The price we pay

There was a turnout of 64% in the Greek general election, with 36% of those casting a winning vote, meaning only 23% of eligible voters actually voted for Syriza. Officially, less than three quarters of the population wanted to be ruled by Syriza and now will be.

In other words, the Greek election was a thoroughly unexceptional one. A ruling party being determined by the opinion of roughly a third of roughly two thirds of voters is par for the course.

In days of yore – when men used thee and thou, that is – upon encountering a primitive people for the first time a civilized man would demand “Take me to your leader!” Met with blank faces all round he would repeat his demand in a louder voice, and clarify: “Your leader! The one who speaks for you!” The one who speaks for you. Believe it or not, there was a time when this sounded strange.

But it doesn’t sound strange anymore. (It is barely even perceptible to democratic ears.) And today a man cannot help but agree to his being governed. Whether he votes this way or that he signals his willingness to obey; the foolish non-voter (thinking himself principled) merely gives his tacit approval to the eventual victor. That three quarters of the population would rather you did not speak for them is no obstacle to your actually doing so. In any case, “there is always next time”.

This is all well and good, of course, as we know from a cursory glance at Hobbes. Just as man is distinguished from the animals by the ability to speak, civilized men are distinguished from their primitive counterparts by others speaking for them. “State of nature” is synonymous with “leaderless” – and who would want to live in the state of nature? Leaders, naturally, require payment in return for their valuable services, and so the old saying of the old Judge that “Taxes are the price we pay for having a civilized society” is a perfectly true one. While it might not have quite the same ring, could it not also be said that a civilized society is the price we pay for having taxes?

Twitter @StrictlyLiberal

Google+ Rocco Bogpaper

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One thought on “The price we pay

  1. Pingback: RRND -- 02/04/15 |

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