Election Emotions

November 4, 2010

The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

-C.S. Lewis, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”

I know you count on my blog for level-headed, reasoned analysis, but I come out of hibernation today to bring you just the opposite.

First of all, I don’t give a fig about whether the Republicans or Democrats are in charge. The only thing I want is smaller government, and I’m well past believing that the Republicans are willing to deliver that, despite their rhetoric.

But I did have some faint hope that this election would at least wipe the smug smile off of progressive’s stupid faces. Perhaps, I hoped, a sufficiently sound electoral drubbing will give Democrats some reason to doubt that their attempts to micromanage every aspect of our economy really are the solution to our problems. “Wow,” they might have said, “If everyone hates our policies, how good could they really be?”

But no. The narrative that I’m seeing about this election is that voters have once again shown that they are too stupid, too benighted, and too racist to vote even their own self-interest and go along with the Democratic party’s plans. Rachel Maddow says the Democrats had a choice, between politics or policy, and they chose the latter; bully for them.

You’re not learning anything from this post so I’m going to cut it off. But before I do, let’s talk about justice again.

Nikolae Ceausescu (chow-CHES-kew), leader of Communist Romania, wasn’t much more than your standard Communist dictator. The communist system was of course partially responsible for the misery of the Romanian people, and his policies probably starved thousands of people to death in the 80’s, but he was nothing spectacular.

What amazing me about Ceausescu, though, is that I get the impression that he believed in communism right up until he and his wife were executed by firing squad. In 1989, a year of bloodless revolutions throughout Eastern Europe, Ceaucescu’s government was shooting and killing demonstrators who opposed his rule.

Yes, Ceausescu was executed for what he’d done. But it’s not enough. He never had to suffer for what he’d done, like he caused so many people to suffer. He never even had to realize that the policies he had been pursuing were evil. When he took those bullets to his knee and chest, the soldiers machine guns set to “automatic fire”, he still believed he had done the right thing for his people. How do you deal with that?

Alright, I’m ending with Ivan Karamazov’s speech. Here you go:

I don’t want the mother to embrace the oppressor who threw her son to the dogs! She dare not forgive him! Let her forgive him for herself, if she will, let her forgive the torturer for the immeasurable suffering of her mother’s heart. But the sufferings of her tortured child she has no right to forgive; she dare not forgive the torturer, even if the child were to forgive him! And if that is so, if they dare not forgive, what becomes of harmony? Is there in the whole world a being who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? I don’t want harmony. From love for humanity I don’t want it. I would rather be left with the unavenged suffering. I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering and unsatisfied indignation, even if I were wrong. Besides, too high a price is asked for harmony; it’s beyond our means to pay so much to enter on it. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket, and if I am an honest man I am bound to give it back as soon as possible. And that I am doing. It’s not God that I don’t accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket.

This post is worth roughly the money price you paid to read it. Go read The Brothers Karamazov; it’s the best book ever.

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4 Responses to “Election Emotions”

  1. Dan Says:

    “I did have some faint hope that this election would at least wipe the smug smile off of progressive’s stupid faces.”

    Beyond being somewhat petty, that’s silly. You mean like how conservatives reevaluated their fundamental assumptions after 2006? This was a drubbing (or shellacking), but electoral setbacks happen. A lot. To both sides. It’s largely due to structural explanations, especially regression to the mean, the economy and the nature of midterms, not some transformational shift of the US population to the right:

    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/predicting-the-outcome-of-tomorrows-midterm-election/

    (paragraph 3 & 4 are relevant)

    You think the outcome would have been the same if unemployment were 5% instead of 10%? So there is some justification for progressives to blame tactics and circumstance, not ideology. Similarly, conservatives did not renounce in droves and show up to their local ACORN or Code Pink outlet and sign up for Progressivism. And a good thing, too (for them) since sticking to their principles paid off for them this election year. The pendulum swung back in their favor, restoring some balance, but that is not the definitive ideological pronouncement you seem to be hoping for. The real issue here is that you listened to Rachel Maddow for some reason, and that’s enough to drive anyone silly.


  2. Also, what is up with my grammar? “progressive’s stupid faces”? Like, the representative progressive?

    Anyway I agree with everything you wrote. This post did not even live up to the very low standards of this blog. But, since we’re on the Road to Serfdom and we’re never going to have freedom again in this country, I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with that. So far my strategy consists mostly of writing nonsense.

  3. tripinchina Says:

    Yeah I don’t know. But maybe I’ll give the Brothers another try…

  4. Pete Says:

    I’ve tried reading the The Brothers Karamazov twice now and can never get out of the first third. Somehow I just can’t relate to the characters, one because I can’t keep their names straight, and two because everything they say sounds so dramatic and over the top that they might as well be on their knees screaming to the sky. I’ve been told that this is just how Russian literature works, and so maybe I should give it a third try, but I’ll take a lot of control to keep my eyes from rolling so much.

    And, I don’t know anyone who’s gotten through the book and didn’t think it was worth it. Maybe I aught to just grit my teeth and read till the names stick.

    Also, I’m the same Pete from this blog (http://snyderp.com/) that you left a few comments on a while back. Just wanted to say hello!


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