Friday, August 29, 2008

Good vs. Evil and Politics

I stated in the last post that I leaned strongly toward voting for Obama till I discovered he was part of the Chicago machine. If you ask yourself how terrorists, gangsters and radicals can be prominent in politics, you just have to look at The Machine, which cares about nothing more than loyalty.

Until then, he seemed like an outsider.

I am one of those voters who likes outsiders. My theory is that politics is a sort of poison. A spiritual poison that slowly turns people into shadows. Sort of like acting.

We all are faced with ethical dilemmas from time-to-time, where the right decision isn't obvious. In fact, the beauty of many great action narratives is that the bad guys wear black hats. They announce their evil to the world. Who wouldn't want to go up against a Darth Vader--and didn't Lucas screw that up with his prequel trilogy?--or a Jack Wilson (Palance in Shane)?

Real evil comes like Iago in Othello, disguised as a friend. Or Cassius, in Julius Caesar, convincing others that he's doing good. And convincing you to join him. (Not, sadly, like Vader offering you power if you join the Dark Side.)

This is what messes people up: Those good intentions that pave the road to Hell.

And that is an apt description of politics. Even Ted Kennedy, who has outright stated his dedication to destroying the USA (as it is), does it because to him, the USA is a black hat.

It doesn't really matter what side you're on, politics is a sticky mess guaranteed to require you to compromise--in other words, to do something you know is wrong. If you're honest, of course, you weight the outcomes and try to pick the greater good.

Imagine our politicians as wanting to be responsible for a great many things. In the USA, the one who aspires to be President is essentially wanting to be responsible for the whole world. (Yeah, we're that important. Suck it down, everyone else.) Let's give them the benefit of a doubt for a moment, and say that at least some of them really, really are good enough and big enough to want this for non-selfish reasons.

As politicians are forced to compromise, that circle of awareness collapses, until ultimately they end up looking at what's good for them, personally--and believing that it's good for the country. Some of the greats hold on to certain core principles to anchor them. Others invert the entire universe to revolve around themselves and perversely pick choices that they think will reflect well on them in history books. And some of the might-have-been greats see the threat to those principles and abandon ship.

And who can blame them? Politicians deserve our pity. Look at the Founding Fathers: They had to make a country, and they couldn't do it--it could not be done!--without incorporating slavery. To a lot of them, this was anathema, and they probably all could see the Civil War looming in the future. But they had no choice.

The disgust you would feel at founding a country where some were considered 3/5ths human is the same disgust some of them had to have felt. (Thomas Jefferson must've been a seething cauldron of complex contradictions.)

That's gotta have an impact. And nodern politicians do this sort of thing, writ small, every day.

Anyway, the upshot of this theory is that I'm actually for political "inexperience". The President is not a micro-manager or an accountant nor even a General. He (or she!) is a decision maker. The less time in politics, the greater the clarity of vision.

There's another point: Evil requires obscurity. The Left likes to paint the Right as un-nuanced cowboys--as black hats, in fact. Generally, however, you know where the Right stands. Hell, you generally know where libertarians stand (who straddle conservative and liberal concepts).

While it's good to be suspicious of people who only see things in terms of black-and-white, from an engineering standpoint, some things effectively are black-and-white! Russians aren't evil but, in fact, the USSR was, in fact, an evil empire. Same for the Chinese. Hell, same for Germany in WWII. Same for Saddam's Iraq. Etc.

Palin, unlike Obama, says exactly where she stands on things in stark terms. And has a track record to prove it. Even though I disagree with her on a lot of topics, she's a lot easier to vote for than Barack, who promises in vague terms to improve things.

And again, there's that Chicago machine--with Ayers--and there's Wright in there, too. I'm not saying Obama is evil--far from it. I very much suspect that he, personally, is a post-racial kind of guy. I think he's visited a lot of radical worldviews as an anthropologist and politician, not as a true believer. For all the delusion and hysteria that accompanies his fan base, a lot of it comes from a recognition of what's good in him.

But for a guy who's a newcomer, he's had to compromise a whole lot to get where he is. A lot of playing ball and political poison ingesting.

Palin seems to have fought against corruption in her party and with the surrounding business interests. She seems to have anchors--more than one, while some pro-lifers have nothing but anti-abortion sentiment to anchor to--and, deliciously, she and her husband seem to be weirdos. Outliers. Alaskans.

No one knows what will turn up, of course. Maybe there's some Alaskan machine or something--Lord knows Stevens and Young are perfect examples of having political poisoning.

But for now I'm rooting for the outlier. Even if I can't bring myself to vote for the other guy on the ticket.


  1. I'll read this tomorrow.

    But, your comment at Althouse about integrity over experience was flawed beyond words.

    1) You say that you came to loose interest in BHO as you learned more.
    2) You know only the most basic untested facts about Palin, as you once knew about BHO
    3) You are ready to make Palin the number one on a presidential ticket.

    You desperately need to add some critical thinking, self reflection, and dimension to your thought process.

  2. 1. Yep.

    2. False. When people started floating her name, I checked her out. In a lot of ways, the data was better before the nom than it will be now.

    3. Well, not really. I'm ready to put her before Biden, McCain and Obama, though.

    I'm not trying to be critical, introspective or deep: I think politics is poison, and I'm for people who have ingested less of it.

    I see perfectly good, rational people willing to say and do the most horrible things--and assume the most horrible things about others--all in the name of "politics".

    That's why I don't do it much here.


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