“A Foolish Consistency…” — is A Stupid Ideology.

A famous “demotivator” from Despair.com, which a co-worker once got past Corporate filters to post in the main office, just outside the CEO’s door.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” So wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay on Self Reliance. Emerson was one of the New England Transcendentalists and could upon occasion be a self-righteous jerk. Nonetheless, he understood what artificial conformity could do to a person (at least to one who was not of his movement.)

 “If you believe THIS, you must believe THAT”, when the two have no real relationship. Hearing that sentence, you are not being tasked with a call for consistency, but a call to submit to a stupid ideology.

The contending tribes in American politics have simplified this to the point where if a person has an opinion on any one issue, their interlocutor will think they know what that person thinks on every other issue, as though it were an unbroken slab of marble.

This has reached the point in the Republican Party where if a candidate does not immediately limit to the approved ideology, he/she is tasked with “self-criticism” such as was practiced in the cadres of Mao’s China.

But, it all is a circus anyway. It is a show, designed to distract from the real issues.

The American (perhaps better to say, the World) Patricians, those of immense wealth, privilege, and power, have latched onto the truism that divide and rule works better than trying to crush a unified mass.  (It worked well for the Brits in India.) Hence, the “Conservatives” and “Progressives”.

One side ramps up police and military when in power, the other side ramps up welfare and regulation when it is in power. Despite campaign promises (which are the nature of, “But, I will love you in the morning. Trust me.”) neither side – with blatant exceptions –  will do anything to eliminate what the other side has implemented. Even Saint Ronald Reagan, who declared, “Government is not the solution, government is the problem,” enlarged the US Federal State while in office.

Like a machine heaving itself up a cliff one step at time.

So, while the ideologists cluster things together which have no real correlation, Same Sex marriage and Welfare, military bellicosity and pandering to the rich, euthanasia and funding for arts, no one stops to ask why THIS and THAT are part of the same bundle.

Out particular bogyman in the late 20th and early 21st Century has been Orwell’s 1984, with its horrendous picture of a crushing Stalinist dictatorship (excuse me, oligarchical collectivism), we have forgot the other warning we were given, Brave New World. In Huxley’s work, the world dictatorship employs hedonism and eugenics to suppress the populace. Both ends are the same, one appealing to the S&M crowd, and the other to the polyamorous clique. Both are devastating to simple human dignity, common decency, and common sense.

The reality is, the rulers have gone for something more of the Brave New World than Orwell’s nightmare. But have not failed to incorporate Orwellian elements. The war on terror – Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. Providing SWAT technology to small rural police forces (what does a cop in a county of 10,000 people need a fricking TANK for, anyway?)

Meanwhile, the mob is distracted by the Two Minutes Hate on FauxNews and MesSNBC, centrifugal bumblepuppy, and the Permanent Campaign on nightly news.

If you want to read Emerson’s essay on Self Reliance, here it is.