But a Strong Leader Would…


Are you frustrated with politics right now? Is it Brexit, Trump, May, Marcon, austerity? You’re not alone in that, and a lot of people are starting to question whether the system can be reformed in some way. Perhaps you’re pinning your hopes on Sturgeon, or Corbyn, or AOC? Don’t bother. Perhaps you figure that the right person will come along and somehow fix everything? It’s only common sense right? How hard can it be? Well, in that case you’re falling for a fantasy.

Firstly, the leader you crave would have to be philosophically in tune with most of your views. Take a look around you, how many people out there feel the same way about most things as you do? Even among your closest friends, the chances are, that while you like and respect one another, you disagree on quite a lot! Don’t believe me? OK, pretend that I have a magic wand, and can make any one of your friends the ruler of the world. Who would you pick? Feeling confident? You have to choose wisely…

How is everyone else likely to feel about your choice? Do you anticipate a substantial majority being happy with it? A majority even? A significant minority? Hmm… a handful of people. Or perhaps not even you, right?

Here’s the thing, when you think of Sturgeon, or Corbyn, or AOC, you’re dreaming of a fantasy. These people aren’t how you imagine them to be. It’s the same with all famous people, and meeting our heroes can be a bit of a let down. This is not dissimilar to the person you fancied most at school. You built them up in your mind, imagined them as perfection in terms of you. They weren’t if course, anything but.

Still don’t agree with me? Has an instance of your ideal leader ever governed within your lifetime? Nope? Thought not. Me neither.

Let’s pretend though, that your ideal leader does exist somewhere out there. First they have to get elected. How are they going to go about that? Will everyone else magically agree with your/their views? Will the wealthy and powerful flock to support them? Nope. To get elected they’re going to have to appeal to both populism, and vested interests. They’re going to have to appeal to at least a significant minority of people, many/most of who do not share your views. After being elected, they’ll have to continue appealing to those same types. This is why politicians claim they have to do a lot of disagreeable things, in order to maintain power, so that they can accomplish scant few positive things. So scrap that plan.

Let’s dispense with your ideal leader now, since clearly they aren’t going to do what you want. Let’s just put you in charge, or better yet a tougher, more charismatic and ruthless incarnation of you. One that can handle all the grief and pressure. Gangsta you. Gangsta you isn’t interested in appealing to populism, or currying favour with wealthy backers. Gangsta you is going to seize power by force. Aah, but to do that Gangsta you will need to form a militia of some sort, and that means temporarily appealing to some form of populism. Once ensconced in power though, all those acolytes are going to demand their pound of flesh, so you’re either going to have to terminate or incarcerate them… that’s fine because it will enhance your reputation for ruthlessness, enabling you to do impose your dictatorial rule on everyone else. A reign of terror facilitated by mass murder, imprisonment, and torture. This would only be marred by the constant paranoia that one of the sycophants enabling you, might be plotting to overthrow you. Are you likely to die happy? Please say “no”.

By now the crux of the problem should have become apparent. It simply isn’t possible to have a great and benign ruler, at least outside of biblical fiction. The problem you see is hierarchy. It doesn’t really work. The system cannot be reformed, we have to start again, but without the hierarchy.

Wait! What’s that you say? That this is the best system we have? Well clearly not, otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this, and you wouldn’t be reading it. Nope, the hierarchy has to go!

Wait! What’s that you say? That this won’t work? Seems a tad glib… perhaps we should at least explore this option in a little more detail before dismissing it out of hand, because the alternative clearly isn’t cutting it.