Friday, October 22, 2010

On Backflips

Earlier this week, I had a piece in the Canberra Times, 'Why backflips from politicians are steeped in such negativity'.

In the news, backflips by politicians are discussed as if they were only individual quirks or tactical fumblings.  I'm suggesting they reveal a more common, institutionalised failure of democracy.  A sample:
In each of these cases, there’s a hint of what might be called 'undemocracy'. This is because politicians aren’t changing their minds for the right reasons, or because citizens are simply opposed to changing minds at all. Either way, it has little to do with real democratic persuasion. It is more a matter of party or sponsor loyalty, or blind deference to authority. It's not about changing minds, so much as changing strategies or spin, or closing one's eyes to change at all. It becomes what's pejoratively known as 'politics', not the unique achievement that is democratic self-governance.
(Photo: German Federal Archive)

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