"The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded." ~ Vance Packard
Political Observations with a Personal Note
Column by Vaugn Bateman.
Exclusive to STR
Everyone has their eyes peeled back for election season. It’s the bi-yearly socially glamorous magnet for politiphiles and laymen alike. Even if you don’t find the flavour appetizing, it proves impossible to evade the inescapable gravitational pull of politics. The particular action of some bug-eyed crazed enthusiast does not bear as much annoyance to me as the political, penetrating tactics of politicians. I generally put forth my greatest effort to remain unreminded of the state, as much as possible, in my daily life and my activities. This leads me to tell of my day, last week, and the notable and striking observations I made.
Every week, at least twice or more, I like to visit my local downtown coffee house for my ever-so-deserving, indiscriminate fix of any caffeinated concoction. On this day, Thursday, I was out with my girlfriend for dinner--the Southwest vegetarian soup sounded overly enticing. Upon arrival I was reminded of an embargo, as many persons were blocking the entrance to the coffee house’s door. Many an elbow and “pardons” later, I contorted myself between and past the fused bodies and made my way to the coffee rack. With a face of deep bewilderment, I became a hopeful Sherlock Holmes. My only clue was the blue and yellow sticker on each person’s top. It read: JACK CONWAY - Kentucky Candidate for US Senate. “Ah,” I said to myself, “I am making real progress here.” Such was your typical political meet-up group. And again, I normally don’t mind the enthusiasts. If that is the way they’d like to waste their limited time on Earth, so be it. But my optimism always fails me, and I was reminded of this with sudden bursts of hooting and hollering from the crowd, and with the repetitive “Hello, hello,” from the benevolent tongue of the man himself, Jack Conway. Apparently I had not only entered the marked territory of a political meet-up group, but I had also entered the stage of a political sermon.
By mid-speech my dinner was completely second priority, as the dead minarchist in me rose once again. My consciousness is well aware of the nature of statism, but my unconscious spirit beds with the abandoned ideals of minarchism, statism and a hope for the hopeless. I suspect this is result of a greater decade long of public schooling and patriotism injected into the veins of me--like a virus that lays dormant deep within, and flares up from time to time when exposed to the proper stimuli. I also suspect that this is akin to the experiences of many of my readers. Regardless of what I wanted to say, do, or growl to refute the lifeless speech he was giving, I couldn’t help but notice the content it contained and the gleeful expression on his listeners. I think now would the be most appropriate time, if ever, to tell that Jack Conway is in affiliation with the Democratic Party and his opponent may be a familiar name to many, Rand Paul. Every sentence in Conway’s speech could not, in any fashion, be called a rebuttal of Paul’s positions, but rather a direct emotional appeal--the infamous argument from apocalypse. With poetically sound words, with fluent use of pathos persuasion, Conway swayed the crowd into frantic cheer.
Afterwords I jotted down one particular note and it follows.
The overall distance of political activism is light-years ahead of anarcho-philosophy activism. I use activism in the loosest sense possible. By activism, I infer education, conversations, awareness and moving the axiom of non-aggression into the mainstream light. I suspect for the laymen, he generally is unconscious about his state-blanketed surroundings. Almost every writer, at one point, has used the clichéd example of a fish being unconscious of the water that he lives in, but such an example is so prevalent here. It is a very hard thing to do, to bring someone into the light that they are immersed in a violently brutal system of statism--it would be the exact equivalent of drowning a fish to “prove” to him that he is in water. Although challenging, it must be done. Statism as a whole, from minarchism to totalitarianism, has been tremendously successful in its survival and longevity compared to philosophy, or anarchistic ideologies. It is of my opinion that this is result of two primary reasons. The first being the obvious force that acts as the heart of statism, and the second being the overwhelming acceptance and contentment of the ideology by the ones not in power. The former is not of importance to us, as we surely cannot out-power the state with force, and strong arguments could be made against this method even if it were possible. The latter, however, is the central ground I make my first listed observation off of. Anarchists--political libertarians are also guilty of this as well-- often participate in what my old wrestling coach described as “stroking their own privates.” In other words, anarchists preach their philosophies only to other accepting anarchists. Perhaps it may be out of fear, or the seek of appraisal, but regardless the reason, it is a wasted notion unless it is intended to spread outwards. Imaging a political campaign, or a new uprising religion, only professing the virtues and goodness of the said ideology only to the members already in alignment with the said campaign. Do you think that the movement would gain any traction? I have my personal doubts. In any attempt we decide to make, if any, let us learn something from those who have repeatedly kicked our rear-ends. Much like how a boxer reviews a film from a lost fight, we can learn a great number of things from those who are in opposition to us.
We have finessed our platform beyond anything comparable, it is high time we come out swinging.