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Dirty Dishes and Clean Politics

Camille Pissarro. Woman Hanging Laundry.
(Camille Pissarro. Woman Hanging Laundry. Source)


Before developing the General Theory of Relativity, the great Albert Einstein proclaimed the intensely famous Dirty Dishes Theory: "The less often you wash your dishes, the less you'll feel like washing them, since your kitchen will become more and more disgusting". (Well, it might not have been Albert Einstein, but all is relative anyway!).

Would the vicious circle of dirty dishes also explain the distaste some young quebecers have for their democracy? Have we made politics repulsive, because of our lack of engagement in it?

Some disadvantages of the lack of political involvement

What are the negative impacts of the reduction or even the total lack of political involvement?

1) The quality of social debates tends toward zero. For a democratic society to solve its problems, people have to talk about things that are more useful than the love affaire of a golfer with the sand pits, or the problems a talk show host has with the judicial system, or the binge-eating of a famous actress.

2) A bad example is given to citizens. A human society is a bit like a living organism. If for example a part of the human body is sick, the whole body will suffer. It's a bit the same thing each time one citizen stops doing his civic duties: he sets a bad example for the other citizens, and therefore causes far more harm that what he might think.

3) Corrupt politicians have it easy. Politicians are only men, with everything that follows. A politician who isn't monitored by his electors, is more susceptible to becoming corrupt.

4) The population becomes harder to govern. Politicians in a democracy don't have absolute power; they must have the more or less explicit assent of roughly the majority of the population. But governing well often means that citizens must make sacrifices, and selfish and misinformed people are not exactly the ideal candidates to make sacrifices. In the worst case, even the best politicians won't be able to do anything good with an unruly people.

5) The new generation of leaders is not trained. Even the best politicians eventually die. A society where political involvement is lacking is a society where the next generation of leaders is not being prepared. Instead of being a nursery of leaders, it becomes a graveyard of individualists.

Etc., etc.


You don't need to be Albert Einstein to see that we have to regularly "wash the politics" if we want them to be clean. Far more is at stake than a kitchen filled with dirty dishes. Our health, our prosperity, as well as our intellectual and spiritual life depend on this.

So, who washes and who dries?

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