This is a continuation of thoughts engendered by Philip Atkinson’s “A Study of Our Decline” (2007).
Atkinson says: “A communal mind is not an obscure idea but a tangible influence that affects us every day
: every time we pick up a magazine, go to the movies, turn on the radio, read the newspapers or relax in front of the television; here is the public forum that controls and shapes the behaviour of our society; it is undeniable and inescapable. Our group thought processes are portrayed in the media— the media is the mirror of our communal mind.
My conclusion is that: Civilization is the blossoming then withering of a communal mind and we are now enduring the latter.”
Atkinson posits that society is run along the lines of the classic Sci-fi movie: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers. People are murdered by an invasive plant-life that replaces the murdered human with a life-like vegetable based counterfeit. (Sounds more like politicians already.) The replicants are more mindless morons than fully functional replacements for the murdered person.
We as people want to believe we select our representatives from a pool of candidates who are smart, driven, benevolent, compassionate and as selfless as they are altruistic. It just isn’t so. We do select our representative government from a pool but it’s more akin to a cesspool than an oasis of talented potential. Avarice for personal gain and power pollutes the apparent calm waters. The water looks calm because it’s been weighed down by the deposits left behind by corrupt elements inhabited the water before this. Where we want to believe the “cream rises to the top”, it’s more likely we’ll find the scum simply congeals on the surface when it’s time for us to seek the sustenance we expected in that pool. What we saw isn’t always what we wanted or got.
Most of our candidates start with noble illusions, which later degenerate into allusions they peddle which we accept and pursue as delusions of what any person can actually accomplish when pushed into an already corrupt society (politics). In our impatience we want solutions to our problems and we want them NOW! This is where we start going wrong. We expect too much of people advertising they have more than they really possess when they start their campaigns.
These people are pushed by organizations accepting their dogma and promising to participate in the program as they’re commanded to participate. Any refusal to comply with the directionality of the dogma results in dismissal from the culture and denial of support in the future. The culture (politics) demands that participant members be compliant and complicit. Nowhere is it allowed for members to have a personal code of ethics differing from the party. The members have their positions in the hierarchy and all others must follow in lock-step or the whole parade looks like a cat herd in a lightning storm-chaos. And the party hates internalized chaos.
Witness the Republicans assaults on Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee if you want to understand better. McConnell and Boehner can’t allow the mice to play before the cat’s fully away. Obedience is a demand and an expectation.
The Democrats and Republican hierarchies demonstrate the theory. Initiative expressed before the incumbent hierarchy can adjust to the personal styles of the insurgent makes the “good ol’ boy network” feel threatened. Therefore the “Good ol’ boy” network support the more dim-witted but malleable members to be promoted over the newer upstarts. It follows a predictable progression. Witness the ascendancy of Joe Biden to the vice-presidency. Biden can be a pleasant, hard-working and unbelievably canny individual with the public affairs experience and appeal of “Topo Gigio” (a cute Italian hand puppet popular during the early 60s for its comedic presence and charming mangling of the English language), but he’s also tenaciously partisan and dumber than a hydraulic football bat. Biden is just what the Democratic Party needs to support the empty suit in the presidency. And what better example proves the point of this essay?
This system is in contrast to the Peter Principle mentioned in the beginning of this dissertation. The Peter Principle pre-supposes the individual will gain promotion until he gets to the point where his incompetence is apparent and he can progress no further. The political arena energetically demands the incompetent be selected from a pool of incompetent but loyal members willing to be used by the system to protect the system.