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The Unwashed Masses

What is the purpose of the silly season? Campaign messaging seemingly geared toward sounds bites and tailored to the lowest common denominator. See Tam’s site for an example of this. Running against Obamacare because it guts Medicare is a common theme amongst Republicans this year. Without making any comment on the Indiana Senate race, where I probably wouldn’t vote for either of those two either, I will explain why this particular tactic isn’t concerning me all that much when it comes to the struggle for smaller government in general.

Spend some time talking to people in the last days of an election, and you start to feel depressed. Most people, even people who are otherwise pretty intelligent and rational individuals, are rationally quite ignorant of politics. When I say ignorant, I mean to the extent they know anything about political issues, it’s not within any ideologically consistent framework. For the ones who are not just blatantly self-interested, they vote because somewhere in their upbringing they’ve been told it’s their civic duty, but no one ever mentioned the civic duty of not being ignorant about what you’re voting for.

The purpose of silly season is to get the unwashed masses out to the polls to vote for the people who support your issues of the day. In order to do that, you have to find messages that motivate people. A lot of seniors are upset about Obamacare. Let me rephrase, a lot of seniors are really upset about Obamacare. Why? Because it’s changing their health care, which they are relatively happy with. Medicare is generally a component of that. They are part of the constituency for repealing Obamacare, which should be the primary goal of liberty loving people right now.

Whatever you may think of Medicare, it is tomorrow’s battle. It should be today’s battle, but the 2008 elections set us back a decade, and now we have more ground to make up than we did before. We’re going to find allies among seniors who are pissed at the Medicare cuts, even if they are voting with us for the wrong reasons. They are ready and willing to vote out bastards who voted for Obamacare. By the time we have the fight over Medicare, their government run health care may have killed many of them off, so I don’t worry too much about it.

When dealing with the unwashed voting masses, you can only really think short term. Freedom will not be won back in one fell swoop. The first rule of politics to to forget that the process has anything to do with principles or philosophy. The only role principles play is helping guide you, the activist, to know which battles need to be fought to get closer to your goal.

Battles change, and coalition partners come and go. What politics really comes down to is a very small number of activists struggling against another very small number of activists, using the vast and ignorant voter rolls as pawns on a chessboard. That may make people of principle very uncomfortable, but that’s what it is. The question is whether you’re an observer, one of the pieces on the board, or someone moving the pieces of the board. For the most part, people who love liberty are observers. What we need to be are the people moving the pieces on the board. That’s the only way we’re winning the game in the end.

2 Responses to “The Unwashed Masses”

  1. Matt Carmel says:

    Right you are, Sebastian. Your comments remind me of the scene in Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufrain (sp?) digs his way out of his cell using a small rock collectors hammer.Chip away at something slowly yet inexorably and you can dig a tunnel through solid rock with your own hands.

  2. Alpheus says:

    This is a classic “chicken and egg” problem: we have senior citizens who rely on Medicare; we need to get them off, but they need an alternative; but senior citizens actively fear alternatives.

    A very good first step, after repealing Obamacare, would be to simply remove the obstacles that currently force older patients onto Medicare in the first place. For example, it is my understanding that doctors have to take all seniors as Medicare patients, or none. Doctors should be free to provide services to any person they darn well please.

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