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Elections and Futures
Plenty of ink has been wasted on the 2004 election in America, and what it portends for our future. Much more won't be wasted here, but it is an opportune topic on which to show how people identify themselves with partisan viewpoints and thus conveniently blind themselves to the actual larger question of leadership. If you think picking Kerry over Bush, or Bush over Kerry, is somehow going to stop the course of decay, or constitutes a decision of any importance, you are assuming that there is a solution within the system itself and are denying its basic unworkability.
Those who own the media and politicians will be glad for such a view, at it supports the current dysfunction and the broken values system behind it which praises "freedom" while allowing an oligarchy motivated by money - not Judaism, not multiculturalism, not a vast right-wing conspiracy - to manipulate you and destroy your future. In this view, you had the sensitivity people, represented by John Kerry, and the aggressive people, represented by George Bush; if you picked one candidate and believed honestly that that would change the nature of the system, or "prevent" a great ill, you are pretending that (a) that there's not much wrong or (b) that there's so much wrong we can do nothing about it.
Such pretense is a justification for inaction that transcends political boundaries. Such an inaction takes this system at face value, and by believing that solutions lie within the options offered, endorses our system as not only workable, but worth supporting! In a larger view, a vote for Bush or for Kerry was a vote for a continuation of a failed system which has been getting increasingly authoritarian through both Republican and Democratic administrations; the system would continue on its course because its power lies in internal division, which conveniently allows vast profits to be made while future problems accumulate - whether you picked Option A or Option B on the ballot.
It is fortunate the George W. Bush won the election.
This is not because he was the best candidate, but because it brought the situation to a peak and demonstrated the failings of this system in its entirety. Bush represents everything that's despicable about America: its religious and "freedom" rhetoric while supporting corrupt allies for the sake of international commerce, which transfers money from our population to investors who have no allegiance to anything productive - they care only about their profit, and how to take it from you. They consider themselves "smart" for doing this, since it is "getting ahead," and being "successful," and damn all who can't see this - they must be stupid.
Neither candidate would have changed anything; it's clear that if Americans weren't rock-ignorant they would have put in votes for Nader, guaranteeing the presence of third parties in a political system that increasingly represents two different views of the same option. However, they listened to their televisions, and out of fear that Bush would win, threw all their support behind Kerry, every bit as much the child of privilege and conniving robber baron that Bush and his family are. Consequently, Bush wins this election, and a democrat the next, and the system continues basically unchanged. Although it is current popular to whine about Bush, keep in mind that he was elected by the majority of the people, and represented little different viewpoint than that of John Kerry.
Imagine that John Kerry won. What would he do that differs from Bush's policy? Not much - Clinton demonstrated the willingness of the left to sign away constitutional "rights" and "freedoms" in favor of national security, and any president that doesn't address the threat of "terrorism" with more draconian measures guarantees his own failure. He can't back out of Iraq without leaving Iraq to collapse; he doesn't want to keep fighting the war; and if he picks a "middle option" of less military involvement, he guarantees a military defeat as well as the collapse of Iraq. He might try to prop up the ailing Social Security program, but, as the wisest economists point out, it's a system dependent on future wage earners making less and paying less to support more people. It is doomed.
So what did John Kerry offer? He's a devout Methodist, remember - but he might patch up some things with Europe. That's great, if we want to drag Europe down into the same morass that afflicts America - why would we want that? He might be more popular worldwide because he's less visibly ignorant, less of an insane warmonger and less of a religious fanatic, but that's conjecture based on the idea that he was opposed to the Iraq war and would sign the Kyoto treaty. As shown above, his options in Iraq are extremely limited; Kyoto is a symbolic gesture, and going beyond it would require that Kerry turn on the corporate interests that helped support him. Not very likely, for a politician.
No, my friends - you aren't children anymore - there are no such easy answers. The disease runs far deeper. Not only does every democracy collapse this way, but your system is motivated by a psychology of masses versus elites that guarantees we all lose, every time. People rail against Bush because it's a popular opinion. Every celebrity repeats it, and your favorite political commentators and entertainers parrot it. It's popular because, like most popular opinions, it claims something vast and important for very little action; it's a "bargain." Bush is the problem, bleat bleat; it's not the downfall of your country because the foundations of its power are corrupt by nature. If we just get rid of the bad apples and "terrorists" - bleat - maybe we can return to enjoying our freedom, our DVDs, our heroin and our hobbies. Wouldn't that be a nice easy vision?
It is however an essentially similar idea to the concept that you can buy a different selection of products than your friends and thus construct a unique identity, or the idea that if you buy a health club membership, you'll automatically start excercising. My friends, there are no such easy answers, and in a society motivated by money, all of your obvious choices will support that system of money. Neither Bush nor Kerry came from anything but a life of luxury and doors opened by whispered names, but - bleat bleat - they're clearly better leaders than Nader. They offer us what American society has always promised, which is "freedom" (yet no one can define it) and the ability to earn as much money as we can stand putting in the boring hours to achieve. American society promises there are no elites, and that we're all "equal," and in that is the disease.
While George W. Bush is a horrible leader, a sociopathic fundamentalist zealot, and makes no illusions about his being in the pocket of large corporations, the problems run deeper. Clinton after all had the same issues, as well as some problems keeping his pants zipped. But you have to ask yourself: what kind of a society keeps pretending this is an operational system? Money drives the world, and so culture and nature and art are ploughed under while products that satisfy the basest of mass appetites make wealth for unscrupulous investors. Since we always need new customers, the society itself keeps expanding. It doesn't end, at least not from its own will; it ends when it collapses into a third-world economy, and those always seem to be run by oligarchies of international investors who buy off local warlords.
Money drives the world - because we cannot agree on a direction, we pick money as something "equal" and "fair" to us all, since the best obviously are the most driven to make tons of money and thus, are suitable as our leaders. It isn't that these people were born of kingly blood, but that they've worked hard and gotten ahead by manipulating the system - by being popular and appealing to the broadest segment of opinion, no matter how ignorant it may be - in healthier times, we called such people prostitutes. It isn't the president that creates the system; he is a creation of the system. If you believe as your controllers wish, you'll think that democracy has been "subverted" but if you read a little history, you will see that all democracies end this way, because the public image requirements of democracy create behind-the-scenes commercial oligarchies.
While we have the ability to fix our society, but perhaps not the democratic system, it is not going to happen by picking Option B over Option A as your vote. Nor can it be helped by making charitable donations to the "right" organizations, nor by becoming an "activist" and staging public protests that no one gives a second thought. It requires something new for the American public, and that's actual political involvement, instead of "supporting" one of the two talking heads and hoping that "the good people" will fix the situation for you. I mean, did you really believe that - are you still children, after all? The oligarchs laugh at you, little sheep, for falling right into their trap, all while congratulating yourselves for voting for the "right" man!
Realizing this cuts to the root of the problem: for centuries our society has been at war with itself, masses versus elites, and it has ended up deciding in favor of the more populous group - the broadest segment of society, who generally have no specific talents or inclinations, but are able to buy products like anyone else and thus, if "empowered," become ideal consumers, because they have no tendency toward higher rationale of purchases. There isn't anything "wrong" with such people, but clearly they're not the right leadership for any society which wishes to rise above its origins. The public ideal that ignorance is better than appearing to be "above" any other citizen allows the oligarchs to manipulate citizens with public image. In life, everything keeps going on a path toward the simplest compromise unless something brighter and more visionary intervenes.
Bush illustrates that the American way of life and political system is incompatible with any values system, as the simplest ideas always triumph, and when your choice of leader is to pick one of two camps of opposing millionaires, there's clearly a fault in the system and not in which candidate you pick. This is a more complex view, and one that doesn't take our system at face value. I am sure you are all smugly disagreeing, congratulating yourselves on knowing the "truth," but perhaps if you think on this you'll see how you've been played for a fool.
Those who are the most smug are the drones, who are happiest with any philosophy that justifies inaction and following the present course of action; these are the underconfident people who want some reason to feel good about themselves, and the idea that we require change and constant development toward new heights of strength and wisdom suggests to the underconfident that something is "wrong" with what they are; these people see only the present moment, and not the bigger picture. Drones love the current society because it gives them a reason to feel good about themselves; after all, we accept everyone as they are, and look at the good things we are doing for others. We feel better when we can reach a hand out to others and help them, as it makes us feel powerful. Who needs that but the underconfident?
And what is the ultimate evil, to a sheep or a drone, except to be beyond the rigid and absolute rules required by underconfident individuals to protect them from criticism and possible defeat? For this reason the rule of the sheep has prevailed in Europe and America, and it has bred people who conform to its rules and expectations, leading to an ongoing decline which no picking of Option A or Option B can stop. Realize that George W. Bush is what he is - the right man, for the right time. But recognize that time for what it is: the final stages of a social decay. This rot comes from our illusory thinking, and makes broken people, and only when we reverse it do we become internally strong enough to have a society worth living in again. What reverses it is a heroic mindset, in contrast to our current passive one.
A heroic mindset places the individual second to what must be achieved so that all may experience its greatness; its opposite is the passive viewpoint, which in adults (although most adults today adopt it) is emasculating. Passive mindsets include the idea of an absolute religious truth, like morality, or an absolute secular truth, such as liberalism; other variations on this are utilitarianism, or the belief that what most people find appealing is the right path for us all, and of course, materialism, or the belief that nothing matters but individual comfort and convenience. A decaying society will be passive, and will not offer you an Option on the ballot to undo its error through a normal election; you will have to "think outside of the box."
The passive mindset is your true enemy, although it may not directly affect you, right now. All declining civilizations have such a passive mindset, because such an outlook is needed to stop increasing the power of a society and to fall back into dividing up the spoils, following social trends and caring about popularity - rising civilizations set aside these temporary delights, and instead look toward achievement as a sense of pride. This is what made all ancient civilizations great, and will be responsible for the rise of any future civilization that is great. Our current society has nothing to say for itself except that it is passive, and pledges not to hurt you, unless you offend its sensibilities, in which case you are "evil."
Television drones pick one option over the other and congratulate themselves on thinking "progressively" or for upholding "what made this country great," but no such simple options await you - Are you still children? Bush is reprehensible, but he is a symptom of the illusory thinking of our decaying civilization. Instead of believing in politics itself, think outside of politics and arm yourself with ideas of a better civilization - in this is the only salvation from the type of dysfunctional options offered by election 2004.
February 20, 2005