I am really having a hard time these days to continue to believe what I read in the press. There are two reasons for this. One, lots of journalists are simply not well-informed about what they are writing about and copy-paste or collect too quickly from other sources without fact-checking. Two, the press becomes more and more a partisan platform for media moguls and their parties. In order to restore trust and objectivity in the press, do we need to regulate the press?Read More
In my last post I discussed about the policy-academia gap. One additional issue is that the entry costs into the policy debate are extremely high for researchers and experts. Without exhaustive ground work, and without a continuous exposure to policy makers and the general public, most researchers do not have the option to get direct access to either politicians or to provide even official statements in wide-read newspapers about policies.Read More
Policies should never be implemented without a clear idea as to what they are supposed to achieve. This clear idea tends to be an underlying model of the world which suggests that this policy intervention will lead to a desired outcome. That requires deep analyses, fundamental research, and an objective look at the problem. Without doubt, that’s the job of academia.Read More
I am tired of being quiet. For weeks now I have been reading about Trump, le Pen, Brexit, ignorant politicians who breed hatred, racism, about election campaigns that foster right-wing views and self-interest politicians. I have been reading about how international cooperations are blamed for poor national decision taking, and I have been reading about how countries can become great again if only they look at their self-interest at the expense of everyone else.
I wonder how one can be so stupid as to confuse money with greatness. The US was not accepted as a world leader because it was rich, but because it was open to everyone, provided opportunities regardless of gender, color and origin. The US, to a large part, was a haven for those forgotten souls out of other parts of the world that tried to find a new and good life. These ideals seems to be vanishing, and both dumb leaders, populism and uninformed press play a major role. Liberté, égalité and fraternité are those values that are supposed to represent the French, but nearly electing someone like le Pen as their leader makes one seriously doubt whether France will in future continue to be represented by those important three words.
And I have kept quiet. I have kept quiet as I believed that it is a mistake to provide a further platform to these idiots out there that have been elected to represent the apparent interests of voters. It is, however, becoming more and more clear that these `interests’ will eventually only lead to seggregation, violence, further hatred, wars, conflicts, inequality and further poverty (c.f. Trumps views on trade or the dumb Brexit vote).
Yet being quiet in the face of these unfortunate, self-interested, dumb and ignorant political decision-takers only gives them more attention than they deserve. I fully believe that the only choice that we have to minimize their influence is to show how their decisions are frankly out of touch with reality, out of their voters’ interests, and harm the poor, the forgotten, the international relations and the future of the country that they are supposed to represent. Trump is bashing those values that made the US a great country, and his “make America great again” slogan has, as of now, only made his own pockets great again. It is unfortunate that there are still many people out there who believe in his views but it is also my sincere opinion that, with enough information and effort, these people will come to see that there are alternatives without violence and hatred.
So what can we do?
I believe that everyone needs to question very carefully what is written. Information is the key. If you become scared of immigrants, Christians, Moslems or Buddhists, then go and meet some. Try to find out for yourself. Don’t just take the examples from a couple of stories as the general rule. Learn for yourself. Yes it takes time. But every bit of hatred that you feel the need to show to someone else is worth a couple of minutes of your time in order to see whether this hatred is necessary and useful.
Hatred, violence, and radical politicial positions that are against some indefensive minority will not make anyone better off. We all know that in our hearts. Some of us may be angry. Many of us feel that our lives could be better. Few us honestly believe that their situation is due to immigrants or could be improved through voting for some radical parties.
We hence need to make sure that there is more redistribution in society towards the poor and forgotten. No one needs a couple of millions on the bank account. No one truly needs a Ferrari or Hermes bag or the own private jet. Trump’s approach to politics however does promote exactly this. There is no way that someone like him can be allowed to complete his presidential term, or even have a second one. Similarly, if we do not want to have wars in Europe again, and if we want to promote the interests of the poor and those that need their interests to be represented, then we must fight those views that are against equality, society and a good life together. Being quiet is a mistake. I understood this now.
This is a call to everyone in society to stand up again, to cooperate, to promote values that help achieve common goals and united interests. Don’t be quiet.
Many questions have been asked about the reasons behind #Brexit, about why Trump made it into oval office, the recent surge in right-wing political power in Europe, and I think the answers tend to be wrong. I think the answer to why these decisions were taken is really simple: Because their right-wing politicians provide the most convenient answer. And that is dangerous. Let me elaborate.