November 16, 2008

Sociology and politics are two halves of the same coin. Sociology is one of many different approaches to discovering why people do what they do. Politics is its applied older sibling. In a world that cares not at all about the why except as a "how can I use this to gain or increase my personal power?", the art of political manipulation has rapidly become one of the most valuable commodities of modern society.

We have grown beyond the village where everybody knows everything (but most of it must never be spoken), and so politics necessarily becomes an art of manipulated appearances on a mass media scale. Odds are very good that most of us can't possibly know the members of the power eschelon personally, so how can we possibly know (let alone evaluate) the candidates as individual persons on the basis -- maybe -- of a whole handshake? and that already pre-selected? As educated voters we are told to examine a candidate's past policies and voting record: but this tells us precisely nothing of the backroom compromises, let alone what a candidate might do with a less compromised power.

It is not often that an outsider can identify the early trial balloons sent up to evaulate early public response, the deliberate leaks to allow later denial or confirmation as seems most publicly appropriate: but every once in a while they are clearly visible: and then I watch with interest to see how far a nation is willing to evolve the principles on which it was founded.

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