Who knows anything about anything?

Referring back to my last blog, there is the question of course, who knows anything? Are we really any of us competent to comment on any issue, let alone exercise a vote which determines policies which often change lives dramatically?

It’s easy to be elitist. ‘I understand these things.’ There will be others who set themselves up in the opposite stall. They too will be sure of their own rectitude. 

Maybe we ‘understand’ the news. We understand that in Afghanistan there’s a civil war, on the one hand, which we’d be best well out of, and a vicious Islamic dictatorship on the other, which for good geopolitical reasons, we have to oppose with all the might we can muster.  Both are, on their own, convincing arguments. Are any of us competent to choose between them? 

Often we have a half-formed idea, and an event out there seems to confirm it, and we think eureka! I’m right, I know the answer. We’d be better off being objective. But we don’t learn that way. From an early age we all have our mindsets, with whole intellectual constructs based on them, and we’re looking for ideas that confirm not challenge. 

In the end we’re all kidding ourselves. Some of us are entrenched. We’ll never change. Others allow themselves a little more freedom, and I’d guess it’s there where our hope lies. In the floating voter. They’re often voting on a basis of hunch and assumption as much as anyone else, but at least they’re there to be challenged and influenced and persuaded. 

A few may have humility in the face of all they don’t know. But they will be few. I’ve never been one to date. Maybe I should try and be one now. But family and friends have to listen to me sounding off about policies and politicians. Reining myself in doesn’t come naturally. 

It’s also boring. 

‘If there were any justice in politics it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.’  Simon Heffer’s comment explains much of the Telegraph’s recent behaviour. We know they didn’t act out of a sense of probity or concern for the national interest (other than the interests of the island of Brecqhou) but, yes, it has been fun. If we had been disengaged from politics then we’re all engaged again now.

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