Long, long, LONG ago, I wrote a half-satirical essay about patterns in the lives and doings of public men. It’s in the “Baseline Essays” section, which should tell you a wee bit about what I think of its significance. Before proceeding here, I exhort you to go thence and read it, even if you already did so long, long, long ago…
Back so soon? My, my. Well, I did know that our Gentle Readers are bright folks. Anyway…
…comes the stimulus for my thoughts this fine Wednesday morning:
The patterns Person and Oliver have noted have been apparent to me for many years. Typeset phrases widely employed trigger my internal trap for events of significance. I take note; I look for mechanisms of coordination; I ponder meanings and agendas. I usually manage to figure out what’s going on, and why. But that’s not the exclusive province of a Certified Galactic Intellect. Just about anyone who pays attention can do it equally well.
The “trick,” so to speak, lies in remembering rather than dismissing what you’ve detected. Remember the cant phrase; remember the speaker; remember the context. And remember always that no one who rises to office in any First World country is without an agenda. Seldom is such an agenda entirely wholesome.
All politicians pursue high office because they want power. A tiny fraction think of us of the hoi polloi as deserving of respect, competent to run our own affairs. The far greater number are convinced that they know what’s good for us…and that we don’t. The ratio of the first group – officials who sincerely honor Christ’s Second Great Commandment – to the second – self-serving bastards who regard the rest of us as brutish inferiors, less than the dust beneath their feet – is no higher than 0.02. It’s probably far lower.
But here’s the punchline: They know themselves and one another for what they are. Our task is to know them just as well.
This November 2019 essay at American Greatness captures an important aspect of the uber-political agenda: i.e., the one all politicians pursue regardless of their supposed ideology and convictions:
From my first volunteer gig in 1970 at the age of 9 to the last campaign I ran 10 years ago, I could and regularly did fall into the trap of obsessing on politics to the detriment of much else. It may even have cost me a good marriage.
After I took the hits like that, however, I started to see that people…who base their lives around politics are so one-dimensional you can lick the back of their heads and stick them to the wall. Latest book on a fascinating topic? Interesting work of art they saw at an exhibition? Best new cigar? OK, we did do the cigars. But as to the other matters and many others like them, they were subsumed under such vital world-shaking subjects as who is up in the latest poll in some obscure county in Iowa.
The author, David Kamioner, was speaking of the people around him in political operations: i.e., campaign workers, strategists, and tacticians. But his observations have enormous significance, which is revealed most clearly by the answer to a simple question: Did the politicians those people were working for approve of their total-politicization attitude?
If your answer is anything but “Hell yeah, they did,” you haven’t been paying attention to the trends. Politicians want everything to be a political subject. That’s their demesne, and like all petty barons, they want to make it as large as possible. Never mind whether they’d be competent to rule a ten-foot-square garden patch…or to do anything worthwhile with whatever might sprout from it.
To proceed from any other premise is to render oneself open and vulnerable to the manipulations of the worst men in the world. The worst men in the world always predominate in realms where everything is political.
In this world under the veil of time, you cannot study anything human at great length without gradually being overcome by a sense of tragedy. Sometimes it’s tragedy of the simple sort: a continent littered with cathedrals in ruins, libraries in ashes, and the broken bodies of the young. Sometimes it’s tragedy of a more subtle variety: the sort that comes from the perception of a missed opportunity to raise Mankind to a new, higher plane of self-comprehension and respect. Either way, the tragedy is always there. Take it from one who spent twenty years studying the Western Front of World War I.
Politics is like that. I’ve been keenly interested in politics all my adult life: at first from an ideological perspective, but more recently in an attempt to understand why we have permitted the prolongation of so much horror. In the process I’ve become convinced of the unalterable reality of what I call the political dynamic. It consists of a single, overriding recognition:
It’s what John Brunner called the essence of evil: the willingness to treat others as pieces to be moved around a game board, manipulated and sometimes sacrificed to achieve particular effects. It does not matter whether such a person “means well.” No one, no matter his intentions, deserves to have power over me – or you – or Smith down the block whose dogs bark at annoying times and who can’t seem to keep his lawn properly tended. Yet that is what politics is about: the pursuit of power over me…and you…and that hapless old schnook Smith.
And we permit it to continue. We even participate in it, now and then.
The patterns Neil Oliver has cited point to a world-girdling conspiracy of the grandest imaginable sort. It amounts to a campaign to reduce the entire human race to absolute subjection to the will of a ruling elite, under a rubric of permanent emergency. The current emergency is the COVID-19 virus. But that will soon be yesterday’s news. It will be supplanted in due course, just as COVID-19 supplanted “climate change.”
The patterns in political rhetoric proceed from a specific intention: the programming of the public mind. Those who repeat them ad nauseam want them lodged in our brains, irremediably connected to the subjects on which they blather. We’re intended to notice them…and in a sense, to not notice them. That is, they want us to internalize the subliminal message – for the phrases Neil Oliver cited, the subhuman nature of the unvaccinated and vaccine-hesitant – while overlooking the significance of the coordinated messaging that’s drowning us in them.
It is not accidental. It is not without purpose. And it is not innocent.
I could go on, but either you get the idea or you don’t. It took me a while. Like most of my generation, I was immersed in several supposedly noble causes as a young person and only slowly overcame their grip, and the grip of the ubiquitous mantras of the era: “the personal is political” and “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” So if it’s taken a while to strike home with you, don’t feel too bad.
Don’t feel too bad…but don’t take too much longer.