Greens need a new more global and altruistic orientation, or
we need a
new political alternative.
is French for "wise". In English, a sage
is a wise older person. SAGE
politics is Sustainable, Altruisic, Global and Egalitarian.
our children's children to enjoy our world and our natural environment,
just as we do. To ensure this, we have to think in the long term. What
will the world be like in a century from now? Most
politicians are elected for fixed terms
of a few years. But their policies increasingly have long-term
- Why altruistic?
Some conservatives argue that humans are naturally selfish. It is
therefore ok to reject wealth, transaction and environment taxes. Just
get richer and ignore all those poor
people. That is not a strong argument, because it implies that it is
also ok to be violent (the "naturalist
fallacy"). In fact, we humans can choose to accept some
parts of our animal nature and suppress or reject other parts. Violence
are natural, but we can also reject them. Altruism is just
as natural; without it, children could not grow up, and even
psychologists recognize altruism as a
part of "human nature". Today, altruism is becoming increasingly
necessary for the survival of our species. We have no choice but to
promote and celebrate our innate altruism.
politicians are elected within countries. But their policies
increasingly have global consequences. Since economic processes are
increasingly globalised, we must increasingly globalise the democratic
regulation of economic processes (e.g. taxation systems). Instead of
pretending that the electorate is 100% selfish and focusing only on the
selfish needs of their target voters, politicians need to find a new
balance between global and local issues (cf. Simpol).
and SAGE politics
is not only unjust - it can also be an obstacle to peace and
fuels violence and perpetuates poverty. Sexist traditions in developing
countries prevent girls from being educated with widespread
consequences including unsustainable birth
including Christianity, Islam and Judaism have fundamentalist
traditions that are discriminatory and threaten global security. We must
religion out of politics (laïcité) while at the
same time promoting
basic moral principles that are common to all major religions (e.g. the
rule) as well as freedom of religious expression.
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
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
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.
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
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. Wisdom 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.)
rights: The ultimate foundation of SAGE politics
There is one idea that unites all of these
points, and that is human rights.
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
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
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
survive, and the right of individual humans to be heard as they fight
for the survival of their species.