Sunday, March 28, 2010


Here's a particularly troublesome paradigm that I've noticed among people, especially that very curious breed that calls themselves voters.

Its called Populist Political Mentality.

The premise is very simple. To victims affected by this disorder, it means that whoever is in power must give them what they want (not need) as quickly as possible, else, regardless of what else this government did for them, they'll not vote for it. Another defining characteristic of this group is the complete unwillingness to sacrifice short-term benefits for extreme long-term gain, as well as being extremely gullible to populist statements by irresponsible politicians and thus, judging by their hearts and never with their heads.

These people are the American 'Tea-Partiers', who would rather let people die due to a lack of health insurance just because they feel the government shouldn't interfere in personal healthcare. These people are the Greeks who vote a new government in to slash the debt, yet riot when the government talks about going thrifty to save cash. These people are also, tragically, the Malaysians who would never allow prices to be raised, despite the deficit reaching 47 billion ringgit last year.

Populism does go a long way in helping to fish for votes, especially from Low Information Voters. But its real cost is terrible. It causes a rapid cooling of political favor towards a certain candidate once he's been elected and finds out that getting parliamentary approval can be slow and agonising. At the same time, people become more willing to vote for the next flashy opponent who comes with all style and little substance (insert Sarah Palin joke here). And it means that these opponents (like the US Republicans) will keep blocking necessary legislation to keep up the image of the bold, upstart opponent.

In Malaysia, PPM often causes displays of hypocrisy in people, who typically complain of higher prices, yet spend on things like smartphones for all the kids before they start school, etc, etc. Sure, there's nothing wrong with buying goods, but when there is a debt crisis looming that could affect you much worse in future, why complain about reduced subsidies and yet splurge unnecessarily?

When countries go bankrupt after excessive borrowing to support a PPM infested population, bad -no, terrible- things happen to its people. Stock markets worldwide crash, the people lose ALL forms of government benefits, salaries are trimmed and the currency becomes worthless, driving up prices far more than they would have been had subsidies been slashed earlier on.

PPMs effects vary depending on the kind of policy attacked by the government. In more advanced democracies, where people argue about the environment, healthcare, nuclear energy and such, an attack would be something like climate change doesn't exist, or bluefin tuna should continue to be fished. Either way, the effects are destructive, silly and unnecessary.

So, lets start acting with a little bit more maturity, and be prepared to make some sacrifices and judge things by what is being said, not how loudly people say it.


  1. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」.........................

  2. 從未遭遇失敗的人,對自己或是別人,都是一知半解的。 ..................................................

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