Licenses to Gratify [Flash Fiction]

Love in a country where more than 50% of all marriages end in divorce, where a philosophy of individualism persists in degrading a person’s self-awareness to the point where his only philosophical choice is solipsism, and where this remains our most fervent mysticism, love of anything, including freedom, but also humanity, could not help but become corrupted. 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 our schools, a dime a dozen in our graduates, places where once median levels of achievement have become the newly inflated levels of the gifted. The interesting thing about reduced standards of achievement in order to increase the percentages of those who have achieved is how inherently elitist it is. Reducing standards cannot be initiated without an understanding of what it means and how it plays into the systematic under-educating that takes place in schools across America, nor can it ignore how this plays well into the hands of power that manipulate politically and economically. Political candidates are only commodities to advertise and sell. Ideas are packaged for the commodity exchange, all adding to gratification. Gratify me. Satisfy me might even be too much to ask. One is not the other.

How are our lives not like the lives of those in the Matrix? Always a new and improved world bolder and braver than the one before. 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 should be 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 for 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 ensure 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 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. We will continue, though naively, to see distinctions between Democrats and Republicans.


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