Democracy is exhausting.
You have to regularly put yourself to the citizens for election. Then all privileges can be lost. One is criticized, sometimes unjustly.
This system seduces politicians to cramp up, to increase their political ideas, even to become out of touch.
Who wants to hear criticism instead of praise? That is how we all are created.
Which brings us to the problem in our democracies. The inherent lack of willingness to reform. The insistence on the old. The fear of the new.
As the first German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck remarked:
„Politics sometimes seems to me as if I were going into a dark room.”
There are two schools of thought today:
The ruling class of professional politicians firmly believes that it is doing almost everything right. They just need to explain their policies better to the citizens.
The other school of thought identifies deficits in the efficiency of politics.
Some are becoming radicalized. They criticize, but do not name any concrete alternatives. They mainly want to govern themselves.
A small group prefers critical democratic dialogue, even within the ruling parties. It is the salt in the soup of a functioning democracy. By naming the weak points, it makes democracies stronger and more resistant to totalitarian seducers and dangers. Without openness to new proposals, our fragile democracies will wither, ossify and decay. As other superpowers have done many times before.
With many concrete reform steps, the prevailing, encrusted policy can be improved and be made more sustainable.
Fit for the future.
The actions manuals of Mission Future show in details how a fresh policy with heart and mind can be developed in important segments.
The ideas basically apply to all countries, even if different
emphases, and cultural as well as local adaptations are necessary.
Because everything is in flux and good policy must always be open to new ideas, we should constantly supplement the proposals with better ideas.
We need a new fresh Policy 4.0 based on the three pillars of humanity, creativity and effectiveness.
These are essential for people’s happiness and steady progress.
This is the necessary reorientation unfolding an enormous potential for improvement.
Global Champions can be found in all areas. They are particularly committed. They show passion and courage to act. Moreover, they have developed special skills and achievements in their field of work. They are particularly successful. They are role models who pass on their knowledge and character to the next generation.
And in politics?
The dominant and executive bureaucracy in most countries is dominated by senior individuals in leading positions, an encrusted gerontocracy. They offer young people with new ideas little opportunities and tend to emphasise the possible risks linked to a variety of topics. Moreover, they are far too slow. They sit in secure positions and are not even ashamed of it. This kind of executive no longer fits in at all with the manifold challenges of a rapidly changing globalised world.
Another group are the radicals. Often with a lot of media attention, they assert their particular interests. For them, there is only one big issue, to which all others are subordinate. Is that the right way to go? Democracy must take all interests into account in harmony.
Better policies and a good future are feasible. Let us look around for the best recipes. Let us look beyond the ideological and regional horizons.
We can and must all learn much more from each other, seek out The Golden Global Champions of politics in all countries of the world, analyse, understand and emulate their best practices from all political areas.
This would put us into a position to learn from each other, save money and create progress and prosperity for all. We would be able to achieve a great leap forward and bring our countries forward with radical reforms.
It is about the whole spectrum of good examples in local, national and international politics.
The great leap forward can only be made internationally if we want reforms, learn from the best in the world and do not get lost in petty cosmetic repairs to the systems and plugging holes. Why should politicians keep reinventing the wheel when someone has already shown us how to do it?
Politics is often so incompetent because the ingredients of mediocre people benefiting from party careers and their motivations are too banal. They are grey politicians who earn their living primarily by serving the community and who hang on the drip of pay, high pension entitlements and the perfume of power. Something they could often never achieve in life otherwise. Their ambitions are not the political ideal, but power and career.
For sound policymaking, we need many energetic men and women with character, the will to think for themselves, with a joy for redesigning, for humanity, creativity, courage and optimism. With inner musicality for the political. In addition, with knowledge and experience outside the unreal political bubble.
In a vibrant democracy the parties need to be less of a career lift. We need more criticism, bottom-up decision-making, and no old blinkers.
Do you belong to the elite if you are wealthy, noble or famous? Maybe. But indeed, elite encompasses all people possessing special abilities. The elite has special obligations toward the community in accordance with the old slogan ’noblesse oblige‘ – nobility (elite) obligates.
In other words, not resting on one’s laurels or egomaniacally squandering money for private activities but taking an active part in shaping a better future for the people.
We need a new elite assuming responsibility in every country. They are crucial for sound politics.
We humans cannot know everything. We are not made for this. The ocean of knowledge is too big and is getting bigger and bigger.
But there is the ‚superhuman ‘, the politician. Outstanding politicians are said to have miraculous powers. They know and can do everything and do it better than anyone else. A modern political fairytale for the citizens. The remnant of the divine grace of former ruling kings and subjects.
Everyone is wrong, but apparently our politicians are not. They are true supermen and superwomen, a kind of Batman or Spiderwoman. The credibility, the oxygen of our democracies suffers under this legend.
We must expose this erroneous, messiah-like belief for what it is: pure nonsense. You can get into topics well, but nobody can know everything. Humanity’s knowledge is far too great for that, and the dynamics worldwide are too fast.
It is time for our politicians to say: “I don’t know.”
The media must embrace this new honesty.
The new culture of discussion also should include the sentence: “Sorry, I was wrong, and know it better today.” When was the last time you heard this statement from a politician?
We need more courage to make decisions and must give up customary refusal rituals. Too often, politicians or civil servants refuse to absorb, discuss and understand new ideas. Unconvincing counterarguments are feverishly presented. Creative new thoughts are diluted and talked down until the status quo ante is re-established.
The fixation of most political systems on a Great Leader who can, knows and understands everything and is supposed to rule forever is frighteningly reminiscent of the naive loyalty to the king of our great grandfathers in the 19th century. This seems grotesque and dangerous.
New politics need a competent, creative and committed team, not a substitute king whom we pay homage to as subjects.
We do not need a new leader, but a strong, broadly based team of movers and shakers featuring different talents complementing each other.
In clear contrast to encrusted old politics, the ethos of democracy as well as the sacred fire of free debate must be cultivated with particular care.
This includes an open and honest culture of discussion. Respect for other opinions, renunciation of prejudices and hate propaganda.
We need more dialogue. Not only with like-minded people in our own “communicative bubble”, but also with those voicing different political views.
Politics today is not open enough towards uncertainties in the future.
Quite the opposite. Power structures and thought patterns tend to preserve and defend old positions and proposals. That is the Achilles’ heel of democracies. They are far too slow in decision- making, in re-shaping. Politicians are almost always far too late. They oversleep the future of our children in a dynamic, globalised world.
A paradigm shift is therefore essential: we need to end the reflex-like blocking and open the windows to the fresh air of new ideas.
Can we shape the future positively with doomsday thinking? Fear is the tool of all totalitarians. History clearly shows that negative thinking leads to fear, hasty actions and polarising aggressiveness. It creates tunnel vision, distracts from other important issues and demotivates citizens. Optimism is therefore a duty.
At the heart of a successful Policy 4.0 is the rapid and comprehensive activation of creativity at all levels of policy making encompassing parties, parliaments, governments and administrations.
Permanent openness to new developments is the lifeblood of vibrant democracies. This is the only way to achieve great advances required to revitalise democracies worldwide. There can be no sound and sustainable policy without creativity. Creativity is the trump card. If it is missing, democracy fails.
We must therefore build strong engines of creativity into the political enterprise and break the traditional blockade against managing and utilizing new developments.
Freedom and respect for human rights are paramount. Both are core elements of humanity, the cornerstone of better politics, and peace on earth.
If we want to preserve a humane world for the survival of democracies and freedom, the political oxygen to all of us, we must pursue an active and effective human rights and freedom policy both internally and externally. We tend to make a big mistake: We take freedom for granted, as if it were the air we breathe. In reality, we could gradually lose it if we do not fight for freedom every day.
Policy 4.0 must safeguard freedoms and human rights at home and promote them abroad.
The first German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) once remarked:
„The less people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep“.
How is politics actually planned today?
There is hardly good initial planning followed by creative, timely and critical adjustments. There is frequently a lack of urgency. Problems are described, but options and solutions are almost never seriously developed and worked through. One can call it superficiality and sloppiness. Or ignorance. In any case it is irresponsible.
In a globalized world everything progresses at a fast pace. Consequently inflexible, vague party programs dominated by wishful thinking are outdated. What is needed are flexible procedures as well as extensive dynamic reforms with intensive and long-term planning, pragmatism, realism, creativity and speed: An all-encompassing national “Mission Future” by future-makers: Embracing, shaping and winning the future.
We need annual activity reports on important issues, reinforcing the ministries` commitment to coordination, clarity and truth.
This in turn would create transparency and enable democratic control.
Flexible and quick adaptation of administrative bodies to reality is crucial. This requires clarity and coordination.
Short-term crisis management no longer suffices. Instead, a long- term strategic approach is required. This is essential for good, sound policies that can make our world a better place in the long term.
Moreover, focusing on short term crises pushes important popular issues into the background, even neglecting them.
We need long-term priorities for all major issues, rather than hectic crisis management dealing with fashionable topics.
People want many and different things. They often change their opinions and priorities. They are fallible, good and evil. That is a fact.
Sound policies for the future must not be illusory policies based on the good in people, because they are bound to fail. Shaping policy with the heart is not enough.
Moreover, policy must not only focus on minority causes and neglect majority issues. All citizens are ultimately minorities in different groups. This fact requires a harmonious policy taking due account of all groups.
We also need all areas of policy to work together, not just focusing on a few topical issues.