Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Clarification of "The endorsement game"

I think most regular readers understand, but I didn't post my draft endorsement of Barack Obama the other day because I'm endorsing Obama. I ended up being the main writer on three endorsements last week — the one I kept to myself, and one more for each of the two main candidates. Not only do I plan not to vote Tuesday, but I consider both men opponents of the principles on which the United States of America supposedly were founded.

And I do want to assure regular readers, because I come to the little Blogger dashboard to share with you my honest and sincere thoughts and feelings about the state of my world and those parts of it we share. The exercise in choosing an endorsement was an intellectual puzzle: "If I did want one of these two would-be dictators to stick his fingers in my life, how would I justify that desire?" Most days here, you won't read a pack of lies like the one where I wrote that I believe Obama would "govern us as a centrist." I don't perceive a left, center or right; I perceive those who wield the power of the state like a bludgeon and those who believe in the power of the individual. But for the purposes of this intellectual puzzle, I had to assume the mask of a statist.

It actually was a little scary, much as C.S. Lewis is said to be freaked out as he wrote The Screwtape Letters, a series of essays in which senior demon Screwtape instructed his nephew, Wormwood, in the ways of drawing humans off The Path. To write the endorsement of a tyrant-wannabe with any degree of authenticity, you need to guide your brain onto a train of thought that desires slavery. You have to settle into the belief that it's right and proper for a huge controlling bureaucracy of drones to reach into virtually every aspect of your life, and then you have to choose which smiling menace you prefer in charge of the bureaucracy.

Some small sense of satisfaction emerges from the realization that I possess the talent to pull it off. I was praised both by those who favored the Butter-Side-Up candidate and the Butter-Side-Down candidate. But there's also the gnawing knowledge that that means I can be a good little propagandist if I choose. In the end, I missed speaking for myself. My proudest possessions are the pieces of wood on my wall declaring me the best newspaper columnist in this state.

Worst, I wrote the endorsements convincingly enough that no doubt a few minds were turned, and folks will trudge to the polling places Tuesday in the illusion that they will make a difference, and I never had the opportunity to stand up at the podium and tell thousands of readers I believe they are participating in a sham. That's why I needed to wash after participating in the exercise.

At least I can tell the handful of good folks who check out this blog what I was really thinking as I wrote my advice for Wormwood. What the hell anyway, right? I mean, who is John Galt?



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