Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Freedom with Entropy or Totalitarian Efficacy?

The talking heads (and typing fingers, like yours truly) won't let go of the whole Miss California opinion debacle. This partisan, ideological divide is no longer liberal vs. conservative, progressive vs. traditional, bailouts vs. failouts, socialism vs. capitalism, equality vs. elitism, change vs. status quo, or whatever is the current, pop cultural, pop political, false dichotomy. No, if there is a real dichotomy in which to choose sides, it is freedom vs. totalitarianism. Freedom is respectful disagreement and nuanced debate. Totalitarianism is idiotic dittoheadism that is problematic no matter the ideology. I've swept through some comments on news sites and web logs, and I've come up with (I know I'm being ironic) generalizations:

1. The totalitarians on the left tend to judge Miss California (Google has her name) as stupid for sticking to her opinions and anticipate her to become (if she isn't already) a right-wing icon in the same vein as Joe the Plumber. In any case, this means that the current popular opinion of blue states/regions is somehow zeitgeist truth and all dissenters must be destroyed.

2. The totalitarians on the right tend to lionize Miss California as some kind of truth-bringer (especially the social conservatives) and a victim of the "liberal mainstream media" bogeyman. In any case, this means that the current popular opinion of red states/regions is somehow timeless truth and all dissenters must be destroyed.

Because they seek to form truths out of nothing, the totalitarians are wrong. I choose freedom, even if things get complex or chaotic. I choose even-handed debate. I choose liberty tempered by equal opportunity, and prosperity tempered by responsibility. I don't need a government to tell me that, but I would like a government to remember these principles while governing. In the years between 2003-2006, I rallied that dissent is often patriotic, too. Now that the shoe is on the other foot (?), I still believe it, even though it is slightly absurd to incorporate the question of patriotism in the same topic as a minor beauty pageant public uproar.

It makes me wonder what proportion of the "rally around Bush" conservative (non-moderate) totalitarian bullies jumped ship between 2006-2008 and are the loudest of the now-liberal totalitarians. That would just make "them" (whoever they are) sheep who "rally around what's popular." In that case - if we should respect opinions, but dittoheads have no opinions of their own, then totalitarians don't deserve much respect for their non-opinions - do they, now?

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