And, you know…there is a difference between running a company and leading a country.
Let me see if I know the difference.
Not that I have ever been a politician, nor had a huge company to take care of. But I’ve been a freelancer and had a quick try in selling some other product of mine, and I grew up in political times, the 70s, you know, spending most of my spare time in high school as an environmental activist. I’ve done many things…working in a shop too.
First, you don’t own a country. Many people nowadays say that they do, the people decides everything, but that’s only partly true. Of course the majority has the last word in elections, the way each country has organised that.
But if you have read only a little political philosophy, I think one of the principles that apply is some kind of balance between majority rule and…knowledge.
There are many other things to be said about politics and society, of course, but this is an important point today, I think.
You act on behalf of…everyone, really. Of course you act on behalf of your party, which has a program that people expect you to follow as much as you can, at least I do, but this also means I don’t expect every comma in your election speeches to happen.
Election speeches are often too much, too many promises and big words, but even if they weren’t, I wouldn’t expect any party’s politics to happen 100% when they were in government.
I mean, even in plain sailing, politics normally consists of a lot of compromises between parties whose opinions differ slightly or a lot. So I wouldn’t expect any party’s politics to come out clear and loud, clean and unchanged.
Nor would I probably want it or need it. It actually sounds almost like a dictatorship.
Anyway, as a minister or a president, you don’t particularly represent yourself.
In many ways, as the president of the USA, you represent us all, because the United States has a habit of meddling with other people’s lives. Of course you have a lot of power anyway and you are a lot of people, but in addition, I know of no other country who have military bases all over the world in order to protect themselves.
You must be very frightened.
I’m not a diplomat, but I’ve had to defend myself, privately, a lot of times in life. I mean mostly opinions, positions, things like that.
At the same time I hate unfriendliness. I sometimes can’t take it when people actually hate each other. And being the person I am, I believe I’m actually most disturbed when conflicts happen on “higher levels”, like between groups of people, basically. Culture clashes. What I really loathe is one person hitting another for the reason that he or she belongs to the wrong group, something the first person hates him for.
But not everything is bad about humans forming groups, because if you move from one group to another it’s sometimes like having a vacation in a foreign country. If my neighbour is a Pakistani, suddenly I find myself being informed about the Kashmir conflict or discussing domestic politics or sports from a new angle. Or something else which crosses our minds. Kids. The city. Whatever.
Or, the other day there was a Philippine festival in town, and you could suddenly see there were quite a lot of them, which created for me a nice stir on a hot Saturday, you could try their food and even listen to music or see a bit of theatre. I didn’t have enough time to really stop, but it looked fun.
And I still haven’t left Oslo.
There may be things I find very strange with other cultures, negatively strange, but if I’m curious, I don’t start there. If you want to get to know someone, you need to be positive and curious.
Of course, any company, especially big ones, does things in society that actually makes it necessary for them to think about consequences, just like politicians should. They build huge buildings, they employ or sack a lot of people, if they produce things, they may or may not pollute the nearby waters etc.
So in some ways, a CEO needs to think like a responsible politician.
We need him to do so.
But when you hold a public office, you have to.
I know, it’s a game etc, but the law…
The law says you should take care of the citizens, whoever they are. You actually represent them.
Everybody, as I said, in a way.
That’s why public bureaucracy has to think differently than a department of a company.
It’s not just about speed and efficiency.
It’s about doing the right thing, not only for a company, but for society.
That’s the job of a public employee.
That’s also why there are rules.
A system of rules.
Some are stupid, but some are actually not so stupid.
And, also, every system has its failures.
There exists no perfect system, but still, we, as citizens, need a system, in order to defend ourselves, and in order to know…what are the rules. Where to swim and where not, so to speak.
So actually, a certain stability is in order, because if the rules, the system,
change all the time, like it does here right now, in the end you don’t know
your rights, you don’t quite know how to approach the system, how to function with it, so to speak.
Of course, how much, and what kind of system, that’s always a subject for discussion. There are limits in both ends, I think, and many ways of doing the same things.
Sometimes conflicts are nonsense, because people actually want the same thing. Still they go to war, almost, to defend their ways.
Talking about wars…
You run a few, don’t you?
You had an ad in some newspapers, or on the Internet, before the election, where you said, well, basically what you thought was wrong with the former government and other governments.
There were not many points, I think three or four.
Didn’t you have more to say, by the way?
But they were interesting, because you weren’t shouting.
One of the points was that “they” had messed it up in Iraq.
Which I guess is more or less true.
But things like that has been going on since…since when? I don’t know my history.
But the Vietnam war, definitely, was such a war. Laos, Cambodia…there have been many.
So how are you doing down there yourself, these days?
Are you making peace?