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Wily winning: A manual of mutating political philosophy, Part three

By Joseph Randolph
web posted July 7, 2008

Dear M.

Yes, with the other party the poor tend to get left out; in our party they become the centerpiece.  The other party ignores them for the most part because they never see much of them, because the other party will lift them out of their poordom where they will not be poor anymore.  With the other party, who the poor are is always changing, because our opponents show them how to escape the plight of poverty.  They want the poor to come them and they wish to assimilate them to themselves.  We, however, build a condo, and tell them to stay for a while.  If they spend their life there, it is no worse for us, but the better, because we garner their vote of thanks every election. 

We, contrary to our opponent, know much more about the poor, because we get to see so much of them, that we are thoroughly familiar with their plight.  And we never let them go, that is, go on to be something else.  Once we have them we always have them, and that perpetuates the animosity of the other party, who can never figure out why they favor us.  You see, the other party wants them to leave their poverty, and gets them to believe they can.  With us, however, the opposite is true. 

Of course we go after the rich, and we can afford to, because they are so few.  Their vote is no more than any other vote--that is the genius of democracy-- a scoundrel, as long as he is breathing--and even that is not absolute--we have been known to have the dead cast a vote our way when really needed--has a vote worth as much as any rich man.  Ah, we have pursued the leveling tendencies of democracy, to the point that there will be little freedom where we have been.  The other side has pursued freedom so fiercely that it has left much for levelers like us to carp about. 

We of course have to be careful about that rich thing in a time when a good share of the population have decent bank accounts.  Of course one need not worry too much, because envy will do what we could never do otherwise.  No, no, I must give envy its due.  We live by it and on it and through it.   One vote lost for castigating the rich will result in ten more won for people despising him.  Yes, we are the party of the community, the common good.  We are like a mob looking to lynch those who don't march with us.  Few can withstand our intimidation. 

Yes, one does have to be careful here because the whole thing is rather like a balancing act.  Everything, as I said last time, must work together.  Thus, our emphasis on diversity and pluralism has to be emphasized in a way that does not impugn our attempt to wipe it out.  The diversity thing came about as a way to knock down the king pins because they were kings.  The whole academic establishment has adopted the heresy as gospel, so they, the media, actors, all are at our beck and call, because we think alike. 

Yes, you should by all means challenge your opponent to a debate. Talk about him as a thief before your listeners.  Sound alarmist with reference to him and his way.  Portray him as an extremist.  Remember what I told you a while back.  Portray him as the reason for your voter's failures.  Don't blame the voter, don't even come close to any suggestion of that.  Remember the disastrous "malaise" comment a few years back, by one of our own.  Never, never, talk like that--it gives people no hope, but worse, it smacks of self-doubt.    Instead, blame your opponent politician, because it gives the voter all kinds of hope.  This gives the voter every thing he wants; he's off the hook; you're off the hook with him; you get everything you want; and your opponent gets nothing.  Sliding board, all sliding board. 

And yes a little coaching is in order.  You want to portray him as public enemy number one.  No matter what his good record, his achievements, or his integrity, don't let your listener think the candidate has any of those things.  Soon he will grow angry at you for doing this, and he will try for audience sympathy by portraying you as some sort of inhuman vicious attack dog.  Nothing could a better set up for you.  Let your listeners know that you are an attack dog--for them!  Then, despite our hatred of all things military, let loose with a barrage of ammunition against him, because you want the voters to know that you will "fight" for them.  How followers love that word.   

Yea, I know.  We used to say we are all only a heartbeat from eternity, now we tell them we're all only a paycheck away from starvation.  You see we tout diversity--for ours purposes, but have no belief in it, and try to show everybody that we are all alike.  We of course want to show everybody that everybody can go down; we never attempt the reverse, because if it came, nobody we have any need of us. 

Dear M.

Yes, I'm afraid it is more or less true what you say.  Our contempt for the masses of middle Americans is evident, but we disguise it well enough behind profundities that send the ignoramuses reeling.  We have all sorts of high-sounding phrases to depict us as only to ready to serve our fellows in whatever capacity.  You will need to train yourself in them and how to use them.  "For the children" never fails, and the best of it is that by implication, which is what the ignorant populace infers, our political enemies  are "Against the children."  Imagine how impossible their work must be trying to chisel that away from the public perception.  Or worse--imagine how much more work you would have if I had to instruct you in something as formidable--let me say it--well nigh impossible to pull off.  That's what I mean on the very first day when I told you how easy is our job.

Yes, the "disenfranchised."  This one has been around a few years now, and has yielded an untold number of votes for us and without a doubt will continue to produce astronomical results.  It is part of the poor voter ploy--where we inform the voter, the citizen again, that their troubles are created by someone else creating their trouble.  In other words there are thieves among us, and they have stolen from us.  Where there are few or not enough "disenfranchised" we create them, in the same way that we create the opposite impression against our political enemy.  Thus, we talk about the rich people invested in the stock market, but if anybody would look, they would know just how many citizens are invested in that.   

Oh profundity.  You see people really don't want a leader who thinks like them; no, they want someone who can think above them, ahead them, someone that they can rely upon to do their thinking for them--that last one we really crave, and we generally are not disappointed.  You see the voters really don't want someone like themselves, they want someone living a step up.  Oh yes, we also like to tout our working class, immigrant, rags to riches origins, but that spin is really a lot less effective with voters than a candidate who shows his intellect as superior to them.  To show yourself as such is really quite easy.  On a simple, to the simple I mean, choice between black and snow, you show alternatives, so to speak.  Usually not even this much energy is required.  Sometimes you can even toss a phrase that is a little on the side of the mundane, and by just the right inflections elevate it to a statement that will be mistaken as divine revelation.  No, we have no fear of any tyranny of the majority, or the minority for that matter.  We portray the enemy in the garb of either, doesn't matter to us. 

Dare I say where this puts you?

Dear M.

No you fool you don't have to be explicitly or overtly hostile to that traditional religion, in fact it is the political kiss of death, to show your whole hand on this one.  But be that as it may, there is a much more effective ploy, one that totally dispenses with your worry, and it has the opposite effect.  We masquerade as closer to their own God, indeed understand their Deity, better than they do.  There are numerous ways to do it.  I have presumed you are of at least normal intelligence, so I can give you a few examples, and then you can come up with a few of your own.  We often take the side opposite our political opponent, and then the opponent charges us with being for the enemy, indeed traitorous, as you must have witnessed for yourself.  So we, for example, argue for the prisoners we detain, and against ourselves as their detainers.  We reach deep, and argue that in so doing we are seeking out the lost sheep, the lost coin, and in this we follow the religious example given us.  This move flummoxes our opponent.  So, another example, already mentioned, we bring up the "we're all sinners" argument, to show how nonjudgmental we are.  Indeed, as you know, our opponent's judgments are largely couched in their religious beliefs; we have none, nor do we want it--remember the first commandment--so our nonjudgements flow simply from our likes and dislikes, as arbitrary, or as positivist as you like them.  But to our dear voters, it looks like we are truly the party of the religious.  So there you have it--again--we can have our cake and eat it too. 

Of course we are concerned about the environment, and desperately so.  That is, it is the conduit through which we give ourselves any metaphysical importance, because we have shredded every bit of it in other places.  No, this is what we say.  It is our new anthropomorphism.  All those religious types used to imagine the universe was made for them, by God, and that their cosmic importance derived from this fact.  We all know there is no such fact these days; there is just us, and that by default.  In other words, we're in charge of ourselves, because no one else is.  That would be too tough a pill for our poor ignorant, and all too often religious voters, to swallow.  So we do give ourselves cosmic importance--its is simply in the damage we can do.  I mean that is what gives us what standing we have--we can ruin the world.  Of course the ruiners are our opponents, not us.  I call it thus the new anthropomorphism, but of course it is in reverse.  And frankly for us who know better, its not much of a consolation, but for the voters it will work. 


Dear M.

No you fool we like money as much as anybody else.  But we cannot let money control us; we must control it.  Of course to our voters we must have every appearance of loathing money, and meanwhile punctuating our loathing with the remorseless implication that a man making money cannot have people near his heart. 

The fact of the matter is that we need money and with the mammoth kind of government we envision we must have a bottomless well of it.  Putting this together is an art form we have perfected and few of the public ever penetrate the mystery of how you can loathe money and always be ready with cash in hand for their hand.  Meanwhile we have our cake and eat it too, again.  We take from the few and give to the many.  People concerned with making money, and particular the kind who make lots of it, we use them and their hated money to stoke the hatred of the masses for them and their money.  Meanwhile, the masses who constitute way more people--the statistic is overwhelming--are the people we appeal to in their hatred of the monied minority.  You see we claim to be about equality, but we divide and conquer.  We love the us and them discrimination, but we use more up to date language, like the "digital divide."  If you must, however, you can have recourse to the tried and tested haves and have nots.  Everybody knows what you mean, and better, think the have nots are where they are because of the haves.  Remember, an island is called an island because it is smaller than some other land mass, which defines the island in terms of itself.  

Of course we need the hated ones, for they provide our money. We treat them like we treat cigarettes; we hate them in public, and count the taxes they generate for us in the back room like children swooned on Christmas morning. 

One does need to exercise a little caution, at least for now, but in a few more years, perhaps in a decade or so, we can come right out and use the words that our every action portends.  I mean of course that now we can only use privately but never publicly, until some time to come the word--socialism.  As an elected official you can help with this by using the term free-market and capitalism interchangeably, for we want the easy opprobrium into which the word capitalism smacks of and connotes greed to spill over negatively into the association of freedom with someone's greed being someone else's poverty.  You see freedom is the springboard of difference, and differences breed inequalities, which we are supposed to hate, and diversity, which we purport to love, we hate.  But we need it, and because this a balancing act, that is, keeping the cash cow producing while we practically disembowel her every April 15th, and at the cash register.  This requires carefully chosen words in public.  On the other hand, the widening gap between rich and poor, which we lament to the skies, we never wish to see cease, for then you and I shall cease as viable candidates for the people's votes.  Remember the words of our 19th century architect.  If our plan succeeds, government will wither away--that my boy would be a disaster for us, we who have our being in with and through it.  Remember too his other words, the beginning of our political shenanigans--that all history is the warfare between classes.  Therefore, it must never come to an end; when it does we shall end; for there shall be no need for us. 

Dear M. 

Divide and conquer is always good advice and better yet a sumptuous recipe for our success.  You see you have a single opponent, but they share two minds; divide them and you can vanquish or at least cripple both.  Thus, we have a battle plan against both.  One group of our opponents praises liberty as if it were God; for we who believe in neither, we speak of the atrocities of liberty, the "free" market and its atrocious consequences.  We can also call it "godless" among the religious folks, who will especially appreciate the connation, and perhaps start to doubt that we are so irreverent and immoral after all.  The really radical libertarians, who we are working against, are nevertheless alike us in one way here, for they believe in procedural absolute autonomy of the individual here, so far as it concerns morals.  We do too, but for them, and not for us.  For all our venom against the aristocracy and monarchs we live like them.  These libertarians therefore prefer a society with next to no government, and loathe any government that dares to dictate or frankly suggest any higher or moral life its citizens should take up because the government thinks so.  But unlike us, they really, for the most part, would scarcely mind no government at all, which, as I said before, would be our doom. 

The other group within our opponents constitutes another kind of problem, and I think a more difficult one.  This group thinks the government is supposed to restrain evil, and so on and theological so forth.  This group tends to be more religious and rankly so.  Herein lies the difficulty.  What they call good we call evil and what they call evil we call good.  Don't think, however, that is a completely formidable problem.  The trick, which I suggested some time ago is this: out religion them.  You know what I mean.  Use their own Dearest against them; twist his words to make them ours; after a while they will cease to read his words, because they have us.  And is so doing they will think they have Him.  So what started for you as an insuperable conundrum ends up as child’s play.  Just remember, however, that they want to be coddled by their God, but we want to coddle them.  Remember, we do not like competition, because if it is our judge, we will fail.  If, however, we can do well enough in that competition, they will forget the flames of their hell while living in the dollhouse we have made for them, and we will have succeeded in subjugating a minority class of slaves, the wealthy in other words to provide it all for them.  Yes, my boy, maybe there is a God. 

Dear M,

Oh yes, education.  Education is our greenhouse; here we start to grow the people we want, which is people who will vote for us.  Moreover, inasmuch as everyone is for education and what it can bring to the individual and society, we never want to present any appearance of not giving the education establishment what they want, and, I might add, this establishment always produces for us.  One good turn deserves another. 

As you have undoubtedly heard, as the voice of the poor and the victimized, the disenfranchised, and so on, we are in an envied position when it comes to education.  That is, and in line with everything I have said to you, we never address a potential voter about his own failure as if he or she is the cause.  In education it is no different; if our schools are a mess the cause that contributes to the failure never comes close to the individual.  Blame must be laid at the point that is most advantageous to us, and furthermore, we never speak of an individual as anything more than a piece of the society in which he lives.  By this route, you see, if he fails, it is because society has failed him.  If society fails him, he fails.  You see we therefore present the obstacles to his success as so mammoth, as so beyond the ken of a single individual to overcome, that we present both success and failure as due to the same thing--society. 

One need not worry about the failure thing, however, for it is no sufficient indictment of our effort or lack thereof when it shows up on our watch.  We can simply present ourselves as the failed and now justifiably rebuked steward of our nation's greatest resources--our children.  After a suitable period of appropriate lament for such an atrocity, we start to rattle the coffers and ask for more, that is money, for education.  At this point an opponent is apt to challenge any such financial need for the situation, and this is what you hope he does.  In fact, you wait for him to do it.  When he has thus laid his neck out for you, you present him to your listeners as a man more concerned with parting with his own money than our children.  Ask him how much of his undoubtedly ill-gotten gain is a child worth? 

Dear M.

Yes, you have it, I think.  We are social thinkers; even the thought processes of the "individual" are grounded and enclosed in his social milieu and while that thought is too much for the mind of the ignorant voter, by it we convey to the voter that an individual at odds with society is at odds with us, and therefore ultimately himself.  By this tact, we are able to silence any troublemaker who goes against us.  That is, his thoughts and his criticism show that his lack of sympathies for our causes is due to his own selfishness.  He has made his self larger than the society that has produced him; we shall not run out on him, however, as he might and probably would on us; public scorn or sedation can work quiet well for us to bring him back into line, or into prison or oblivion. 

You might think that a society such as ours would never produce such an individual, that is, one who dares rear his head above others. This is a grave misconception, and one that must be carefully understood and monitored.  To the degree that our tactics work there will be less of such people, because people will wear down from the obstacles of our bureaucratic state and the attempt to demonstrate equality will meet with fewer and fewer detractors.  On the other hand, the individual is by nature different in significant degrees from his fellows, and the attempt to ensure equality will require something of a dictatorship that will enforce it. 

The way we will accomplish our goal, therefore, will be to treat people differently based on their differences, all the time claiming that this must be done so as to achieve equality.  Equality will show itself as the ultimate goal because you can justify just about anything with such a touted goal at your helm.  Equality, and its shoulder word, justice, especially, “social justice,” are very much in vogue these days, and we can make just about any opponent run like a scared rabbit by charging injustice or inequality against him. ESR

Joseph Randolph is a writer and academic who lives in Wisconsin.

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