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When it comes to a contest with Republicans, to use the language of Bill Clinton's campaign, it's the power, stupid. When we exercise power over our own lives, that's freedom. When we exercise power over the lives of others, it's power. Follow me down below the orange thingy to find out why.

When we exercise power over our own lives, that's freedom. When we exercise power over the lives of others, it's power.

Republicans talk about freedom, but you never hear them talk about power. Republicans say that government takes away our freedoms, even though it was designed to give all the people a voice in what government does. And Republicans have been working to make government the caricature that they portray it to be. They have used it to take away a woman's right to choose. They have used it to take away the right to form effective unions. They have used it to restrict the people's access to the political process through the restriction of voting rights.

In every case where Republicans have restricted freedom through the exercise of power. They are ruthless in that exercise. As Orwell portrays in Ninteen Eighty-Four, the Party exercises power for its own sake. As the Party leader and torturer O'Brien explains to his victim, Winston Smith:

'The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. . . ..They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. . . ..The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'

So Republicans rail against govenment for its constrainst on the freedom of businesses to do whatever they please, yet they use govenment to constrain the freedom of its citizens. In Nineteen Eighty-Four the terms doublespeak and doublethink were used to institutionalize the cognative dissonance that the Party used to exercise and maintain its power. The Republican Party seems to have managed such cognitive dissonance without the need for arcane philosophy. They've discovered that people can hold two completely contradictory ideas at once and believe in each equally.

As for the craziness we perceive in the Republican Party, that seems to be necessary for the exercise of power for its own sake. Winston Smith detects a "faint, mad gleam of enthusiasm," in O'Brien's face as he explains the philosophy of the Party. We've seen that gleam in they faces of Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry and the rest at various times. It's the special glow that the human soul gets from exercising power over other human souls.

So participation in government to arrive at laws that allow each of us the most power over our own lives without the infringement of the power of others would be freedom. This is not to be confused with libertarianism, which is merely anarchy for the wealthy and powerful. What liberals desire is a more free society through the judicious exercise of government as leavening power between the powerful and the powerless. What conservatives appear to desire is the accumulation and exercise of power for its own sake. Seen in that light, former Vice President Dick Cheney's continued assertion that torture is necessary in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary makes much more sense. As Orwell wrote, "The object of torture is torture."

So the dialogue needs to change. Liberals need to demonstrate that the Republican Party is only interested in power, and seeks to limit freedom to that end. Liberals must not shrink before bullying tactics, or they will continue to be used against us.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urizen, ItsaMathJoke

    Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. Louis D. Brandeis

    by Lily O Lady on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 10:46:08 AM PDT

  •  Not sure I disagree (0+ / 0-)

    but I feel sleazy after reading this...

    'Give away to the rich and punish the poor for the extravagance.....crazy' --LaFeminista

    by MsGrin on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 10:55:48 AM PDT

    •  Why sleazy? (0+ / 0-)

      Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. Louis D. Brandeis

      by Lily O Lady on Sat Oct 22, 2011 at 11:00:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just that there's power being effectively waged (0+ / 0-)

        but being called 'freedom' - there is so much inequity, people losing health, well-being, homes, livelihood, life... all of it being conscripted from those who have done no wrong by others asserting power for its (their) own sake.  It's vile.  Your diary feels quite visceral, and I wanted a shower when I read it.

        'Give away to the rich and punish the poor for the extravagance.....crazy' --LaFeminista

        by MsGrin on Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 04:02:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My diary was an attempt to explain (0+ / 0-)

          why arguing with a conservative is like arguing with a 4th grader. Or why arguing with Sean Hannity is a losing proposition to anyone who is sane. He uses argument to bludgeon--to win. He has no other purpose that I can see. He does not wish to have a dialogue or to clarify an argument. His one goal is to assert power over his opponent.

          Nineteen Eight-Four is a nightmare of a novel and for years I was thankful that our society was nothing like it. I'm old enough that, when I first read it in high school, the date 1984 seemed impossibly far in the future, although it was a little less than 20 years away.

          But recently, more and more, Part 3, Chapter 3, comes to mind. Why do Republicans abandon policies which they once argued for as necessary for the US? Why do their arguments sound increasingly insane? Why does Dick Cheney still insist that torture is necessary for national security no matter how many times he is proven wrong? Why do so many of our citizens accept the dissolution of their civil right for the illusion of safety?

          I am not a libertarian and I find Ron Paul frightening and his son Rand even more so. I think Ayn Rand was a sociopath and I think sociopaths make dangerous leaders. In business they are unprincipled and ruthless and have hollowed out our economy to the detriment of individuals and society--thieves really. And in government they are hypocritical and corrupt and wield power to their own ends.

          Republicans are always talking about freedom, but they are bullies who mean only freedom for themselves. Freedom to them means doing whatever they want--like what a child imagines it is to be an adult. They see no personal responsibility in it. Responsibility is to be bourn by others.

          In civics class I was taught that our government was founded upon the principle of "majority rule-minority rights." The majority might choose the path our government would take, but not at the expense of those in the minority. Republicans have turned that on its head. We hear it so often that Stephen Colbert regularly parodies it. "The market has spoken!" "The majority has spoken!"  The only rights are those of the majority in the world Republicans would create, but even that is an illusion. The majority is actually controlled by a powerful minority who will cast out dissenters from the illusion of the majority to be bullied and harrassed for daring to dissent.

          My failed diary was overly ambitious. I sought to explain why arguing against Republicans has been so unsuccessful. That indeed Republicans do see Nineteen Eighty-Four as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary tale, although they may think that they've invented these tactics themselves. They seek to win each and every argument they engage in. They seek power over others with every encounter.

          The most successful pundits and politicians on the right are bullies pure and simple. Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Dick Armey, Antonin Scalia, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan. The power of influence carries no responsibility, only the opportunity to impose their will on others. There is no way to have a dialogue with them because they seek power for its own sake. They seem to have a set of principles, but there is no end game with them. The goal posts are constantly moving because they are interest on power, not policy.

          The "mad gleem" in the face of Party member O'Brien can be seen more and more in the faces of the leadership of the Republican Party. The quest for power has freed them from the responsibility that power should bring to any sane person. They can say one thing and do another because they are wielding power for its own sake. Laws for them are a way to punish rather than a way to allow each of us build our lives without harming others.

          I'll try to rewrite and repost because unless we liberals understand the ruthless power sought by those who lead the right, we will continue to be defeated. We want to work for a healthy society--they seek power. Their aims are simpler and therefore frighteningly acheivable.

          "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

          by Lily O Lady on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 03:44:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, why sleazy? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Margd

      I'd like to know that too.

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