Change as a Political Mantra

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, political movements that proclaim change as their universal immortal mantra, must always create suffering, want and drama, in order for their message to sell. Obviously, in a time and place where there is Nirvana, the economy is going gangbusters, government is all but non existent, crime is something read about in books and the kids all have carefree childhoods… no one would want change. Therefore, those who peddle change need the economy to grind along sufficient to keep from collapsing, but poorly enough so that want strides the land. Social unrest and crime sell change better than any ad agency ever could. Place government right at the heart of the problems and change is a winner all around.

Change is especially attractive to the young. Kids in school believe they are the smartest people who ever lived and those who have an inflated sense of self are the easiest marks. You did and I did, we all believed we were the wisest people on the planet when we were young, and many of us still do. It is only through the tempering of the raw knowledge we gained in school by life experience, and most of that, mere propaganda, before someone is able to recognize a scam, especially one packaged so beautifully. The very idea of change is exciting to youth. Young and unwise people romanticize change, dream about how much better everything will be after, imagine themselves as the benevolent autocrat ruling for the betterment of mankind and picture how pristine the planet will be once fossil fuels are forbidden.

That is why change always leads to a worse outcome for everyone but the politicians. Politicians peddling the snake oil, change, will have the starry eyed youth manning their trenches. Loyal soldiers who are immune to any barrage of reason or empirical evidence contradicting their beloved change. Riding the swell of youth acting against their own interests, politicians peddling change then can make the situation such that everyone will want change. The worse they can make everything, the better their message of change will resonate, not just with the youth but with everyone who has lost their job, wife, husband, healthcare and dignity.

It is against the self interest of people selling change then to improve things. I think at this point we can all agree, people act in their own perceived self interest. That is why people are so happy to vote for the politician who will use the power of the state to take from another to give the themselves. They see it in their self interest to receive money for their vote. Outside of any discussion of if it is in one’s self interest, rightly understood, to do so, we can see that people do it because they perceive it to be in their self interest. Politicians who peddle change are acting in their self interest as well. The message sells, once in power it is easy to pretend to try to change things for the better, while working to change things for the worse. Since it is always much easier to change things for the worse, that politician who hawks change will always be able to create the conditions where that message sells. It is in their self interest to make things worse as they pitch change.

When you hear someone selling change, you know the change they are selling is always for the worse. Generally, people peddling change will help their core constituency at the cost to society, since doing so gets both their core constituents paid off for their support, and creates conditions where the message of change resonates. In the long term however, change always makes even the most politically favored group’s fortunes lower. Eventually only the top political echelon have plenty while everyone else has little. People act in their self interest and so those who gain power based on change will always seek to make conditions such that change is a winner.

This paradigm only works as long as the people are ignorant of the game. Once those pitching change have become so brazen people cannot help but to see, even when they seek not to, the message is seen for what it is. Usually far too late to do anything to stop the inevitable destruction. People will become angry once the charade is discovered and some will become violent. This has happened many times in history when the elite have been discovered for who they are, those same great men Thrasymachus so admired in The Republic. Those selling change will have their Marie Antoinette and Benito Mussolini moments, not because it is just or right, but because they have striven so mightily to deserve it.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

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