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Enlightenment vs enlightenment

By Owen Paine on Monday June 30, 2008 11:55 AM

Pwogs are all aglum: now their black mage is The Nom, he's moving like a linebacker before the snap -- to the right.

But for us dreamers of sublation, the cry is hoorah for Hollywood. Now is that so wrong?

Let's do the parallel universe thing: Let's imagine what would have happened if, instead of the rocky reign of the Stuarts, Britain had endured the lesser evil of three consecutive Elizabeths. Would that green and perfidious island have "ended up in complete servitude"?

So claimed the magnificent Diderot: "Two or three consecutive reigns of a just and enlightened despotism... is one of the great misfortunes of any free nation."

Sound to you like the possible pending Obama anni mirabiles? Recall that the three consecutive terms of the New Deal saved corporate America to march triumphantly under the victory arch of world war two right smack dab into the heyday of the American century.

Is this why, on some tacit, crumbling-infrastructure mind level, we rads fear Obie's success far more than his failure? Is this why we root for dismalitude? Why are we so fond of spoiling the ballots of Lady Liberty -- while she remains on the limited liability plan?

Comments (1)

Nicholas Hart:

Personally, my anti-Obama rantings are aimed not so much at helping him lose but at getting people to stop wasting their time and money on him--because it doesn't matter if he wins or loses. I'd rather people give their money to IVAW or some other organization building active resistance to the war machine. Every dime spent on Obama is a dime wasted. Every day we wait for Obama to ride to the rescue instead of organizing the antiwar movement means another day of war and hundreds more shattered lives.

Granted, I will feel a certain smug satisfaction if Obama loses--mostly because he and his party are a cancer on the Left.

Some people want Obama to win so that people will see his real agenda and learn that we can't trust the Democrats. But not me. We had eight years of Clinton (and many Democratic administrations before him) with which to learn. The Democrats took Congress in 2006 and have now bought and paid for the Iraq war and refused to impeach the most unpopular and obviously law-breaking President in US history. If people can't learn from that, I doubt they'll learn from Obama. More likely is that they'll believe the party spin doctors when they start rolling out excuses for Obama's betrayals. "We don't have the votes!" "We need more Democrats in Congress!" "Iraq will destabilize if we leave!" "The terrorists are re-grouping in Afghanistan!" "We can't afford social programs because we must balance the budget!" "We can't cut war funding because we must support our troops!"

Until people see a viable alternative I fear that all of our arguments against the Democrats will be for naught. Voting for the lesser evil is an entirely pessimistic outlook. It signifies the resignation of the public to the power of the status quo--there are only two "viable" options so one may as well pick the least worst. There's no understanding of how this actually props up the system and guarantees lesser-evilism will continue and ensure the ever rightward drift of mainstream political discourse.

The one bright spot is that Obama's campaign is raising expectations on the Left. Here's to hoping that when those hopes are dashed it will spur independent political organizing instead of mass apathy.

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