Where There Is No Vision, The People Perish
Sadly, our world is full of politicians who are visionless sociopaths
Well, friends, the past month of conservative mega-rulings at the Supreme Court has officially fired up the shiny new far-left base of the right-wing Democrats.
Can you feel it in the air?
While the always-in-a-rage Republicans have been campaigning for a year, sleepy-Joe Dems finally woke up and realized what we’ve been saying all along — that The Donald is going to be the next President of the United States, whether he’s elected or not.
But it’s getting harder to muster excitement for the Dems, isn’t it?
The Republican pitch to voters has been the same for 50 years:
“We’re not Democrats.”
Now, Dems are doing the same:
“We’re not Republicans.”
So long as they get themselves re-elected, politicians on either side don’t care what the people think, want, or even need.
It reminds me a lot of the Dictionary.com definition of a sociopath: “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”
But there’s a major problem with letting visionless sociopaths run the country: It destroys society.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds an awful lot like America.
Modern politicians are essentially known for three things:
Ramming through private-interest policies.
Thankfully, there is a simple (but not easy) way to remedy all of these ills.
It’s sad that we live in a world where no one sane actually believes politicians will keep their campaign promises.
There wasn’t a level-headed Republican who actually thought The Donald would build that wall with Mexican dollars.
There wasn’t a lucid Democrat who actually thought Obama would deliver legitimate universal healthcare.
They just made those promises to get themselves elected.
Where I come from, there’s a word for people who don’t keep their promises:
Luckily, there’s an easy fix for fake political promises:
Make party platforms legally binding.
Imagine if parties had to submit their campaign promises to a democratic body that then negotiated with them on how to define progress towards their goals. They wouldn’t be liable for anything outside their control, of course, but they would have to prove they stuck to achieving their promises as defined in their signed document or face accountable consequences.
Penalties for failure could be as stiff as we like. If someone lied to the public just to get themselves elected, surely that would warrant some white-collar jail time, no?
The beauty of terrifying politicians is that it would keep liars out of politics.
It would also have a moderating effect on parties, because they’d actually have to think long and hard about how to make progress on their promises, rather than offering up highly-divisive wedge issues to enflame their bases.
The rate at which laws that no one asked for are passed is astounding.
But having personally been part of getting two laws changed, I can tell you that every law gets passed for a reason.
And that reason is almost always that a corporation asked their sponsored politicians to pass it, the public be damned.
A perfect example is the Canadian real estate crisis:
In the next decade, because of visionless sociopaths running Canada, there’s going to be a 2 million unit shortage in one province alone.
This is going to cost Canadians trillions in extra payments to banksters and land-lorders, money that could have been saved and invested and spent by the little people, but instead will increase inequality in the pockets of the rich.
Because private interests — banks, corporate land-lorders, and city councils with property tax authority — profit massively from ever-elevating house prices.
Getting laws changed is actually super easy if you’re a $100-billion predator like Airbnb:
You donate to parties.
You sponsor candidates.
You fund fake grassroots organizations.
You buy up media to control the narrative.
You flood Congress with lobbyists.
For a few percentage points of your annual net profits, you can buy or block nearly any law — in fact, the ROI on investing in democratic subversion is wildly profitable.
There’s only one way to stop rich people from bribing politicians:
Get rid of politicians.
That’s right: We should try democracy. No more politicians. Everyone gets to vote on every issue. Maybe we even give ourselves one paid vacation day each quarter to study up on the issues before voting. Maybe we vote from the comfort of our own homes via an encrypted app or a blockchain. Maybe we allow legally-accountable proxies to vote for blocs of people who couldn’t be bothered to vote for themselves.
It’s far harder for a monopoly corporation to bribe 300 million voters than it is to buy a few hundred Congresssociopaths — democracy would essentially eliminate all private-interest policies in favor of broadly-popular initiatives.
Perhaps it’s not entirely accurate to say that politicians don’t have a vision for humanity.
Because they do.
Regardless of whether someone is a far-right Republican or a center-right Democrat, both parties share the same common vision:
Today’s “successful” politician — IE, the one that keeps getting re-elected — is the one who can deliver as little as possible to the people (just an inch short of open revolt) while maximizing what they can give to their corporate sponsors.
It’s a sickening thought, but it’s true.
That’s why healthcare is always underfunded, roads always need work, there’s always a shortage of teachers, and family finances never keep up.
Yet there’s always room to cut taxes for the rich and give bailouts and subsidies to monopolies. Heaven forbid billionaires lose a zero or two.
So long as politicians can enrich the rich without sparking a peasant revolt, corporatists will keep their puppets in power.
What should be the vision of every politician that ever gets elected?
Some people want to abolish the minimum wage.
Some people want to expand the military.
Some people want to let Airbnb and land-lorders take over housing.
Some people want to let boys be girls.
Some people want to abolish the Fed and use Bitcoin instead.
Some people want to get rid of guns.
Some people want to arm teachers and students.
In addition to all our personal issues, what if we also all shared a common vision?
What could such a universal common vision even look like?
What would be the most rational, the most beneficial vision for a democracy?
I think we should aim for socioenviroeconomic sustainability.
Socio: For every piece of legislation, we would ask: Is this sustainable for uniting society, or will this tear it apart?
Enviro: For every piece of legislation, we would ask: Is this sustainable for the closed ecosystem in which we find ourselves, or will this destroy the Earth that sustains us?
Economic: For every piece of legislation, we would ask: Is this sustainable for the human economy, or will it decrease real wealth for most of society?
The word I invented for this concept is benevitae.
It’s what the Post Growth Institute calls “a good life for all within ecological limits.”
So what is our new national and global vision?
To pursue socioenviroeconomic sustainability in order to achieve widest-spread longest-term well-being.
Surely only the most deranged, the most anti-social, the greediest humans on earth could stand against such a vision. Surely the vast major of voters could agree that this is the only shared goal that won’t inevitably destroy humanity.
Achieving the vision
What would benevitae look like? What would longest-term widest-spread well-being look like? It would certainly include the following:
No interest and minimal debt
A reliable currency with zero inflation
Wages that actually meet the cost of living
Easily affordable homeownership for all
Easily affordable not-for-profit rentership for those who can’t own
A far smaller homo sapien population, and far more wildlife and wildland
100% renewable energy
This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.
Socioenviroeconomic sustainability is absolutely achievable, but it has massive opposition in the form of elite for-private-profit corporations.
Democratic self-government essentially has one core function — to protect all citizens from threats foreign, domestic, and increasingly, corporate.
This is where Via Negativa comes in — the art of adding by subtracting.
To achieve longest-term widest-spread well-being, we essentially have to get rid of the exploiters.
We need to eliminate economic exploitation in all its forms, including interest, for-profit land-lording, rent-seeking, and monopolization. We need to re-design our society and economy to incentivize contribution, not extraction. We need to work on the ties that bind us, not the issues that divide us.
Obviously, we will never reach perfection, heaven, or utopia—this will only happen when the manifest presence of God floods the entire universe forever.
In the meantime, we need a shared common vision for Earth.
But first, we need to get rid of the sociopathic, anti-Christ, anti-human politicians who refuse to envision a better tomorrow for all.
Jared Brock is an award-winning biographer, PBS documentarian, and the cell-free founder of the popular Christian blog Future Faith. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Guardian, Smithsonian, USA Today, and TIME Magazine, and he has traveled to more than forty countries including North Korea. Join 25,000+ people who follow him on Medium, Twitter, and Substack.
Future Faith is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.