Thursday, September 29, 2016

Eyes on Grassroot Streets: Apolitical Reasons to Question Politics

 She should've been his spy or lobbyist partner but sexism locked out MI5's  Mrs Garbo

Former federal education minister and Vocation chairman John Dawkins will face court after  the corporate regulator accused him of failing to disclose the training provider was at risk of losing a crucial government funding. The court action comes after Rear Window revealed in August 2014 that the Victorian government had suspended Vocation's funding pending the outcome of a full audit.
On the same day, Vocation had made a market announcement in response to the Rear Window column saying the Victorian government's review of the courses would not affect Vocation's share price and asserted it had had a "longstanding and constructive relationship" with the Victorian government.nOn Wednesday Australian Securities and Investments Commission brought a civil action against Vocation, Mr Dawkins, chief executive Mark Hutchinson and chief financial officer Manvinder Grewal.
John Dawkins faces court over vocation collapse
Former Vocation Ltd chief executive Mark Hutchinson.

Former Vocation Ltd chief executive Mark Hutchinson. Photo: Nic Walker

The allegation comes after Mr Dawkins, the former Hawke government education minister, called for a massive overhaul of the university system, including fee deregulation earlier this week. Mr Dawkins said he would  "vigorously defend" the legal action brought by the ASIC. "I was one of four non-executive directors – although I am only one part of this action – and I believe we all diligently and collectively fulfilled our disclosure obligations," Mr Dawkins said in a statement.

Read more: 
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

*I admire politics. I admire politicians, the gifted ones, greatly. Politics is the highest art of social interaction. Politics is the art of striking compromise between people with varying preferences. Politics is the art of making people cooperate who otherwise don't like each other, in areas that are not amenable to markets. Finally, and this may sound a little more sinister, politics is the highest art art of human tool use. In politics, you use not just things, but other people, as tools to achieve a result. These other people will in turn only help you if it is also in their interest, something you have to convince them of, with compromise and concession. 
Anyone who does not see politics as a high art and indeed the highest social art, is just hopelessly naive, and belongs with well intended ineffectual reformers of the esperanto / social engineering kind. 
Finally, politics is also everywhere, not just in electoral public affairs. The workplace? Full of politics. Clans, clubs? Full of politics. Academia? Full of politics. And families. The five-year-old who wants the cookie on the top shelf has three choices: climb up herself (very hard), use a tool such as a ladder (a little easier), or use politics by ... asking mom, persuasively, maybe promising to take out the trash later.
Ignore politics, and you will achieve precisely nothing. Only politics gets you voluntary cooperation in non market areas, and even market actions and companies are permeated by it. This hand wringing about politics is not just eternal but also getting very old. We are human, we are social, we are therefore political. All of us. Some better, some worse. No one gets anywhere in society without at least a little bit of personal politics. To have a libertarian argue in favor of his political model while complaining about politics is like having a socialist hand-wring about the markets in the morning before organizing his garage sale at night....

**I hate politics.  Part of the reason, to be honest, is that I'm a libertarian, and libertarian views have almost no influence in the world of politics.  Libertarians don't just lose every election; policy-makers normally summarily reject our position.  Libertarians don't just fail to control a major party; "successful libertarian politician" is almost an oxymoron.

But perennial defeat isn't the only reason I hate politics.  On reflection, I'd loathe politics even if my policy views matched Clinton's or Trump's word-for-word.  Indeed, I'd loathe politics even if I thought prevailing policies were the pinnacle of wisdom.  Why?  Because I hate the way people think about politics, independent of the ultimate outcome.

I hate the hyperbole of politics.  People should speak literal, measured truth or be silent.

I hate the Social Desirability Bias of politics.  People should describe reality as it is, not pander to wishful thinking.

I hate the innumeracy of politics.  People should focus on what's quantitatively important, not what thrills the masses.

I hate the overconfidence of politics.  People shouldn't make claims they won't bet on, and shouldn't assert certainty unless they're willing to bet everything they own against a penny.

I hate the myside bias of politics.  People should strive to be fair to out-groups, and scrupulously monitor in-groups, to counteract our natural human inclination to do the opposite.  

I hate the "winning proves I'm right" mentality of politics.  Winning only proves your views are popular, and popular views are often wrong.

Last but not least:

I hate the excuses people make for each of the preceding evils.  While I'm open to consequentialist arguments for doing evil that good may come, most of the arguments in this genre are deeply tainted by innumeracy and overconfidence.  If you calmly weigh the social benefits of political hyperbole, carefully crunch the numbers, and grudgingly and sorrowfully conclude that it's justified in specific cases, I'm all ears.  But if you defend hyperbole with casual, undiscriminating delight, life's too short to listen to you.

P.S. While I hate how people act in politics, I emphatically don't hate the people themselves.  Politics is only a small sliver of most people's lives, so the apolitical good normally far outweighs the political bad.e

Apolitical reasons to hate politics

Missing moods