Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Childishness of Political Adulation

The human race has a tendency to idolize and defend its leaders no matter how bad they are. This adulation of its political leaders is childish, not adult. Since it is childish, it is dangerous. It reminds me of when children claim, "My dad can beat up your dad!" (The best retort I ever read to that was, "Yeah, so what? So can my mom!")

When Clinton was in office, Republicans could see clearly what he was, and what he is: lying, thieving, adulterous trailer trash. A psychopathic serial sexual predator who sold nuclear secrets to the Chinese. Yet Democrats praised him as almost the Second Coming of Christ. And still do.

But now that Bush in is office, Republicans can't see what he is: a brain-damaged ex-drunk (which is why he can't speak coherently) who never had a legitimate job in his life. He has in my opinion a completely worthless degree (an MBA), but couldn't get it in less than nine years, even though his way through college was paid for and he didn't have to work a day. He went AWOL from the military. He was taken in for drunken driving. His expansion of the government is worthy of the worst of Democrats, yet Republicans defend him. He has incompetent advisors, like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle and Wolfowitz, but is apparently too dense to see them for what they are. He is stumbling into World War III, but doesn't have a clue as to what he is doing. Yet Republicans praise Dubya as a great leader. He is better than Clinton, who may be evil, but Dubya is mediocre at best.

This adulation has happened throughout history. People defended Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, even though they were some of history's worst mass murderers. And I'm sure that every horrible leader in the past has had many people defend him. Then the populace follows him like sheep into war, famine, death and pestilence.

What gives here? Why this adulation, this idealization, this idolization? My best guess is that since all people are imperfect, this is something in them that is eternally childish. It wants to give up self-responsibility and let Daddy and Mommy take care of them. This makes sense, since the traditional Right is Daddy and the traditional Left is Mommy. Much of politics and "government" is about people giving up responsibility for themselves to other people. And children, unfortunately, often idealize their parents. Hence, "My dad can beat up your dad!"

The problem with this adulation of leaders and the attempt to give up self-responsibility is that it never works. All you have to do is look at history of the State, to see why war, famine, death and pestilence are called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. If the State is anything, it's Satanic. And most politicians, drunk with their demonic lust for power, and utterly secure in their belief in their moral and intellectual superiority over the benighted masses, are the people we let rule us?

When people start idolizing their leaders and trying to trade their liberty for a fake security from Mommy and Daddy, the results will always be destructive. If the masses of people were truly adult, there would hardly be any government at all. It would be a minimal government that would defend what it's supposed to defend – life, liberty and property.

Liberty is apparently a scary thing, and many people try to give it up as fast as they can, even if they don't know they're doing it. But, as Benjamin Franklin commented, "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety." Not only don't deserve it, but will never have it, not when the children are idolizing a Daddy and Mommy that work for the Devil.

Dostoevsky understood this desire of the human race to give up its liberty and self-responsibility very well. In the famous "Grand Inquisitor" scene in The Brothers Karamazov he has the Inquisitor say, "For centuries...we have been wrestling with...freedom, but now it is ended and over for good." He was commenting on the fact that many people want to give up their freedom to "authority," an authority that they often idealize and defend even if it kills them. The Inquisitor goes so far as to claim, "they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet."

We've been trying to get back in, to give up our liberty, our maturity, and our self-responsibility. And we've been trying to do it through that Evil Thing known as the State, a thing run not by some idealized Mommy and Daddy, but by people who are just as imperfect – maybe more imperfect – as everyone else.

No comments: