Politicians disguise motives

Politician Cartoon by Kien Ha


By Brian Villalba


We all need to elect officials that believe in universal truths, not the convenience of the subjective reality.

There are no heroes and there are no villains. The only truth we can count on when it comes to politicians is that there is no universal truth in politics. Modern politicians are frighteningly similar to the sophists of ancient Greece.

Sophists were a group of philosophers that instead of believing in virtues and truth, believed only in their ability to turn a phrase and persuade others to seeing things their way.

A sophist had no sense of ethics beyond their own self interest.  Everything is subjective to a sophist. What sophists and politicians have in common is that they think they can mold reality to be whatever they want it to be.

The one thing they do not have in common is that the sophists were seen as educated and very wise.

A sophist does not believe in universal truths. Examples of universal truths are that education and health are good things. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are also good things.

If a sophist wants Proposition 30 to be a bad thing, then every fact will point out how the proposition is clearly the worst thing since the Nazis. If a sophist wants Proposition 30 to be a good thing, then every fact will point out how the proposition is clearly the greatest thing since sex.

Even if the Nazis invented sex, both of these types of claims would be distortions. Both arguments degrade the issue being discussed and alienate the voter from the actual merits of the proposition.

The money raised by Proposition 30 is desperately needed to sustain public education standards. The problem is that the reality of our financial crisis is a muddle.

According to the California Department of Finance, the state budget went up slightly in 2012. The CDF said  much of the money went to our prison system.

We spend more on our prison system than we do on college education. This is a very complicated and large institutional problem.

Some politicians, who are in favor of a limited and smaller government, capitalize on this by pointing out that a less complicated government would be easier to reform.

The problem starts to become clear, as we do not know the truth. Both sides have some kernels of truth in their arguments. Both sides are distorting facts, taking them out of context and even lying.

If money is a measure of priority, then education is not a priority in California state. The California college system was a primary factor in the developing  California’s economy.

The California economy ranks ninth in the world. By comparison Brazil’s economy is eight, and India’s 10th.

California’s educational system produces skilled workers that can produce more and make more money. Without higher education, there will not be a rich talent pool and there will be fewer jobs in California.

An educated workforce equals a strong economy. When you allow a sophist to govern, you are giving tacit consent for government to see rules and boundaries as subjective.

If it is universally understood that education is not only a good thing, but is fundamental to a flourishing economy, then there should be no tolerance for the politician who doesn’t prioritize education.

The choice between Democrats and Republicans is a false choice. The choice is between the sophist politician and an individual who seeks to stay true to universal truths.

We can debate the approaches to these ideals, but never at the expense of the ideals. A sophist won’t care about what is good, only about re-election.

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