Obama’s Hypocrisy: The CIA Torture Report

The CIA released a secret document detailing their interrogation techniques up to 2009, and one man is celebrating the harsh realities it reveals: Barack Obama. After all, he is the one who put a stop to the programme, so with just a few pretty words he can give a great boost to his approval rating, putting all the bad stuff on Bush. But is Obama really any better? Let’s have a quick look at his words in reaction to the report.

First of all, Obama makes it clear that what the CIA did was “brutal and wrong”, and that it is a thing of the past that should stay in the past. Sounds great and all, but the truth is that Obama didn’t really stop these brutal methods: he merely changed them. As CIA lawyer John Rizzo points out, whereas Bush captured suspected terrorists and then let Obama Looking Weirdthem be interrogated, Obama just kills them outright with his drone bombs. Bush let innocent people wither away for years in places like Guantanamo Bay without receiving a trial, eventually being forced to release some of them when they were proven innocent, while Obama got rid of that problem the easy way by making sure that there is no innocence left to prove: suspects are killed without a trial.

Worse still is how Obama mentions that the interrogation methods were “counterproductive”. Oh really? And how about those drone strikes then? Drone strikes don’t just kill “suspected terrorists”, but they take with them the entire extended family, the neighbours, three chickens and the dog from across the street. That is just as, if not even more counterproductive, because while at least Bush was able to lie about interrogation methods, these civilian deaths are a harsh reality that nobody in the Middle East is unfamiliar with.

But Obama’s comments get even better: “One of the things that sets us apart from other countries is that when we make mistakes, we admit them.” Yeah, as long as it’s mistakes made by your Republican predecessor, it’s easy enough to admit them. And no doubt, US Drone Strike Destructionwhoever comes next will say the exact same thing about your drone strikes. Feigning superiority over the rest of the world just because you have a system in which every 4 years there might be a completely different person ruling the country is rather sad, and certainly not a reason for pride.

In the end, the one thing we learn from reports such as these is that we aren’t learning anything. We’re just going from one cruel method to another, always making sure to change the tactic to divert criticism, but never truly making an effort to improve our ways. Heck, the people responsible for the torture, which, by the way, is against both international and national law, are not even going to be prosecuted. Why would they, after all, when those in power know that in 5 years time they might fall victim to the same thing?

But by next week we’ll have forgotten this again. Too bad that the same cannot be said for people living in the Middle East, and so, the cycle of terrorism and brutality continues.


Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!

More on related topics by Dean Richards:

Are Islamic Countries Violent, Extremist and Anti-Democratic?

The West: Where You’re Innocent Until Proven Guilty Unless You’re A Muslim

Is Islamophobia The New Anti-Semitism?

Posted in Controversial, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What We Ignore About Michael Brown and Eric Garner

For weeks I have left the topic of Michael Brown unconsidered, and later also the case of Eric Garner. But there is much to say, much that still goes almost unmentioned in the mainstream debate, so the time has come to address it. Before I do, though, there are a few disclaimers to avoid unnecessary anger. This post will not in any way suggest that what either of these policemen did was right, or that their victims in any way deserved to die (which would be nothing less than ridiculous). It will not even claim that the judges were right to make the decisions they made. It will merely criticise the way the movement evolved, because after all, no movement is perfect, especially not one that involves so many people with so many different experiences.

The first thing to consider is how much the way the media reported on these cases has shaped our beliefs, opinions and knowledge about them. Before writing this, I spent about half an hour looking at commentaries and videosMichael Brown and Darren Wilson on the cases that were made in their immediate aftermath. Back then, we condemned the police officers much less, and many arguments were brought up that have now been forgotten. Instead, we’re left with a very single-sided view of both debates, in which, just to name some, it seems to be taken for granted that Michael Brown held his hands up and in which it often seems to be suggested that Pantaleo actually intended on killing Eric Garner.

Because of that, we cannot view the legal cases and the social uprising as fully connected. The social uprising deals mainly with race, in combination with police violence, and it views the cases only from one point of view. The juries, on the other hand, were presented with all the evidence, and were faced with much more than just race. In fact, the colour of the victims’ skins played no role at all there, because how can you ever prove that things would have gone differently if the victims were white? Sure, we can look at statistics and conclude that black people are more often victims of police violence than white people, but as much as that is relevant for a social debate, it says nothing about the individual case of either of these killings.

Again, that doesn’t mean that I agree with the jury’s verdict (nor that I necessarily disagree). I am simply not mentioning the many arguments in favour of starting a trial, because we already know those, so repeating them here would only make this post unnecessarily long. In the end, it’s the arguments that back the jury’s decision that are left neglected.

This is important particularly because it causes polarisation, something that is rather undeniable in the current situation. The public completely ignores the point of view of the police, and because of that, arguments in defence of the police are left unrefuted. After all, we’re not even addressing them. This creates a situation in which the police, with complete justification, feel like their arguments are not being heard, and therefore they can continue to believe that they are right. The police are people too, and when you discuss a topic with “people”, the only way to convince them is to have some kind of common ground. Right now, all we have is anger and opposition, with no real dialogue going on.

Daniel Pantaleo and Eric GarnerThere is one other consideration that needs to be mentioned: the problem does not lie with Darren Wilson or Daniel Pantaleo. It is a systemic problem that can be traced back to many factors in society, ranging from racism to gun laws to the fact that police officers use choke-holds on a daily basis. To punish the individuals will not help solve those systemic problems. It might satisfy some feelings of revenge, but since I have just finished reading Wuthering Heights, I can assure you that revenge does nobody any good. What we need is systemic change, and that is going to come neither from violent protests nor from jury decisions.

That doesn’t mean that I am able to tell you how we do bring about that change. There are so many factors, so much interwoven and secured by various parties and laws, that it will take years, if not decades to get rid of them. But at least we need to start the debate rather than the fight. Distrust of the police is not only a result of police misbehaviour, but it also a cause. Being a policeman in the US, after all, does not only mean being hated by a large majority of the people around you, but it also means knowing that everyone around you could have the power to end your life in an instant, that you have no better weapons than they do, that your uniform makes you a more noticeable target than anyone else, and that on top of all that, rather than hiding from the danger, you have to go in search of it.

Who in their right mind would go for a job like that? The answer, perhaps, is that you either have to be very devoted to doing good, or to be very much into violence, and unfortunately, the latter is not so uncommon. But solving that problem is not as simple as some might want it to seem.


Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!

More on related topics by Dean Richards:

Why Michael Brown Was Killed And What It Means For The Future

The Dutch “Black Pete” And The Importance Of Weak Politicians

White People’s Opinion on Racism is Important

Posted in Controversial, Open-minded | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bright Side of Politics

The Bright side of Politics

Politics has a bad image, and probably for good reason: bad things happen all the time, and it is exactly the bad things that make it into mainstream media, which includes blog posts by random Dutch guys. In the past few weeks, or perhaps even months, I spent my time explaining problem after problem and letting you know why we should care about these things. However, even though raising awareness is certainly a good way to use politics to improve the world, it does have the rather unfortunate side-effect of also reminding us that things aren’t perfect right now. Ignoring the positive side, though, would be wrong, because despite all that is wrong with this world, there is also much that makes this world amazing.

To start out with the obvious, you are reading this. You are reading a blog post by a guy who certainly hasn’t always been equally positive about the people in power, yet that guy still has a head to spew these thoughts from. We have the internet, a place where freedom of speech is so well developed that we make a major fuss about laws that might threaten that freedom to even the tiniest extent, because even the thought that we might be imprisoned for having views belongs to a different world. Small rainbowBetter still, the fact that we own a computer or a phone indicates enormous prosperity, because apparently, we don’t have to spend every day of our lives trying to get food and can instead spend it on amazing technology and creating blog posts with too many rainbow pictures.

Perhaps slightly less obvious is the enormous political and economic progress that has been made in the past few decades. More democracies exist than ever before in history, and while it’s terrible that there are still millions of slaves in this world, it would be ridiculous to forget that there are also 7 billion people who aren’t slaves, something that couldn’t be said a century ago. Additionally, to steal a few facts from John Green, infant mortality has never been lower, divorce rates have been constantly going down since 2006, absolute poverty has gone down more in the past 50 years than in the previous 500, literacy rates have increased and malaria mortality rates have plummeted.

As to my own blog posts over the past few weeks, while the dismantling of dictatorships that were held together by the Cold War has led to conflicts in recent years, it also means that dictators are toppling by the dozens, and that is certainly not a bad thing. Burkina Faso might have faced political crisis, but it got rid of its dictator, and Somalia, despite being ruined by the US in the 1990s now has a functioning democracy. Better still, racism has reached a point where we can debate traditions and police-shootings rather than actual laws upholding those actions, and regardless of how much I will keep whining about the discrimination Peace Dovethat Muslims face on an everyday basis, islamophobia is becoming a term that people use and I have no doubt that there will come a day very soon when WordPress will no longer put that red line underneath it as if it is a word I made up.

All of these things show that the world is improving, and while I often forget to mention that simply because progress requires us to identify (and to improve) the bad things, there is no doubt that there are many good things out there as well. In fact, we, as humanity, are doing great, and we will continue to do great.

It is often said that misery and suffering are part of the human condition, and that’s true. But so is happiness. And we shouldn’t forget that. Life is not without its misery, but neither is it without its happiness, and as much as we should be aware of the former, it is the latter that can remind us of why we’re still here. Happiness and positivity are inescapable, even if it sometimes takes a while, and that goes not only for life in general, but even for politics.


Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!

More on related topics by Dean Richards:

Our Purpose: A Simple and Concrete Explanation of the Meaning of Life

The Truth About Your Country

The Political Situation of Somalia: A (Very) Brief History

Posted in Open-minded, The Lighter Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Political Situation of Somalia: A (Very) Brief History

When we think about Somalia, a few things might come to mind. Pirates, perhaps, who were in the international news quite a lot a few years ago. Maybe you also know the terrorist organisation al-Shabaab, or even the fact that the US is currently fighting in the region, but either way, for most people, Somalia is a place that is hardly ever considered. Just like with Yemen a few weeks ago, I figured it was time to change that, because not only is the recent history of Somalia incredibly fascinating, but it might also tell us much about those conflicts which do appear in the news on a daily basis.

To start out simple, Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa, on the east coast and not too far from the Arabian peninsula. It is a Muslim country, and in colonial times, the south-eastern part belonged to Italy, while the Somalia Map Locatornorthern part belonged to Britain. It became independent on the 1st of July 1960, coincidentally enough on the exact same day as the Democratic Republic of Congo, but while that country collapsed into civil war immediately, Somalia fared just fine. At least, that was until 1969, when the country was taken over by a military coup, leading to an always pleasant dictatorial regime. Fast-forward to January 1991, just when the Second Cold War was coming to an end, and this dictator was finally deposed, leading to an almost inevitable civil war.

The United Nations soon became involved, but they faced many problems, including the fact that international law dictated that they needed consent from the host state to interfere, but with the country fallen apart into factions, that was impossible. It took until April 1992 for the UN to finally decide that the atrocities of the war were too much, leading them to ignore international law for a moment, and to establish a peacekeeping mission.

This mission, however, stood no chance: part of the tactic of the various factions was to starve the enemy by controlling food supplies, so even distributing humanitarian aid, as the UN was used to do, was actually an act of war. This meant that the UN was constantly obstructed, and that’s when things got interesting: the United States, UN refugee camp Somaliahaving just won the Cold War, decided to get involved personally. This hadn’t happened during the Cold War, when peacekeeping was left to “neutral” countries, but with the Cold War over, why wouldn’t they offer their help themselves?

The US-led operation lasted 6 months, with 37.000 soldiers being deployed, and it had immediate effect: the US troops inspired enough fear for them to be left alone, so that they could properly distribute aid. However, US troops turned out to have a very important weakness, one that is widely known in the peacekeeping world, but completely lost by the public. That weakness is that US soldiers don’t have a “peacekeeping culture.” They are trained to identify an enemy, and then to fight that enemy, which is exactly what they did in Somalia. Unfortunately, there had never truly been a “bad guy” in the conflict, so instead, the US focused their efforts on the most powerful warlord (a leader named Aideed), and gave him the role of “bad guy”. Rather than being a peacekeeping force, then, the US task force became a part of the war.

The results were disastrous. With much “collateral damage” inflicted on the Somali population, the common people soon began to resent the US force rather than welcoming them as a peacekeeping force. This was manageable when there were still 37.000 troops on the ground, but when the US left after 6 months and the mission was handed back to the UN, things went wrong. Within a few months, more peacekeepers had been killed than since the conflict in the Congo in 1961, forcing them to retreat, because UN peacekeepers aren’t meant to be fighting anyone. Somalia was left in ruins.Al-Shabaab Somalia

So what was the result? Somalia ended up becoming stateless for years, and extremism thrived, as it always does in situations of humanitarian crisis. What were seen as US attacks on innocent civilians led to extreme anti-Western views, giving terrorist organisations such as al-Shabaab the opportunity to establish themselves, and to gain a powerful position in society. It was not until very recently that things finally started to look up, with a proper regime being installed, but the effects of the crisis have still not warn off: extremism and terrorism are still thriving, organisations such as al-Shabaab continue to terrorise its people, fuelled by anti-Western sentiments, and since 2007, Somalia has become one of the countries to be subjected to US drone strikes, which, although still relatively modest compared to Yemen, have cost the lives of many civilians, and even some children.

What can be concluded, then, and what has already been concluded by the academic world, is that peacekeeping cannot be left to major global powers. Peacekeeping should be just that: peacekeeping, not war-making. If not, the consequences can be incalculable, because the anti-Western sentiments that were fuelled by the actions in 1993 are still growing ever stronger by the continued involvement of the US army, and the many victims of its “collateral damage.” It has created a vicious circle of conflict and destruction, with right now, no end in sight.


Quick question: I’m considering turning “the political situation of…” into a series. Would you find this interesting, or can I better spend my effort on something else? Let me know! 🙂

Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!

More on related topics by Dean Richards:

The Political Situation of Yemen Explained

Are Islamic Countries Violent, Extremist and Anti-Democratic?

Why US Involvement in Syria is Actually Illegal

Posted in Open-minded | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why The West Shouldn’t Have Won The Cold War

There are many reasons for me to be glad that the West won the Cold War. After all, like most Westerners, I too prefer living in a Western-style democracy rather than in a country such as Russia or China. Yet still, there are some disadvantages towinning that war, which have become especially clear in recent years, and which almost make me wish that we hadn’t won after all. Better still, however, would be if we recognised those problems and tried to improve upon them, as I doubt it would make me any happier if the West lost the next Cold War.

Last week, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev spoke at an event in Berlin commemorating the fall of the Wall. During his speech, he made two statements that came Gorbachev in Berlin speechas a surprise in Western countries: first, that we are on the brink of a Third Cold War (which, personally, sounds like a gross understatement as East-West tensions have long ago reached Cold War levels), and second, that the West has succumbed to “triumphalism.” It is the second that I’d like to focus on today.

Triumphalism, according to thefreedictionary, has two definitions that might apply: “The attitude or belief that a particular doctrine is superior to all others”, and secondly, “excessive celebration of the defeat of one’s enemies or opponents.” Both sound awfully familiar, particularly the first one.

Soon after the collapse of the USSR, wars were undertaken in the Middle East and Africa, subjecting our will on the people who lived there. Then, when things didn’t go as we wanted, we blamed the indigenous people, and we still do. We blame(d) Islam for destabilising the Middle East and we blame(d) the “authoritarian culture” for not getting democracies established in Africa. After all, it’s their fault that they have unstable political regimes. The West has proven that its own democracy is superior, so if only other countries do as they say, everyone would be fine.

What we forgot, now that we won the war, was that we committed some terrible crimes in that period. Much like popular opinion would blame Germany for World War I, despite the fact that they were no more at fault than its opponents, popular opinion also turned against Russia. Being the losers, they had no choice but to accept blame, and in their triumph, the West didn’t hesitate to push that blame further in Russia’s direction.

Because of that, we forgot all about our near-imperialistic tendencies in our efforts to win the war. We forgot about how we overthrew many democratic regimes in the Middle East just because they favoured Russia, and we forgot about how we complete ignored, and often even supported, dictatorial regimes as long as they were on our side. We simply forgot, and all we remembered were the terrible things Russia did, regardless of the fact that its actions were identical to ours.

Now, in 2014, this still applies. We are still triumphant about our victory, and we look down on Russia as having a failed political doctrine. Moreover, due to its victory, Western countries dominate the international political arena, and that makes it much easier to look down on Russia’s actions while praising our own. We are the majority, after all, and nothing spurs people on more than having others agree with them.

The problem is that the same motivation excused slavery for hundreds of years, excused Apartheid in South Africa until the 1990s, and excuses a bully against his victim on the playground. The West has become that bully. We are arrogant and proud, completely convinced that our doctrine is the right one and that our “popularity” proves it, not noticing that we aren’t so popular after all. It’s just not always wise to speak up against the strongest bully on the playground. Again and again, therefore, we look down on Russia’s actions and forPutin and Abbott G20 Brisbaneget that we’re doing the same things, that we are making the same mistakes. But we don’t notice, because Russia is alone. It lost the war, and therefore it is wrong.

All this means that when Putin goes to a G20 summit, he ends up looking like the bullied kid on the playground. He is received at the airport by some insignificant assistant of a minister, he eats his lunch in solitude and he is stared down by 19 other faces. His allies, in the meantime, are back home in their own countries, not being important enough to be in the G20. After all, they too lost the war, so they aren’t even allowed to attend. All of that makes it so easy for us to believe that there is consensus, that everyone agrees that we’re right, while in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Russia was and is wrong about many of its actions, but so is the West. The only difference is that the West can be much more cruel, can destroy many more lives, before it is held accountable, while Putin can hardly eat a sandwich without receiving disapproval.


Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!

More on related topics by Dean Richards:

Western Propaganda in Action: The Irony of the “Ukrainian” Elections

Why US Involvement in Syria is Actually Illegal

The West: Where You’re Innocent Until Proven Guilty Unless You’re A Muslim

Posted in Open-minded, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembrance Day: Lest We Forget What We Never Knew

Today, the 11th of November, is Remembrance Day in much of the Commonwealth, including the United Kingdom. “Lest we forget” is the common sentiment, imploring us not to forget about those fallen heroes in all those many wars that have been fought over the past few decades. But is that really what we shouldn’t forget?

Here we are, a full century after the start of the First World War, commemorating the millions of people who died for their country. Who are still dying for their country. We remember them because we want to honour them, because we are thankful for their services and the sacrifices they have made. They have done our countries good, and their heroism is rewarded with eternal remembrance. But what if they aren’t heroes? What if, instead, they are victims?

All those soldiers, all those veterans, all those who died Lest We Forgetin the field, they could have been spared. Their suffering was unnecessary, the result of irrational wars spurred on by a public who saw war as good. They are innocent victims of regimes who sent them across their borders, armed with a gun and with the objective to go and kill other human beings, for no other reason than the fact that those people held different beliefs, honoured a different flag and were born in a different place. Each of them, victims.

We say lest we forget, but we have already forgotten. In fact, we have never known it in the first place. We see only heroes and glory, but forget the death and the destruction, the complete futility of war that takes so many victims for so little reason. War doesn’t solve problems, it never has, yet here we are, not pitying its victims, but glorifying them, as if their victimhood is something to be desired. Young men and women all over the world who are desperately looking for a meaningful way to spend their lives see millions, or even billions of people admiring these victims of war. What will they think? What will they decide? Will they see war as a cruel, unnecessary evil, or as a way to gain glory?

On Remembrance Sunday, the city centre of Dundee in Scotland was full of children, yes, children, wearing full military uniforms. Some of them might not have been older than 12, yet there they were, walking around in their army boots and their little cap on, trying to collect money for a cause that might one day be remembering their deaths as well.

War is DestructionWar is everywhere. It has even invaded our homes, not just through news reports, but also in films and books and magazines. We consume them all as exciting tales of bravery and heroism, admiring the men and women who sacrifice their own lives for the greater good, without even once considering the futility of what they are achieving. In films, there are clearly defined enemies, the good guys against the bad guys, but in reality, there is no such thing. It is merely the good guys against the good guys, and in the end, after much misery and bloodshed, when the amount of good guys has been greatly reduced, we always end up almost where we started, or worse.

There has not been a single war in the past century that can be said to have been positive, that has actually improved more lives than it has destroyed. Yet here we are, sending more of our victims all across the world, wreaking their havoc in the Middle East without a single consideration about the effects it might have. We don’t consider that war is instability and that instability leads to more war. We don’t consider whether or not we are destroying these countries as well as the lives of our own victims. What we consider is only the glory, the irrational thought that war is good, just like it is in the movies. We send our “heroes” to fight the “enemy”, and they will win and return victorious so that they too can be honoured on Remembrance Day.

War is a central part of our culture, but it shouldn’t be. War is not glory, but destruction. War is not life-saving, but death-bringing. War is not to be desired, but to be dreaded. War, is misery.

Lest we forget, indeed.


While I am fully aware that this is a delicate and controversial topic, please keep any possible comments civil. Disagreement is not a bad thing. It means we can still learn. That said, I am always interested to hear your views, so feel free to leave them in the comments!

Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!

More on related topics by Dean Richards:

Nationalism is Dangerous and should be Eradicated

War Heroes Should Not Be Heroes

Are Islamic Countries Violent, Extremist and Anti-Democratic

Posted in Controversial, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Dutch “Black Pete” And The Importance Of Weak Politicians

When people all over the world think of an old white guy with a big white beard, they think of Santa Claus. That doesn’t go for everyone, though: in the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands), there is “Sinterklaas”, a very similar tradition that is celebrated in early December. One difference that has become rather vital in recent years is that Sinterklaas isn’t assisted by elves, but instead, by “Black Pete.” Depending on your point of view, these Black Petes are either helpers whose face has become black from the soot of chimneys, or they’re black slaves in the service of Sinterklaas, a difference in opinion that has truly reached boiling point throughout all of the Netherlands, actually inciting violence as well as blatant racism. But the discussion itself isn’t what’s interesting. What’s interesting is what it says about politics.

The discussion comes down to two possibleBlack Pete Failure of Politics points of view: either people feel like the entire tradition is racist and should be changed/done away with, or they believe it is not racist, that people are making a fuss over nothing, and that there are many traditions elsewhere that are much worse. This makes it a very sensitive topic, because it pits feelings of discrimination against an age-old tradition, which are both topics that can incite some of the strongest feelings possible. Particularly, it incites emotion: tradition and childhood are emotion, and discrimination is emotion.

Politics, on the other hand, is rationality, or at least in its ideal form. So, what’s the rational view of the debate? What do the politicians say? Well, nothing, really…

Despite the fact that everyone in the country has an opinion on the issue, despite the fact that it has been making headlines for years and that especially this year, the discussion began months in advance of the actual celebration, politicians don’t dare to take a stance on the issue. Dutch president Mark Rutte, at one point, tried to very carefully state something in favour of the tradition, and that immediately caused such a backlash that no politician other than the radical ones would be willing to risk sharing their opinion. After all, we live in a democracy, and in this case, that means that no matter what you say, you’ll be creating a whole lot of enemies while barely creating any supporters.

While on the one hand this shows one of the most fundamental flaws in representative democracy, paradoxically enough, at the same time it also shows the absolute necessity for a democratic system to be representative, rather than being a direct democracy. After all, one thing is clear: the people cannot come to a solution. They have been trying for years, but all the debate has led to is a whole lot of anger and extreme radicalisation. People have become more racist as well as anti-racist, and they have become even more fierce in their opinions. The point of negotiation is long gone: while a few years ago many of the current pro-Black Pete supporters might have been okay with some alterations, principles have now taken over. People who are neutral have become rare, instead creating even more disparity, basically dividing the entire country into two well-defined groups.

In short, our greatest criticism of our governments, namely their ability/vulnerability to Compromisecompromise, has turned out to in fact be their greatest strength. We hate politicians who compromise, who don’t stand by their point of view. Every election we time and time again look for that politician who won’t back down, who will stand by their principles, and every time they fail us. But here is why: because they have to. Because it’s the best for everyone when they do.

We don’t need strong politicians. Strong politicians in the way we imagine and desire them would make democracy impossible in the same way as a solution to the Black Pete discussion in the Netherlands has become impossible. What we need instead are politicians who are able to compromise, who are willing to let go of something they promised to their voters if it means being able to reach consensus. What we need, in the words of the typical critic of politicians, are “lying and spineless” politicians, because only then can a democracy actually exist. Without them, that democracy would be reduced to indecisive chaos and a complete failure to come to any meaningful decisions.


Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!

More on related topics by Dean Richards:

Democracy is Destructive and a Bad Solution

White People’s Opinion on Racism is Important

Nationalism is Dangerous and should be Eradicated


Posted in Controversial, Open-minded | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment