Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Sting

The Sting
P. Schultz       
February 11, 2012

Here’s the set-up. It is in two parts.

First part: No matter if Romney or Santorum gets the nomination, the Republicans will lose. The “conservatives” won’t support Romney because he is not “conservative enough for them and they will feel betrayed by the failure to nominate Santorum. But Santorum cannot carry enough “moderates” to win and many Romney supporters will not support Santorum with sufficient intensity or at all.

Second part: When the Republicans lose to Obama, the “conservatives,” especially those of Tea Party credentials, will get the blame because (a) they did not support Romney with sufficient intensity or (b) because they are the reason Santorum got the nomination.

So, all Republicans like Boehner have to do is to sit back and watch the debates and the primaries, enjoying the fight which they know is futile for those they want to “purge” from the party or, at the very least, “discipline” in what they call “the art of politics.” And besides, what is so bad about Obama from an establishment Republican point of view? And by keeping him in power for another four years, they can campaign against him and his “socialism,” thereby setting up what will be a closely fought election in 2016 when the Tea Party and other such “conservatives” will hardly be a force to be reckoned with.

Further, this is fine with the – establishment - Democrats as they get another four years of Obama and will have a decent chance of prevailing again in 2016. And all the time until then Obama will perpetuate the prevailing power arrangement and revive the failed economic system to keep it on life support for a bit longer.

Machiavelli wrote a play, La Mandragola , where through the use of fraud everyone satisfies their desires, including adultery.  

One of the main themes in the comedy is the use of fraud, as none of the characters' objectives could be accomplished without it. Machiavelli makes it clear that fraud is acceptable, so long as it furthers a worthwhile cause. In Mandragola, almost every character uses fraud.”

This analysis depends upon deeming adultery “a worthwhile cause” as the play revolves around the efforts of a young man to sleep with and seduce the beautiful wife of an old man, with the help of a friar and the wife’s mother! He succeeds.

“The end of the play is a happy ending, as all characters are satisfied with the
new arrangement: Callimaco has the object of his desire whenever he wants,
Ligurio has a place to stay and eat, Nicia will no doubt have an heir, Lucrezia
has a new love, and Timoteo has his money and the satisfaction of knowing that
he outsmarted everyone else. The fact that all this deception has turned into a
happy, peaceful state shows an interesting view of Machiavelli's world. This
says that fraud is acceptable when it attains positive ends. In fact, as long as
the results are pleasing to someone, it appears that fraud is a valid means of
attaining them. As the friar remarks, "in all things one must look to the

NB: “all the characters are satisfied” but none is virtuous. Quite opposite in fact, even the friar. “A happy, peaceful state” is possible on the basis of fraud, a result and a means that seems to describe our current situation quite well. But then it is questionable whether the happiness and peace we seem to have is genuine and durable. My suspicion is that it is not.  

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