We Need More Philosophers and Fewer Politicians

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We Need More Philosophers and Fewer Politicians

In Tuesday night’s GOP popularity contest, Marco Rubio claimed, “Welders make more than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.” While the grammatically incorrect claim has already been debunked, what interests me more is what this quip reveals about Rubio’s sense of life. To be clear, I’m only singling out Rubio because his stupid quip is a good jumping-off place for what I’d like to discuss. Much of what I say here can probably be said about all politicians.

1024px-Marco_Rubio_by_Gage_SkidmoreI pity Marco Rubio. He has succumbed to the evil that is politics and makes his living out of it. He degrades himself on stage with the other buffoons in an effort to lend credibility to the whole, elaborate scam. One must assume that the philosophical way of thinking is totally foreign to him. Otherwise, how could he engage in such a disgusting farce?

Politics is a dirty game. It frequently involves backroom deals, secret negotiations, partisan bickering, nasty attack ads, ideological pandering, empty campaign promises, and stupid, ambiguous slogans. Politicians are not the rosy, angel-like saviors that they present themselves as in their campaign commercials. They don’t have all the answers. They don’t even have the best intentions. To be a good politician is to be a good manipulator – someone who can lie to the voters, cheat them out of what they want, and steal from them to fund the whole show.Worse yet, politicians regularly promote and enable violence against innocent people. The laws, regulations, and statutes that politicans champion use force to prevent peaceful Americans from trading with people in other countries, like Cuba (a policy which Rubio supports). They send weapons overseas that end up in the hands of violent terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda (which Rubio also supports).

Politicians ally with, work with, and fund governments that engage in routine terrorist attacks, such as indiscriminate airstrikes, like Israel and Saudi Arabia do (Rubio supports continued U.S. military aid to both countries). Politicians call for the invasion of countries and murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people, relying on propaganda and lies to fuel public opinion (Rubio even supports this too). Politicians authorize destabilizing bombing campaigns that leave entire countries tormented by violent mayhem and terrorist training strongholds, like in Libya (yep, that too).

To engage in the crafting of this imperialist foreign policy, so characteristic of the United States in the past century, one would have to care very little that their actions resulted in the destruction of countless human lives across the globe. You’d have to be indifferent to human suffering, or blindly focused on career ambitions..

As I’ve argued before:

Politics and philosophy are contradictory concepts and tying them together has resulted in justifications for some of the worst atrocities the human race has endured. Where politics relies on a gun, philosophy relies on the mind. Where politics utilizes coercion and hierarchy, philosophy utilizes reason and the human intellect. Where politics brings out the worst in people by creating relationships of power and exploitation, philosophy realizes the best in people by creating relationships of mutual respect in a joint effort to discover truth. Politics relies on just as much philosophy as the mugger in the alley relies on reason and cooperation. The state views philosophy as the enemy — as it represents reason, autonomy, and self-determination. After all, the philosophical way of thinking requires a hunger for truth and certainty that only a self-directive, passionate person will be able to feed. The philosophical way of thinking requires an independent mind, not one enslaved by the chains of authority and hierarchy. It requires a mind that answers to oneself and no other, whether it be king, general, or president.

Socrates thought it was morally preferable to suffer injustice than to commit it. What he meant was that the moral character of a person is their most important value, the one they should always and everywhere preserve. Socrates would rather suffer the worst moral wrong than ever be guilty of one himself (and he did just that when he accepted his execution at the hands of Athens for corrupting the youth).

Judging by his line of work, it seems that Rubio would disagree. How else could one work in the most unjust of all careers, where deceit, theft, and murder are key resume sections? Why else support policies that blow up families overseas or ally us with terrorist governments? Why continue to work as a politician at all instead of getting a real job, like a philosopher or a welder? Why doesn’t he put an end to his bloodthirsty lifestyle once and for all and actually create something of real value for himself and humanity? Marco Rubio would be much better off if he dropped out of the race and read some Plato. The world would be, too.


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