Why Uncle Jeff is an Ethical Anarchist

Today, I officially got over the tiny bit of pleasure I took from the results of the election a month ago.

I was getting caught up on my blog reading earlier this evening, and a link at Whil Wheaton’s blog led me to his geek/tech column at Suicide Girls. While there, I stumbled upon this.

In the interest of fair disclosure, I haven’t actually read [tag]Why Mommy is a Democrat[/tag], but I think I’ve seen enough at the author’s website to form an opinion. I suppose it is only natural that the Democrats sink down to the sewer level of Republicans, and shouldn’t be surprising. It only reinforces my belief that the only thing worse than a [tag]Republican[/tag]/[tag]Democrat[/tag] (pick one) is a Democrat/Republican (pick the other one). I’m a registered independent, incidentally.

Seriously, this children’s book is just partisanship of the most base, disgusting sort, relying on crass stereotypes and narrow-minded zealotry instead of critical thought and logical argument – the kind of thing the Left frequently accuses the Right of doing. What’s worse, it is aimed at young children, whose minds are like little sponges — I may not have children, but I have a niece and enough nephews to know what kids’ brains are like, and the fact that they are much more aware and absorb much more than most adults give them credit for, including many parents. So books like Mommy is a Democrat and [tag]Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed[/tag] are aimed at young minds thirsty for knowledge, but without the wisdom of age and the accompanying ability to critically evaluate said knowledge being thrust upon them. In essence, political brainwashing.

I think I’m going to write my own book: Why Uncle Jeff is a Curmudgeonly Cynical Independent.

Of course, it’s nothing new; political indoctrination of youth hardly started with Nazi Germany or latter-day America. That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, or any less wrong, for that matter. If we as a nation are going to ever get beyond the silly partisan politics that have shaped our recent history, we need to foster open-minded critical thought in our youth, not blind faith in [tag]political parties[/tag] and dogma.

But then, that’s the American way, I suppose. It’s been ingrained in our culture from the very beginning. In his 1796 farewell address, President George Washington had this to say about political parties (the italicized emphasis being my own):

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our union it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations–Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western — whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You can not shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. …

Much of Washington’s farewell address concerned the evils of political parties and geographical interests (rather spooky, given what happened 64 years later). He went on to conclude:

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast [tag]patriotism[/tag] may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose; and there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

Ah, George, I hate to fetishize and mythologize you any more than you already have been as the father of our country (and I do love my country, which is why I get bent out of shape about this sort of stuff), but damn, where are you when we need you? Our latest George and the rest of our partisan leaders in the city that bears your name have royally screwed the pooch for ole America, as of late.

The older I get, the more frequently I thank the powers-that-be (no, that’s not a Buffy reference; bugger off if you think it was) that I was raised by parents who actually made a conscious effort to raise their children to be open minded, and think for themselves. There were no cutesy-wootsy kiddie books masquerading as political dogma. The brainwashing was kept to a minimum, and there was none of the narrow-minded zealotry that seemingly passes for [tag]parenting[/tag] in modern times.

Thanks Mom. Thanks Dad.

And Thanks George. Sorry we dropped the ball on the whole political parties thing.