Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why are Western politics less extreme?

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In my previous article I was reflecting on the differences between Western and Russian politics. Russian politics seem so much more extreme than ours. i.e. Mikhail Khodorkovsky posed a threat to President Putin, so he was sent to gaol for 6 years. It is improbable that he will ever be released as long as Putin is in power.
You can't do that in Australia....well you don't need to. Consider Pauline Hanson. After 3 months in gaol people did not identify her as a victim. She made a mistake, but the opposition parties had achieved their objective. They had sabotaged her credibility prior to an election. That would not work in Russia because no one has credibility. Corruption is expected. Maybe you expect the same of Australian politicians. More than likely you thought prison was a little extreme for her.

In the West we tend to rely on financial or punitive threats to attain compliance. But in poor countries this does not work because people have so little money. They need to threaten lives in order to achieve political outcomes. This is extreme I grant you. The alternative is to arrest people on trumped up charges and detain them in prison for a decade until a time when people no longer care. Are you about to protest in the streets for a single person? I doubt it.

I guess this is another element - the ideological weight of people's values in the West tends to be more motivated by financial considerations than political issues. Note that one of the endearing legacies of organised labour is their greater 'passion' for politics. They really get out and campaign, just like the churches. The liberals however are more interested in making money, and using it to make a difference. Money works if people are motivated more by money than ideas.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?