Ep. 158 - Is Liberalism an Infectious Disease?
Exploring the circumstances that shape wildly different political perspectives and how this is impacting our current political discourse.
**Heads up, unless you really like to read, this is an episode that is probably best listened to. That said, the points made are pertinent to finding practical political solutions before our country gets torn apart by civil war. If this were a college paper, I’d probably get an “F” for not proofing it before I shot it out to the world, and I’d likely give it some word-salad title like the one you’ll find below. All things considered, don’t be deterred, as I’m sure you’ll find value in the conclusion!
A Philosophical Exposition on Political Circumstance
There is a particularly interesting dichotomy in political perspectives that falls along the line between rural small town living and the hustle and bustle of big city metropolitan life. I'm sure that this is obvious to everyone on both sides and there is certainly no shortage of stereotypes slung both ways. It's the classic us versus them, as "ignorant hicks" square off with the "academic elites" in every political cycle.
Country folk scoff at the educated idiots who "don't know their ass from a hole in the ground," while the city folk causally dismiss the inbred deplorables who "cling to their guns and bibles."
But I want to step beyond this bickering banter and examine why people on each side think so differently. I'd like to think it might stimulate some conversation between the two sides, but I'm not that naive. People caught up in the big city bustle are simply too busy to listen to a peasant like me, precisely because I lack the pedigree that signals to them the need to pay attention.
It is true that city dwellers, on average, have more "education" than their country counterparts. More accurately, they have more "higher education" as indicated by advanced college degrees. It is quite natural for a person to pride themselves on such achievements, especially when an Ivory League certificate bestows such clout in an urban environment. Harvard? Yale? Berkley? Wow, those are such elite institutions you must be a genuine, bona fide genius!
Excepting the truly exceptional individuals, the majority of those who boast degrees from these elite institutions can be categorically dismissed as "educated idiots" —which is a common pejorative in certain country circles. This class of individuals collectively fails to perceive the extent of their social conditioning and indoctrination. They are domesticated animals, incapable of surviving in the wild, and fully sustained by municipal systems from cradle to grave.
It is precisely because of this degree of domestication that they see the world differently. Detached from the natural world, fully immersed in the illusions of metropolitan living, they understandably lose touch with natural reality. Ego, which might best be understood as a mental mirage, displaces accurate perception and becomes the zenith of an increasingly distorted personal perspective.
Now, to be fair, this happens to all of us in one degree or another. It's part of being human. That said, country living has a way of crashing through the illusions of what we think. Being closer to nature facilitates a more frequent reconciliation between what we think and what is actually real. Weather destroys crops, game gets away, wildlife kills the flock, farm animals get sick and injured, cows jump the fence, tractors break down, and yet we persevere. We adapt and overcome.
We have to.
There isn't much safety net when you're ten miles out in the country and your nearest neighbor is a twenty minute walk away. Chances are, you know the neighbors. You might not like your neighbors, but you know them. In the country, everyone understands that common decency and respect will beget a mutually beneficial relationship. The other side of that is the realization that if you piss off the only living person for miles around, your chances of getting help in an emergency are slim to none. Thus, in the rural setting, survival is closely related to cooperation.
In a city, there are thousands of people around you at all times. Your only retreat is to go inside and lock the door. Close the curtains and disconnect the phone. Then you might find some quite time, some solitary silence, and some peace of mind. For the record, it is only in these special moments that we can sort through the mind, teasing apart our thoughts, reflecting on the space between our thoughts, so as to begin to discern what is real. This is true regardless of whether we are in an urban or rural environment, but such moments are more readily available in the country.
That's why people retire and leave the city. Having nearly sacrificed their sanity for the sake of playing the game, having gloated in their personal gain, the big house, the fancy car, the credentials on the wall, such individuals now seek solace in quiet country living, seeking their own space with a gentle pace, so they can begin to sort it all out. Was it worth it? Was the lifestyle worth the sacrifice of life itself?
These are deep questions, to which each must find their own answers. And, it is critical to note that not all city dwellers fall into this category. This is a stereotype based on observation. Surely there are many in the metro areas who are perfectly at peace, grounded in reality, and absolutely making the most of their human experience. And, conversely, there are plenty of people in the country who are stuck in their own delusions, incapable of perceiving the reality that surrounds them, and disturbed by their own lack of inner peace.
Life is complex. Modern life, in many ways, is more complex. The shear volume of stimulation grows exponentially higher with each generation, and this has major implications...
But that's a story for another time.
The point is this: Democrats and Republicans see things differently, largely because of the environmental differences between urban and rural living.
Crowded environments are more conducive to groupthink and the herd mentality, whereas wide open spaces tend to facilitate more personal reflections and individual contemplation. One side favors what "we" think, while the other side favors what "I" think. It’s the classic individual versus collective mindset.
This is the root of our political differences.
The collective mindset either assimilates or dismisses the individual. You are either with us, on board for the greater good, willing to sacrifice your individuality for the the sake of the collective; or, you are against us, a selfish, self-centered disturbance that is standing in the way of collective peace and harmony. Though it seems very real to those who believe, the truth is that this is an illusion.
There is no collective. This is only an idea. It is a mental fabrication that is being projected through distorted perspective and it wholly circumvents accurate perception. Those who have lost their identity in the collective are no longer capable of perceiving reality. The detachment and delusions are very real. When the sense of self dissolves into the collective consciousness (which many mistake for enlightenment), one immediately loses the capacity to comprehend truth.
The truth is, individuals exist. We each have infinitely unique personalities, aptitudes, and preferences. We each have a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Every person on the planet is a distinctly unique human being, complete with our own fingerprints, smile and DNA. We each have our own minds and can think our own thoughts. Two individuals may be similar, but never the same. This accounts for the infinite diversity of human expression.
Collectivism seeks to control that expression. Communism seeks to control that expression. Socialism seeks to control that expression. Democrats, though they claim to celebrate diversity, have an insatiable desire to control that expression. They call it hate speech. They call it discrimination. They call racism. They call it extremism. In short, they call it names, labeling the infinite diversity of human expression in derogatory terms in an effort to enforce conformity.
This is the opposite of natural expression, which is why I believe collectivism is a mental disease. It seeks to self-replicate self-destructive thinking and behavior that ultimately kills the host. As it spreads sacrificing the individual, it consolidates power and influence and the ability to control the expression and lives of others. Just like any other virus, the disease of collectivism is easier spread in the hustle and bustle an urban environment—where the sick won't realize they are infected, because they think just the same as everybody else.
Thoughts can be highly contagious and this disease is spreading fast. The anecdote is country folk who can see it for what it is and inoculate future generations. In the short term, at this advanced stage of disease, it's going to have to run it's course. As with other poisons, it is possible that some bloodletting may accelerate the healing process.
When it's a life or death situation, all options are on the table.