Increasingly, politics leaves me infuriated. The October GOP induced government shut down and threatened debt ceiling default had me almost shaking with anger. This is a self inflicted wound that is the result of so many wrongs ranging from the control of the popular media by the rich few to political gerrymandering.
I’m afraid that our system has been hacked and I’m not sure that I see a way out of it.
And yet, I think of lines from the essay, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” written by Mary Schmich (and popularized in the Baz Luhrmann song, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”:
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
And so I try to temper my dread with the knowledge that we’ve had robber barons before, but my concern is that the sophistication has increased so much and that the engines of the world are so much greater that when the wrench finally falls into the works, the machine will tear the world apart.
Since I wrote those opening paragraphs, I took a break from writing and now, on returning, I’m keenly feeling how futile righteous political indignation is on the internet – on one person’s little, personal blog, lost in cyberspace…
It’s just to my mind, we’re being played and I feel a certain social obligation to be ‘awake’ to issues of our day. I think of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and when the animals would return to the defaced writing on the side of the barn and forgot what was originally written there.
Orwell wrote Animal Farm in response to communism in Spain, and yet the themes of propaganda are applicable to other societies and political structures. As Orwell wrote:
“…how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries”
I think that in capitalistic societies and in modern times, unfettered Big Business is an equal threat to our democracy – a threat with Madison Avenue marketing sophistication.
I distrust Objectivism and Libertarianism for the same reason I distrust Communism. – They are opposing extremes, but they both fail for the same reason: they don’t appreciate the balance of individualism and shared responsibility.
I don’t think that there is a grand conspiracy – a secret sect’s hall of Illuminati toasting their 1500 year plan. Instead, I think that it is individuals who, having come to wealth on the fortune and efforts of their nation, become forgetful, full of avarice and so work to reset the balance in their favor. I think that’s a scarier scenario because it doesn’t take a master plan wrought by a clan of keen intellects. No, it takes something in far greater supply than that: it just takes ignorance and greed.