Civic Duty Vies With Cynicism as the 2012 Election Approaches

H.L. Mencken said “every election is a sort of advanced auction in stolen goods.” He was right.

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I’d love to see my congressman, Republican Dan Lungren, booted from office because of his long advocacy of civil-forfeiture measures that allow police agencies to take the cars, homes, and other property of people, many of whom have never been convicted of crimes. It has led to countless abuses because it marries police powers with the profit motive. But Lungren’s opponent is a left-wing Democrat who seems to get everything wrong and has not raised this issue. No matter who wins, no message will be sent, no political punishment will be meted out. Oh well.

I hope that if Romney wins the presidency, Americans will be reminded that wealth and the private-enterprise system are good things and should not be the subject of envy and scorn.

Then again, I don’t expect much. No matter Tuesday’s results, I console myself, again, by Mencken: “Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”

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  • wef||

    A word-use quibble: When you say, And yet my loved ones can’t understand the roots of my cynicism, I think you mean to say "the roots of my skepticism and low opinion of cynical politicians." Note that when Mencken says about government, One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane, he is not being cynical but clear-eyed. Politicians and other thugs are cynical. We, the uncooperative subjects who call politicians on their dog-like cynicism, are in turns curmudgeonly, disappointed, disillusioned, skeptical, bitter, doubtful, and realistic.

  • Restoras||

    No alt+text? WTMFF???

  • Steve G||

    "Then again, we know the losers in all the races will concede and go home without unleashing their militias on the streets"
    Ha, if the incumbent loses, I wouldn't be too sure about this statement. Even if the threat of riots turns out to be largely false, I wouldn't put it past some of the "47%" to be a little feisty in the streets.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    It's like he read my mind!

    Well done. I'll be sharing through other various social media.

  • Jerryskids||

    And the best Mencken quote: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

    But I still favor C.S. Lewis: Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    I think we are far more likely to succumb to a surfeit of Bloombergs than Blagojeviches.

  • robc||

    That is a great quote.

    He also wrote my campaign planks, if I ever run for office (which I wont):

    To live his life in his own way, to call his house his castle, to enjoy the fruits of his own labour, to educate his children as his conscience directs, to save for their prosperity after his death --- these are wishes deeply ingrained in civilised man.

  • CE||

    Believing you have a "civic duty" is just a lingering effect from your childhood programming. To be free, we have to move beyond following the rules and accepting the standards we were told to accept, and start reasoning for ourselves.

    Is it moral to take money from one group of people and give it to another? Does it suddenly become moral if 51 percent of the group approves of the theft? Is it right to force everyone to live under the rule of a person or a party that 49 percent of them loathe? Why can't everyone decide on their own which government they will live under, if any?

  • Almanian 1||

    Why can't everyone decide on their own which government they will live under, if any?

    "Because fuck you, that's why."

    s/Your Betters and Overlords Wif Teh Gunz

  • Sevo||

    CE| 11.2.12 @ 12:58PM |#
    "Believing you have a "civic duty" is just a lingering effect from your childhood programming."

    Agreed. It's substituting the government for your parents. As a youth under your parents care, you might properly have negotiated a later curfew for good behavior, but by no means do we, as free agents, negotiate our 'rights' with the government.
    They are, correctly, unalienable.

  • Jerryskids||

    My idealistic notion that Republicans might actually cut government died shortly into the first Reagan administration.

    Mine died about the time Reagan named Bush as his running mate.

    Eight years later, they disinterred it and drove a stake through its' heart when - with Jack Kemp in the running - the race came down to Bush v. Pat Robertson.

    This is why I want to punch in the face of people who say we should support Romney instead of Johnson because Romney and the GOP at least talk more libertarian than Obama and the Dems. If the GOP keeps getting rewarded with votes simply for talking about smaller government, what incentive do they have to ever actually produce any results? As long as we keep voting for Tweedledum instead of Tweedledummer, what incentive is there for politicians to ever be anything else?

    Or as PJ O'Rourke said: Don't vote! It just encourages the bastards.

  • wef||

    And that's exactly why

    the republican party must be destroyed

  • GRBW||

    +1

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  • AnonoBot||

    You're goin down, nikebot!

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