If you haven't read the column yet, here it is.



To the editor ...

Thanks to Mr. Strakon for another good article.

That we have to secede from the Reds as well goes without saying.

Though it's become such a hackneyed term, I just can't think of a more accurate description of our fellow subjects than useful idiots. The Red Americans swallow with a hearty gulp what they're fed by rogues whom they naively trust, and Blue Americans are useless due to their own special brand of innocence. Neither color has any interest in liberty. Both have a keen interest in imposing their pet projects by force.

Red Americans' claims to being patriotic and liberty-loving ring hollow, in light of the specific ideas they endorse. It's so obvious to any observant person that one has to wonder about their very sanity. After a lifetime of regarding the Left as the most important threat to freedom, it is distressing to realize that those once regarded as more or less on our side are more dangerous. More, that is, because they have allowed themselves to be fooled by those who wrap their totalitarian ideology in the trappings of its polar opposite. People who are so easily fooled cannot be regarded as assets. They can never be counted on to form the core constituency of a free society. I very much doubt they will ever appreciate the benefits of liberty, or tolerate the desire for it in others.

Credulous or not there's no reason to let them off the hook. They're adults, and have to take responsibility for what they do. If Red Americans are ignorant and easily played, then they have shirked their "civic duty" to pay attention and get informed. Anyone with the intellectual ability to buy a used car without being ripped off should be able to recognize that he's being manipulated when some smooth-talking political hack has rolled back the odometer of his liberty. After all, there's a lot more at stake than a few thousand dollars.

It seems to me that the average American, Blue or Red, hasn't given a minute's thought to the steady erosion of his freedoms, and is scarcely aware it is going on. Suggest to him that it is, and one is met with that sweet condescending smile you get from someone who just wishes you would change the subject. He can be depended on, absolutely, to support and endorse with militant enthusiasm any totalitarian outrage Our Leaders decide to impose.

Mike Waite
Corona, Calif.
Received November 21, 2004;
posted January 3, 2005


Strakon replies

I thank Mr. Waite for his good words.

I find particularly apposite his point about buying a used car. People's education in this matter may be gradual, and it is sometimes painful; but one way or another, as they become adults they are encouraged by cause and effect — by experiencing real life with real consequences — by learning of the real experiences of others — to habitually practice real thinking whenever they walk onto a used-car lot. Can we all agree that nothing of the kind occurs when they walk onto a used-politics lot?

When they shop for a politician, people bring into play habits of mind radically different from those they observe when they shop for a car. They must do so, because of the radical and fatal difference between social (including market) action and political action. This form of doublethink may be formulated as the tortured coexistence of real thinking and statish thinking. I advise against it; it is not healthy and it is not wise.

To the column.

Return to the table of contents.