Of course we all know what Shakespeare’s first question was, “To be, or not to be”.
To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
Oh well, you know how it goes on…………and on.
One night when William Shakespeare was coming out of a bar and while flailing his arms and speaking with a thick tongue, he was heard speaking his second question: to “Act or to be Acted upon.”
Okay, okay, so Willy didn’t say that, but on April Fools Day I can imagine that it is something that he would have said. Well after he had sobered up a bit. When sober he was a smart guy and he did know how to pose a good question.
So, what of this question, to “Act or the be Acted upon.”
William would have known that it is always superior to act rather than to be acted upon. Any0ne that know anything would rather be a hammer than a nail. And if you decide that you would rather be a nail than a hammer, the hammer is always going to hammer you. It is just the way it is that when you are a hammer everything starts looking like nails. You just know that you’re gonna get smacked.
William would know that if you don’t act, you’d lose control to people who do act. The trouble with politics citizens already live a catch 22 situation, we have to elect people to represent us and our common interest, so we have to impart to them some of our power to create stability, security and prosperity for us, while we citizens work to provide stability, security and prosperity for ourselves and our family. We do need food and a roof over our heads, but we need our representatives to make the World safe for us as we go out to provide those things for our families.
But that is where we do wrong, We elect these people, but we cannot hand over all that power carte blanche hand over the keys to the kingdom without some oversight; to trust them far beyond that which is sensible, and reasonable and sane. Surely if William had know Lord Acton (who lived several centuries later) would have agreed with him, Power does corrupt and absolute power does tend to corrupt absolutely. Hitler, or Stalin would have been in one of Shakespeare’s plays, playing the “bad guy” to make the point. You just can’t trust those you have entrusted with your power, until you have the tools to make them accountable to you the citizens.
It would be okay to sleep between elections, if you already had a government system, methodically thought through, and structured to safeguard against power hungry politicians. (See https://pushinback.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/the-swiss-system-of-democracy/ )
But even though the Swiss System is geared to keep power distant from their leader, in the end they hold the ace in that the people being Sovereign. With the ultimate power of Referenda, if a leader took one step toward taking power to him/herself, with Initiative, the people would force a referendum that would take the power back away from that leader.
In the play, the People would begin to make macro decisions of the Realm, and they would benefit from their maturity with better lives. After all, there are great benefits in thinking BIG, and what child doesn’t want to take charge over their own lives and grow up?
“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England… nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament , or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All we have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” – Herman Goering, Nuremberg Trials