Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Bipartisan Darkness

The Bipartisan Darkness
P. Schultz

            “Bipartisan darkness descends on the public realm [in 1980], preparation for the rule of the Right.” [Liberty Under Siege, Walter Karp, 139]

            Or in preparation for the rule of Trump.

            It is quite amazing how quickly in the face of a threat like the one Trump was alleged to be that bipartisanship emerges. Obama saying, in essence, to give Trump a chance and Joe Biden saying he will work with Vice President elect Pence. The signs are there for those who care to see them. And it is important to understand why this happens. So what was the threat? What is it?

            The threat previously was Trump, that is, before he won. But now the danger is that the forces that brought Trump to the presidency will not be stilled or pacified, thereby threatening the status quo and it protectors who reign in Washington. For there are “forces” abroad in the land that threaten the status quo, e.g., the growing popularity of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. That this is a significant threat to the status quo is not appreciated by most people because they do not appreciate the importance of “the war on drugs” for maintaining the prevailing establishment. That war, which is usually presented as a somewhat marginal policy that needs some tweaking to be made more rational, is actually as important as “the war on terror” for maintaining “the rule of the Right.” So, to allow the war on drugs to be undermined, especially to be undermined for the sake of individual liberty, is dangerous, even as dangerous as legitimizing “sexual preferences” – as if one’s sexual practices were “preferences” like one’s taste in ice cream – for the sake of personal liberty.  Such “allowances” create cracks in what is called “civilization,” cracks that imply that “civilization” – or as Huck Finn put it, “sivilization” – is more about repressing than elevating or liberating human kind.

            This is dangerous stuff in a regime that embraces or is built on the idea that without a powerfully pervasive national government anarchy will prevail and human kind will descend into darkness. So, such cracks must be sealed up as best they can be, e.g., by legitimating “same sex marriage” so unwed gays and lesbians, those who espouse “the gay life style,” can be viewed with suspicion. Respecting marijuana, then, expect the emergence of “scientific” claims about the dangers of marijuana, followed by attempts by “the Feds” to reassert control over the use of this “drug.”

            And expect too, more broadly, that “the rule of the Right” under Trump will reinforce those aspects of our allegedly capitalistic society that discipline “the many,” that is, we ordinary people. For example, by elevating the very wealthy to positions of power while emphasizing their wealth, Trump reminds the many of their unfitness, that they are “the many” because they do not have the innate or inbred discipline to be among “the few,” and, therefore, need to disciplined by our pervasively powerful government and its controllers. Such people, the many, should not be allowed to use marijuana or other drugs recreationally because they lack the inbred discipline of “the few,” discipline in this case to be provided by the nation’s policy of mass incarceration. These are among the means to still or pacify a people, especially a people grown restless with deference to its “superiors.”

            So “the bipartisan darkness” that is descending – once again – “on the public realm” is the darkness of a “civilization” – actually a regime – that is constantly threatened by the conviction that human beings were “created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And as Lincoln put it, these words are ”a stumbling block to those who . . . might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism,” a barrier to any potential tyrant or tyrants who would, in the name of “civilization,” make human kind unfree and rule them without their consent.

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