SAGE politics
Sustainable, Altruistic, Global, Egalitarian

Richard Parncutt
, 2013

Richard Parrncutt ICMPC 2012
In many countries since the 1980s, Green parties have represented and promoted the ideals of sustainability (environmental, economic, social, cultural), altruism (people who geniunely vote for the interests of other people - yes we do exist!), globalism (or the balance between global and local), and egalitarianism (antidiscrimination, equal opportunity, promotion of minorities), at multiple levels. But the Greens have been increasingly diverted by short-term, culture-specific issues and the selfish wishes of bourgeois, consumerist supporters. The Greens are great, but we need more wisdom.

Either the Greens need a new more global and altruistic orientation, or we need a new political alternative.

Sage is French for "wise". In English, a sage is a wise older person. SAGE politics is Sustainable, Altruisic, Global and Egalitarian.

Wisdom and SAGE politics

Wisdom is not the same as intelligence.

Scientists have calculated that there are millions of planets in the universe that could support life similar to life on earth (more). But so far we have not found life in space, let alone intelligent life. Why? A possible reason is that intelligence is fundamentally selfish. Sooner or later, it destroys itself. The human species is already moving in this direction. Our intelligence has led to enormous progress in the natural sciences. But our amazing inventions have unfortunately included the atom bomb, the internal combustion engine, and global warming. Global markets are producing enormous wealth and an unprecedented standard of living, but they are also perpetuating global poverty and gradually destroying the entire habitat upon which human beings depend.

The solution is not intelligence. It is wisdom. Wise people, or sages, have personal qualities that the world desperately needs. They combine intelligence with altruism. They combine caring with understanding and modesty. They can stand back and consider what is best for everyone, in a neutral and unbiased fashion. They are happy with themselves and the lives that they have lived, so they are not afraid of dying. They no longer have personal ambitions beyond helping others, and they have no resentment - only positive feelings toward other people, in all times and places. 

Unfortunately, not all powerful older people are blessed with wisdom. That is a fundamental problem, and politics has yet to overcome it. The solution is not to try to identify sages and put them into power, because power corrupts. Nor is the solution to idolize older people, which is the last thing a genuine sage wants anyway. Instead, we can be inspired by the concept of sagacity. We can strive to be wise in our everyday lives, and we can develop wise political strategies at all levels. That's what SAGE is about.

SAGE politics is for all age groups. W
isdom can emerge or disappear at any age. No matter what we know, we can always know more. No matter what we do, we will always make mistakes. No matter how big or small our mistakes, we can always learn from them. We never stop learning. The German-American political theorist Hannah Arendt put it in a nutshell when she wrote: "Wisdom is a virtue of age, and it probably only comes to those who were neither wise nor sensible in their youth." (Weisheit ist eine Tugend des Alters und sie kommt wohl nur zu denen, die in ihrer Jugend weder weise waren noch besonnen.)

Human rights: The ultimate foundation of SAGE politics

There is one idea that unites all of these points, and that is human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a response to the Holocaust, the worst crime ever committed. It was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. Today, one can argue that the survival of humanity will depend on how well the principles and ideals in this document can be realised. From that point of view, the Universal Declarion of Human Rights could well be the most important document ever written. Every child in every school should learn about it. Every political party in the world should draw inspiration from it.

Human rights should be promoted at all times, in all places, and among all groups of people. It follows that politics must be sustainable, global and egalitarian, respectively. But politics must also be pragmatic. How can these ideals be achieved? What it the best approach? Logically, there are two main ways to achieve human rights. One is for people whose rights are not being respected to fight for them. In the past, this has been the most effective method, but it can also lead to violence. If we wish to avoid violence, we must simultaneously pursue the other route. We must also promote generosity and altruism on the part of those lucky people for whom rights were never a problem. That is a difficult goal to achieve, which is why a political movement is necessary.

Various "human rights parties" exist or have existed in different countries. SAGE politics goes further by giving equal emphasis to the rights of individuals, the rights of groups (such as cultural minorities), and the rights of millions (e.g. all those suffering from hunger or preventable or curable disease). SAGE politics also places equal emphasis on the rights of present and future people. The concept of human rights is extended to include the right of humankind to survive, and the right of individual humans to be heard as they fight for the survival of their species.

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