The politics of doing nothing.

by Peter Rose 9 months ago in legislation

Sometimes doing nothing is doing the right thing

The politics of doing nothing.

The politics of doing nothing

Sometimes doing nothing is the right thing.

We live in a period of time when constant activity is the norm. Doing nothing is not acceptable; but it has not always been like this. The ancients in China had a philosophy, enshrined in the Tao Te Ching; that contained the statement that all things can be achieved by non action. This classic work has been translated from ancient Chinese, to modern Chinese and then to European languages and so may have lost the ancient meaning. ( ancient Chinese had several meanings for each “symbol” like most other nations at the time language was spoken and not often written) It is possible that non action should be interpreted as not acting in in a way that is not in tune with and part of the natural way. Farmers and gardeners know that impatience is counter productive. It is no good sowing seeds in mid winter; you have to do nothing ( about sowing seed --but you can prepare the ground in some climates) until the spring.

The media, especially when talking about politics and governance, are always demanding immediate action. Even when the information necessary for a good decision, is not yet available, they want sound bites, they want decisions, they want to fill their pages, they want action. Politicians have become adept at appearing to be active while actually putting off a decision. Some times they are right to do so. An old adage is that if we act in haste we repent at leisure. It has become common for demands to be made that a leader acts immediately, then if the decision is wrong, the leader is at fault. The people pressurising for action without thought, are never held to be to blame. A good soldier and a good lover, like good gardeners, know that timing is as important as the action.

Every parent knows that when a very young child has put themselves in danger then been saved, the time to admonish, a time of telling off for putting themselves in danger, is not immediate. The time for complaint is when all has calmed down and order has been restored. Politics is just the same. When a dam bursts the immediate action is remedial for the people flooded out, not to pass a law saying dams should not burst.

Gathering discreetly accrued information may appear to the media, especially the millions of social media people who are experts in everything, except restraint, to be doing nothing. It is not. Old fashioned good police detection work involved gathering evidence, usually without the criminal knowing it was being gathered. Making the grand gesture, media announcements; that modern police managers are fond of, only alerts the criminals and makes a news hungry media even more demanding. Doing nothing is not the same as actually waiting for information, but is interpreted as such by those not involved. During the recent negotiations over Britain leaving the EU, the media especially the BBC, which, has a predominately remain bias, kept demanding that those involved in the negotiations, tell them, the readers of news auto-cues, what the negotiators were asking for, what they were saying. What arrogant nonsense, does any sane negotiator in any situation, broadcast their thoughts, hopes ploys, tricks and intentions while the talks are still going on?

Politics, if carried out because of a conviction that certain policies are going to be beneficial to the nation as a whole at some time in the future; needs patience and flexibility. This is a larger problem for extreme socialists since they stick to the same dogma, the same basic policies, no mater how often they fail in real life situations. Theirs is idealism politics, not conviction politics. Idealism is only wonderful to those who share the same ideals. It is not a pragmatic method of governance. It does not change to suite changing situations. The modern world is interconnected, what one nation does, deliberately or accidentally, affects all other nations. Trying to stick rigidly to one idealistic plan and so ignoring all the other influences that actually affect the outcome of those plans, is foolish in the extreme. Idealism is not a sound basis for democracy in the modern world. A world where the pace of change is increasing; a world where the need to gain information especially information that is not biased by a specific agenda, and to assimilate this and check it against other sources of information; before action takes place, is more important than ever. Doing nothing, or appearing to do nothing, is often the best action.

Peter Rose
Peter Rose
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Peter Rose

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