Deckchairs on the Titanic

In years past I’ve had personal reasons to dislike what happens on Election Day. But today my name wasn’t on any ballot and I’m more disgusted than ever. Why?

Well, because, in spite of all the blustery “Tea Party” rhetoric, we did it again. We swapped betwixt McCoy and Hatfield without changing a single thing of consequence.

The bankster/moneychangers who control both entrenched parties are still in charge. The impending constitutional amendment proves that we still have no idea what constitutions are for or what they say. Party leaders are still safely ensconced, and the ungoverned monster we call “government” is still all about robbing Peter to pay Paul; where lawyers, lobbyists, politicians and soldiers determine who must be Peter, and who, for a while anyway, gets to be Paul.

If I see a bright spot in our march into parched oblivion, it comes down to one question that, more often than ever, I’ve been asked in earnest: “What is a Libertarian?”

To me that’s easy. There are just two principles:

1. Only you are payable for your own actions. Nobody else gets credit, money or blame for your work, your plans, your mistakes, or your crimes.

2. Nonviolence. The only tolerable use of force is against force initiated directly against you.

Following these two principles to their natural conclusions would lead to all sorts of wonderful things. But so what?

All the preceding about political parties and labels amounts to allegiance to abstractions, or more accurately, idolatry.

It’s harmless to treat the San Francisco/New York Giants as some living thing that spans new owners, new players and new home states. It’s just a game. But where liberty and justice versus oppression, slavery, genocide and war is concerned, we should be wary and sober.

Despite the horse race rhetoric, politics is no game, and there are no winners. The end of nations is as certain as the end of our mortal lives. And the end almost always comes by making government an idol. Political party loyalty is, to my eyes, a body-painted tribal war dance around this idol. Some do enjoy the spectacle, the strategies and the apparent glamour; but it’s ultimately a major cause of large scale violence, needless suffering, theft and death.

It’s not harmless sport that we tax people out of homes to pay for homeless programs, destroy businesses to “stimulate the economy,” or wage endless, innumerable wars for peace.

I cannot believe we humans don’t share a vision for a better life than the taxation, litigation, regulation and war that always creates enemies and unjust winners. I can only conclude that we don’t promote or even talk about this shared vision because we don’t believe it’s possible to achieve. Perhaps the numbing realities we’ve created for ourselves make us believe that there’s no point in dreaming of better…even when we could simply vote for it.

Perhaps nobody alive has any memory of how American life worked when only churches and voluntary associations like Kiwanis and Scouts comprised the departments of health, education and welfare. Maybe we can’t imagine the actual process of looking out for our neighbors or caring for our own elderly because that involves something other than money. Perhaps some of us concentrate on foreign charities because that seems easier and safer than dealing with what you can see on your way to work. Maybe we so muddle the benefits of modern technology with the handicap of modern politics that we think that resurrecting constitutional Rule of Law means the surrender of flushing toilets.

Whatever the case, I wish we’d put down the tribal flags, cross the chasm between politics and reality, and talk plainly with each other about how we want to live our too-short lives.

Instead of “Tea Party” saber rattling, how about we calmly stroll toward la dolce vita, “the sweet life;” in which peace, prosperity, liberty and justice for all doesn’t mean ganging up on poor Peter?

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