Consistent, Alinsky-like thinking: always say the opposite of what it is you’re actually doing.
Given that we now have the advantage of nearly three years’ historical perspective, it is the concept of that “change” about which liberals from East to West were apparently all a-twitter that I would like to explore, an analysis that will, admittedly, be of far, far more depth than you might think. I might even venture to say that it might prove a bit disturbing to more than a handful of people, but I digress.
It goes without saying that the world is changing…..both right in front of our eyes and under our feet. We’re quite literally living in times of “future shock”, a period of time when jaw-dropping change in the currents of life and society is taking place on what sometimes seems to be an hourly basis. It seems as though the world about us – political, cultural, professional, technological – is changing faster than we can adjust to it. A few recent events have led me to dwelling on this idea, and while some of what I have to say will admittedly not be directly applicable to what’s taking place in Washington, all of it will apply to the larger, more general concept:
We’re living in a time when there are some people who acknowledge the change that is quickly unfolding and are both preparing for and trying to adjust to it, while there are some who are absolutely terrified of it. The latter group are those who want everything to simply remain the same; they want conditions that they know they can control, conditions that are predictable, conditions that are…..static.
As in “statist”. Unchanging.
Stay with me. I think this will become more interesting as this piece, um….progresses. Sorry.
One particular day several years back, I was in the throes of teaching a lesson on my class’s reading assignment when one of my students compared a particular point under discussion to the cultural and political divisiveness that exists between liberals and conservatives. When I asked him how he viewed both groups, his general response was that liberals are open to change and that conservatives are those who hate change. My response to him – while obviously endeavoring to avoid breaking into a political discussion on class time – was that while I respected his assessment, his understanding of what it means to be a conservative was slightly off. Conservatives are not in any way averse to change; quite to the contrary, we are very open to it. It is, however, gradual change that we respect, not radical change. The latter is by its very nature self-destructive. Coincidentally, a perfect example presented itself in the very novel that we were discussing, a true story in which deep sea divers of incredible courage managed to re-write history. Using the example of the necessity for a diver to properly decompress before resurfacing, I believe that I helped him to understand the point that I was attempting to make and to illustrate.
In looking more closely at this concept of “change”, what I’d really like to do is to try to shed light on what I consider a rather intriguing question: who, exactly, is the side that’s afraid of change? Liberals or conservatives? In order to answer this question, we need to look at both psychological elements as well as current events.
Let’s start with what is arguably the foundation – literally and metaphorically – for the whole debate: the Constitution. Conservatives see the Constitution as a “static” document, one that should be interpreted literally, by its very word; their view is that the Constitution allows for natural change, as in Darwinism (which is, of course, laughably ironic). In fact, it literally allows for evolution, for change over time - in its amendment process. It allows for gradual change that is written into law, not radical change based on the whims and emotions of men. In sum, then, the “static” for which conservatives actually yearn is the openness to slow change.
Liberals, on the other hand, view the Constitution as a “living” document, one whose meaning changes on its own relative to the times in which it is couched. For example, a liberal would more than likely argue that the Constitution meant two somewhat different things in, say, 1877 and 1953. What they seem to ultimately want the Constitution to be is a document that re-shapes itself every generation or so , so that the ends for which they pine can be validated in one way or another. The ultimate end result is, of course, that everything in society and culture does two things simultaneously: everyone is exactly and literally equal, and there are never to be any societal constraints or boundaries on the manner in which an individual behaviorally conducts himself or herself relative to the general population. The sense of “static” that liberals seem to want is that there never will be any rules or expectations that guide their behavior.
Ultimately, it’s all about economic freedom (adults who want the right and freedom to change their lives on their own) and social freedom (adolescents who want their way). Ever dealt with a young teenager who wants his first cell phone? Welcome to my world.
But, back to the primary issue under analysis here: who, exactly, is afraid of change? From my way of considering of this, there are a lot of concepts on the table. Looking at this from the perspective of psychology, I think anyone of reasonable common-sense intellect will understand when I say that the typical human being moves through a litany of turning points in life, most of which are easy enough to identify; in fact, one could argue that these turning points begin as early as toilet training, when the typical toddler adamantly refuses for the first time in his life to take responsibility for something. That transition is difficult (more so for the adults than for the child, I think). In any event, a logical line of these turning points might be found in the first day of kindergarten, moving on to high school, moving into one’s first apartment, marriage, newborn children, etc., etc. At one or more of those points, none of us are completely immune to some degree of trepidation. It is how we face that change and learn to adapt to another phase in our life that ultimately decides our character as people.
Take one look at the general disposition of the Occupy Wall Street movement and you’ll begin to put some pieces together.
Politically, this is even more interesting, because there are two larger groups operating on the left side of the political paradigm that must be considered here: the political elite and the everyday person who considers himself or herself – fashionably, of course – to be a “liberal”. It’s readily apparent that both of these groups fear the change that is coming, but for different reasons.
The group that I find most interesting in this regard is the power elite – most often referred to as the “establishment” – those who clearly have the most to lose in the change that is blowing across America like a sandstorm of epic proportions, whether we or they like it or not. This is the political structure in Washington that, I feel, is made up of politicians on both sides of the aisle and generally runs the spectrum from centrists (aka “RINOs” such as Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Boehner, Newt Gingrich, etc., etc.) to the far-left (Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, etc., etc.). These are the folks who, if continually re-elected, will never allow a Constitutional amendment for term limits on all federally-elected positions and for the elimination of the 16th Amendment (income tax), both for which the “evolutionary” tenor of the nation is calling at this time in its history. The big-government, big-spending (investment in the harvesting of votes) modus operandi is one upon which all of the people in this class depend in order to maintain their lavish, country-club lifestyles of crony capitalism and access to unfettered freedom. This is also the group that advocates the bailouts of monster industries and corporations, because by propping them up and seeing to the sumptuous financial needs of all their friends and allies on Wall Street, they’re blatantly announcing to all of America that their true interest is not in making sure that integral economic industries “never fail”; it is more so that they’re driving stakes into the ground in an effort to secure aristocratic power and influence in perpetuity. They can feel the change in the air, and they’re willing to do whatever they can in an effort to prevent “evolution and revolution”. After all, the lifestyles of their heirs hang in the balance. There is, however, one thing for which they never accounted:
As so eloquently stated in a recent article,
The ultimate desire of the political establishment (and within its realm, such inane terms as “Republican” and “Democrat” bear little real significance) is to maintain its current status at the reins of power. This requires that the peasantry (the rest of us) be kept in its place and thoroughly impressed with the notion that the current condition of the country is an unalterable necessity and that only seasoned political professionals can be entrusted with its future.
It is here that my point would be somewhat effectively illustrated by the use of a venn diagram, as it is more the Democratic coalition that has been bundled together over the course of the past 70-80 years that is mostly responsible for the resistance that the American people are encountering from their own elected representatives. I say this because the interests of the political establishment are greatly furthered by its alliance with Wall Street and a complicit media, which represents the foundation of its financing and its message. Should any every-day, I’m-more-enlightened-than-the-average-person “liberal” actually believe that the Democratic Party is not just as deeply embedded in the sheets with Wall Street as is the GOP, then that person’s intellect should, in all honesty, be checked at the door. The entire mainstream political establishment is firmly ensconced in some of the more nefarious financial activities of Wall Street. These are, by and large, some bad dudes.
The interests of the far-left wing of the Democratic Party are, however, also tied inextricably with the fates of some powerful special interest groups: the unions (which consist of the likes of, for example, post office workers, teachers, and such, groups which represent jobs that must at all costs be maintained and protected, because if not, an entire voting block disappears practically overnight. Ironically, by protecting jobs that are quickly becoming obsolete as a result of technology and the Internet, the Democrats are exposing themselves as anything but “progressive”), the youth vote (mostly represented in the liberal takeover of higher education across the country), environmentalists, counter-culturalists (atheists, Planned Parenthood, and the like), African-Americans, and illegal aliens. Add to this collection the combined power of Wall Street and the media, and you have quite the formidable army, so to speak.
The Internet, though, has entirely changed the equation for the political elites, for a litany of reasons. The formerly time-honored media (John Chancellor, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you), which once upon a time seemed to take seriously its function as Thomas Jefferson’s “Fourth Estate”, now has a vested interest in helping to maintain the status quo, as those with jobs and positions of some significance in the media stand to benefit in many, many ways from a federal government that will grant them access to almost anything they wish, so long as they continue to spout the company line. Further, for as much as I depend on Fox News for my information, I’m not excluding them from this criticism, either. No one will ever convince me that Fox doesn’t have nearly as much an interest in seeing an establishment candidate elected, though I think that its representatives are far more likely to advocate for establishment RINOs than they are far-left zealots. Either way, however, their ratings will be more pronounced. A polarizing candidate such as Barack Obama can yield tremendous ratings, but a centrist RINO can grant greater access. A common-sense constitutionalist, I think, would have little use for a media elite whose only real interest can be found in ratings for their corporate investors.
For example, take the case of Ron Paul. Personally, I think the good doctor is brilliant on domestic issues, but I don’t think that I’m alone when I say that I find his isolationist foreign policy to be at the very least quite unnerving. Putting aside my and others’ points-of-view for a moment, it has struck me over the course of the past month or so, as Paul’s numbers began to steadily climb in Iowa, that Fox seemed to proportionately ratchet up its “Paul can’t win” mantra. Why, I wonder? Shouldn’t that be for the electorate to decide? Who is Bill O’Reilly to tell me, in one way or another, the candidate for whom I should vote? Just tell me what he or she believes, interview them, and then allow me to choose. Again, I’m not saying that I support Ron Paul, but if Fox News wishes to distance itself from what I perceive to be the gradual understanding of some of its audience that they’re for the establishment just as much as any other media outlet, then the people will turn to the Internet for their information even more than they already are.
The Internet has, in essence, shaken loose the truth that has been skillfully covered up for decades by those firmly planted in Washington. The Internet has become the somewhat more trusted media, as the gradual, natural course of events has once again re-affirmed itself, despite the power structure’s best attempts to completely control the message that we receive from mainstream society. The federal government still has a watchdog breathing down its neck, even with a complicit media decidedly in its back pocket. The people are free to share information and opinions, and consequently, there are now serious attempts being put across the legislative table by those in our Congress to essentially silence the ‘net, ostensibly to “protect” us. Some of the truths that are being more and more exposed with seemingly each passing day are the radical, racist history of the Democratic Party (all the way back to the days of slavery), the fraudulent science of global warming and climate change that has been foisted upon us, the degree to which higher education has been compromised, the decrepit condition of public secondary education across the country (blame for which can be mostly laid at the feet of the corrupt and corrosive influence of unions), and, in all honesty, the degree to which our federal government has come to shockingly resemble the infrastructure of an organized crime syndicate.
In short, the Internet has awoken the people, and in one way or another, Change is coming.
The second of the two groups on the Left who, I feel, fear the change that is unfolding in front of us is the everyday sophisticated “liberal”, a person who will no doubt stridently claim that he or she welcomes change. I’m not so sure about that. From where I stand, this all comes back to the general sense of “change” that is founded in the various changes of life, some of which I referenced above. Change in the way that one has always lived his or her life is unsettling, and it goes without saying that the most notable kind of transition that many people resist is the transition from childhood to adulthood, the time when it becomes incumbent upon the individual to take responsibility for himself. Many of our resident Liberals who feel that they know so much more than the rest of us are simply those who, for whatever reason, simply cannot deal with the fact that their days of being dependent on someone or something else – in this case, either their real parents or a parent figure – are at an end. For all their talk of wanting equal rights and freedom, at their core they would like nothing better than to be comfortably dependent on someone else for their stake in life, but the catch is that they want everyone else to be forced down to their level of growth incompetence, because their outlook and existence will therefore be validated.
There are also two extensions of this group. The first is those who have consciously condemned themselves to perpetual adolescence, as a result of their having been one of the kids in high school who were cut from athletic teams, were never invited to the prom, were hung up by their suspenders in the bathroom and beaten like a Pinada until their lunch money came falling out, etc., etc. The days of the Obama administration have been their days to try to strike back at their self-perceived “oppressors”, those who either worked and achieved more than they did, or those who, quite frankly, were simply more graced by the gene pool (aka, “evolution”).
The second “extension” is those who apparently weren’t mentally strong enough to resist the intellectual terraforming that was plowed across their minds in college, and consequently, seemingly cannot handle the possibility that everything into which they’ve invested themselves – protests, various displays of intellectual superiority, etc. – may, in fact, have been a vehicle by which they’ve been used by the very people that they claim to worship.
In fact, the entire racket (for lack of a more effective word) that the political establishment has managed to impose upon the relationship that exists between those who aspire to operating their own small business and those who wish to attend college so as to hopefully secure a professional future somewhere has also been truly exposed. Personally, I find the whole thing rather creepy.
For the better part of the past three years, we’ve all repeatedly heard the drumbeat of Barack Obama’s being “anti-business”, which is undoubtedly true. He seemingly has no interest in allowing people with small businesses to flourish, and I don’t think that this mindset of his is limited to him and his sycophants. I think the entire foundation of the federal government has zero interest in allowing people to carve out their own piece of financial success, and for a few reasons. The most important one is, of course, that any person who prospers on his own is a potential political liability; such a person will undoubtedly have at least a sense of proper business acumen, and will therefore be inclined to vote along common-sense, business-minded lines. Politicians would therefore have little to no control about the lever pulled by a self-sufficient business owner, and if not properly restrained, such a person has the potential to represent the tip of the proverbial slippery slope.
All of this assumed, it is any wonder that we seem to have an economy that is either already bereft of jobs or one in which fewer and fewer people are motivated to contribute to our financial machinery on their own? Why bother? The obvious alternative is to find some type of employment in either a union-controlled profession or with the government, both which render the individual much easier to control politically.
The very nature of this racket is exacerbated by the condition of higher education throughout the country, since once a young person emerges from a typical university having been properly indoctrinated, there are only several avenues open to the person with his or her whole future in front of them: there are few, if any positions available in the private sector, and the number of those seems to be diminishing rapidly; government or union-controlled employment, which the young person accepts either willingly (because of personal worldview) or unwillingly (having no other options to support himself); and, of course, the last possibility would be simply to live off government entitlements if no employment opportunity presents itself. In any of these cases, the individual is rendered politically neutered.
Of course, there’s always the basic consideration that our fine federal representatives who are deeply dug-in with Wall Street and the like are so insanely selfish that they simply refuse to allow any one everyday person to take from the market share of something into which they’ve invested a lot of other people’s money. The nerve. In any event, this is seemingly a system that the DC establishment has worked hard to construct – a system of power and influence that feeds itself. I’d venture to say that they have no intention of allowing all their work to go to waste.
That would, in fact, represent a whole lot of unsettling change. I dare say to call it “radical”.
My consideration of all of this came about as a result of what would otherwise be three seemingly unrelated events: Ian Thorpe’s recent article here at AR, entitled, Will Humans Become Redundant in our Lifetimes?, a conference that I recently attended with regard to a particular software used by the school at which I teach, and, believe it or not, the initial Chris Paul non-trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, which had been nullified by commissioner David Stern in what certainly seemed to be an egregious abuse of power, which in many ways it was.
If one takes into account what I’ve had to say here about the shrinking number of private-sector employment opportunities – both those that currently exist as well as the ones that are no longer being created – along with the incredibly astute observations in Ian’s article, it’s not very difficult to see the degree to which both our current group of politicians, as well as those aspiring to take their place, are being almost completely disingenuous. For all the talk about “creating jobs”, it is very, very likely that there will never again be any real job creation in the conventional sense as we have always understood the process. There are certainly basic economic tactics that have always worked and that can be taken by the leaders of our nation, but in the end even those decisions may not make any real difference. Technology has shrunk the demand for physical labor.
As a secondary school administrator, one of my responsibilities is to stay up-to-date with the most recent technology that has the potential to make more efficient the day-to-day operation of our school. I also happen to be one of the de facto technology guys in the building. The conference to which I alluded just a moment ago was truly an eye-opener for me, simply because this particular software program – if we were to invest in the entire package, which for only $2500 per year is practically tantamount to stealing – has the potential to do everything for us, from the moment the student and his family apply for acceptance to the moment he walks off the stage at graduation. The only thing that it wouldn’t do for us is to physically teach the classes and to provide the human element that we all need, especially young adults. As I watched the presentation throughout the day and my mind began to make leaps and bounds as to what all this meant, I at one point leaned into the colleague in attendance with me and said to him, “in one generation the physical structure of a school building will be obsolete.” He agreed.
That’s more jobs eliminated; time-honored ones at that. I could go on for pages more about what all that would mean for the educational field, particularly for the political Left, but I’ve taken up far too much of the readers’ time as it is.
The day of the Chris Paul non-trade to the Lakers is actually pretty interesting in all this regard, because it also illustrates the point at which we find ourselves as a society and culture. Paul wanted out of New Orleans (which doesn’t have an owner – is any wonder? What reasonable businessman who is going to risk his own resources is going to purchase a hundreds-of-millions of dollars investment when he has little realistic chance of breaking even, to say nothing of making a simple profit?), but he also wanted his cake and to be able to eat it as well. He wanted top dollar to leave his current team, but he also wanted to be traded to a front-line contender. This situation is yet another example of the current trend in the NBA, by which the mega-stars are getting together and demanding that they be allowed to sign with teams that will allow them to create “super teams”. If allowed to continue, the NBA will be reduced to six or eight “real” teams playing against a league of Washington Generals.
I have no particular love for David Stern, but my guess is that he sees what is happening and as the de facto owner of the New Orleans Hornets (currently operated by the NBA offices), he did what he felt was necessary in order to try to maintain competitive balance and to maintain the Hornets – to whatever extent possible – as a viable purchase. As all this was unfolding on the day in question, I couldn’t help but notice that while seemingly every sports pundit across the nation wanted to skewer Stern, no one was addressing the real problem – there are too many teams. Much like our vaunted federal government, it is now much too big, much too bloated – it years ago eclipsed the unspoken threshold of optimum performance. It is now an unwieldy mess, a Frankensteinian monster that must be fed. The Players’ Association will not under any circumstances, however, acknowledge what truly needs to happen – contraction of the number of teams. The funny thing is that by the superstars’ attempting to create these “super teams”, the league is contracting from within on its own.
Funny how those natural forces of evolution, markets, and supply-and-demand assert themselves, despite the whims and designs of men.
But, much like our federal government, to the Players’ Association it’s all about protecting jobs, about protecting a past generation that no longer works. If the players can be viewed as the Occupiers for a moment, it’s not too difficult to see that both groups refuse to come to grips with the change that is so desperately trying to assert itself. And remember, it is the Obama administration that sells itself as a representative of the “the people” – the Occupiers.
I suppose what I could say is that our entire society is experiencing a “market correction”….those who control the wealth of this great nation have taken us off the rails, and the natural forces of the world are trying very hard to to get us back on. Common-sense people are working with those forces, in that they’re open to change; so, apparently, were the Founding Fathers.
In the end, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch for me to say that those on the Left and those on the Right have a lot more in common than they might initially think. The common enemy that both have in their sights is the current relationship shared between Wall Street and our federal government; however, both feel strongly about the role that government should play in removing that threat. Conservatives feel that a smaller government with fewer responsibilities and equality of opportunity for all – a government that contracts – is what would set us back on the right path, and the simple rules of math would seem to bear that out. Liberals, on the other hand, feel that further bloating the government (which will only make a bigger target for Wall Street), reducing the value of our wealth, and trying desperately to guarantee equality of outcomes will make America a sound place.
Well, perhaps once they move beyond childhood and realize that the world is not a perfect place and that we can only do the best with what we have, they may, finally, one day come to see the simple truth staring them in the face.
The world is contracting, people – and one knows what happens when contractions begin. Yes, there is quite a bit of pain in the process, but if allowed to naturally progress, something new and wonderful is ultimately born. Hopefully, whatever it is that is currently trying to emerge will be given a chance to live and not sent off to Planned Parenthood.