Synonyms and other Paradoxes
In our contemporary political science, the sense of public and the sense of people are equated; they have become mutually interchangeable in all contexts of socio-political use. However, no two words share what could be called absolute synonymy; even words like ‘wide’ and ‘broad’ are not mutual in every context of use. Yet, we persist in using these terms interchangeably as if they never had a separate meaning, the people and the public.
Our penchant for such a corruption is parallel with what passes for acumen in language use overall, whether speech or writing. I do not see this present intellectual calamity getting better, as I was unable to see our abilities and skill with language improving from the vantage of having taught in the City University of New York for fifteen years in one or another English Department; in the capacity of Adjunct Lecturer of Freshman Composition, all levels of remedial and credit bearing courses. I had a good seat from which to observe what I will herein trace.
All of these problems are coexistent with what passes for a love of our native tongue. However, love in a country where more than 50% of all marriages end in divorce, where a philosophy of individualism degrades a person’s self-awareness to the point of view of solipsism . . . and where the later remains our only mysticism . . . love of anything, including freedom has become degraded. And with how we respect marriage, we wonder why the grossest and most malignant of our society insist on managing its definition—fifty per cent! Isn’t it always in the midst of prurience we speak of morality, pontificating, if you will, on its necessity, on its absence—almost in the same way I have gone off on one tirade or another, diatribes notwithstanding, about how our society is collapse . . . let me clarify.
Hedonism is the greatest narcotic dependency in almost all bourgeois capitalist societies; it’s the one commodity in the marketing of freedom that power elites love the most. Respect cannot be far from waning with how we practice devotion. The consumer industry demands lower intelligence; it gets it from the market place of the schools, a dime a dozen in our graduates. How are our lives not like the lives of those in the Matrix? There is no Neo on our horizon, though, and no matter how much anyone deludes themselves into believing that Obama is it, naiveté has ruled our political consciousness for a long time. Racial equality in America is where a black man has the opportunity to be as politically full of shit as any white man has ever been; and articulate while being so.
One of the most interesting things to note about bourgeois capitalist politics, is that in the absence of both Church and King, the Demos are required to think more, be more to each other and for themselves, understand more, know more, learn more; and in America this has transferred to a simple formula of control . . . we the people are required to bear greater responsibility, which has not only increased over recent decades, but has shifted in the ratio of dependence between individual and government. It has come to the point where our greatest freedoms lie just where the State has abdicated all responsibility to the people and maintains only the weakest link to the Public. We are free to be burdened by laboring to be free.
We are expected to be more intelligent than ever to negotiate this new form of freedom, yet we under educate at every turn to insure we are unable to do so. Being free to do what we can no longer do in practice is the principal selling point of our democracy; it also helps to push freedom further into the abstract.
Freedom remains closer to a one-sided anarchism where the public is expected to serve the State, but the State’s obligations to its citizenry are minimal. Kennedy’s Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country has transformed, as I have fore noted, into expect nothing from the state, the government really doesn’t want to do anything for you. However, Kennedy had said this as a prelude to this current abdication of the state’s responsibilities to the people by our government; but then he also announced to the world, from the recnetly divided city of Berlin, that he was a donut, yes, Berliner/berleiner.
We will continue, though naively, to see distinctions between Democrats and Republicans.