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Wily winning: A manual of mutating political philosophy – September 8, 2008

By Joseph Randolph
web posted September 8, 2008

Dear M.

No, just because the national party and our national candidates did it that way does not mean they did it right, and already the price in lost votes is mounting for the mistakes of that event.  In fact, some of our opponents justifiably parodied our convention for the duration.  Frankly, I was finally glad to see the debacle done with, except for that crowning of the emperor thing at the end.  Magnificent. 

You see when some of our people get in front of the country, they lapse in the sense of discipline they must exercise.  Many acted as though they were in a secluded bubble of euphoria, though the convention was a private affair on exhibit to the public; therefore it should have been treated as a public affair even by everyone. I even witnessed some of our "free" press rhapsodic at the speeches and clapping and genuflecting beneath our candidate and virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the swooning masses.  This adds to the perception that the press is one of us: a point apparently lost to the press members in ecstasy, some with their eyes closed as if praying to the candidate.  

Whether a camera is rolling in the cave, or the condominium, or the coliseum, it is still running and therefore makes us susceptible to the judgment of an audience.  You see we do not reveal our true selves when no one is looking, because we always assume someone is looking for sheer safety, and therefore we are always on the watch for an audience that may be watching us.  This fact was missed in the week's hooliganism.  This means we must be aware of our audience ever minute we have an audience and to assume we always do.  I suppose some stupidly forgot that caution from the inside of the convention floor, while the whole nation is nevertheless listening to and weighing them at home. Believe you me, the atmosphere of an unruly gyrating rock concert within an arena by participants and as seen on television by viewers are two different things.  Thus, if there is too much swooning at the convention, or the wrong kind, a television viewer a mile away or two thousand miles away is apt to count it a farce or the behavior of buffoons.  The mystic experience inside the cocoon is lost on the critter eating the morsel from the outside. 

Aside from that oversight, there were grievous slips of the tongue--or some things worded oh so carelessly.  Granted, we try to marry a few contraries in our political heads, but one needs to be careful of such unions with more than a chunk of the country listening.  So one of the speakers, in the same breath, indeed in the same sentence, talked about the "American Dream" of rags to riches, but then affirms that we as a nation should be outraged at the presence of rags.  I would not have put those two things together as closely as did that speaker. The savvy listener can rightly--but to our detriment--deduce that we are advocating riches while trumpeting welfare.  We of course care not a whit for prosperity, but instead lust for its absence. 

You see we are not advocating prosperity in the manner of our opponent, but condemning it, though not overtly of course.  We are not advocates of the American dream, because the moral of that dream rends our message.  The rags to riches story finds the hero of the story at the end of the story.  We do not.  We find our man in the beginning, the stage of rags, in other words, and make sure that he sees a few of the rich, which are our  villains, while he stays with his rags--poor and envious and encouraged to vote for us because of it.  We do not talk to him about what keeps him in that condition with any charges of undisciplined living or multitudinous offspring and gargantuan bills demanding money to feed undisciplined voracious habits.  Instead tell him someone is responsible for his woes--the rich.

The achiever of the touted "American Dream," moreover, turns a potential friend into our political foe. As I have told you constantly, we are not for the fewest people with the most, but the most people with the least.  This social mobility article of faith in the American dream can be used as fodder for our touting of class warfare, but it is not our dream, because at bottom we disdain it, while we prudently pay covert lip service to it.  It is the dream of our opposition nevertheless.  We cannot truly claim it as our own, but the country identifies with it, so we must pay homage to it.  Therefore, we must find a way to use it against our political opponent and thus for us.  That we do by pointing out the masses missing the dream, with the implication that we want all to realize that dream.  We could actualize that dream with our dream of socialism, (though not just yet, as I keep warning), in which all are equally poor, or at least as rich as the richest, which in socialism is never pronounced, and thus keep the masses voting for us. 

Of course maybe the undisciplined speaker meant that fulfillment of the American dream belongs to everyone, those who dream and those who do not.  I suppose that is what she maybe meant, and maybe in the context of the pampering convention, the speaker did the best she could with her bit about the welfare necessitated for those distant from the dream.

But you see, or you should see, that there is something here that exposes our innermost viscera and cuts to the quick, and thus we need to be aware of controlling it in the presence of too many other eyes and ears. Having realized it, one must learn to live with it by controlling exposure to it.  My letters must be read and studied in the light of that realization and it is this: ours is a philosophy not of government, but of grievance.  That is, to raise our grievance of lacking equality amongst all citizens, we must violate the very foundation upon which people consent to government at all.  Nevertheless, our voters scarcely notice our philosophy of government as long as their kitchen table is supple enough, and we scarcely mind that they do not mind, as long as they keep us in government. 

The point is that grievance can be made into a government only by encouraging an avenging jealousy which disdains the presence of inequality among citizens.  Thus, we cannot seriously but only deceitfully tout any "American Dream," because any goal realized by some is never realized by all.  We nevertheless and therefore take the side of the some not, and lodge blame for those denied the dream at the feet of our opponent, while at the same time loathing a dream that creates the inequalities we purport to loathe.

The fact of the matter is that the kind of equality we desire is of a kind never found at a finish line, but only the starting line.  We shall therefore strive to make any finish line look precisely as the starting line, and with equal numbers, and thus by persuasion if possible, but with stronger persuaders if necessary.  You know what I mean.  This is why few will consent to government by our principles, and this is why grievance is necessary and must be strong and powerful before we can become powerful.  You see we must necessarily work from where there is dissatisfaction, and where there is none, we must fabricate.  In short, for the cognitively challenged, and to revert to some archaic terminology, poverty is not the natural state of humankind, as proved by the fact that from that state, we foment most of our revolutions for a better state.  However, in a country where poverty is not the order of the day, and where inequalities amongst classes are not significantly pronounced, we find our greatest challenge.  We can of course deny both as facts, but better to notice that any crack of difference amongst the classes must be exploited for maximum gain of fissure, so that we can move in and become entrenched in the voting public.  We must, on the other hand, never permit the observation or admission--fatal to our political connivings--that prosperity is the natural condition of humankind.  Prosperity is nevertheless the host we require for the Robin Hood cleansing we will exercise on  the nation.  Our bleating of our grievances thus becomes our entryway into political office. 

If all of this is too difficult for you, do not even mention the "American Dream," in your campaign.  The "disenfranchised" attracts more attention. ESR

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


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