There Ain’t No More Middle-Ground

The political schism that exists in America is probably insurmountable. The schism is not between Republicans and Democrats, although one certainly exists and it gets all the coverage. The politicians have differences, but these are more marketing gimmicks, ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors rather than true differences in philosophy and mission.

The true philosophical differences are rather superficial, despite what the media would have you believe. What differences exist are more tactical than strategic.

The image to the right is the public image that the parties want you to believe, while the image on the left is the private reality of the parties. Both are predators, at least with respect to the productive people in society.

The image on the right is what is controlling. If Republicans are in office, then Democrats are angry. Today, Republicans are angry. Voters are upset when their “team” did not win the last race. But policies rarely change much regardless of who is in charge.

Look at how angry Democrats were with George Bush over Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo, and a host of other issues. Obama has virtually continued Bush’s policies intact and upped the activism on both the military and economic fronts. What Democrats considered bad when Bush was in charge now seems quite satisfactory under Obama. What Republicans considered good under Bush is now bad.

Foks, these are the same policies, save minor adjustments.  Politics is not some sporting event or popularity contest even though the media portrays it as such. How can certain policies be considered good for four years and then the same policies bad for the next four when the only change has been the party in charge?

This question is one that has perplexed me for a long time. Daniel Greenfield, who blogs as Sultan Knish, provided the answer in just two sentences:

The average American still holds the fanciful belief that, if he isn’t annoying anyone, he should be left alone. To the people running his country, this is as bizarre and unworkable as Phrenology or the Geocentric theory or handing out universal health care without also compelling everyone to buy it.

We all are uncomfortable with government! We all should be. However, most of us have been conditioned to trust our guys, our team. The other side is evil and our side is good. Such simplicity obviates the need for thinking and evaluating actual issues. It is so much simpler to say I agree with “them” so I don’t have to understand claims or positions. Politics has become a sporting event or a protection racket where we feel better when our guys are in charge. They do little wrong and the other team does little right.

This view of politics might have been appropriate years ago when the Constitution kept government from meddling in most areas. Today when government is literally into every aspect of our lives, trusting either party is equivalent to pledging allegiance to either the Bloods or the Crips.

Government has become so involved in society and everyday life that it is no longer understandable to the average citizens. Bills of 2,000 plus pages are not digestible by layman. Nor are they even read by our representatives. What drives politics today is a form of schizophrenia. Most citizens understand that government is not trustworthy, but they do not have the time or expertise to understand when and why.

All voters distrust government to an extent never before experienced. The complexities of issues, most of which government has no business being involved in, overwhelms the average citizen. As a result, he adopts a team, or proxy, to tell him how to react to these issues. That is why political parties exist and are so powerful today. In essence, they are utilized as research and recommendation services for voters who have more important things to do.

The schizophrenia of voters toward the opposing party is best understood in this light. Government is bad when your team is not in office. Otherwise, it is good or at least tolerable, even when the exact same policies are in place and pursued. Perhaps this attitude is some psychological defense mechanism that enables us to accept politics. Sadly, neither party has the interests of its constituents at heart. Both parties are detestable.

In the article below, Mr. Greenfield has brilliantly explained what I have felt but could never express as well as he did. The article expresses why most of us, regardless of party affiliation, are disgusted with politics and government.

There Ain’t No More Middle-Ground

By Daniel Greenfield

“There is no more neutrality in the world,” said Black Panther leader, civil rights activist and fun-loving rapist; Eldridge Cleaver. “You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem—there ain’t no more middle ground.”

We live in Eldridge Cleaver’s world now, a world with no more middle ground. Where not doing anything does not mean you will be left alone. This is no longer a nation founded on the curious premise that the government should leave people alone unless they are causing problems.

That peculiar idea was held by a nation of farmers and merchants who fled religious persecution, and whose great contribution to human history was the notion that governments shouldn’t be all-powerful and that everyone should mind their own business when it comes to other people’s affairs. Our present-day rulers revile them as racist slave owners who only cared about money, but they also happen to be racist slave owners who only care about money, and they have far more of both.

The average American still holds the fanciful belief that, if he isn’t annoying anyone, he should be left alone. To the people running his country, this is as bizarre and unworkable as Phrenology or the Geocentric theory or handing out universal health care without also compelling everyone to buy it.

This is not a nation where people are left alone anymore

This is not a nation where people are left alone anymore. This is a nation where they are hounded from the moment they are born until the moment they die by the arms of a regulatory state run by men and women weaned on Cleaver, Alinsky, Fourier, Marx, Wells and countless others. This is a nation where, accordingly, being left alone is the greatest of luxuries.

It takes a lot of money to be left alone. Regulatory space is much more expensive than physical space, and buying it requires investing in lobbyists, fundraisers and lawyers. If you make the right payoffs, then you can buy the privilege of being left alone, exempted from regulations, going uninspected and protected against the agents of the state. But once you do that, you are no longer neutral. You have bought yourself the privilege of not being considered the problem; instead, you have become part of the solution for the people you are paying off.

The Americans bushwacked by ObamaCare, the scam artist’s dream of a tax paid to a third-party in exchange for benefits accrued to a fourth party, still thought they had the freedom to take the middle, to despise meddling politicians in both parties, ignore most things the government did, while living their own lives. They had seen their savings devalued, their homes seized, their lives bedeviled by a thousand regulations, but they still thought that it was possible to take a middle-ground, to reject the solutions by asserting that they are not the problem.

They did not understand that in Cleaverland, in Alinskytown and in Obamaville—no one opts out

They did not understand that in Cleaverland, in Alinskytown and in Obamaville—no one opts out. Either you volunteer of you get drafted. Raise your hand or you will be called on anyway. Not volunteering to be part of their agenda means that you are the problem.

You, sitting right there in your chair, watching these words move across your screen, are the problem. A problem 311,591,917 human souls strong. You eat too much or you don’t pay enough taxes, you drive your car too often, you haven’t bought solar panels for your roof, you browse extremist websites when you should be browsing government informational sites for tips on how to do or not do all of the above. But most of all… you still don’t understand what a great problem you are for the people running this country into the ground between the Atlantic and the Pacific. They keep trying to solve you, but you don’t go away.

There is no neutrality when dealing with people who reject the very concept of neutrality. Who draw everyone into the long columns of their spreadsheets and catch everyone in their spider’s web. There is no middle ground with people who don’t believe there is a middle ground, who believe that every human on earth is part of the problem and can only opt out of being the problem by joining up with them and following their directives.

That is what we are up against. We confront the Great Solvers of the Human Problem who are determined to arrange everyone and everything to their liking. They began by controlling everything that people did. Now, they have moved on to controlling what people don’t do. If you live, if you breathe, if you stir, move your muscles, track moving objects with your eyes, then there are obligations imposed on you.

ObamaCare is one of the final declarations that there is no opting out

ObamaCare is one of the final declarations that there is no opting out. Even if you don’t drive, own a home, own a business, own a dog, or do one of the infinite things that bring you into mandatory contact with the apparatus of your local, semi-local, trans-local, national or global government, you are committed to a task from maturity to death. Your mission is to obtain health insurance, and, in a system in which you become the ward of the government as soon as you taste air, it is the price that you pay for being alive.

In a free country, you are not obligated to do things simply for the privilege of breathing oxygen north of the Rio Grande and south of Niagara Falls. But this isn’t a free country anymore; this is a country in which you get things for free. And there is a big difference between those two things.

We are a nation in which everyone is entitled to everything, except the right to opt out of all the entitlements and the cost of paying for them. We may not have the Bill of Rights anymore, but we have a hell of a bill to settle and, every year, the deficits keep making it bigger and bigger. Our forefathers passed on to us a Bill of Rights, and we shall pass on to our descendants a Bill. A tremendous Bill which can be unrolled from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam… and all the way across the ocean to China.

The Bill of Rights was a list of things that the government could not do. The Bill is a list of things that the government has done. It’s an endless bill, because we have an endless government that is doing things all the time. And though we didn’t do any of them, we are still stuck with the bill. Even if we could reach into our pockets and settle the bill with a couple of loose trillion dollar bills, this Bill doesn’t just demand money, it demands power.

If all that government officials did was go to Vegas, give each other prizes and sing silly songs, then the Bill would be large, but it wouldn’t ask for a piece of our soul. But the amount of money that the government spends is almost beside the point. The amount may bankrupt us, it may destroy our economy, it may turn us into debt slaves—but it’s secondary to how the money is being used. It’s bad enough to be eaten out of house and home—worse to be forced to feed the occupying army that is taking away your freedoms one by one.

People often talk about the First and Second Amendments, the Fifth comes up, and even the Fourth. But how often do we think about the Third Amendment, that old relic of a time when we were ruled by a distant power with no concern for our lives or our freedoms? “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner”. It’s one of the few amendments that goes unnoticed. No one challenges it. No Supreme Court blots it out with the stroke of a pen or rephrases it to mean that there is a Constitutional right to abortion or a ban on executing juveniles.

There is no occupying army quartered in our homes. They have sizable barracks with marble floors, gleaming chandeliers and metal detectors through which you must pass in order to meet with even one of their lower officers. They aren’t quartered in your living room, they rent hotel names and build buildings and send the bill to you. And then they send you another bill, which informs you that they have decided that the War on Obesity, the War on Health Care or the War on the Economy requires you to do a set number of things, the costs of both the doing and the enforcement to be borne by you.

The old kings used to play chess games with human chess pieces, a metaphor for how they saw their power over their subjects. The new kings or czars play with hundreds of millions of chess pieces. They assess how many pieces they have in a census, determine what kind of pieces they are and pass laws telling them where to move, what to buy and how to live. And they are no more tolerant of pawns who fail to move when ordered to, than the old kings playing human chess in their gardens.

In the last century, the Great Solvers went to work on a national and global game of human chess. They called this game by various names, The New Deal, the New Frontier, Hope and Change, or, most commonly, Social Justice. The real name of the game is “There Ain’t No More Middle Ground”. Either you are a New Dealer, a New Frontierer, a Hope and Changer, a Tolerator, a Liberal, a Donor, an Activist and an Organizer—or you are on the wrong side.

You might think that you are standing in the great moderate middle, the open-minded frontier of the old American, but the frontier and ground are both gone. There is only Problemtown and Solutionville and the bulldozers are coming to knock down Problemtown next week and deport its residents to Solutionville.

ObamaCare is the bus to Solutionville. It is the problem that is “You” being solved in the same inept brute-force fashion in which the Great Solvers solve everything, from Russian agriculture to European Union democracy.

The problems are many, and the Solvers are impatient. There are too many peasants, and weekends are too short, the golf courses are too crowded, the protesters are too annoying, and the numbers never add up. Each problem keeps needing to be solved many times, but they have already moved on to the next problem and the one after that in the great mass of problems that some people still call America.

The American Bushwhacked still wonder what happened. When did this stop being a free country? Then they finish pumping their gas, buy their sodas, paying several taxes on each and completing a transaction for two commodities whose production and distribution involve more laws than the entire legal codes of Rome and Greece combined, and then drive home, where they begin making notes for next year’s taxes, while reading how the latest laws will affect them.

On the television, an anchor with carefully molded hair and the grave look of the career idiot who has learned to disguise this fact by always appearing concerned about something, interviews an activist who is proposing new regulations as the only responsible thing to do. “If you aren’t part of the solution,” she says with equally grave sincerity, “then you are part of the problem.”

The American Bushwhacked nod along because the proposal seems so reasonable. Who doesn’t want to do something for the children, the oceans, the endangered red-banded shrub, the people somewhere who don’t have something and that sincere young woman who really seems passionate in a way that few are anymore. Then he turns back to his desk, somewhere in the great middle ground that once was, studies the tax forms again and wonders when this stopped being a free country.

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  1. Humanism. Replacing God with a man-centered universe and the notion that humanity can be perfected if poverty, inequality and ignorance is eliminated. The race led by their enlightened masters can achieve that perfection.

    I don’t totally agree that both parties (rep and dem) are identical. If the democrat party did not exist or was marginalized to the sidelines, what kind of country would we have? It actually seems that Republican presidents have been the worse compromisers. Even Reagan allowed the federal budget to double under his watch. His basic deal with dems was to allow him to build up the military and defeat the soviet union and he would overlook or go along with greatly increased social spending. Then both Bush’s did little to curtail federal growth. That said, a total republican congress could be controlled. Enough tea party types could be sent to keep it in line.

    Our first and critical problem is the Spiritual collapse of our nation. Casting aside the constraints of religion that the founding fathers understood would be the mechanism to make our republic work, our nation has embraced hedonism, greed and humanism.

    Politically, we allowed the democrats to put into place a coalition of the unwilling, unwilling to do things the right way, to embrace the American way. There way is, you have it, I want it, so I’ll take it from you. Unless we make great inroads into the Hispanic community we will be lost. In a few years, we’ll have a perpetual liberal democrat as president, conservative America may actually control the senate, but the liberals will control the house. This will give rise to a rubber stamp, interventionist liberal supreme court that will strip away all vestiges of what once was.

  2. An excellent article and I would like to attempt to answer the question posed in the final paragraph:

    There is no specific time or moment when, “we stopped being a free country”. It was a process. Had it been a moment, it is likely the citizens would have recognized the danger and once again forcefully put their servant- the government- back in its place. And likely those in government were not ignorant of this fact. So they went about fundamentally transforming the nation in a much more subtle way; through compromise. Gradually, the people chose to overlook principles and became conditioned to the false concept of what the article refers to as, “middle ground”.

    When principles of personal behavior or government policy are involved, there is and never has been a middle ground. Such thought utterly destroys the moral concept of an unchanging standard of right and wrong and clouds our thoughts with hazy shades of grey. Each and every compromise along the way chipped away at the foundation upon which our Republic was established; There is a Creator and He gave us the Manufacturer’s Handbook on how we should live. While the Founders allowed plenty of room for the individual to disbelieve in the Creator Himself, there was no compromising the principles He gave us to live by.

    So the government began by doing “good” things they were not authorized to do and will end by doing whatever they please with total disregard for the concept of “good”. Because, you see, it has all become relative. There is no moral standard recognized by the nation as a whole. And unless/until the citizenry of this Republic return to the belief that principles are of the utmost importance, we are lost both as a people and as a nation. We will never rise above what the two parties offer us today; the choice of the lesser of two evils.

    Happy Independence Day. What principles are you ready to fight for as our Revolutionary forefathers did?

  3. Beautiful crystallization of Leviathon. BTW, the Orwellian phrase “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” could be backed with “If you’re not part of the problem, you’re part of the solution.” Now, if only our intellectual masters could figure out how to keep Atlas from shrugging….

  4. “Foks, these are the same policies, save minor adjustments.”

    This statement betrays a incredible lack of critical thinking. To say the current policies are even in the same ballpark is to abandon your brain. Yes, George Bush expanded the government. But his adminstration was not a Marxist cabal. Come on, Monty, you are not usually so careless with words or thoughts.

    1. Kent,

      The way to understand how these are the same policies is to compare Bush’s policies with what was considered “conservative” twenty, fifty or 100 years ago. Our ancestors would react to Bush much like many of us react to Obama.

      Bush’s policies don’t look so radical if you compare them with his immediate predecessor(s). But that is equivalent to the slow-heating of the pot in which the frog resides. Obama was not content to cook the frog slowly and turned up the heat in a manner that shocked most. He attempted to accelerate the process whereas his predecessors did not.

      Had there been no Obama, we would have reached a similar point probably 20 or so years from now. Then, many of Obama’s current policies would appear mainstream. In that sense, there is little different between Bush’s policies and Obama’s. They have the same genes. People are “shocked” because Obama had the courage (impatience, lack of discipline, imprudence????) to accelerate the trend in a manner that outran people’s conditioning. Obama tried to skip a generation or two in the development of Leviathan.

      I hope this reconciles why I believe the policies are the same. They are so in the sense that they are on the same path. One is merely an earlier stage of the other.

      Arguing policies is different from arguing or attributing motives. I suspect Bush and most of his predecessors did not have the intent of transforming the country or even recognize how these incremental changes were doing so. I take Obama at his word when he says he wants to “fundamentally transform” the country. Hopefully his impatience will awaken the people to the fact that they have been frogs sitting in a pot of water that has been heating up for generations. If there is anything to be thankful for regarding the Obama presidency it will be an awakening of the people and a return to the individualist spirit that made this country the greatest in the world.

      1. Monty – I acknowledge Bush did much statist policy. Still, to make the statement you did is completely ridiculous. It would be like saying Charles Manson and a shoplifter are identical, because they are both criminals. Since they are identical, I take it you would just as soon now have Obama as Bush? If so, you have gone off the deep end.

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