PEOPLE AND POLITICS: A FIELD FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
Everyone needs to think carefully about what is really meant by the tenet of the Constitution that says the people are the bearers of supreme power.
Politics plays an essential role in the system of factors influencing (often determining) the future of a people, and this role is no less important than that of economics and law. Unfortunately, what is behind politics and political activity and why such activity is possible has so far received very little public consideration. In any case, there is no comparison between the attention given to politics and the attention given to law or economics, culture or education.
A person who suddenly declares themself a lawyer cannot be taken seriously in Estonia or anywhere else. With regard to politicians, it is extremely rare to talk about competency. Condemnations addressed to newly minted politicians can be heard only when and only after they have already done something unacceptable, fundamentally screwed up, or did not do what should have been done without fail.
Political activity assumes knowledge, skills, and experience. MPs and civil servants of all kinds should know a thing or two about people, society, and culture. They need to know forecasts and realities, to understand the relationships and dependencies in society and culture that form a self-regulating, changing, and developing system.
In order to orient in themselves and life, politicians need clarity and a picture of the world that makes it possible to understand what is happening, other people near and far, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and also to realize that to act as a politician, it is important to have a sense of responsibility.
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Everyone, politicians and political scientists alike, journalists and editors alike, not to mention the “general readership and viewing audience”, that the bearer of supreme power in the state is the people.
One day, there will come a time when everyone will realize that elections are not some “event”
- about what you can joke and laugh,
- that can still be organized in any sort of way,
- that you can watch from the sidelines and quietly gloat about.
Participation in elections requires preparation and focus from both those who feel they want to serve their people, protect and develop their state with all their might (and decide to run for office), and from those who can issue the necessary mandate in elections to perform the should carefully consider what the first paragraph of the [Estonian] Constitution really means, stating above actions (decide who to entrust to represent them, develop the state, establish relationships, protect the people, the Constitution, nature, and culture). The responsibility for the choice made also extends to the voter. This also means that one cannot become a citizen randomly, by chance, in passing. A fleeting glance is not enough – to understand something, you need to delve into it.
A person who, in addition to the formal right provided for in the Constitution, also has the moral right to express their point of view and to formulate a preferred decision may participate in elections as a voter; a person who understands what is at stake and is able to recognize both an honest professional and an ordinary vote grabber (“decoy duck”).
You cannot become a citizen randomly, by chance, in passing.
A person can exercise the constitutional right to be elected if they know their state, country, and people; if they know how and why society and its subsystems function, change, and develop. They must know what conditions, circumstances, and situations have developed in the city and in the countryside, in different regions of the country and in separate spheres; what opportunities and dangers arise here and abroad. They should have some idea why this is the case, and what depends on what and on whom.
A parliamentary candidate should know what (if elected) they should do systematically, what to achieve and what to avoid, both at the state and international level. An MP takes an oath to the people!
What should an MP strive for? It would be necessary to ensure that the state has:
- truly protected freedom (rights), and that the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of all residents are in balance;
- established legal acts that would be fairly applied;
- established order that is the bastion of internal and external peace, as well as the guarantee of social progress and the common good for present and future generations;
- created conditions for public success and serves the people for the benefit of all;
- ensured all necessary measures to preserve the Estonian nation, language, and culture for centuries (see the Preamble to the Estonian Constitution).
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The people can truly be the bearer of supreme power only if:
- they are free and independent enough to participate in discussion and should not have to worry about someone harassing them or their loved ones for dissent;
- there are at least two more-or-less equal and comparable possibilities in any discussion, that is, there is an alternative, each possibility has its own pros and cons;
- they know and understand the alternative, including the pros and cons of each possibility, which may manifest publicly or covertly, earlier or later, locally or globally, directly or indirectly (see Figure 9.5.1.);
- they can add new alternatives (when it comes to elections, including themselves) if there are no suitable options among those previously presented;
- they understand why the issue under discussion is so significant, and realize that they should focus and be demanding of themselves and others;
- they imagine what should be achieved;
- they know how to model the main process necessary to stay on aim and achieve goals, as well as auxiliary, parallel, complementary, and coercive processes that ensure its smooth flow;
- they are decisive and do not participate in any fraudulent schemes;
- they will build their success not at the expense of other people, nature, society, and culture, but by protecting, defending, and improving them, and by respecting life and the living environment, both in the ecosystem sense and in the socio-cultural sense.
In fact, the people can be the bearer of supreme power only if all spheres of life, regions, and departments, all levels of regulation are in accordance with the Constitution. Familiarity with this book will help clarify why the structure of authorities should be justified, why the state should publicize goal visualization and feedback, and why the principle of personal responsibility should operate in the state.
The starting point for creating (improving) the state’s legal system should be reality, and not just some plans or other documents drawn up once upon a time somewhere by someone else. It is not difficult to understand that government agencies and local authorities communicate with citizens, they answer their inquiries as quickly as possible, and also search for opportunities to get rid of the causes of various shortcomings and create an activity system that is more effective than the existing one.
- Politics is not a game, but a particularly responsible activity.
- Playing a state will not work for long.
The state system of mass information must function on a public and legal basis. The rights, obligations, and responsibilities of all civil servants must be clearly articulated, made public, and be in accordance both with existing law and with social and cultural needs, customs, and rituals. All institutions should be transparent in principle.
When discussing politics, we still have to deal with fragmented thinking, experience-based opinions, assessments and judgments (taken out of context and time) of professionals who once lived somewhere, truths imported from other states and institutional systems, and sometimes even comforting each other that some neighbors are doing even worse because they lack even the knowledge, skills, and experience that we already have, for better or for worse.
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It is possible that people in many parts of the world may have already grasped a relatively simple truth: in politics, it is impossible to get anything but more or less correct descriptions and/or unsystematic speculations.
It is quite easy just to describe the composition and structure of politics as a phenomenon, as well as political activity and the factors that facilitate or complicate this activity. All of these descriptions may be quite interesting, necessary, and have an instructive grain, but they cannot be limited.
Active people — residents who want to be citizens — create and assess politics as a thought construct that adequately represents society and culture.
In short, we can say that in order to reveal politics as a problem, it is necessary to have the very three prerequisites that were discussed in the introduction:
- a description of the real conditions, circumstances, and situation;
- an idea of the necessary conditions, circumstances, and situation;
- an active attitude towards the contradictions revealed by comparing the current conditions and the necessary conditions (to the causes of contradictions).
In order to make sound and appropriate policy, it is necessary to know and consider not only the social and cultural connections, as emphasized above, but everything on which politics depends, and everything that in turn depends on politics. Above all, it is necessary to understand and consider humans and life. The people are not (cannot and should not be!) in the service of politics and the politicians who cultivate it. On the contrary! Politicians are supposed to serve their people, and politics is the system that orders and gives meaning to that service.
- The people are not in the service of politics and the politicians who cultivate it.
- Politicians are supposed to serve their people, and politics is the system that orders and gives meaning to that service.
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In principle, every citizen is a politician. Undoubtedly, there have been and are people among the inhabitants of a country, in every parliament, among civil servants and councilors, who carefully reflect on politics, the homeland, and the material well-being of the people. Such people are able to help others to go deeper into politics, to identify what it consists of and depends on, and under what conditions it would be possible to participate in political and legal activity in an expedient, effective, and intensive way.
It is possible to help those who are willing to improve, to think critically, to act responsibly and systematically.
This conclusion is intended to awaken and encourage citizens to think together about the present and future of society.
If we were able to link social and cultural theory, methodology, methods, and practice in the context of modern paradigms, then perhaps our people could be hopeful that we will not have to, modestly lowering our gaze, observe from the sidelines how other people’s well-being, security, and satisfaction with life grows.
The author did not set out to present an academic interpretation of politics as a system. The need for such a narrative has long been overdue, but right now it is difficult to predict who will commission it and which research institution will dare to undertake this intellectual labor. As long as such a comprehensive text does not exist, everyone must think independently, guided by the promptings of their conscience.
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For further reflection, we offer our readers a list of questions with references to the life of our [Estonian] state. Each of them contains a problem that can be analyzed (see Figure 0.3.3.).
Should it be achieved in Estonia that:
- legal acts were written in a clear language that everyone understands equally;
- the state could function self-regulatingly, but at the same time it was guided, that is, goal visualization and feedback was established in it;
- vertical and horizontal regulation would be in balance and support each other;
- the prerequisites for entrepreneurship would be approximately the same throughout the country, that is, the tax system would be so differentiated that infrastructure would not be destroyed, and there would be no need to fear a decline in the quality of life in different regions;
- under no circumstances would the profane and dilettantes get into leading positions in state institutions;
- everyone would be provided with good conditions for the birth and upbringing of children, and large families would have an advantage;
- in the educational system, the development of the child would be considered as the main process, there would be an opportunity to grow up to be an educated person;
- the prerequisites would be created so that, during a person’s time at university, they could become an intellectual and a patriot, able and willing to participate in social and cultural life;
- in addition to specialty training at universities and higher education institutions, there would be professional and occupational training (in management, governance, administration, making connections, etc.) necessary for the formation of generalists;
- talent would be treated with care; measures would be taken to stop “brain drain” in Estonia (the outflow of talented young people abroad);
- there would be a public education system that would give the entire population the opportunity for effective self-education;
- there would be a media system that would enable citizens to be informed — at least one newspaper that would not be dominated by commercial interests and that would address the real causes of the problems that have developed in the state, society, and culture (a system of causes and possible measures);
- research and teaching in the field of social science would be restored, and legal acts would be supported by scientific argumentation;
- the health care system would be organized in such a way that timely and effective treatment would be possible;
- the judicial system would be accessible to citizens; measures would be taken to replace incompetent judges and speed up court proceedings;
- centers for children’s and youth recreation, sports, and creativity would be part of the educational system, and no fees would be charged for their participation/use;
- measures would be taken to free the population from the wage trap;
- a state or municipal system of procurement, primary processing, quality control, packaging, advertising, and transportation, similar to that which existed in pre-war Estonia and which then ensured efficient retail trade and exports, would be established;
- conditions would be created for the emergence of mutual savings, credit, and production associations; measures would be taken to get rid of the dictates of foreign banks;
- state budget money as well as the funds of state institutions would be kept in a bank owned by the Republic of Estonia.