“Idiocracy” was the title of the 2006 movie, starring Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph. Wilson plays a character that was put in suspended animation and mistakenly left there for 500 years. When he is revived, he finds a profoundly dystopian society where intellect and rational thinking have been abandoned in favor of degeneracy, crass commercialism and hedonistic folly. I won’t bore you with the entire plot; if you’re curious it’s available on Wikipedia. My only reason for mentioning it is that for some months I kept hearing the term ‘idiocracy’ in my mind as I watched events in the news. I actually had forgotten seeing this rather forgettable movie, but the term stuck.
The reason it kept popping up on my radar was because so much of what is being put forward in the political arena is so amazingly low-brow and just downright stupid, that it began to occur to me that we are actually mid-process in creating our very own idiocracy. No need to wait 500 years; we’re right on top of it. Let me first tell you that I am not a committed liberal, nor am I conservative. I am a truculent independent who has a very low regard for just about ALL politicians. I have a deep yearning for some kind of government in this country that acts in a manner that is guided by not just the constitution but an active sense of what is just, moral and wise. At first glance, you wouldn’t really think that this would be all that difficult. I mean, most people know the difference between right and wrong…….right? Uh, not so quick there, fellah. But, don’t most people know good ol’ fashioned WISDOM—the kind dispensed by people like Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and many more of their ilk--when they hear it? Er, uh, …..’fraid not. Wouldn’t you think that a society that depends heavily on cooperation, on having an economy that provides opportunities equally for all of its members, and an even-handed handling of our general affairs…..might know that those who are in positions of authority, i.e. making the laws and enacting them, need to be representing the people who appointed them? Well, uh, actually, see there’s a wee problem with that.
If you want to be one of these policy makers and leaders you need to have access to a vast reservoir of CASH. In order to get one of the juicy plumbs of a job as a lawmaker, you need to either be vastly wealthy, or have big-money entities behind you. A typical congressional campaign can run into many millions of dollars, and you need to begin campaigning for re-election as soon as you are re-elected each time. It is not public service. It’s a highly paid executive position, with vast perks and benefits….which persist for the remainder of your life, once you have joined the club. So, how does a person who just wants to go to Washington and ‘make a difference’, get into the game? Well, it seems that is easy. You just make a Faustian deal with the Devil, and sell your soul to the money holders who will, not so subtly avail themselves of your influence once they get you elected. Now, none of this is a secret. Almost any person you ask can tell you this is how politics works in this day and age. The liberals believe their candidates, then representatives, will head on down to the cesspool and do their bidding. And, the conservatives believe the same thing. And, hell, if they don’t, why we’ll just vote ‘em out of office the next time around……..right?
Well, actually NO! In this idiocracy, the voters are so easily mis-led and manipulated that a career in congress becomes a self-sustaining job, with some of these lawmakers staying until they are thirty years beyond the age when most people retire. They become dynastic. They become power-brokers par excellence, and wield such tremendous influence that they are virtually immune to losing an election….regardless of the fact that they are doing the bidding of the special interests that fund them. This is because both these pols and their corporate whoremasters have deep expertise in manipulating the perceptions of the voters in their home states. The pols do it mostly by bringing home the pork, and the special interests do it with the Niagra of cash that can buy television and media ads, most of them appearing to be initiated by ‘concerned citizens’ or groups of well-meaning souls.
If you don’t really believe this is true, please take a good look at the whole health-care reform debate. It has been both framed and controlled by the insurance companies. They want you to believe that any sort of government run health-care program would be a disaster. It would be SOCIALISM, which, if you hadn’t noticed is now the substitute buzz-word for—EEEEGADS!!!!!—communism. It would threaten the very pillars of democracy, and doubtless end in the government denying health-care to those who need it most. They will kill off sick people, so they don’t have to foot the bills. There will be ‘death panels’. You won’t have any choices as to what care you get or who provides it.
Jeezum, this is starting to sound so familiar. First of all, isn’t Medicare a government run health-care program? Uh, why, yes. And it is a widely acclaimed success, except for the fact that the government has plundered and mis-managed its future viability. And, don’t insurance companies employ people who routinely deny health-care to sick people? Can anybody tell me why that practice is not that of a DEATH PANEL?
Seriously, are we really this f**king stupid, that we can’t see what’s going on here? And, the most likely outcome of the ‘reform’ of health care is that we’ll be FORCED to buy health insurance from the very bastards who have been denying care and actually killing people all along……
Now tell me that we don’t already have our own IDIOCRACY in place.