The recent coronavirus crisis revealed many things which remained safely hidden under the comfort of our everyday routine.
As usual, a crisis of such proportions exposes the real self of men (and women). And what emerged from those ICU beds, the agony, the fear, the irony and the disbelief (of those who do not believe in the virus – as if its RNA strands are part of a system of belief) was something ugly.
Starting with Trump, it was made evident beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is nothing beyond economy for the current president of the United States. And when we say nothing we mean nothing. There is nothing there. He only sees money and… well, more money. Nothing more. His decisions are dictated by money. He dreams of money. And that was why he was so much feeling outside his game during this crisis which hurt the most valuable thing of them all: the US economy.
That is why he decided not to close the country because “We never closed the country for the flu”. (But then measures were taken) That is why he insists day after day to announce when the country will open again, as if the lives of the Americans can be measured in dollars. (And as if he cannot print more money when he needs to) That is why in the midst of a global crisis he withdrew from the WHO on the basis on… how much the US pay to the organization. (By the way, leaving more room to the Chinese to make the organization more… Chinese – something for which Trump accused them in the first place)
These are just the latest signs of Trump seeing nothing more than money. He is now infamous for his ban of the largest Chinese mobile phones company, a move which no one could even consider even as a story for a fiction novel. Or for imposing tariffs on goods from China and Europe, making the world go back 1000 years in the world trade history where people used to pay taxes for every city they entered. Or for even considering decommissioning a US aircraft carrier because… it costed too much (!), ignoring years of US foreign policy and power projection strategies only to make the ledger look better. (No, Trump is not worried about global democracy, he is just worried about the ledger of his country; whatever you see as American power projection is a remnant of his predecessors)
Beyond economy, Trump is good at uttering great lines against political correctness (this is good), however only to gain votes and not out of any philosophical disposition against political correctness. And this is even worse than saying nothing.
But let us move on to the story and to the other protagonists of the US political scene. And while doing that, see the problem: That there are no other protagonists. Trump, with all his problems and misconducts, seems to be the best available choice. Not only from the Republicans but from the Democrats as well. Amazing as it is, there seems to be no contender to challenge him on equal terms on the politics scene. This does not imply that there are no people who are better than Trump as people, I am just saying that there are no politics better than Trump.
So here we are, facing the greatest problem of the philosophy of politics. Who should we vote?
The obvious answer would be “the least bad” (or ‘evil’, but evil is a heavy word; after all, it is just about money). But that is a bad answer on its own. Even if Trump looks better than the other current candidates, this does not justify his selection let alone praise for anything. He is a bad choice per se. Inherently. Essentially. And there is no way around that dead-end.
The last time people chose between the lesser evil in the Germany in the 1930’s things didn’t end up well. Politics should not be about imposing problems. It should be about proposing solutions to choose from. And when there is no solution evident, then solutions should be found.
But how can you find solutions in politics if politics is only about what to do and what to do not? How can you justify voting for one or the other when it all comes down to “Who gets things done”? Trump is good in US economy. Others are good at foreign policy. Others may be good at not jailing C-executives of foreign big companies (just saying). Would that suffice to choose who to vote? Whatever negative things one could say for Trump, he could easily say for other politics in the US for various other reasons. It is all a matter on where you stand politically, on what are your interests, on what things you are in favor of or against.
And right there, in the midst of the greatest dark, is when we will remember that there was once a bright light shinning in our life. A light we have forgotten because we chose to forget it. Philosophy used to play an important role in everyday life. People used to ask Why. (The important Why’s, not the type of “Why did we not have profits this year”) Now we just ask How. And our life is more successful than ever. And our life is empty. Because we have forgotten the most simple yet difficult teaching of philosophy: When the answer is difficult, perhaps the question is wrong. Politics is dead. Not because we killed it. But because it was never alive anyway. Don’t you see? The only cases when politics produced something useful was when they acted as non-politics.
And that is why Harmonia Philosophica will never write politics articles. Except to remind you that there is no need to be involved or be interested in politics. The real problems of the cosmos are problems with our very nature. Problems related to our existence. Problems stemming from our own Being as such. How can a politic ever answer these?
Who am I going to vote?
What a weird question.
For someone who is already running the world…