By now, some of you may have heard some version of the idea that our left vs. right daily/weekly political show is a diversion, a pumped up drama through the media meant to distract the masses, divide people against one another, and generally drug the public with soap opera so as to keep people unaware of reality.
For instance, such reality as corporate graft and the corruption of congress, regulators, and government.
But the real story of left and right has much more to it than only this conspiracy-flavored version. Something deeper and frankly more interesting and fundamental than the above is happening.
To begin, let me briefly offer a choice instance of the complex and bitter flavors of the day.
On the right of my monitor as I type is a political ad on the econ blog Calculated Risk for Senator Rand Paul (putative 'libertarian') that reads "Sign The Right To Work Petition Obama Fears."
It is not enough to have a 'right to work', rather one is called to act now in defense of Liberty itself against some hidden agenda of that Democrats and Obama have against working people.
Have you noticed that conspiracy theories are everywhere?
I'm not talking about the wacky, obvious stuff here. Much of what now passes for mainstream comment and opinion amounts to conspiracy theory.
We have conspiracy theory offered as daily bread amongst more balanced fare, even in august publications.
Presumptions of hidden agendas is a common element in our public discourse.
Consider: The Democrat's health insurance reform and its support for low income Americans to get health insurance is really a step in a grand plan for socialism ("nationalization of health care") and will include rationing of health care, even though it is explicitly prohibited in the new law (and thus what will really happen is that we will get panels that will decide who lives and who dies) or...
Republicans' fervor for deficit reduction is actually only a cover for a covert desire to wreck the economy by 2012 in order to sweep Obama out of office.
Does something seem a little suspicious about all this hidden agenda stuff?
Well, I thought so, so for fun I've reserved and checked out Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics".
In the first couple of dozen pages, it isn't giving me better ideas than I've developed already -- I've been thinking about this for a while -- but it is giving me great historical examples. It's surprising the how commonplace are the roots of our our modern politics.
This isn't only an American disease, but it does seem we are the Sick Man of the modern age, for now.
This is no laughing matter. After all, another major power, only 80 years ago, in similar state, took the world on a rather nasty ride.
It's a lot more possible than it may seem at first. How many Germans in 1930 imagined anything like what was coming?
I have much more about the right and the left that I've worked out. Watch for it over coming months.