Book 8: Politics - the Science of the Possible.
Dr. Singh of the university assists the commander and his friends to see how people are motivated through political techniques - such as fear, violence, sympathy, lying, etc. Our values and psychological motivations are used by others to manipulate us and by us to manipulate others. What techniques might be best to move people to do something about global warming and overpopulation?
“So let’s get into the idea of politics. As I said, I like the old definition that ‘politics is the science of the possible.’ If you have a goal, what is the best way to make it happen? Whether you want a certain job, or want to negotiate a pay raise, or just want to date your secretary, there is usually a best way to accomplish your goal.
“What if you wanted to become president of the United States? You should probably become a Democrat, a Protestant Democrat. You should go to Harvard, or at least to the Harvard Law School. You would be wise to be successful in local politics, city council, then mayor, then governor. You would need to get to know the big money people, the ‘movers and shakers.’ You should certainly marry well--a Kennedy would be nice. It might help to be a famous athlete, as long as you are not labeled a dumb jock. You need name recognition. And you certainly don’t want any scandals, especially s-x scandals. You must be a good speaker who can think on his feet. If you did all this you might have a 10% chance.
“So politics is about manipulating people. I know that you talked to Wanda Wang in Kino. You should have definitely have a good idea of people’s values. Appealing to people’s values can be a good political move. And I know you talked with Chuck Chan in Singaling about psychological motivations. They are even better mental movers than values. Probably most people’s main interest is in being alive, or possibly being safe. George Bush capitalized on these motivations when he made people afraid of al Queda and Saddam Hussein. Threatening or using violence, or being told that you can be protected from violence, are age-old political techniques. But there are many more.
“The right technique can usually get your desire accomplished. The right slingshot can kill the giant if it is effectively used. Of course the most effective use of politics is getting what you want while having the people you manipulated liking it. First you must have a plan of what needs to be done or what you want done, then there needs to be a plan on how to carry it out—that’s ‘politics.’ That’s why I say that politics is the science of the possible.
“For some, the end justifies the means-- Lenin, Mao, the Inquisitors, al Queda and thousands more. For others, the Kantian dictum that people are ‘ends in themselves’ and should not be used as ‘means’ is the major concern. I assume that you are in this second group.”