The Democratic Vote - School of Nationalism Ruthless Criticism

The Democratic Vote -
School of Nationalism

[1994 lecture by a GegenStandpunkt editor at a meeting sponsored by a leftist student group].


I assume that most people here take the view: “voting doesn’t do much or anything at all... ” However, I want to warn against this. And I want to take a different approach to the topic, because I know quite well that the argument “voting doesn’t do much or anything at all” is usually the first step in the search for the candidate who, between all the bad alternatives, is nevertheless worthy of trust; the one who somehow qualifies as the lesser evil. So I would like to turn the tables. I don’t want to say: “Voting doesn’t do much or anything at all.” I want to explain what voting is and what it does.

If you think this through to the end and let me support this claim, you will see that voting does a lot. It orients and adjusts the nation to the current needs of government, to the current ambitions of the state. My claim is that the election serves to re-unite the state and the people over and over again, and that this is necessary because, in the four years in between elections, the state produces a lot of discontent among the people. The state unites itself with the people by initiating a process which organizes people’s consent to being governed, and it does this by letting the citizens decide who will govern. The fact that they are to be governed is not up for them to decide. The fact that the nation and its reasons of state must be pursued is not up for them to decide. They decide one thing: this candidate or the other candidate. Indirectly, every citizen who votes for one candidate or another is also voting to keep his mouth shut for the next four years, regardless of who he is governed by, whether by the candidate he picked or by the one that the majority picked, but not him. Obedience is required in either case, whether you vote for the winner or not. Elections are an act by which the state seeks the people’s authorization to govern over them, but in fact never puts this in question. Because it is not the case that, if there were 100 percent voter abstention, the state would say: “ok, we’ll just resign then,” but even with zero or only 20 per cent or, as in America where there is only a 40 per cent turnout, the president still governs with full power. Power is not diminished when voter turnout is diminished.

You can see that it isn’t the case that when people stay home, no government, no state power, is formed, but that the unity of the people and the state doesn’t take place from below. In the end, the people just put up with it; in the end, they are passive; they are only the governed members of society – and not at all happily. This is the stability of democracy: that those who are governed, who are subject to the laws, who do not have any say in the laws, are in favor of conditions in which they don’t have any say. That is the gimmick of a form of rule in which rule over those who are ruled is accepted, affirmed, welcomed.

This paradox of democracy is incorrectly grasped and explained by political critics in two ways. One is the classic left position which says: people are victims of manipulation, they are lured with false promises, dishonest gestures, and this is the only way they could be willing to give another mandate to Kohl, who has caused more poverty in Germany than in the whole post-war period, who has militarized foreign policy, things no well-meaning person could want. They don’t believe that it actually happens that people are in favor of a state and a system in which they are the real idiots. They don’t believe it, so they say: “This can’t be, this can only have happened through cheating and trickery.” And already they are in the process of manipulating, counter-manipulating, and presenting themselves as the true representative of the people. This is no different than what all politicians do: declaring oneself, when running for office, the representative of the honest worker. Who is against the honest worker, especially if he doesn’t ask for much? The opposite viewpoint on this topic (“how can it be that people become supporters of a society that gives them such miserable circumstances in life?”) is expressed at the moment by the marginal editors of Konret [a leftist magazine in Germany – trans.]. They say that we are simply faced with incorrigible nationalists. Since Bismarck, since the Emperor, since Adolf Hitler, a German is always a nationalist and a racist, ultimately an incorrigible human material for the left with its good intentions. This criticism quickly becomes elitist and complains about what assholes the others are.

Those are two ways of dealing with the paradox, and the paradox is real, and it has to be dealt with. The paradox of democracy is that we live in a state in which it is unquestionable that there is oppression, in which there is an assignment of chances in life, in which some people are given wealth and others are given hardships and a life full of work which they never get anything from. And they can still say that they are lucky because there are others who are not needed in a world where one can only live through wage labor and whose numbers are growing. In such a country, the subjects – those whose interest is obviously not the guideline of governing – are in favor of being governed.

Why do people do this? The answer is easy: they make a mistake, obviously. They aren’t doing their interests any good and they aren’t doing themselves any good by voting, by thinking about the nation and its governance in this way. It is, however, no joke why they make this mistake. It is clear that they make a mistake. The interesting question is how they get to it.

I want to explain how they get to it by using the examples of unemployment and economic growth. This explanation will also make it clear that nationalists are by no means only those who pick up a baseball bat and beat foreigners to death, but that nationalism is the most general theoretical attitude towards politics, society, and the economy. And that’s why it’s also useful for being escalated into a huge lust for mass murder at a moment’s notice when a government needs to turn it on. Another point: how do politicians manage to get approval for themselves and their government without sowing illusions among the people about what is in store for them? Just look at any election campaign. You won’t see them saying: “I am the most popular politician, I promise that student financial assistance will increase”; “I am the most popular politician, I promise that maternity leave will increase”; “I promise that wages will increase and that there will be more jobs.” If you look at an election campaign, it’s the other way around. For example, they argue: “We must be honest, the burdens are not going to be minimized, but increased.” It’s not as if people are being led to believe in a picture of national well-being which doesn’t correspond with reality. It’s quite strange: people are not kept in the dark about the burdens and sacrifices they are going to have to make. And yet they still support it!


At this point, the critic – me in this case – is accused of being pointlessly destructive. The complaint about a lack of constructive proposals for how things can be made better in the future is still the toughest campaign issue. If, during an election, someone really got lost and said: “Where does unemployment actually come from?” then the counter-question would immediately be: “How do you want to eliminate that, how do you want to overcome unemployment?”

Yes, the argument has be made for once: I don’t want to be in charge of this state at all, I want to eliminate this economy in which work is distributed so that some people have more than enough work while others are unemployed. But if I make a call to change this, then I also have to honestly admit that this would not be compatible with the profitability of capital; it would not be compatible with the growth of the national economy on the world market; and it would not be compatible with the nation winning markets for its high-tech products abroad. That means coming up with something completely different than wages, or what people get from working. Why isn’t it possible to distribute the work that is needed to build universities and childcare centers and to provide for people and build an adequate public transportation system? If we hold unquestioningly to the principle: “pay them as cheaply as possible and use them as much as possible,” then unemployed people are a logical consequence. In truth, they aren’t even a problem. The first lie of our society is the saying: “the unemployed are a problem.” They are not; they are a success. Unemployed people are a success of rationalization, a success of the growth of capital. If they become a problem, then this is because they turn to crime or become radical right-wingers who are out of step with the state and the society. But they are not a problem otherwise. To put it brutally: the only problem is that they can’t just go to hell. That would be good for the nation. If we only allowed those who are really useful to live. But we are too humanistic for that; so we let them drag themselves around. And in the meantime unemployment benefits are minimized because anyone who doesn’t find another job in six months is obviously not fit for the job market.

So to say it again, clearly: I don’t have any contribution to make to the problem of “how to fight unemployment.” I say that it is a rotten society and a shitty system where work is not a necessary evil but a blessing that is transacted as a privilege that only some enjoy. If work were a necessary evil, it would be distributed accordingly and made as short as possible. With us, work is a good in short supply. The demand to be constructive, that one should make suggestions, is what all democratic parties demand of each other. If anyone dissents, he is immediately hit with the hammer of realism: “Do you have a contribution to make to how to things are run here, to the priorities here, to the objective necessities?” If I get involved in all this, I no longer need to set up an opposition. They will govern, dead certainly, exactly the same as Kohl. If all the priorities remain the same, I can’t manage the objective necessities – the distribution of property, the principle of profitability – any better than Kohl; he can do this quite well. I want to do something different, so I don’t have to say how I would make this better.


But back to “election campaigns.” I want to explain how they function, ideal-typically:

In the first step, the politicians declare themselves to be the representatives and contractors of the concerns and hardships of the citizens. In the first step, the needs of the citizens, their real poverty, matters. They matter in the argument: “Taxes are really too high in our country, quite burdensome,” they matter in the argument: “We have a lot of unemployed persons, that is a terrible injustice”, they matter in the argument: “We can’t just resign ourselves to 3.5 million unemployed in the long term.” Why these things happen is not discussed because electoral campaigns are practical. They declare their responsibility for these concerns, and then they are concerned with the remedies. They are not concerned with why, and anybody who begins with why will be completely censored from the democratic competition.

What happens next? Then comes a diagnosis which is not a diagnosis, but always translates the desired therapy into an explanation. Thus: “Why are there so many unemployed people?” Answer: “Because Germany is falling behind as an investment location in its ability to compete globally.” Here one wants to ask: “If that’s true, why are there unemployed people in Japan?” Did Japan fall behind too? Did they all fall behind? Where? Behind whom? There are unemployed people everywhere, so that can’t be the truth. And yet: “The investment location Germany fell behind” – that’s the diagnosis. But the diagnosis immediately includes: the investment location Germany has to be shored up. What can be done for the unemployed people in their poverty and lack of hope and money? – Shore up Germany as an investment site! What can be done for this? – Give the capitalists money! The Social Democrats say: “We need a research offensive” and the Christian Democrats say: “We need new high tech products” (this is one and the same). All of them say: “We must lower the tax burden for business.” What can one do for the poor in this country? – Give money to the rich! Who else can do something for the poor, if not the rich?! They must have enough money so that they will invest it.

What do the entrepreneurs do with the donated money? The theory is that they will create jobs with it. The truth is that the donated money increases their rate of return; they have more income. They are relieved of costs that they had yesterday and then there is more profit at the same selling price. And what do they do then? It depends on the state of their business. And if they actually think that they should use it to improve their competitiveness, what do they do then? They rationalize more than ever, buying new machinery and again replacing labor with machines. The very means to fight unemployment is the means that create it! The growth of capital is the constant replacement of labor, paid wage labor, by machinery. That is the basic means to increase productivity and therefore competitiveness. Now you see the effect. The effect is that the growth of capital does not eliminate unemployment, but creates it.

Fifteen years ago, this was a Marxist argument that was met with disbelief; today, every Secretary of Labor will tell you: “Yes, an upturn is taking place, but reducing unemployment is a completely different question.” Now everyone tells you: “Yes, yes, there must be an upswing, there must be growth, Germany has to be promoted as an investment location, but the rate of unemployment increases from one upswing to the next.” Yes, this is just the old Marxist basic law that the growth of capital creates a growth of poverty and not: the more capital grows, the poor become richer too, working people are more in demand and wealthier too.

Now we have the point: what used to be called full employment in Germany was that they simply exported unemployment all the time. More and more of the world’s paid work, thus cost-effective work, concentrated in Germany and in a few other countries. Since then, they are ready to concentrate this further. To promote Germany as a business location, to increase its competitiveness, to conquer new markets always has the logic: to drive the other countries out with its productivity, to take away their markets. So “exporting unemployment” is still the official program, but the growth of capital has by now reached the point that it not only exports unemployment, but also makes a lot of people redundant at home because the productivity of labor, i.e. the exploitation of those who work for wages, has increased so enormously.

What we have here is an important point about nationalism: why does this make sense to the citizens? They could say: “If the upturn works in a way that leads to people being laid off again, then forget about the upswing.” Why do they go along with it? They act as if the upswing were their means as well. But it isn’t. So why do they get involved in it? The answer is that it is because they are dependent on it. The core of the idea behind nationalism is that people are dependent on an economy. The demand of the entrepreneurs for labor, their successes, their opportunities to sell are really the preconditions for people to be able to find a livelihood under these social conditions. But the success of the entrepreneurs does not lead to people finding a livelihood for themselves.

This is the beautiful dialectic of the phrase: it’s only a negative dependence. It’s not like it’s a means and an end. That would be simple: “Yes, if I want to have a job and earn money, then the entrepreneur must earn money first.” There one could say: “Well, it’s a little bit unfair, they are always ahead of the rest in their success, their success comes first, then the success of the others.” But it’s not like that at all. First comes the success of the entrepreneurs, which is the precondition for the livelihoods of everybody in the country. That comes first. But the success of the entrepreneurs does not at all lead to the success of the others. The business of the entrepreneurs takes first place – and if it works out, then everyone has work and a livelihood? No, this is not the case. People depend on it, but they depend on something that is not at all their means. A nationalist is anyone who accepts this relationship as simply his livelihood. He has to take an interest in the entrepreneur’s success in opposition to his own interest in wages and leisure. He really makes the transition from: “I am a worker and the profits of the entrepreneurs do not belong to me, nor any part of them” to “but if they do not employ me, I am even worse off, so I must hope that they do good business so that I might be able to make a living from it.” The next step is that the business of the entrepreneurs is the public interest of the whole nation – and then no trouble is caused for this interest any more by asking: what do the workers get out of this? At the moment, the situation might be called an economic crisis or an upswing, but either way it is always a threat to Germany as an investment site. We have to assert ourselves! How can we assert ourselves? The first angle was: the state must collect money from ordinary people and give it to the entrepreneurs for research, etc. But not only this, there is also a completely different angle called “deregulation.” The entrepreneurs have a list of all the obligations that the state imposes on them – things such as zoning procedures, technology approval, environmental protection, industrial safety – that they want to be released from. The entrepreneurs are relieved as much as possible from the regulations that the state had previously imposed on them in the interest of the environment, i.e. the long-term functioning of the society, in the interest of city planning, etc., but also in the interest of the long-term usability of the workforce. Health and safety protections on the job, work time regulations… and collective bargaining in general: it would be best to do away with all of this. What happens is that this is shot full of holes, “liberalized.” The collective agreements lose their general validity, everyone is no longer paid according to them.

So now the workers should realize that they have to be cheaper and work longer or, depending on the case, more flexible. Why? So that the economy can flourish, because that is the condition of their livelihoods, without the promise “... and when the economy flourishes, your wages will rise again” even being made to them. That wages will rise again is unthinkable at the moment. No one says: “that is a dry spell.” Previous crises were talked about in a different way. Then it was said: “this is a dry spell, right now we all have to tighten our belts and accept wage cuts until the crisis is over, then we will get everything back twice over.” That’s all done with. German wages are too high, if you look at the world. Zilch will help, today and tomorrow and in general.

Nowadays, there has been a shift to accusing the unemployed themselves for being the reason that there is no work for them. After all, they are not willing to work as cheaply as they would have to. Then there would be work. That’s completely not true. What results is just another hole in the regulatory system, but not the creation of the alleged jobs, which don’t exist only because people aren’t ready to work as cheaply as they should.


In the first step, the people are addressed about their problems. “Unemployment is a tough fate, yes, it’s unacceptable that so many people are without a means of survival.” In the second step, the way to their interests is pointed out to them. This means: “People, there is only work if the entrepreneurs hire you! We can only do something for you if we do something for the entrepreneurs. Of course, this must pay off for them, so sacrifices must be made.” Now the citizen realizes: “Well, there must be sacrifices.” He still deceives himself about what the sacrifices are for. He thinks it’s so that there will be jobs. The nationalist is still mistaken. He regards the society as something that exists for him. He makes sacrifices for it, but what the purpose of the nation really is, what the money that is taken from him is really spent on, he would never give voluntarily if he knew what it is for. Nobody with clear vision would say: “Yes, the accumulation of capital is being promoted, German accumulation is being promoted at the expense of foreign accumulation, and it is quite clear that the Germany’s success is accompanied by ever more unemployment.” Nobody would take a positive view of this and say: “Oh good, that’s what I am making sacrifices for, this wonderful cause.” The tough thing is that this is what they are making sacrifices for. They agree to sacrifice and give their “yes,” and they are not even mistaken. But they are mistaken about what it is for.

Once the viewpoint has been established: “we can only do something for you if we do something for the entrepreneurs,” then it is demanded and required that the voters look at themselves from the point of view of the success of the society (first the success of the German economy, then the success of Germany in general). The first step was: “your problems.” The next step is: “We can only handle your problems through the success of Germany, by promoting the success of Germany.” The third step is: “Please take Germany’s point of view and then look at how you are doing here.” They are suddenly told: “Yes, it’s about Germany now!” By the way, all the billboards say: “It’s about Germany!” no matter who says it. “Now that it’s about Germany, look at you unemployed people, you are just costing money.” Now everything is turned around. Now, as a supporter of Germany’s success, he should see himself a burden on the society. And what’s the difference if the Social Democrats say: “Financing unemployment is more expensive than financing work”? In any case, they address the unemployed as a burden on the nation, as a larger or a smaller one, but either way as a burden. And the people should see this too: “It’s true, we are a burden.”

And if they don’t see themselves in this way – and this is the beauty of democracy – then they always see their neighbors in this way. Yes, the unemployed guy who talks to a politician might want to say: “I have a grievance.” But everyone knows someone who makes himself too comfortable in unemployment, who has some source of money, a rich girlfriend or something, while getting unemployment benefits, and concedes that unemployment benefits should be cut. One sees him as an unnecessary burden on the society, so the victims of this system never vote in relation to themselves personally, but always in relation to other people who they think are unfairly benefiting, who are social parasites. So they vote for measures that are aimed against themselves as a whole.

And when they have reached that point, they are ready to be happy about the success of the German economy for no particular reason, and no longer ask: “And what do I get out of it?”

Nationalism is taught by this lesson: “Yes, you are part of our society. Your interest counts, but if your interest counts, you have to stick to the way by which it can be satisfied. So you have to take the viewpoint of the German economy. If you take this view, you must look at yourself from the viewpoint of the German economy, and then you have to consider the success of the German economy as the fulfillment of your desires and no longer make any objections, because you support the German economy.” Anyone who thinks this way is a nationalist. End of story. And let’s not kid ourselves: everyone thinks this way. That’s what nationalism is: being dependent on the success of the society and thinking that you are a partner in the success of a state in which you are not at all a partner in its success: “Yes, if the success of the nation works out, then everything will be ok,” without even then reckoning back to: “… and what do I get out of it,” simply because one is dependent on it.

Nationalists do not have to be content people, unlike the discontent people who are critical. Nationalism is a way of dealing with discontent, not a way of bursting with satisfaction. Yet in their satisfaction they can simply be for everything continuing as before. Nationalists are, above all, people who explain their own bad situation by never allowing the difference between the society and themselves to come up. Precisely when the society proves to be a bad basis for them, they hold firmly that it nevertheless should be. And they do that so much that they believe, when they are in a bad way, that the country must be in a bad way too. Now the discontent nationalist becomes the most dangerous one of all. Because he doesn’t let any distinction between himself and the nation come up, precisely where one nevertheless exists, where he is nevertheless a member of a society in which he is not a partner of its success. Then the discontent nationalist believes that if he is badly off, the nation is also badly off: “My bad situation is a sign that Germany is not assertive enough.”

This logic is murderous. It is a variant of: the worse things get for people, the more nationalistic they become. If people think: “If I am doing badly, the nation is doing badly,” they are also against the obstacles to its success. The other countries in the EU, because they aren’t paying into the pot; the Japanese, because they are taking markets away from us; immigrants, because they are taking housing and jobs away from us. Then this “us” creates enemies, and every discontent with the society becomes a discontent with the society not doing enough to remove the obstacles which are those who are not part of it. It is only by this logic that a whole people came to believe that the Jews were a calamity for them. And in our case: only by this logic do people get to the point where they say: “Yes, I am German and unemployed, how can it be that foreigners are running around here?!” Only by this logic, but it already includes it.


Because I needed it for the logic of nationalism, I used arguments that are made in one way or another in election campaigns, but also when you turn on a tv program about unemployment – only: they are not the government’s. Nevertheless, I used them in order to make clear the type of the reversal that is made. Because otherwise it would be absolutely puzzling. If you step into where they are right now, you can ask yourself whether you want to become a nationalist too or whether you think they are all ready for the lunatic asylum. The Chancellor, for example, represents as a person the boundless satisfaction that Germany can have with itself. So what is that an argument for? The people with their interests and concerns may be satisfied too, for all I care, but why is that an argument? It’s incomprehensible.

The people become obsessed, for example, with “crime must be fought, there is too much crime.” Yet whose concern is this? The state agitates the people by saying that it wants to be able to deal better with those who break its laws. The citizens could easily say that it is none of their business. Whether the Russian mafia murders in one brothel or another … they are neither its customers nor its employees, so it’s not their concern. No, that crime is rampant is used as an argument, and it has to be listened to. Somewhere or other the memory still lingers: the grandmother in the subway who sometimes is afraid that she too might be beaten up. Only, “large-scale wire-taps” are no help against this. The state presents a new social benefit: “We will suppress everyone who might turn to crime.” And the citizens should note well: “this is in our interest.”

And then there is foreign policy, and this is finally spun in such a way that there is no longer any semblance of a connection between the interests of the citizens and the state’s concerns. Now they are being told: “people, it would dishonor Germany if the French and the British and the Belgians were to stick their necks out and not us.” What they are supposed to stick their necks out for, what this is supposed to achieve, does not come up at all. Yes, if the UN says: “We are going here and there” on military adventures in the third world … if that is done, we have to be there because it would dishonor Germany to always have to be defended by others. Seen politically, not true. Of course, they know what they want in doing this. But they do not tell the people this. They address their nationalistic honor and say: “Isn’t it against your German honor if the Germans are always absent when the French are fighting?!” It’s really only the argument: “We can’t shirk our responsibility, we can’t stand aside.”

These are the types of arguments used to wage election campaigns. And then you realize that the nationalist is no longer being educated, but called upon. They are no longer told: “People, it’s in your own interest, you depend on the standpoint of German success.” Rather, they are directly addressed as Germans, as those who are no longer urged to see things from the viewpoint of a German nationalist through a wrong-headed calculation, but rather they are supposed to have forgotten that there ever was a calculation at all, because they make it themselves. So someone who says: “I am proud to be German,” or who says it politely, like the ex-Federal President Weizsäcker: “We can get by without being German, we did not ask for it, we can also reject it, but hardly are you abroad, you are a German.” He doesn't have to say “I am proud to be German” like a skinhead, but he means exactly the same thing. They address the people as unreserved nationalists who come to nationalism not by means of an incorrect calculation, but who are already there, and therefore don’t even know that there ever was a calculation.


Now to get back to the election: One might well ask, when nationalism as a way of life, or a way of thinking, has already been internalized to such an extent that people have, so to speak, a fundamental agreement in principle with the functioning mode of the society, including the sacrifices that this functioning mode entails for them, why is it then still necessary to periodically reaffirm this agreement? Surely, we could say: they want it anyway? You could get rid of this hocus-pocus every four years, and in this sense, voting would actually be superfluous. But obviously it’s not. So why this periodic approval, which is permanent anyway, over and over again?

There are two reasons for this. One is quite primitive: it’s in the constitution. I think if you would ask the politicians: “Why do you want an election?” they wouldn’t know what else to say than: “It's just a fixed date.” Secondly, however, there is a good reason. And the good reason is that the nation, for its part, does not always remain the same. It’s not the case that Germany always needs the same abstract fundamental “yes” from its citizens. Rather, elections bring up for discussion the categories by which the state wants to be understood by its citizens. And they criticize the old categories that no longer fit. And they even hold a beauty contest over the question: who best represents the nation with his ideas and his patterns of interpretation and his slogans? And so the path to nationalism is updated.

Hence, the question, why there are elections again and again. Yes, for the modernization of nationalism, for the adaptation of nationalism to the current needs of the nation. A further point, and an element in election campaigns that is far more important than these material concerns about unemployment and such questions, is the personality cult. In this regard, democracy has outstripped Stalinism. The democratic personality cult is a good deal more radical than that of Stalinism. The Russians declared Stalin in his time to be the great father of the nation and hung his picture up in every office, and one had to greet him and praise him again and again and so on. But essentially they saluted him as a politician, an economist, a strategist. In democracy, the parties make precisely the question “who is the best leader?” into a beauty contest. And this is the difference with Stalinism: Stalinism just put it plainly to the people and gave them some achievements to applaud, but in democracy people are concerned with the question: “Who do you think would be best as the leader? Which leader is more plausible as a leader?” And this is then staged.

For example, this is staged: “He is universally admired by his party, the party stands devotedly behind him.” They compete with each other over just these leadership qualities. There are whole stories: a candidate must be convinced of his attractiveness in order to convince the voters. A candidate has to be a crazy person who from the beginning, in the middle, and right up to election day says: “I am sure that I am going to win.” If he does not say that, then he doesn’t win. He simply must be convinced of his election victory. And what’s the best argument for this? That he has won an election before!

In this and still a second sense, the personality cult is more radical. The first side was: it is not the case that the authorities create a personality cult which the people can either believe in or keep their mouths shut. But the people are included in the leader’s cult and must choose the most beautiful leader. And second: it leaves aside the question: what is a politician for? One is a family man, the other loves car racing. This really is the keyhole perspective that people had in former times when they said: “The king eats with a king” and admired the king because he was the king. This nonsense of sharing in the private lives of the great is presented for political evaluation. Because it is not about political aims, political arguments, political alternatives, but only about the personal qualities, the personal credibility, the personal assertiveness, the personal warmheartedness of these office-holders. It is also funny how the people are declared incompetent. One can say: “You don’t understand anything about politics, so whether the national debt is too high, too low or just right, you can’t judge; whether the military is sent to Somalia or to Iraq is not for you to judge! But whether this candidate is a human being with a big heart, here you are competent.”

It is a way in which, because one excludes people from politics, one grants them competence about the traits of the character masks. And then, as a result, the character mask becomes carved again for its part, as one imagines, so that the leader’s image suits the republic of today.