Legitimate Politics vs. Lunatic Politics
Gary Kasparov and Bobbie Fischer were both former chess champions who got involved in politics, but in very different ways. Whereas Kasparov, as a leader of Russia's pro-democracy opposition, became involved in politics in a credible way, Fischer became involved in politics in a lunatic way, sending a letter to Osama Bin Laden and claiming that America was run by "hook-nosed Jews." This brings to bear another subject: Where is the line drawn between credible politics and lunatic politics?
Lyndon LaRouche has had quite a bit of influence in some circles with his conspiracy theories about London bankers running the world. Glenn Beck and Alex Jones have been howling for years about a "Satanic New World Order conspiracy." In Russia, there are a lot of people who like to shout about a "kike-Masonic conspiracy" to destroy Russia. There are militias in America who think that they could stand up to the most powerful military in the world's history. And then of course there are holocaust deniers and global warming deniers. In all cases we see lunatic politics that have had far more influence than they ever deserved to have.
Meanwhile there are many legitimate political movements that are seen as lunatic. The environmentalists constantly get accused of lunacy, but they have a real point. The health of the environment and the health of the planet are not only important in themselves, they are also important because they impact significantly on people's lifestyle, and inattention to the environment causes vast loss of life and property. Berkeley is called "Berzerkeley," but it has been a major source of insightful political thought. Many people involved in women's rights are seen as loony, but much of feminist thought has merit and much of its research is solid. The alternative healing community are seen as lunatics, but many of them have come up with highly useful and intelligent things.
There should be a viable standard to determine what is legitimate and what is crazy. And the main aspect of that is that it has to accord with fact. Russia's human rights abuses - an issue that Kasparov focuses upon - is factual. America being run by "hooked-nosed Jews" is not. Likewise, global warming is factual; Holocaust is factual; environmental deterioration is factual. There is no "kike-Masonic conspiracy" to destroy Russia, there is no "Satanic New World Order Conspiracy" against America, and while banks can certainly be expected to wield influence in politics, so do all sorts of other entities, and it is ridiculous to claim the London banks to be a monolithic tyrannical force that runs the whole world.
One criterion that cannot be used is personal credibility. Any number of conmen know how to mimic honest behavior and then take people down the garden path. And when a population believes a pack of deceptions, it is only the people who differ from them that have anything truthful to say; which means that the truth rests with the ones that the population does not see as credible. Indeed the one standard - the only standard - is the truthfulness of the claims made. And these can be checked any time through factual exploration.
The more people engage in that, the greater the intelligence of the population and the less its capacity for falling for conmen. And that benefits the country vastly and results in more informed decisions being made all across the board.