December 9, 2016    Politics

How to Overcome the Limits of Our Knowledge in Politics

Watching this documentary, “The Shock Doctrine”, what struck me as the greatest problem is how much I don’t know, and how it is not possible for us to know everything in order to make right decisions that are fair and just for all. All of us cannot spend full time learning what’s happening in this world like Naomi Klein does. Doing our best isn’t good enough to arrive at the correct answer because the world is a highly complex, ever-changing organism. Even Klein herself cannot have the right answer for everything. If each of us were responsible for having the right answer for every issue, we would all have to spend every waking moment learning about what’s happening in the world and how everything works.

We live in a world where we cannot trust others to look out for our interest even if we look out for their interest in what we do. The latter is called “suckers” or simply “naive.” Wall Street bankers, for instance, are free to exploit their positions of power to maximize their wealth. The rest of us who have been exploited or short-changed are simply stupid or inferior in their eyes. Hence we have no choice but to know everything in order to protect ourselves. But it’s not practically possible to do this. Economics, in particular, is so complex that even the professional economists don’t fully understand the consequences of their ideas.

Given that it’s not possible for us to know everything, how can we protect ourselves and our future from those who try to exploit the masses?

The only solution I have is: Stop organizing and move toward a Wikipedia-style direct democracy. It may sound counter-intuitive, and in fact, it is the exact opposite of what Naomi Klein says at the end of this documentary.

The problem with fighting a dominant discourse (such as neoliberalism, or unrestrained capitalism) is that your alternative discourse must defeat the dominant discourse and become the dominant one. In order to achieve this, the majority must become fully educated on the alternative discourse, but this is not practically possible. Most people, for instance, wouldn’t spend even an hour watching a video like this one, and even if they did, most people would not have enough knowledge in politics and economics to understand it sufficiently. This means, it does not matter which discourse is superior; in order for any discourse to become dominant and have the necessary political influence, the masses will have to be emotionally manipulated to support the discourse without understanding it. This video too is such an attempt. In such a rat race, politics must become a never-ending game of mass deception. How can we stop it? Direct democracy is our only hope.

If we can achieve a direct democracy where we do NOT organize ourselves to fight our common enemy, where we honestly accept the limitations of our knowledge and respect the opinions of others, where we do not try to influence others and only educate them, only then could the wisdom of crowds protect our interest collectively even if each of our opinions is wrong. This is the only way, I can see, we can stop this rat race of mass deception.