficult choice and virginity that was never subjected to an easy temptation is not a virtue. It is just outright stupidity. I have no respect for such people. The best example of this class of people is our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The moment you take a hard stand on a controversial issue the opposing camp becomes your enemy and it tries to search skeletons in your cupboard. If anyone manages to find something, the mask of honor is torn apart and you stand exposed. So the best idea is to claim ignorance. Justice is a casualty in the process.
Having said this all, the real point that I want to make is that, politics affects our life deeply. The choice of ruler will determine the quality of life we live 10 years ahead. Many people especially the middle class is under the impression that they wont be affected. “We have a government job”, ” We are friends with so and so minister”, “CM is a family friend”, “I live in Mumbai most of the time” etc. etc. there are plenty excuses for this apathy.
When I speak to people in Goa most of them say that they will vote for Congress government. Now, every one among them accepts without any arguments that the Digamber Kamar government is the most corrupt government we has seen so far. Their argument is they are not interested in an honest government they are interested in a government that will give them personal gains. So and so MLA gave my son a job (either free or for Rs 5 Lakh), he helped me ge tout of the jail, he helped me grab public land, he helped me building my illegal house and so on. The mining issue might be a burning issue but everyone sees a personal benefit in continuing with the same system.
There is nothing wrong in people being selfish. That is the basic human nature. However the real problem I feel is that people are not being selfish enough. They lack intelligence and foresight to understand the importance of governance and overall well-being of the society.
Let us understand what as an individual I really care about. Firstly, I care about my bank balance. Higher is better. Secondly, I care about safety and well-being of my family. Thirdly, I care about the future of my family. I want a better future than the present for myself and my future generations. Our society is full of retards. They think that these objectives are easily achieved by staying close to the politician and participating in his corrupt practices.
Yes, in relative terms it is absolutely true. If you keep yourself in good books of the corrupt local M.L.A. it is likely that you will earn more money than others, be more safe than other and have better future than others. But remember all these three terms are highly relative of others. It is because most people out there are pathetically poor you feel like rich. It is because overall law and order situation is so horrible that you feel safe by staying close to that politician.
If our government was truly committed to people, if it was run by honest and competent men interested more in people’ welfare than their own. The average income, average law and order situation would have been much better than what it is now. Without sucking up to a politician you could have earned a lot more in a more free and conductive environment than now.
Unfortunately, people lack that foresight to see these things. People fail to see that a government that looks after the whole society is much more beneficial to everyone than a government that helps chosen few.