Grievously Lost In The Political Dialogue

I was doing time in the universal mind. I was feeling fine. 
I was turning keys, I was setting people free. 
I was doing all right. 
Then you came along, with a suitcase and a song. Turned my head around. 
Now I’m so alone, just looking for a home in every place I see. 
I’m the freedom man. That’s how lucky I am. 
– The Doors, Universal Mind 

 

Suffice it to say that I am my own worst enemy. “Don’t discuss sports, politics or religion”, I’ve often been told over and over by those who espouse mediocrity in the name of gaining more followers and building readership. “Stay away from socially sensitive topics”, I’ve been admonished. “Tell your story”, I’ve been told. “Fair enough”, I’ve answered, yielding a pensive pregnant pause, a harbinger of rebuttal. “However”, the boom is lowered, “as the conversations of my life manifest on a daily basis, and I seem to exist on a day to day basis”, I smile, “then all I can really do is share with you all how twisted some of these conversations are.” Yes, it’s easy to get lost in the discussion, and in my doing so you will learn volumes about who I am. “So let’s start with politics” he says as a groan is heard escaping somewhere from the bowels of a ‘platitude’ just north of hell.

It’s difficult to know where the conversation began. Most likely I pissed someone off as usual merely because I stated my opinion, which to be honest was probably more an exercise of my playing the devil’s advocate than my speaking from the depths of my own conviction. Nevertheless, despite my incessant ‘teasing the cat with a bit of string’ at some point my feelings in earnest do tend rise to the fore, meeting the occasion head on. Now mind you, I’m not a politician, nor am I really a student of politics. But I do know where I stand and on what soapbox my heart bleeds. There are some issues over which I become incensed, inflamed, stupefied, and just down right outraged … but never indignant.

This particular conversation occurred between ‘Heart Bleeder’ and ‘Freedom Man’, the former a so called Liberal, the latter a self-possessed Libertarian. Now, I do have a bone to pick with Libertarians, especially the ones who claim ‘liberty and freedom’ and apparently suggest that they know what the framers of the constitution originally had in mind, which is apparently what we all seem to have forgotten over the years. Yeah, I almost forgot they ‘love them some guns’ and think that in a true free market, a little hamburger shack opened in a formerly abandoned ‘Fotomat’ booth will be able to compete with McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. In other words, they don’t have a clue, but celebrate their right to live in denial anyway.

The conversation is joined already in progress. Trust me, you haven’t missed much…

Freedom Man:
So the question is for whose benefit will said regulations and statutes in reality be composed, especially given the fact that they are written by politicians beholden to Big Business?
Heart Bleeder:
If you are answering your own question, what’s the point in asking? Still, the obvious answer is to dispense with ‘Big Business’ and its corruptive influence and power.

Freedom Man:
Ah … no. You see the answer is to dispense with ‘Big Government’. You see, we’ve got to get rid of those corrupt politicians.
Heart Bleeder:
 Hang on, you said it yourself that it’s big business that’s corrupting the politicians. I mean come on, if the fridge stinks because of some rotten fish, you don’t throw the fridge out and keep the rotten fish!
Freedom Man:
But it’s big business that produced the refrigerator that government taxed when you purchased it. Sales tax, for example, is tantamount to a ‘protection payment’ place on merchants by the ‘powers that be’ who want to usurp power from the free market system in the hope that …
Heart Bleeder:
(Interrupting) Whoa! What are you banging on the gong about now? We’re not talking about sales tax, we’re talking about ‘big business’ and its destructive influence.
Freedom Man:
Of course! You know back in time it was federal interference in the economy that brought about the ‘robber baron‘ age …
Heart Bleeder:
WTF? (rolling eyes)
Freedom Man:
… and wouldn’t agree that the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few has gotten more pronounced the last several years, especially as ‘Uncle Sam’ has gotten more intrusive and abusive?
Heart Bleeder:
Ok, you’re like derailing this conversation. It’s almost as if you’re giving a monologue here … so let me lay one on you.
The problem is not government; the problem is big business, as you suggested yourself. Everyone, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, knows where the problem lies. But still, there are people like you with political pundits of their own personal agendas who continue to skirt the issue and attempt to change the dialogue in favor of a misguided allegiance to a false ideology of what ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ is really about in the 21st century. (It’s OK to pause to catch your breath if you’re reading out loud.)
There are many reasons why the vast majority of Americans dismiss the dialogue of Libertarian rhetoric, least of all because its irrelevant. As I mentioned before, everyone knows the stink is coming from the ‘rotten fish’ in the fridge, not the fridge itself… so stop talking about the fridge! Seriously, you need to get with the program.
Freedom Man:
(Pregnant pause) What I would suggest is that the history of ‘reformist attempts’ shows that the only realistic way to reduce corruption is to reduce the number of functions government is allowed to engage in.
Heart Bleeder:
(A game show buzzer is heard) NO. The obvious solution is not to let big business have free reign. History has proven time and time again how allowing big business to snowball economic power eventually places a stranglehold on consumers, if not killing them outright – as exhibited with the tobacco and health insurance rackets. This is pretty much the reason why the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) initially came into play, to prevent ‘big business’ from crippling the nation and stunting its development.
Freedom Man:
Well, big business created ‘big government’ for it’s own  purposes that were hidden behind the false advertising that it was really about protecting the people. You have to concede that even anti-trust laws currently bring about the opposite of what they say and actually aggregate more monopoly power to fewer corporations. This is why it’s imperative we reduce government, so that our interests are protected.
Heart Bleeder:
Uh, are you kidding me? Lord, our government is pretty much the only avenue of power ‘we the people’ have left in the face of big business. And you want to reduce it? Are you kidding me? You want to give your power to the very corporations that have systematically destroyed this country and its citizens in the name of profit? You must be joking! For crying out loud, the answer to all of the country’s problems is not ‘reducing government’. If the libertarian movement is to survive, it’s going to have to be more than a one-trick pony, and certainly learn how to sing more than one tune.
Freedom Man:
Your grammar is difficult to follow and your analogies don’t seem to make much sense. It sounds like you’re saying that government’s role is to protect consumers from corporations. You obviously have a fragmented understanding of the nature of government. (A smug smirk follows as he sniffs the air around him)
Heart Bleeder:
Attacking me doesn’t address the point you are obviously trying to confuse. The fact is that ‘big business’ is killing us all! Insurance companies, tobacco, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, beverage and fast food interests alike are all in it together. Hey, do you remember this? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Those words on Lady Liberty have to stand for more than just a sales pitch for McDonald’s, Walmart, Allstate, Ford and Shell Oil. Uncle Sam needs to take care of his own and stop setting a poor example for the rest of the world by placing more value on ‘business interests’ than on people.
Freedom Man:
The government turned over control to the business concerns you mentioned long ago. Moreover, the truth is that in a truly free market system you would not have such mega-corporations (nervous deep breath) because they are created by government and get special privileges from the government. Blaming the free market for ‘big business’ is akin to blaming dieting for obesity.
Heart Bleeder:
I see, so this is a case of ‘let’s blame the victim’. A business by any definition is an artificial entity, and as such it requires resources on which to thrive, just like real folks do. Invariably, it is prone to the same laws of ‘survival of the fittest’, with or without the government’s assistance. Isn’t this the reason why anti-monopoly laws were enacted in the first place, to protect the illusion of free enterprise? Are you suggesting that the government cares more about protecting free enterprise than its citizens? A truly free market eventually fosters cut throat competition which kills markets, increases unemployment and lowers the standard of living for all. Are you kidding me?
Freedom Man:
It sounds more like you are saying that you don’t feel fit to survive in a state of freedom and you feel you need a strong man to protect you for your lack of capacity. Competition assures that businesses will strive to put forward the best quality products to meet consumer demand in order to survive.
Heart Bleeder:
(Sarcastic) Of course! It’s not mega-corporations that are price gouging or engaging in puffery and false advertising practices just to dupe us into separating us from our disposable income. Heavens no! Get real!
In the real world, survival of the fittest means killing your competition at all costs. It has nothing to do with producing high quality products, which is exactly why outsourcing thrives to the detriment of US employees. Of course this is also why child and slave labor still exists in other parts of the world, to support US ‘NeoCon’ business interests. But of course, we can feign denial and plea ignorance (read: Walmart). Products today, such as electronics, are low quality and not built to last. They are built long enough to outlast short term warranties, or the release of the next ‘bigger, better, and more expensive’ line of the product … just so we can keep plunking down our cash for more of the same crap.
Freedom Man:
(apioplectically speaking with eyes spinning) Let’s keep this debate focused! If a monopoly is not fit to survive in a free market, it will merely enable its ‘government monopoly corporation of force’ to compel millions of people to purchase products and services they do not want. As long as business can use government to grant privileges and bailouts, as well as regulate ‘small business’ into oblivion, then you will have poor products produced by slave labor. It’s only through government that these horrible things are possible to an extreme extent. Government is merely a projection of ‘survival of the fittest’ … or fattest … via legitimized monopoly of deadly force. Government only magnifies this survival thing to it’s genocidal conclusion in the end.
Heart Bleeder:
Which is why of course you ‘love you some guns’! Look, I agree with you in regards to regulating small business and some professions into oblivion, but I think you underestimate the lengths people and business owners will go to survive. We shouldn’t need the government to protect us from ourselves, and by the same token, we shouldn’t need guns to protect us from ‘the powers that be’ that we elected in the first place to protect our interests and livelihoods. Explain why states of Marshall Law are imposed when natural disasters occur within our own borders. Explain why inside trading and corporate espionage exists on Wall Street. Explain why laws governing child labor are so necessary within our borders. Explain why bans on smoking are prevalent? There’s certainly a lot to explain in the United States of America, murder and crime capital of the world.
Freedom Man:
It is naive to think that the people we elect are in it for our interests. We cannot elect people to protect us from ourselves because those people we elect are just as bad as us, and they are granted legal power to use force against other people. Where is the logic? Martial law in disasters is a new thing in history. People can recover and go on without martial law during hardship. It’s all just about teaching people to be dependent. The corporate power stuff happens because of it’s merger with state power and it’s corrupt courts and agencies of greedy self serving people just like us, but with the monopoly of force. You’re worried about monopolies, but I’ll ask you the following: if there were no government involved in business at all, how big can a business get?
There will always be bad people, but hiding behind the force of state is far worse than any of these things you mentioned. We are required and expected to learn from experience to take care of themselves and see truth from lies. We aren’t supposed to remain in a helpless childish victim state all our lives. It’s a shame that you zealously exhibit blind faith in authority with absolutely no knowledge of anything you are speaking about! Your constant self contradiction makes me suspect you are an ADL sock puppet. Who the hell do you think you are?
Heart Bleeder:
ADL sock puppet? Oh for Pete’s sake. Let me tell you who I am…
The conversation fades out ad nauseum …
So inevitably, the question comes down to who I am or what I am. So I’ll tell you … what I am is the most horrid nightmare: one of those of free-thinking Americans that can’t be pigeon holed, duped, talked down to, brain washed, zombified, pegged, labeled, or humbled with faux logic and brow beaten. I am the indignant enigma that refuses to conform to your expectations. I am the devil’s advocate incarnate and the logical and illogical that anyone with political aspirations needs to learn how to address. I am part self-interest and part humanitarian. I am who I am and of my own mind and I refuse to have games forced on me or to abide by the rules of mind-games thrust upon me. I am the disenfranchised, disgruntled, and both the dissociated and dissasociated.
Yes, I am not who you think I am, and that’s an important consideration because most of what was discussed here in terms of politics seems aimed at either (a) preaching to the choir or (b) presupposing a certain mindset. I think if one is to promote political prose, especially in terms of convincing the masses one way or the other, there has to be greater consideration of varying, and often contradicting opinions since obviously the political scale no longer exists in 2 dimensions.
Who am I? You can call me an idiot …. but well, that would just be name calling and wouldn’t win my vote. Anyway, I believe that people are best left to make up their own minds. You do agree, don’t you?

 

Suggested Reading:

Politics For Dummies Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia U.S. Constitution For Dummies Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson (Icons of America)

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