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The Politics of Decency?

What is decency in a human being?  

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Ask twenty people on the street and you will get twenty different answers. The meaning of the word decency comprises a number of different values. The four most important in my view are the following.

Ethics

Honesty

Integrity

Respect

You can also add to the mix empathy, kindness, strength of character, patience, respect for others’ rights, and the ability to sympathize.

Isn’t this what we should expect from our leaders? At the very least? When you look around the world at the current crop of world leaders, how many can you say are decent human beings? Not a lot. What does that say about people who live in democracies and the leaders they vote into office?  When you consider far too many people get their news from Facebook and Twitter, not too much.

You could not, by any stretch of the imagination, consider any of the following leaders to be decent people:

Xi Jinping, China.    Vladimir Putin, Russia.   Kim Jong Un,  North Korea.   Donald J. Trump, USA,    Boris Johnston, UK   Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil.  Ali Khamenei, Iran 

Many more despotic leaders can be found at this website and none of these could be regarded as “decent” human beings by any stretch of the imagination. They all have many common traits. They are bullies, liars, greedy, power-hungry to the detriment of citizens, cruel in many cases, and all lacking in common decency.

Why do so many apparently intelligent people around the world support bullies and tyrants? Nobody likes a bully yet, as exemplified by the 2016 US presidential election, bullies tend to get elected. As an example, Donald Trump got into the White House by angrily and aggressively attacking everyone who dared challenge him. He resorted to childish name-calling, insulting women’s appearances, and mocking the disabled. Studies show that bullies use a strategy of dominance to attain social influence, leveraging their strength, wealth, or social status to manipulate and intimidate others. 

Lower-status group members don’t like the dominant bully. Often, they outright fear him. But they give him power nonetheless because they are afraid not to. Liken it to the alpha male in various animal packs. The “tough” leader wins the females. The loser slinks away. Who says humans are not related to other animal species on the planet?

At some point in the future will we move to the politics of decency? Isn’t that what we want for our children and the future of life on this planet?

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Written by Michael Trigg

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