Catch-22 Bullshit

The concept of “catch-22” comes from Joseph Heller’s novel “Catch-22” (1961). In the novel, American pilots who fly combat missions must be crazy to do so. Now, the army has a rule that if one is crazy, one does not have to fly the missions. But to be excused, a pilot has to declare himself to be crazy. But by making the declaration, one demonstrates that one is not crazy, and therefore, has to fly the combat missions. So, crazy or not, one has to fly the combat missions.

So, “catch-22” is applicable to any self-defeating rule or situation. In the Wikipedia article, an example is given of trying to look for one’s lost eyeglasses. But to see your eyeglasses, you have to have eyeglasses, which you don’t have: catch-22.

What comes to my political mind are such matters as secessions. For example, Catalonia wanted to secede from Spain. To do so, by the Spanish Constitution, it needed a national referendum. And to have a national referendum, it needed a vote of Parliament, which was not forthcoming. It resorted to an “illegal” Catalonian referendum, which, in fact, favored secession. But the Spanish Supreme Court ruled this unconstitutional. So, for Catalonia to have a legal chance of secession, it would have to change the Constitution . . . a practical impossibility — hence, a catch-22 situation.

Generally, any radical change in politics, requires a change in the constitution. But constitutions are extremely hard to change. They are secured by catch-22 situations. Consider how difficult it is to amend the US Constitution.

The only country which has allowed relatively easy democratic changes to its Constitution is Switzerland through national initiatives and referendums. See Switzerland

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.