Yesterday I made a quite general remark about the dangers of a mis-guided and fear-based search for safety, which was illustrated in how Ebenezer Scrooge lost his ways, and lost the love of his life. Today I will be more specific, because today one of the worst laws ever in the history of Sweden was passed. However, as I plan to do here, I will not only complain of this but try to find a general/spiritual/positive twist on the event as well, so that we together can learn what there is to learn, and fix the underlying problems and not only fight individual symptoms.
Sooo...today it happened, and I was there as a witness, at least via the web. It was a bit like watching democracy fall in the wonderful Star Wars saga, when Padmé whispers "so this is how liberty dies - under thunderous applause". Only this time it was more like...nothing special. It was just one of many votes that was to be passed that time-slot, and unless you had some kind of protocol you didn't even really understand what the Speaker talked about. The experience also made the book Knapptryckarkompaniet (eng: the button-pusher-company) all the more urgent, since it illustrates how democracy nowadays is just a show, where individual members of parliament are not there to think and make responsible choices, but just to push the buttons they are expected to push at the right times.
The law that was passed is about Data Retention, where all internet and phone service providers are required to store for 6 months a lot of information about all citizen in Sweden: to whom and when and where they have send emails, phone calls, or text messages, etc. I will not go into very much detail in this specific law, since many others have done that before (e.g. here). I will however point out that the main argument for this supervision is to find and protect us from criminals. In other words, it is - just as so often before - a perceived increased security that is bought at the expense of a decreased liberty. Since this is not the first, and not the second, but only one of many laws that have been passed or at least formed in the last few years, this is indeed an alarming trend, and it is important to have a closer look at what is actually going on here.
First, it is important to note that this is not the result of voting badly, in that the wrong side won. This is a law that was passed unanimously by both the two biggest parties, S and M, which more or less rules the ruling alliance (M) and the main alternative alliance (S) there is to choose between in Sweden. This is in stark contrast to the fact that all youth-organisations in all ruling parties were strongly against this law, and if you read virtually any comment section anywhere on this topic you see that this is against the will of most interested people as well. This clearly illustrates that our ruling politicians are out-of-touch with what the people want, and that our current system is very poor at generating good options to vote for. This, however, is not a reason to ask yourself "Why are all politicians jerks?", but rather "If all politicians are so bad, why haven't I run myself yet?". By looking inside of yourself at your immediate response to the thought of running for a political position, you have an important component in why the system is as it is right now. Which those responses are, and what we can do to change them, is something I am looking much forward to discussing with you further down the road, both from an individual/psychological perspective, and from a structural/societal perspective (i.e. an all-quadrant perspective).
Now, however, I just want to go back again to the book Knapptryckarkompaniet, and point out that there is a glimmer of hope hidden in the darkness of this voting. The reason is that a few members of the party Centern went against their party line, and voted against this law. This is exactly what has not happened in similar cases before, and it is very promising for many reasons. Most importantly, if this trend continues, we can start to make individual members of parliament responsible for their votes, so that they no longer can hide behind the too often used phrase: "I hade no choice". For this reason I thanked them and the party leader on twitter. This progress, in combination with the fact that we recently have (at least temporarily) stopped two gigantic surveillance laws, SOPA/PIPA and ACTA, makes me after all feel hope that we are moving towards a more democratic system, where the voice of the public can effect the conscience of individual parliament members, who then can vote according to that conscience.
So, if I should return to the general zoomed-out view of what we are doing, where e.g. these kind of laws just are a matter of seeing through the temporarily comforting longing for security as an actual choice of fear instead of freedom and love, I now want to add another such choice that we as individuals do all the time: the choice between hopelessness and hope.