Behold the Doublethink
Recently, America saw for the first time in years a stunning display of bipartisanship. The White House joined forces with establishment Republicans in the House to trounce extremists on both sides of the aisle. Together, they successfully defended a cause they both viewed as essential to an effectively functioning government. Unfortunately for the American people, it took the N.S.A.’s domestic spying program to bring about such an unheard-of level of cooperation, and both parties’ leadership victoriously defended “Prism” at the expense of the Bill of Rights. The “wingnuts” against whom Obama and Boehner held the line included both right-wing Libertarians seeking a smaller, less totalitarian government and left-wing old-guard liberals who have opposed such heavy-handed tactics since the bad old days of the Cold War. The margin of defeat was very narrow, however, and the N.S.A. emerged unscathed by a relative handful of votes. Though unfortunate in the short term, this party-line-breaking topic cuts through the noise and sharply delineates the real issues facing this country. Our leaders have artificially placed us into a Red vs. Blue mentality reminiscent of the kindergarten playground, keeping us so occupied with hating “the other side” that we ignore and accept all losses of liberty inflicted upon us by whichever party we call our own.
The sheer Orwellian brilliance of the scheme merits applause despite its devastating effect on our freedom. Most educated people can see through the propaganda put out by a single, monolithic state entity with laughable ease. When presented with an external bogeyman, the average man can usually shrug and make up his own mind. The method of enslaving the modern American consists of using not one, but two lines of propaganda. One of them makes such ridiculous, absurd, grotesque claims that anyone who believes them must be an idiot. The other delivers real news in an entertaining manner while hilariously and infuriatingly exposing their opponents’ faux pas. Which one is which depends on which side of the political spectrum you randomly find yourself. Whether you watch Fox or MSNBC, Bill Maher or Rush Limbaugh, you probably view the other side as stunningly stupid. You probably fail to notice that the tactics used by each pair are functionally identical.
The paradox and hypocrisy endemic to both party lines boggles the mind. Conservatives want to end abortion and preserve the Second Amendment. Liberals want to loosen the law on marijuana and tighten it on tobacco. Conservatives believe the unregulated free-market functions far better than a centralized, regulated economy, but they prefer Intelligent Design to Evolution by natural selection and genetic mutation. Liberals find prejudice against Muslims appalling while demonstrating eyebrow-singeing bigotry towards Southerners, rural Midwesterners, and many Christians. Sweeping generalizations all, but you get the point. Furthermore, the media machines encourage rabid hatred of the other side for the positions they hold. The only threat more effective than an external enemy is one that lives right next door. Obamacare and high taxes or Monsanto and the Big Banks — pick your protest. Then, go home and laugh at the wackos protesting for the other side. The Tea Party wants to return to the Constitution and re-establish the U.S. as a Christian nation, never mind that both mentions of religion in the Constitution are in the negative and the Treaty of Tripoli specifically states that we are not a Christian nation. Occupy Wall Street would like to eliminate the banking system and establish a twenty-dollar minimum wage, despite the immediate collapse of our currency that would follow. Most everyone else has become cynical and jaded about the political system, to the point of not participating in the democracy at all. As Obama has demonstrated in his continuation of W’s terror tactics abroad and at home, this is precisely the state in which the government wants us to reside.
The arbitrary positions on any given issue, Left or Right, serve only to mask the objective stances one can take. That is, one can either be in favor of greater freedom or greater control. Some women want to be free to have an abortion, while others want to take that freedom away. Some men want to be free to own a gun, while others want to take that freedom away. Some New Yorkers want to be free to drink a 20 oz. soda . . . and forget that all these are personal choices. Clearly, no one who opposes abortion can be forced to have one, just as nobody who opposes guns is required to own one. In modern society, cars have almost become necessities, which may be why nobody notices that there are more auto fatalities than firearm fatalities yearly. The health-conscious make very wise life choices, until they decide to impose those choices upon others. If they don’t wish to pay for other people’s mistakes, then perhaps they shouldn’t have supported universal health care so passionately. Those who still dig in their heels against gay marriage don’t comprehend that they themselves do not need to be gay, nor do their children — unless they already are, in which case that’s the ship that must needs sail. In all these issues and many more, the battle lies between those who want to preserve a freedom and those who want to eliminate it.
Of course, not all controls harm, nor do all freedoms benefit. Speed limits probably help the community, though they function mainly as cash cows for local law enforcement. Licensing to drive serves the same purpose as licensing to own a gun, and neither represents the elimination of any basic right. Those in favor of unrestricted gun ownership miss the point of “a well regulated militia” just as much as those pulling for absolute gun bans miss the point of the rest of the Second Amendment. Life may begin at conception, it may begin at vaginal delivery, or *gasp* it may begin somewhere in between. Unpatriotic, sacrilegious language harms no one . . . and neither does racist or sexist language. Nevertheless, there are censors on both sides waiting to lead a witch hunt against anyone who utters the wrong words, and those same pitchforks will be raised in defense of the person who utters the hard truth they happen to agree with.
Behold the doublethink in which you’ve been so expertly trained. Behold the reason Obama can trade in Bush’s war crimes of torture for the good old fashioned war crime of assassination. Behold the gradual elimination of the Bill of Rights — yes, even the often ignored Third Amendment. You don’t quarter soldiers, you just pay their rent. Congress technically can’t raise an army for more than two years at a time, but that’s just what the Constitution says. Whose fault is all this? Why, the other guy’s, of course! Stupid liberals, crazy conservatives, take your pick. Never mind you’ve got more in common with them than you do with the Senator you voted for, assuming you voted at all. That, by the way, is the most insidious effect of the whole brainwashing campaign. Once you see through it, the easiest thing to do is give up. Stop paying attention to politics, stop caring about issues, and become an even better subject than you were before. You’re either fighting for the establishment against the other establishment, or you’ve got your head in the sand, or you’re just stone paranoid. Or, perhaps you could exercise your inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (a right which is fundamental to existence, and can never actually be taken away) and come up with your own solution to the problem. I can’t tell you what to do. That would defeat the point.