Politics isn’t everything

When elections go horribly wrong, one thing to keep in mind is that politics is only one function system of global society. There is also law, the economy, science, education, art, medicine, mass media, religion, and maybe more. No single system can steer society. No single system can control another system. As Luhmann shows, politics is not as powerful as we’ve been told, and the nation state is losing relevance in the global society. The other systems will push back against any attempt of politics to exert control. Global society is far more complex than we imagine, and moreĀ resilient.

The legal system is probably the most important system when it comes to pushing back against politics. Even if the president is an idiot, we still have the Constitution and all the laws are still in place. We still have laws against sexual assault, hate crime laws, laws against discriminating against people with disabilities, etc. The economy is also far to0 powerful to be significantly manipulated by the political system. Every function system will defend its autonomy.

Political affairs are in the news constantly because politics is an unending source of stories–elections, scandals, etc., never stop feeding the mass media system. The economy, in contrast doesn’t receive much attention unless it is seen to be in crisis or is unduly perturbing other systems. The same goes for all of the function systems.


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