This Is What Counts, Not Politics
Some readers may have expected commentary here on the big political news of last week. It’s true that I was busy but, to be completely honest, it seems questionable to me to be overly concerned about which individual is leading the government.
Is it not true that the government’s source of power is our own willingness to be governed? Is it not true that, given the prevailing mainstream opinion, no ruling politician or political party can stray from it very far? Is it not true that, to the extent that decision-making is democratic, politicians are obliged to obey the majority? Therefore, the real battleground is not in the Dáil or Seanad but right here, in the blogosphere and traditional media, where arguments and opinions are put forward.
It’s the ideas which matter most. The people form a consensus and the politicians convince us that they are the ones most capable of implementing it. Politicians may attempt to guide public opinion but they must eventually submit to our vision of how things should be organised.
And it goes further than this. If we want to, we can force the government to relinquish its power. We can “alter or abolish it, and institute new government.” Where we do not wish to be ruled, we will not be ruled.
Obviously, the obstacles are immense. It’s not a fair fight between idealists and thinkers on the one hand and monopolists of law, currency, policing and education on the other. It’s not a fair fght when elected representatives, the only ones directly accountable to the citizens, abdicate their responsibilities and transfer their power to the unelected and the unaccountable. And yet it is still true that no government could survive a complete loss of moral authority. Their perceived legitimacy evaporates with it. and they can hold power no more.
So to bring this back and apply it to the question Bertie Ahern’s resignation, should we be concerned? Not at all. He was only a servant, a man whose job was to satisfy the opinion of most of the people most of the time. It will be the same for whoever comes after him. While we can enjoy the drama and humour of his story for whatever it’s worth, it’s but a tale of sound and fury – it signifies nothing!
The real significance can be found in public debates, letters to newspapers and blogs like this one. We hold the key to power. So if you feel emotionally invested in the affairs of state, I suggest you redirect your energies to your fellow citizens. Without their compliance, government is impossible.