Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Politics without Philosophy

Korea on April 13th had their parliamentary elections. A seminary philosophy professor expresses his opinion in a column of the Catholic Times on the absence of philosophy in politics. Noise is what we hear, and he believes it's the natural outcome of politicians trying to persuade citizens to vote for them.

He laments the effort is not to present the truth to citizens but crudely to separate themselves from others with whom they are contending for votes. They don't  seem conscious of the voters need to be given life, but only their greed and lack of concern for the citizens and absence of authenticity.

Plato in his dialogues on Law writes that the duty of a nation is to give citizens a correct understanding of "God" if we want order throughout the country, this is similar in meaning to the teaching of Jesus: "Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well" (Matt.6:33). 

Both Plato's right understanding of "God" and Jesus's kingdom and righteousness is asking us to choose life, and to do this we need a correct philosophy that precedes politics. Politicians need concern for problems if we want a healthy society, and right reason to address the problems. 

The writer mentions a person who was the governor of a municipality in Germany, who he met and on one, occasion asked: what was his philosophy of politics? He answered without delay: to prevent harm being  done to the citizens. The professor liked what was said.  

Our politicians speak about the crisis of economics and ask the voters to vote for them to better their lives: nothing about policies and visions.  With this kind of silly propaganda, "let us live well" we are not dealing with philosophy.
He is not surprised when many reading his shallow words retort: does philosophy put  food on our tables? When we deal with temporary methods and lack a correct understanding of family and educational problems, we are mortgaging the future. Koreans have seen the harm done in our history with policies that have not been grounded in right reason. 

He concludes his article  reminding the readers of the recent competition in the board game of Go: a computer program in which the human lost four of the five games played. In a game, we have the human player spending the night going over his moves and trying to find the mistakes. If this is true in a game, how much more for those who are looking forward to leading the country.

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