Factfull Politics

Politics is gang warfare using language. It long ago ceased to be a public debate on different choices we can make. In the details it should be, so when the final law is made it has to be enforceable. Often these days though neither the ‘debate’ is detached from reality and the final law is of nobodies interest, because the whole process was a distraction to allow the passing of other laws nobody talks about.

The problem is really

In the Netherlands the leader of the VVD party (which ruled for the last 13 years under Mark Rutte), in the run up to the elections of 2023, claimed immigrants where reuniting with family by the thousands in Holland, one after the other ‘nareizer’ (individual now allowed in because the first member of the family was allowed in) was flooding our country. This triggered a mass vote for the anti-immigrant PVV (Geert Wilders) which now led to an insane new government formed and run by people that openly admit interest in Nazi ideology, and run by a former head of the intelligence agency and confidant of the same Mark Rutte. I mean the VVD, when it gets thrown out, always tries to install another party that will then do the dirty work and suffer electoral defeat allowing the VVD to reenter the scene.

The problem is really that nobody respects facts. This is the nature of politics, everything is an opinion and if you can make people doubt the words of your opponent you are ‘winning’. It is a game of brainwashing, where you can end up like two muslims debating whether islam fully supports christianity or not. Its all stories and zero fact. This is defeating the purpose of government, which is to protect the fundamental rights of its citizen. This fact free epidemic comes on top of zero policy disclosure. Copying the habit of republicans in the US, there is barely an outline of what people plan to do. Especially the right wing is always about punishing unwanted behavior and never about supporting wanted behavior. The latter because that wanted behavior usually looks pretty anti-social if you investigate. I would suggest two principles to change all this.

First, with every proposal there should be a one page explanation of the position, a ‘position-paper’. The politician or minister can only talk about a proposal for which such explanation is provided. This makes it easy for every citizen to read the proposal and form an opinion. The position paper can change, that means it gets published with an update. Currently proposals for laws or motions in parliament come with a short explanation, but this is often too short and is hard to trace back to previous proposals. This is because some are made for show. The opposition often makes a huge noise as it makes proposals that never go anywhere because well, they are the opposition.

Second, every verifiable assertion of a fact must be verified, and once it is it is the only assertion or fact that can be used. So if the VVD claims ‘many thousands of family reuniting immigrants flood the country’, this can be checked, it has to be checked and say it turns out to be 1200 people in 2022 then this is the only fact others can use when they want to talk about ‘family reuniting immigrants in 2022’. Give the fact a name, an code, store it. These ‘known facts’ have to be used in position papers. They are to be determined by a method that is explained. The Netherlands has the CBS, which is the central bureau of statistic, the AR (? Algemene rekenkamer) general accountancy office. Sources can not be ‘authorities’ they have to be the closest to the real world or people will once again go to sleep believing some political source of truth.

Fact determination has to be hypertransparent, so for example use @X platform to report. It has to be tied to individuals that do the reporting or data that is from satellites or other sources, bank statements. All as transparent as possible. The debate on what is a fact and what not should not take place in parliament or during debates. The point of the proceedings is how to deal with reality, what laws need to change to make it better. Financial facts should also be public, which includes all income of politicians, previous employers etc. so people can see who is a lobbyist. If you want to make a broad statement it can be required to get it fact checked first. It becomes easier to take actual facts and present them, this in itself always causes a bias anyway, I mean if I talk about tapdancing smurfs for 5 minutes this massively biases your mind towards thinking they have some reality or importance.

There should also be more openness about undiscussed or undebated laws, because some rediculous laws passed in recent years that really hurt society, namely the investment in rentad homes and other laws that benefit banks and the totalitarian machinery. But the first step is to eliminate lies as much as possible using verified facts!