Polite to Muggers
fix something until you know whats wrong with it.
is very wrong with our political system, to a great extent
because something is wrong with our moral system.
But most of
us dont want to name it, much less discuss it openly.
been watching the major candidates for Front Man, you may have noticed
this. Take, for example, the subject of health care
reform. The underlying assumption and its not the tired
old saw about government dictating our health care choices
is never mentioned. The talk is all about which plan
is the better plan; which of them is the more efficient and so on.
Everyone is very polite.
you hear a major figure, someone who actually has a shot at being
the next Front Man, ask whether it is moral to seize the property
of one person in order to give the proceeds (or some of them,
the government taking its cut for the processing) to another. To
put a finer more uncomfortable point on it, whether it is right
and proper to threaten ones neighbors that nice guy
next door, the couple down the road, those people you see at the
store every weekend with physical violence in order to make
them do this or hand over money to help finance that.
It is the key
to everything which is why none dare mention it openly.
sake, we must pretend that the money were getting those
of us who are getting it comes from some amorphous somewhere
never to be thought about too much. For if each each person who
received a government check had to confront the reality, had literally
to send burly men armed with truncheons and guns over to his next-door
neighbors home better yet, had to personally
troop over to his neighbors home armed with a truncheon or
a gun and accost those poor people himself, in order to force
them to contribute then his moral choice would
be made crystal clear.
have the vote and speak in euphemisms, politely.
We do our dirty
work at a distance or rather, we have others do it for us
and blank out the knowledge of what is being done.
(or simply misguided) civility is perhaps the worst aspect of this
process of societal evasion.
were not stealing and are polite to those who do
provided they do it a certain way.
It is a very
If a street
thug accosted the typical person in an alley, the victim (if he
survived) will be full of righteous anger; he will call his attacker
by various choice names and regard that individual as beneath contempt,
having checked out of the human race by engaging in the use of violence
against an innocent person.
the transformation in thinking and acting that occurs
when the thug cleans himself up, puts on a suit and tie and becomes
a politician. Or an activist. Now this same individual,
doing the same work, can expect polite treatment even deference.
He will be invited to speak; his hand will be shaken. Not one in
a million people will call him what he is, openly, to his face.
And if that one in a million person does call him what he is, openly,
and to his face he, not the creature that is advocating violence
against innocent people will be derided and shouted down.
For being impolite.
I have an ex-friend,
a guy I used to argue with about politics and morality. He would
(try) to chide me for what he regarded as my mean-spirited
attitude toward redistributionist politics. I once asked him whether
he would speak in low tones and polite terms about a guy who attacked
his daughter, or broke into his home to take things and perhaps
kill him and his wife in the process. If he knew me to be a thief,
or a guy who beat people up to make them do what I wanted
would he still be my friend? Civil toward me?
He drew back
and huffed of course not. I then asked why he thought I ought
to be civil to people who do the same sorts of things but on a mass
scale, causing far more damage (physical as well as moral)?
I got the Blank
To people such
as my ex-friend, the act of Voting or of becoming a Politician,
or of passing a Law somehow transforms an act that would be regarded
as vile and evil if performed by an individual into something laudatory
and morally clean. Our whole system the economy and social
structure is based on this dubious moral shuck-and-jive.
Social Security dont want to think about the source waters
of their monthly check. Previous generations could claim the illusion
that SS was a sort-of annuity, that they were just getting back
what they paid in, with interest. But today the fulsome scurvy truth
about SS is well-known. The money paid out in benefits to you today
comes out of the pockets of young workers, people youve never
even met (who have needs of their own, one should add) taken from
them by violence. It does not bear thinking about. So also with
regard to literally scores, perhaps thousands, of programs
plus all the services involved in ladling out
the products of other peoples labor.
When you hear
someone arguing in favor of health care reform or saving
Social Security they are speaking in evasions and euphemisms.
What they are really arguing in favor of is sending men armed with
guns to your home to threaten you with violence, to make
you do this or help to pay for that. To put you in a cage. Possibly,
even to kill you.
But as long
as we are polite and continue to pretend that theft is not
theft, that the system is not based on violence and force rather
than voluntary cooperation and free exchange, we are exactly like
the drug addict who refuses to come to terms with his addiction.
To admit that he is an addict, openly.
We too are
addicts and far advanced.
still time for a cure, but the clock is ticking
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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