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Monday, August 29, 2011

Unclear and Present Danger

It is a healthy practice to see politicians in the flesh, rather than through the cables of a high definition television screen or spanning the cover of a highly circulated news publication—one sees them as and for what they are: merely other human beings.

By Christopher Zimny

It strikes a peculiar blow to what is portrayed to the psyche when a person of supposed authority is
viewed in person: it brings a somewhat obscure persona to a harsh and perfect light and one can adjust the individual’s policies to the tune of an immediately present idea. The ideas and actions the person is said to pursue are dragged by the scrupulous under a microscope, where both the objective stance and the inner workings of it can be examined in a much finer detail than one would otherwise see.

When the politician is on television or on the cover of a magazine or the front page of a newspaper, the person automatically becomes more nebulous—and in that way, more powerful. This, because he appears the more obscure, the physical human connection is lost and the politician is placed instantly on high: by vice of this opaque pedestal, the reality is effaced, the connecting circuits of one man to another are removed. We tend to think of reported proposed laws that are presently in discussion as just another something that’s happening on Capitol Hill, or when one of these laws is signed by the President it’s but another measure being carried out by the White House—accepting or rejecting the dictates themselves as a matter for argumentation, while all the while holding that the authority is in a faraway capital known as Washington D.C.

However, when the proxy is removed—when one sees the legislator or the candidate or the judge in person, with no obscuration barriers—the ideology becomes clear. Watching Ron Paul speak of freedom and unfreedom at his podium on stage, seeing his peculiarly earnest body movements from the side vantage point I held,

when he spoke a point on his mind, when he spoke deliberately to us and earnestly to us, I understood the concepts in full and perfectly. He made his point, but the fact that my imagination could carry his words to immediate and solidified action was surprisingly liberating. I had already held the libertarian stance in theory, and now it was viewed in my mind clearly in practice: the government obeying its founding document, the government stepping out of the way of the individual, as it should—the non-employment of force.

My thoughts then turned to the omniscient President himself—though the act imagined would work with any infallible higher being in office—where he, if he stood in front of me, said—demanded, indeed—that I was to give my property to another person, or demanded that I act against my own will for my own betterment. Absent the blurring proxy, the absurdity of another mere homo sapiens attempting to dictate my actions would be laughably easy to dismiss as a trivial nuisance (or even—quite probably—a few words of harsh derision would be heard on the part of the commanding party, if only for my own amusement), but I could not, for he would use his men of force to arrest me. Why? I simply refused the requisition. Stripped naked, this is his ideology. The absurdity is clear and present; though through the use of abstractions and fog machines, the signal of the plain human being who calls himself a politician is made difficult to gain hold of, and soon is left unfound—at least from the point of view of the governed—alas, to the politician’s advantage.

The most simple and direct scenario is also the most potent. When one boils an ideology down
to its bare essentials, when one removes the estrangement filter, when the face in the press is present before your eyes and it is simply your mind against his—whatever the ideas of either person present, the convictions will become clear and you will know exactly where you stand.
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This article was also published in Liberty Underground by the 1787 Network.