Politics, sexting, hypocrisy and a Fibre to the Node NBN.
This whole NBN thing has got me thinking about what happens when the world of technology intersects with the strange world of politics. When geeks go up against politicians, the geeks inevitably get screwed. Which is exactly what is happening in Australia with the National Broadband Network, now that the Coalition is in power and determined to undermine Labor’s visionary Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) network with a crappy Fibre to the Node (FTTN) alternative.
Much has been written to explain that Labor’s FTTP plan is superior to the Liberal’s FTTN version, by people quite knowledgeable on these matters. Which is all well and good, as long as we don’t work under any misapprehension that things like logic, facts, and technical details matter in any way shape or form when it comes to politics.
Politics is a world seemingly untroubled by cognitive dissonance, heedless of hypocrisy, and unconcerned with facts. Which means we end up with the sort of government where the head of a parliamentary ethics committee — and married Catholic — is caught sending pictures of his penis placed in a glass of red wine to his mistress. We end up with the sort of government where the Minister for Women is an out of touch misogynist deeply unpopular with women.
We end up with the sort of government that racks up debt while negotiating secret trade agreements, that undermine Australia’s sovereignty, after hyperbolicaly complaining while in opposition about budget emergencies, and insisting that poor people in leaky boats didn’t deserve compasion because they were a threat to Australia’s sovereignty.
It’s a sad indictment on our lobbying ability that we are losing even to politicians unable to do their job effectively because they’re too distracted taking pictures of their junk with their smartphones — and sexting with mistresses.
Do we really think we can reason with people so unreasonable? Do we really think we can change their minds with logic, when their actions lack any logic whatsoever? (Or common sense, or basic decency for that matter!) Do we think we can change their minds with facts or technical details, when they revel in their ignorance? I don’t think so.
Since facts, logic and reason count for little in politics, a strategy relying on any combination of them is unlikely to succeed. Especially in a political landscape where hypocritical, hyperbolic bullshit reigns supreme. Which is one of the reasons the technical community constantly get screwed by those we elect to supposedly represent us — because we seem to be unable to out-bullshit the bullshitters. Instead we misguidedly try to reason with them.
So maybe we should try something else. Something less logical. Maybe we should become as unreasonable as the politicians we are vainly trying to reason with. The politicians we are making bad political decisions that affect us.
After all, why should we be constrained by facts, logic and reason, if our politicians aren’t? If they’re going to resort to hyperbolic bullshit, then why shouldn’t we?
This gives me an idea. Continued in part 2…