In politics, the men and women who are elected to public offices have the feel of what their country needs and wants, and that knowledge is indispensible.
This is very different from professional expertise, which is very helpful only when controlled and managed.
In that sense Donald Trump is different, and right too, because he doesn’t trust experts.
It’s not that he doesn’t believe them; he thinks they don’t understand the consequences of what they’re saying. The clash here is that the technocrats believe that the management of the country should come from experts. Trump believes it should come from the understanding of the public.
Put another way – the question is if the solutions should be imposed on the public, or should they be negotiated with the public.
The latter attitude is called “populism” in the current media lingo, a really wrong take on life.
The fundamental truth is that a country is composed of people with different views, if you don’t understand that, you’re either a dictator or incompetent.
A good example is China - they elected a technocrat to manage the country, and for life term no less – meaning his life or the life of united China, whichever ends first.
So far president Xi has failed on all fronts – he is a massive failure as a politician in internal and foreign affairs.
Another aspect that is seldom understood is that different countries require different level of oppression to function. Iraq was once a place where people went to work, then retired, kids went to school and play sports, the life was normal.
Was Saddam a tyrant? Yes he was, but a tyrant was needed to make the country function.
Now with the imposed democracy it’s a failed state, you leave your house in the morning not sure if you will come back in the evening. You or your kids.
Russia is a similar example – president Putin has support from the public at the level western leaders can only dream of. And he is tough on the opposition, makes deals with the oligarchs and likely with the mafia too, but this is what it takes to keep the country together, this is the only way you go. People there know and accept that.
Looking at the demographics, the western world is a retirement community with the exception of the US. The average American became younger than the average Chinese some four years ago. The one-child policy imposed over there about 30 years ago means that they’re running out of 30 year olds, because that is how the math works. Meaning even less domestic demand at the time they need it the most, at a time when the population is shrinking (China replacement ratio is 1.7 kid per family and they need 2.1 to keep the population steady).
As you can gather from the above, I think that I am right and the rest of the world is not marching in sync. This comes from the fact that my logic is as clear as an Alpine waterfall.
However, what I learned in life is that logic alone doesn’t bring you far.
It feels good, but it’s useful when solving crosswords and that’s about it.
Things that run life are grey, and the cool name to navigate through them is now called “emotional intelligence”.
Or, if you a stubborn, thinking person – it means, “giving up on what made you”, or at least on a significant part of you.
The emotional intelligence is not worth your time – applying it is how we become mediocre. One needs to be real, sometimes controversial, to matter in life.
Try that, don’t try the other new thing.
It can’t be all-smooth - real life experience will leave you breathless or with a nasty scar, but you will know that something important happened before you’re gone.
It’s either that or just the therapy talking.
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Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler