Why I Detest Politics
You probably don’t know me – and you don’t read what I write to learn about me.Instead, if I have anything to offer that’s valuable, it’s in those things that resemble universal experience, even though seen from my own point of view.So you could care less about my occasional insomnia, the inescapability of my itchy scalp, graying hair, and expanding waist line.I get it.Truly I do.
As a writer who sometimes thinks about what he’s writing, I also understand that not every belief I hold dear is something that will resonate well with a broad audience, nor would every half-cocked opinion that I could fire into the crowd.Opinions, by and large, are boring, being, at best, guesses and, at worst, groundless platitudes and other stupidities made audible.For myself, I’d rather listen to small children jabber – at least their pseudo-speech is an attempt at intelligibility.
So I fancy that at least a good portion of what I write on a good day is an attempt to avoid just telling you what I believe or feel or suppose or intuit or vaguely hope in favor of presenting a theme, a question, and then arguing my way around and beneath it with facts and reasoning, perhapsstitched together with some wit and symbolic imagery.
The idea is to avoid just presenting a raw opinion hanging in the air; no, what I’m usually after are some answers to questions I find important and dare to hope are important to you as well, and support for those answers that anchors them in the solid ground of direct experience of some sort, direct experience you can have yourself through living or reflection on your own life.
Maybe this piece of writing isn’t going to aim quite that high.It’s just me talking out loud in the middle of the south Texas night – 3 AM, the hour of the Devil some demonologists say for reasons I will withhold just to keep the reference mysterious and encourage any interested party to actually go read a book.It could be, then, that my fingers are the tools of Sitra Ahra… but that is a subject far too profound for me to speculate over.
Since it’s the hour of Satan, though, I think I’ll talk about his favorite sport: Politics.And what I think I’m going to say goes something like this – I despise politics.
As much ink and time as I’ve wasted on political thought and matters for years, one might get the impression it is the end-all, be-all of my mortal existence.And anyone so thinking would be incorrect.
I’ll just lay it out.Ethics, morality, insofar as this can be known and applied by using human reason, is pretty much the whole point of my life as a philosopher.Ethics, not law.And the ontological underpinnings and the philosophical anthropology required for a proper approach to ethics is usually where research takes my mind and soul.And in my personal life I find need for religious and mystical thought and insight to aid my reasoning – the whole process being dynamic, personal, perilous.As much as I might discuss it here and there, the subject is one I rarely discuss in depth.
Legal matters, politics, candidacy for high offices, on the other hand, strike me as filthy business.The very fact of politics tells me how closely human beings are related to swine.I’ve wondered for years if the reason why the pig is not kosher, is considered unclean is not because we’re so different and better than him, but because we are, in part, his brother.Some intimations of cannibalism are involved.
Because, let’s face it, many of us are really just swine with angel’s wings – a pig that is capable of doing a bit better than the average porker.“Capable,” but also capable of far worse behavior.Don’t worry.I’m not exempting myself here.I’m no more self-righteous than you.
Ethics is our attempt to use those angel’s wings to aspire to something better than muck and mire and selfishness and gluttony – it acknowledges that we are an angel trapped within the body of a pig who might once again become a little more like the angels than the beasts if we work at it.
But politics – that’s the sign of our eternal and inevitable failure as semi-angelic beings.Politics is about forcing ourselves to admit that, given the opportunity, push comes to shove, a significant number of people will steal, kill, lie, hate, debase themselves, use others, enforce intolerance and bigotry, seek pleasure and cause pain in just about any and all fashions imaginable.Something about us just calls out for us to use our freedom and reason to wallow in the excrement or force others’ snouts down into it; and enough people are willing to listen to the negative call that humans realized long ago we require law to govern ourselves.
And not only to keep us from doing horrible things, but to encourage and guarantee a few good things are done among us, each for the other.To guarantee that we assist one another and plan for disasters and old age and sickness, and that we pay for and maintain the basic institutions of society and the material needs required to maintain our communities and cities.
No one likes to do these things.We are swinish, after all – and I am swinish, too; hence I hate politics and find it detestable.I’d like nothing better than never to have to think about it again on some days.Politics and law do not go to the heart of problems, they solve nothing, and they make no human being one iota better, morally.
That said, law does keep people from being many iotas worse than they would be otherwise.And it keeps all of us from being worse off than we would be if government did not keep a check on our porkish inclinations by requiring us to minimally support one another by combating ignorance and keeping the peace through (at the very least) taxation, education, and regulation.
I suppose the thing that drives me out of my mind about this subject, though, is the presence of politicians and their grunting herds of supporters who’ve decided that swine-behavior is good enough.We don’t need law.We need no regulation.We need as little government as possible.But most of all we don’t need to fund the government, plan for the future, educate young and old, or be forced to cooperate and associate or tolerate by means of law.Somehow we, part angel and part pig, will only choose the angelic part now, all on our own – we will run our communities and cities and corporations and economy in a completely just manner, voluntarily.Even though humans have never really managed this in the best of times except, perhaps in communes and monasteries where the members were bound by a homogeneity of belief more strict than mere law.
I’m too much of a cynic on this subject.I fear that the real motive, somewhere in those piggy minds or souls, is that this crowd doesn’t intend to live up to the angelic rational standard at all; but rather intends to enshrine the Golden Swine as the new idol of the Ages, the new model for behavior, the new ideal for a pig pen “society” that will, in the end, not be fit for man or beast.This is a crowd that’s decided to quit trying entirely and just give in to spiritual slovenliness and give up.
So, I just spent an hour and a half dragging myself through the muck and mire of politics because it is necessary.It’s how we keep the limitless from stealing us blind and taking advantage of us in the middle of the night.It’s how we plan for storms and earthquakes and fires.It’s how we try to educate the stupidity out of each new generation and ourselves.It’s how we attempt to avoid winding up broken and dying in a ditch after an illness that wipes out our savings and ability to work.It’s how we make sure we have a minimum income in old age when no one will hire us to do anything anymore except spit our dentures bowing and scraping as Wal-Mart greeters.And it’s how we make sure 400 people don’t wind up with everything while the rest of us work for them for peanuts and threats.
It’s also how we avoid letting the poor little self-serving rich boys like Romney or Cain, or the mindless like Santorum or Bachmann or Perry, or the ideologically blind like Paul use and abuse government and law for their own barnyard experiments in animal worship.
Over and out.
Richard Van Ingram
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