The Public vs. The People [A Short Story]

I could ask what more would anyone need to see, to hear, to read, to think about . . . but we do not read, we do not think, we have not taught thinking or how to think, randomly passing images in the mind or playing hopscotch with words passing for what we used to understand could not be thinking. These are not what thinking is . . . the universality of hop-scotch not only as children’s game, but as an adult endeavor politically, rhetorically;  and so what then must I do? must I say?

Can I imagine what will happen in this here United States in the near future as systematically under-educated and semi-literate as we have been made—all of this institutionally, not exactly the kind of institutionalization we imagine when everyone is in the nut house. But the lunatics are running the asylum.

Here then are the pages of another man presenting what I have known to be a serious issue in our political science, the distinction, the role, the purpose, the weight, the relationship to power and to the state that the two very mutually exclusive categories of society named The Public and the People have in this America. Populus versus Publius has been a concern politically since the time of the Ancient Rome Imperium.

The People versus the Public; An Essay

How can we not see what is clear for some of us to see, unless what we used to call going along to get along has become a habit so long endured as to mimic nature in the mind of the habituates? I do not want to understand anymore just how difficult it is for a man to stand for right against many who oppose the standing of Truth and Right. it is very difficult to get anyone to stand for the right thing so long as popular opinion or numerical advantage under dogma has displaced all sense of Truth or Right. A man would rather go on headlong for the wrong thing with everyone he knows than to stand alone for what he might even believe as well as know is the right thing, provided he has not been corrupted by time and experience,  continuing to do what is wrong because it is collectively correct, much in the way voting for the Nazis became a mandate. Consensus is not the last place one should look to to garner a sense of truth or Truth; it is never the place for that. 

To see or not to see then has become our question? It has always been a question. Did not Lear have eyes to see? Did Oedipus not have eyes to see with? Did not Scrooge open his eyes, or have them opened for him. American politics is all about consensus, which is as bad a thing as you can get in any policy making–it has maintained the illusion of a politics that works, a politics that is pragmatic, perhaps just practical where it is not pragmatic.

The idea that politics looks busy without being busy; what is the business of politics, big business, large, large money. The idea that this is the only thing that drives America is ridiculous. It has other concerns, distinct origins than those I have attached to our antiquity. The modern State adjusts itself to the demands of a new Political Science, or a new politically scientifically drawn, articulated and understood politics:

American Political Science 101.

What would this be? Here is a course description?

A population that can read is not a population that is easily controlled. States only ever want control. A population that reads and reads well, other than the organs of state propaganda, as in most of our media too much of the time, cannot be easily transformed into a state guided and supported public. States are not interested in people, really; never have been. States form truth in a special tautology: the state is the state of the state for the state by the state to which the state stands will only ever withstand in itself the state.

Most states are the mortal enemy of all that is good in the individual human soul; no government management of the state is friendly to people. The people as an amalgamation of individuals is never in the state’s interest; the state sees best the management of the people in a manner best understood by cattle farmers. Yes, cattle farmers do not abuse their cattle, even when they are leading them to slaughter. A public before the people is always in the interests of the state. The state is not your friend or family. You are a numerical variable because you have always been one. The management of numbers and how agents of the state imagine the numerals that are tossed about in discussions of state, managing the state . . . these may vary from age to age, from government body to government body, but numerical value you and I have always had, in fact, this is the only value you or I have ever had for any state.

The public, again, is the people in service of the state, a people who disinvest their weight as the people for the more state-buoyant public. The People are the only institution that can counter balance the weight of the state. When that people become only a state serving public, their weight is added to the state against the people in counter leverage.

This is the given; it is not going to disappear, nor are states or governments, politicians, ever going to relent, not without pressure from the people. But with master demagogues like Obama selling the idea that we should sacrifice, when bankers do not, that we should look to serve when those presumably elected to public service only serve the monied and power elites of our society and other societies before drawing some semblance of responsibility to the people, We the people of the United States are in narrow straits without a rudder.

States serve the public good, this is true, but never the good of the people. From the time of Kennedy, the Oval Office has been quite adamant in sustaining the idea that we should not ask what our country can do for us because it no longer intends to maintain its responsibilities to the people. We should only ask what we can do for our country because a state serving people as a public goes much further in servicing the needs of the few, the needs of the elite, to whom our politicians owe their political lives. With seemingly benevolent politicians like Andrew Cuomo using Public as a synonym for the People, we should know that We the People anywhere in America have little to do with policy or protocols, with services funded or protection of rights when those rights, civil or human, stand in the way of power becoming more monied and money becoming more powerful.

Of course, we can only imagine a controlled population in other societies, societies where the people are less subtly oppressed–this idea being part of the media manipulation of democracy, itself collateral with Hollywood-like expertise at managing the fiction of democracy that is packaging of it without a product of substance. This package–the pretty wrappers and ribbons–is presented to the people, who are by now full-fledged members of the public, as democracy itself.

Centurions and Priests of the Temple all participating in crucifying Freedom and Democracy. Hyperbole herein calculated, but not too far from the mark.

What then shall we do with this notion, this idea of how The People and a Public fucntion institutionally in a society and in different relationships to the State, for the State, with the State? What then shall we say?

How then will we be free? How then can we oppose this push toward our Machiavellian end? Here, I know, these are only words, and everyone speaks words, so commands words, so understands words, the way words are used when spoken or written–what is it that I can tell you or say to you that you do not already know, right? At least in so far as I understand what you should know, what any of us who pretend to be liberal and intelligent or university educated as we used to understand prima faciae used to mean.

What is it that you do not understand already having dexterity with what you hear, whether it is to accept or reject, our first instinct is the best one, right? Reflexes are keen; reflection, ironically absent. Received ideas instead of thinking; slogans chanted or repeated ad nauseum instead of essays in defense of freedom. Sound bite democracy?

Who I am is not very important?

Remember, The Federalist Papers were all of them signed Publius because the authors of the texts wanted the People to sublimate their contrary counterweight status in metaphysical opposition to the State and serve the interests of the State for that period when the government had to be secured otherwise their would be no People. At least this is a favorable opinion; at least in my mind it is.

This is though another kind of written piece, and I am going to sign off . . .



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