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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The News, Ethics and Politics: Our Futures And Their Power

Eliminate politics. It is a bad venture. It has been for thousands of years, and it will be for thousands of years to come---if we don't cure it like the disease that it is. Lets face it even the brightest of us don't understand everything, and no one truly knows even a good portion of economics, social science and world diplomacy. Each of those requires extensive, almost infinite, information about equations, human nature in groups and as individuals and about thousands of cultures. There is literally no way to know it. However, in our modern political scene, we pretend like we do. We act certain. We feel certain. We are deceiving ourselves.

Since when have you opened up an advanced text book to realize you know everything in it---even when you've been in that field for years? Any professional knows that there is literally more information in an given, single, professional field than any one hundred trained professional's can assimilate, let alone one person.  And, there our thousands of professional fields and specialities that are required to run the government for even a day. And each of those have hundreds or thousands of people diving up the understanding and responsibility of those areas. 

Yet, when we vote, we think we can decide whether or not someone had done the right or wrong thing in there field. We pretend that we know what philosophy is best for running our  nation's finances, whether it is better to lighten taxes or increase them, whether to drill or not to drill, whether to attack or not to attack. We are wrong. These are not simple problems that can be solved with a civilian's mind, or even a brilliant professional's mind. Each of those problem requires infinitely complex mathematical,  behavioral, economic and cultural calculations that requires thousands of brilliant minds to understand and act upon.

However, this is what politics tells us: "You understand it all, and you know you can trust me, so vote me because you know I am right". Meanwhile, they're spoon feeding your only information. And, you take it up eagerly because believing is far better than feeling lost in the chaos of information you can't understand. Believing that Joe the Plumber or Sarah Palin can run a nation makes you feel more equipped to handle the world.

In reality, you are busy surviving, feeding your children and working your job, and you are just one person. You can't understand. the best that you can hope for is that you play a significant piece in the puzzle. The best way to play a piece in the puzzle is to vote people in who are qualified to make those decisions. In this world of constant psychological manipulation that is an impossible choice. There is no way to make the right decision. 

And, that is how we need to exercise our power in this democracy: we need to find a way so when we make a decision we can have a real, trustworthy reason to believe that it is correct, and not just deceptive certainty. 

We need to break it down. What do we want for our nation? We want to live healthy, happy and free. We want our nation's power to protect and promote these. We want crush corruption, and optimize our government so that it serves our desire for a health and happiness in the long and short term. We can do that by effective watch-dogs, and the best candidates. 

We must fix our watch-dog and find a way to choose our candidates that eliminates political manipulation, whether wielded through a news agency or a  politician. The way to do this is to make the News a different kind of profession, held to the same standards as a doctor or lawyer. A profession that is not for entertainment value, but that genuinely seeks to uncover corruption and bring truth to the public. News agencies need to become a new legal category, where the size and influence of the agency is limited by strict rules, and where the news agencies are held accountable by other news agencies and the public. Every story that is meant to report news on politics or world happenings should have reliable and valid resources,  recorded and verifiable.  If they don't there should be serious consequences, consequences that are independent of the government, but no less binding.

The other side of this is politicians themselves can manipulate, and subtle differences between the candidates can warp the vote in wrong way. For instance, you can predict elections based on how tall the candidate is. This preference for taller people could cause us to choose the wrong person. And there are many more ways that are both intentional or not intentional that we can be influenced to vote in the wrong direction. 

In order to snip our own self-defeating mental heuristics out of the process, we need to limit the kind of information that we receive. We should do this by law. The law must say that we never see our candidates.  The only criteria that can be known---and posted and easily accessible to the public must be: IQ, Education, Grades, Languages spoken, Experience, Financials and Other criteria set by a committees of the best professionals who deem these to be important in decision making and background experience.  Political affiliations of the candidates should never be mentioned.  Specially designed tests for candidates need to be taken and posted, as well, that gage leadership skills, charisma, and cultural and economic understanding.

The only way to fix a broken system is to redesign it. Our system is broken because we don't have the kind of understanding and control we think we do. We aren't actually making choices---we're being unconsciously told what to do. We're leashed. We're leashed to other's information, other's opinions and other's persuasive charisma. Beef up the watch-dogs and eliminate the political scene by eliminating the manipulation. Eliminate politics. 

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