Look, one of them is saying, these are the facts of life ….. there are millions of voters, who will decide the outcome. These you must attract. So don't say anything unusual or radical.
You must tell them the things they want to hear, the second chimes in. …
Anything definite will push away votes, a third insists. Every principle will upset somebody, so please don't go into details. Just stick to vague generalities which appeal to everybody. […]
In Goethe’s great drama, Faust sells his soul to the devil for success in this world. Every politician has a Satan of his own, who offers power in exchange for his soul.
You have principles, this Satan whispers in his ear. They are very nice, but if you don't win the elections, they are good for nothing. You can realize them only if you come to power. So it's worth giving up some principles, making some compromises, in order to win. Afterwards you will be free to do whatever your heart desires.
The candidate knows that this is true. In order to fulfill his plans, he must first of all be elected. To get elected, he must also say things he doesn't believe in and give up things he does very much believe in.
And the question is again: Where is the limit? Which concessions are permissible on the way to the aim? Where are the red lines?
The Devil knows that the small compromises will lead to larger compromises, and so on, on the slippery slope to the loss of the soul. Without the candidate noticing, he is sliding downwards, and when he opens his eyes, he finds himself in the filthy political swamp.
This is the first big test for the aspiring leader: to know the difference between the permissible and the forbidden. Between the "art of the possible" and the "end justifies the means". Between the stubborn insistence on his principles and the total surrender to those experts, who turn every new program into a mishmash of empty phrases.
Since the beginnings of democracy in Greece, it has been bedeviled by a question: can the people, the demos, really be relied on to make the right choices? How can the public choose between different solutions for problems of which they have no real understanding? After all, the millions of voters lack even the most rudimentary knowledge about matters of the budget, the complexity of foreign relations, military strategy and the thousands of other matters that a head of state has to decide about.
Which leader is being discussed above?
UPDATE - 16 October 2008 @ 5:11 pm
Last night when I popped across to my fave Israeli website Gush Shalom – Israeli Peace Bloc I read an article titled Satan’s Counsel and was struck by how some of the paragraphs could gnam gnam be discussing the behaviour of a Malaysian politician.
;-) I am sure you know who I have in mind. So I extracted relevant paragraphs and edited out the ‘giveaways’ which would have indicated its non-Malaysian context.
Yes, I know I was being mischievously naughty wakakaka, and was waiting for the usual mob to lambast me for talking bad about our ‘Great Man’ again.
When that happened I would then reveal it was in fact Uri Avnery describing Barack Obama – with an innocent ‘what, me?’ - wakakaka.
Of course I had to present it in such a manner without giving the game away by the usual acknowledgement until at least this evening once I had ‘snared’ wakakaka a few ‘acolytes’.
I did it in a manner where there would be a demarcation between my sole question and the article. I even left standard markers as such [...] in the 4th paragraph which implies there were more to the 'extracts'.
And 'extracts' have to mean they were taken from a much longer essay, which therefore couldn’t have been mine (or the whole essay would be posted).
I usually used yellow or prominent coloured fonts for articles written by someone, though as kittykat asserted, those could be just any editor's way to highlight parts of a posting – (was it a Freudian slip on kittykat’s part to use the term ‘editor’ implying he agreed with me that - wakakaka).
Now, what he meant was it could be the blogger’s way to highlight parts ... (aiyoh, kittykat, the whole article was highlighted in yellow lah, not ‘parts’ – another Freudian slip – wakakaka).
My only input has been just one line in my standard white fonts "Which leader is being discussed above?"
But anon of 9:49 am gets 1st prize for preempting my evening revelation – kind of spoil my 'trap' - wakakaka.
I do not expect my detractors to accept my true fun-motive and I accept them to lay it on thick with their plagiarism accusation – aiyah, must let them have their occasional victory lah – wakakakakakakaka
Poor kaytee just has to wear it ;-)