342. Conflict (VII)
People attach different meanings to the word “politics”, so that there is a disagreement over what it means before we have even started an actual political debate. One way to think about politics, essentially a rightist way, conceives all politics as an error. There is an integral system, your body, and you drop a hammer on your toe and break it. The integral system is disrupted, suddenly a relatively small peripheral part of the body dictates terms to the whole system; and not just to the brain, the brain is more important than all other organs and yet it operates optimally within an integral system.
The broken toe is like a trade-union strike or a nagging feminist; it “attempts”, so to speak, to top from the bottom and dictate terms to the whole system—even though it is not the most vital part. There is an awful cliché where people with cancer say, “I’m not going to let it change my life. I’m going to carry on as normal.” Although this has a terrible pathos to it, the basic sentiment is the same as during a strike or a broken toe: “I will try, as far as possible, to override this malfunction in a sub-system that has disrupted the whole.”
At the microcosmic level, we can imagine an ice cream stand that an owner grows from a one-man business to a small shop that employs twenty-five people; he then, through oversight or because he is too busy, hires someone who is covertly disruptive and wants to control the business. This person carries out all sorts of subtle acts, acts of sabotage, to try and get their way in the business—from malicious but deniable gossip to calling in sick when they are not sick—except that everything they do stops short of actual criminal acts; they do not, for example, steal from the till. Actually, they are a great talker and can create plausible fantasies and tales to support their non-compliance; and sometimes they rope the more naïve or gullible employees into a scheme and let them take the blame. Eventually, the owner becomes infuriated with the employee and says: “Look, who runs this company? Who makes the decisions? You or me?” Such a confrontation would be, of course, another chance for elaborate passive-aggressive theatrics and complaints of victimisation by the “broken toe”.
The ice cream stand has become “political”: there are two or more factions within the stand, each wants to make the decisions—although one party, the broken toe, wants to make decisions in such a way that they will never be responsible for the outcome; they will never own the shop and would not want to own it if it were offered to them for free, although they may pretend they want to own it. This is what we mean when we say a club, a company, a video game, and, ultimately, a country has become “politicised”. Politics means an error in the integral system, somehow there are several factions in contest to make decisions and avoid responsibility.
This is why, incidentally, party politics is an error; the existence of organised factions that supposedly compete to be the decision maker for four years is obviously “broken toe” syndrome. Could you run a small company that way—or a ship or a family? Party politics launders responsibility so that multiple broken toes can take a cut.
This means that large numbers of people who think they are right wing are not at all. The genuine right-wing man is occult; he barely knows what Parliament does and cares less; his concerns are entirely parochial, within his immediate vicinity. To actually get “into politics”: to join a political party, even a “conservative” one, and to desire to convince people through rhetoric demonstrates an irresponsible attitude—only a broken toe would be attracted to such an activity. Hence most self-declared right-wing people are not rightists, not integral; although, in fairness, they are bruised toes, not completely broken.