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The Illusion Of Choice

April 18th, 2024 2 comments

Why are such incompetent people elected to public office?  Given the epidemic of incompetence in political regimes worldwide, but especially in the West where supposedly the most advanced democracies exist, we have to wonder; how can the ‘leaders’ be so inept?

There’s an old saying that you elect who you deserve as your political leaders, but is that really true?  Who really elects them?

Taking the case of Canada for an example, it’s not true that the nation decided that out of 40 million people, they collectively concluded that someone like Justin Trudeau is the best qualified person to run the affairs of the nation.  This is not a political view, it’s simply one of logic.  Someone whom has never run a business, nor had any training in management and whose only asset is that his father was once Prime Minister of the country is placed in the role of national leader.

As is the case in the United States, Canada has only two or three political parties that effectively control who people get to vote for. The system has evolved so that elections are like going to Costco. At Costco they only stock limited brands of any particular product. There is no wide selection of any given product unlike in grocery stores or large supermarkets.  Someone in management makes an economic decision to stock Brand A’s product instead of those of other brands. Thus, if you want to buy beans, it’s Brand A…or nothing.

It’s quite the same in politics.  Since there are really only two (at most 3) parties to choose from, the choices are made for the public by a very small cabal of party insiders.  Thus, if you’re part of that cabal, the leverage you have on the rest of the nation is gargantuan.  Logically, if you have enough money at your disposal, you can exert enormous influence simply by leveraging those in the cabal; forget the public. Of course, this is obvious now as corporate interests drive all elections. This process has been in place for decades, but it has becomes more and more refined with each election cycle. The illusion of choice to the public is thus perpetuated even as people become more disillusioned with the process.

Political strategists know that name recognition means much more than actual policies when it comes to voters.  Most will go into a polling booth and be discouraged by the list of names offered and just tick the box for the names or parties they recognize. It’s like buying Heinz ketchup at Costco.  It may not be the best, but you know the name. If we had an election today, Taylor Swift would win an election over almost any qualified candidate based solely on name recognition.  Yes, people are that level of dumb.  A guy like Joe Biden spends his entire career as a politician, elected only because he’s been elected enough times for name recognition, but makes it all the way to the top job while being on the wrong side of every major policy issue in his career….and often on both sides of the same issue.

An even more absurd example is the current mayor of Toronto, Olivia Chow.  The mayor’s claim to fame is that her late husband was a national NDP politician and after his passing, the political halo effect was passed on to his wife.  Of course, now with revelations of her ruminating about taxing the rain on property holders as well as her police department advising citizens to keep car keys near their unlocked doors for easier theft, her unsuitability for political office is revealed.  Too late, she’s in.

We’re kind of seeing some of this nonsense in the US. There has been ongoing speculation that the wife of former President Obama, Michele, can somehow be qualified to step into the Presidency.  This is the same illogical mindset that thought Hilary Clinton would be a good second act for Bill.  Or that the Kennedy family has a permanent place in political office. This is the road favored by Monarchists who are able to pass on their reins of power to ensuing generations.  Queen Elizabeth knew this wasn’t a good idea, so she held off passing her reins as long as she could.

The whole idea of living in a society with representative governments is that people who have power and influence reflect the wishes and values of the citizens.  The US at least, was founded on this principle.  Now it seems as if the political winds have shifted back towards the monarchist model where people are considered to be ‘rightfully’ ensconced in power.

In the case of Costco, they have implemented a program of creating their own house labelled products to compete with the name brand products. What’s notable is that these house labelled products are often better and cheaper than the big label brands.  We need the Costco model for politics.  As at Costco, we should be able to return the politicians if not satisfactory.  There definitely has to be a better refund policy.