Thursday, July 23, 2015

15. How Not to Begin

Politicking qua marketing is antithetical to democratic governance. Adolph Hitler was especially good at marketing himself, which is to say that good self-marketing is "good" only for the self being marketed and only in the given circumstances that render such marketing "good.". Here (tap/click) is an interesting take on the real Hitler. Such calculated posturing is not what we want in a democracy. Any kind of posturing, calculated or not, is not what we want in a democracy. We may smile (wince, laugh) at Hitler now from what seems a safe distance, but his political methods are not different in essence from how many of our own elected officials seek to gain and maintain political office. If this is what it takes for candidates in the U.S. to get elected, then the U.S. is in no better shape than 1930s Germany (ripe for being wowed by Hitler's kind of bullshit, and one need not be Hitler himself to spray Hitler's kind of bullshit). Ergo, the U.S is up bullshit creek.

The U.S. needs to come clean. This will require virtues like patience, perseverance, and a pair of good muck boots. Of course, whatever the U.S. does, it must preserve the original sensibilities of its "founding fathers" (sic). Right? Or not? This is not simply a yes-no my-way-or-the-highway question. There are complications. E.g., early on, libertarian (Republican) founders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were at odds with democratic socialist (Federalist) founders like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. In fact, the founding documents for the U.S. were "living" way back then and respectively will and should remain so today, assuming we wish to preserve the sensibilities of the U.S.'s founders (without attributing some kind of inspired omniscience to them that neither they nor we could possibly have).

Allegiance to one's country is not only laudable but culturally and politically necessary. Traitors are for that reason felons. Right? Well, it's not so easy. While we may take pride in our own mindless patriotism, we condemn the ordinary citizens of 1930s Germany who mindlessly aided and abetted the Nazi agenda. How could they be so stupidly "patriotic" given what we now know in hindsight (as of 2015) about the Nazi agenda?

Think about it. What will our survivors qua descendants in 2095 think of the U.S. circa 2015? Are we not lemmings as well? In 1935 and in 2015, the problem was/is not patriotism as such. The problem was/is that their/our patriotism was/is mindless. German citizens were too easily subject to being hoodwinked not by "evil" but by "bullshit." Get off your horse, take a moment, and think about it. The historical context is different, but today in 2015 the pernicious effects of bullshit are the same.

We the people of the U.S. should not continue mindlessly to maintain (preserve?) pedantic interpretations and self-serving expressions of the original sensibilities of our founding fathers. We should rather understand those original sensibilities in historical context and continue respectfully but mindfully and intelligently to govern ourselves now while aiming to maintain continuity and consistent identity with then. For God's sake, our founding fathers were sexists, racists, and who knows what else they would be ashamed of if only they could speak their sensibilities to us today. Who would Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, et al. vote for in 2016? Answer that question and explain your answer, and you will have largely explained your take on Constitutional "originalism" (sic).