26 October 2010

Other words.

One other reason to convince people not to take this election very seriously seems to be that there are some people taking it WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.



This was at a Rand Paul rally in Kentucky. I'm not a big fan of Rand because he had a confused point about CRA, and has really walked back any notion of him having libertarian sensibilities on most issues (defence, terrorism, drug war, agriculture subsidies, etc). Still though. I'm curious. When has Rand Paul advised people to use violence or spoken in violent rhetorical flourishes (I don't deny that there are GOP/tea party figures who have, but Rand, not so much?) And to be fair, I'm even less of a fan of Conway, who seems to be a dick trying to paint Paul as a atheistic nihilist anarchist in his ads. Which is a fun caricature of libertarians, I guess, but it's not even close to the actual views of (most) libertarians, much less of Rand Paul.

My take has been that a) public officials do need to use some more temperance in their exhortations but that b) they are being driven by the mob, not the mob being driven by them. This shit does happen in a "void".

The problem is that there are an awful lot of pissed off idiots (some because of economic conditions, some just because their "side" isn't in power). Elected officials and media blowhards speaking lunacy are a symptom of this problem, not a cause. This is the same belief structure that seems to think that violent video games or Marilyn Manson caused Columbine. It's idiotic. The issue is deranged people and individuals. Bill O'Reilly is a blowhard and annoying as hell, but whether or not he speaks and whips up a frenzy over the issue of abortion there's going to be some jackasses out there who will want to blow up abortion clinics or murder the doctors who provide them. We can hold those people responsible for acting. We who disapprove of O'Reilly's speech may protest, may speak against him, or may boycott his activities or his sponsors and so on. But he isn't, ultimately, the problem. I blame the public first. Our leaders are chosen by us. We gravitate to the ones who tell us what we want to hear, validating our fears and ambitions and biases.

As an aside, MoveOn should probably present a similar award to Democrats. Given that "business interests controlling political speech" have been giving hundreds of millions of dollars to both sides for many years now. Obama himself received the largest campaign contributions in history from "Wall Street" and from the pharmaceutical lobbies, among others. This should hardly be news to people that the two major political parties are "controlled" by large political special interests like unions and large corporations. But it does amuse me a) that people think that only "evil corporations" are a special interest group that is somehow newly exercising its powers of free speech (when so far as we can tell, it's not, it's largely the same as before), but that unions or non-profit corporations are somehow ennobled and immune to these evil influences and must be representing the views of their membership AND the greater public interest (which is absurd) and b) that people still think that such corporate entities give money only to Republicans. They tend to give generously to whichever party seems likely to win their elections, and spread a little around the other way too. The belief that Obama in particular was "against the special interests" is apparently a convincing speech or rhetorical device, since there are plenty of his supporters willing to believe it. But it's not true and nobody should be surprised when it turns out that way.

In essence it should convince people not to get too worked up because both "teams" are dirty. But then again, people do this all the time with their favourite sports teams. All bad calls against, worst referees ever, all bad calls for, who cares!
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