Friday, October 8, 2010

Vox Populi - A Socratic Rant

Open Clip Art Library, public domain.

In latin, "Voice of the People." Although seldom seen on any reasonable scale, the idea of the Vox Populi is an exploitable dream that has been dreamt by many and used to control large numbers of "ordinary guys" throughout time. Liberals claim it on welfare and taxing the rich, and (in the past more then now) opposing the norms of society, while conservatives claim it on social issues and representing the values of the working class, or the society which is made of most people. Perhaps most pecuiliar is when freedom or "hope" becomes intermingled with "being taken care of."

I was talking to a friend yesterday who told me I needed to take my mind out of its snare, to free myself of this idea of my life being cheap. I responded to him that you can't get much more free (cutting the nonsense) than being willing to die. Perhaps it is wasteful, freedom often is, but it most certainly is free. But that seems to be a common theme, the idea that people who don't agree with us are trapped in their own minds, and aren't really free, and therefore do not represent a voice of the people. I suspect I'm not alone in seeing how this can be exploited by bullies and malcontents against the people.

And then there's always the issue of education, but here we find a contradiction, for if people need be educated to be a voice, then you no longer have a voice of the people, but a voice of the educated. Worst, in some ways you have a voice of the educators, as their minds may well have been broken and molded to fit an academic "goal" or "proper behavior." When it comes to truly ensnaring a mind, there are few better people then educators, but even with this noted, we must be careful to not fall in to the trap of thinking we know that someone has been trapped. We don't, and if you trap yourself by thinking that you know where someone has gotten an idea without a logically-correct mathematical proof (pretty much the only methodology for properly recording the origin of ideas that man has ever created, and most people don't know how to write one) you will take away from yourself the power of whatever knowledge they may have that they are willing to give. Once you have taken away power beyond your own humble means, you will in turn be easily caged by the clever, the manipulative, and the "experts."

Experts should always be listened to, for in many cases they did earn their degrees through true excellence, but no one is right all the time, and least of all the people who decide who the experts are. The experts too are also sometimes wrong, and they're also sometimes greedy or evil. Further, in many cases even when the experts are right, if we are unwilling to question what they say, we will be unable to truly learn, on any deeper level, anything from them, but will instead only memorize shallow facts that we in turn, deprived of our roots, misinterpret and abuse, not only ruining ourselves, but tarnishing their good name with our stupidity.

Further, an expert in economics is not necessarily an expert in politics, and an expert in politics is not necessarily an expert in science. Indeed, even an expert in science may not necessarily be an expert in engineering. These peoples expertise may well be one dimensional, which makes it both useful and limited.

There are also people who claim greatness to themselves for selfish ends. Perhaps the lowest of this ilk (or close to it) are the older folks who cry "listen to your elders" while speaking of things of which they have no experience, or even talent. These people manipulate and contrive, hurt and disparage, and drive wedges between entire groups of people. They harm families, and provoke disrespect against others who did not earn it like they did. One must be very wary of people like this, though there are certainly true elders as well. Remember that no matter how many years one has had to experience life, a truly idiotic man will learn nothing from them, and there are many true idiots in this world.

Herman Hesse believed that at the end of childhood, one leaves the world of "light and warmth" for the world of "darkness." Today, we, the American People, are confronting the darkness of a government that does not care for us, a president that wishes to manipulate us, a congress that wishes to waste our money and plunge us in to debt, and vested interests, often moneyed interests, that try to buy elections. We are seeing that even "reputable scientists" are not necessarily of any well-earned repute. We see that histories can be distorted, books can be misrepresented, and the shepherds can fleece their flock, or make them in to lamb chops. We are seeing, indeed that no one can speak the Vox Populi but the Populi, the people.

At the same time as this has happened, small nonprofit organizations like the Mozilla Foundation, who makes firefox, the Open Clip Art Library, who provided the illustration for this post, small bloggers like myself and those more successful then myself, and public advocacy organizations that publicize the records of the organizations within our nation, are taking over many of the traditional offices of the elites. A growing number of people are going not to supermarkets and big chain stores, but ma and pa shops and neighborhood farmers markets, to buy the staples of life. Ordinary citizens like you and I are demanding electric cars and new kinds of energy to replace our polluting grid. An unprecedented level of discussion and thought is happening throughout our society.

Finally, with the growth of the Tea Party, we are seeing for the first time in a long time grass roots organizers finally listened to and political apparati organized from the smallest local level. We are seeing the people finally speak. The people are not used to speaking, so at first they will have much to learn, but I feel, now that it is possible, that it is the peoples birth right to decide their own destiny. The time has come for, as Arthur C. Clarke would put it, childhoods end. We have a great adolesecent - he will become a great adult, or he will disintegrate in to nothing. My suspicion is this will turn out well, and I know where we were headed before was oblivion, but even if I'm wrong, it is their birth right, let them have it, and let no man interfere with their share of the inheritance, for it is theirs, and what they do with it they shall live with, or die with.


Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont said...

Beautifully expressed, Jeremy.

Andrew G. Carson said...

Greatly conveyed in a way that was not to politically one sided as so many other lesser talented writers would have approached the subject, very impressive Jeremy.

Jeremy Janson said...

@Andrew: Thank you so much for stopping by friend. Please stay in touch.