You know what’s evil about politics? It turns people into enemies when they should and would naturally be friends in a normal society. In the marketplace you are happy to cooperate with anyone to mutual betterment. But in politics it’s all about hating your neighbor. If a person […] believes all of civilization rests on a Romney win [they] would naturally and rightly regard all Obama voters as mortal threats, wreckers of the good life itself. And the demographics of voting are rather predictable. You can often tell quickly how a person will or will not vote by appearance alone. That creates prejudice, bias, and hate. So politics creates these stupid battles between people — for absolutely no reason — and wars against the brotherhood of man. It creates the divisions it pretends to heal. – Jeffrey Tucker
Whatever you want to call that kabuki between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney earlier this week, it wasn’t a debate. More like 90 minutes of rehearsed talking points with a host to give it a varnish of discourse. I know this despite never turning the TV on; watching Facebook threads explode with indignation over one inane comment here, one hollow promise there, was more than adequate.
That spectacle did however provide just the sort of thing Jeffrey Tucker was talking about above: the hatred of neighbors, prejudice, bias, and division.
On Wednesday there were two guys who did get into a debate, or shouting match, more like. It started when one man began ranting about how “we need to get Obama out of office,” almost at random, which set this other guy off, who took offense at this man’s opinion. The two proceeded to duke it out (rhetorically speaking) until they’d both had their fill and moved on.
Later, I overheard a woman on the phone who was telling her friend how a neighbor confronted her about removing her Obama yard sign. He asked “what has Obama done for you?” and told her the sign was “making their neighborhood look bad.” This set her off and she became quite animated about how terrible Republicans are and how she felt sorry for Democrats living in Kansas.
This sort of thing is becoming so commonplace that that it distracts from the real danger of the politics, which is focusing on who is in charge rather than what is being done. It’s sort of a variation or extension of Vladimir Lenin’s question of “who does what to whom?” This problem is something Robert Murphy has written about as well, where everyone is looking at two stooges on stage, meanwhile an expansive bureaucracy is controlling shower heads, outlawing nature, and killing women gathering firewood.
This must end. Obviously voting a new Sophist into office will do nothing toward that goal, so a new approach must be taken. One where we ignore them, refuse to follow their absurd and immoral decrees, and live free. Instead of throwing bums out we should Thoreau bums out – just ignore them and live our lives – to the extent possible – outside of the “statist quo” that Jeffrey Tucker has described.