Saturday, March 14, 2009


~~ "The magician and the politician have much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing. --Ben Okri ~~

As we watch our new President navigate through the rough waters of domestic and international policies, it is hard to miss the fact that he is quite the masterful illusionist.

Bear with a small detour into semantics. "Prestidigitation" is a cool way to say "sleight of hand." From the Middle French, it is "legerdemain," and in German it's "fingerfertigkeit." They all mean pretty much the same thing: getting people to watch one hand while the illusionist does something else entirely with the other hand.

The President and the people in his power circle have shown a great talent in this art form. They are showing us and telling us one thing, while something else entirely is actually happening. As is the case with most politicians, we hear one thing from them while they practice something else. This is regular, garden-variety political hypocrisy and it is so common that we are mostly numb to it. That is what helps team-Obama in their quest to take America to their desired place. They know the cynicism of the people and they are quite deftly using it as a skilled craftsman uses his hammer and saw (or sickle, as the case may be).

We hear President Obama say "fiscal restraint" even as he proposes trillions upon trillions in spending and deficits. We hear "equality" and "justice" even as we see money taken from earners and given to non-earners. Indeed, we do see European-type socialism in some of their actions... but the truth is far more insidious and far more accurate. They are taking great care to keep the audience focused on the shiny object in front of them-- even as the real workings go on in the dim background.

~~ "We must not let daylight in upon the magic." --Walter Bagehot ~~

Change has come to America-- as everyone knows only too well. The economic scare of last fall (intentionally caused?) became, in Mr. Obama's words: "the worst crisis since the Great Depression," and was responsible for pushing him into the White House. Now that he is safely elected and the trillions upon trillions of dollars he wants have been all but secured, the President is beginning to change his tune... suddenly, things "aren't so bad, after all." Go back to sleep... you were all getting way too worked up there.

What the hell is going on here? We the People are so scared... so worried... so concerned about our lives and our money that we are only too happy to let the nice man in the White House save us. We the People only want assurance from Washington that everything will be okay. We the People want someone else to pay our way-- and we want the real achievers punished with a drastically increased tax burden. We the People have become so soft... so pampered... so... so... ugh!

~~ "People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet." --Temple Grandin ~~

Okay, so we have had the label of "socialist" flying at Mr. Obama from all quarters. In fact, the term has really lost much of its shock value, if you ask me. Which is-- again, if you ask me-- exactly what the illusionists want. They are very happy, I believe, in half-heartedly fending off the "socialism" moniker, while at the same time, seeming to embrace it. The President even said he wanted the "Swedish model" for parts of our economy... but don't call him a socialist.

I agree with the President that the term is inaccurate. In fact, I think that European socialism is what we may well be begging for if Mr. Obama's team ever fully gets what it really wants. Tyranny does not always come at the point of a gun. So, the question is: can this illusionist's obvious talents and smoothly effective style really bring the United States of America to voluntary fascism? Some would argue that he is so good that we already effectively have it.

~~ "The real secret of magic lies in the performance." --David Copperfield ~~

The idealist in me would love dearly to say no way... but the pragmatist in me sees too many "We the People" who are ready, willing, and able to hand this man their very lives in exchange for a taste of his greatness. In the view of many of these "regular" Americans, life is just too hard... too unfair. To these people, spiteful covetousness, petty jealousy, and malicious envy are common emotions.

After all, the American Constitutional Republic, as designed by our divinely inspired Founders, is hard work for the "regular" people, don't you see? They don't want to take on the responsibility of making their own trail through life... not when a "charismatic demagogue" (all credit and honor to The Great One, Mark Levin) is only too ready to make it for them. In the President's own words, "only government" can fix what ails our country. Hell, then why on earth should any of us face harsh reality when the messiah in D.C. will face it for us?

~~ "I don’t want realism. I want magic!" --Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire) ~~

Nothings says rugged Americanism like giving up all of your individual liberties in exchange for hope and change-- nebulous though they may be. All sarcasm aside, is it really possible that Americans are going to continue walking down this perilous road, drinking the kool-aid and applying the snake oil they were sold last November?

It all depends upon the magical talents of the demagogic pied piper out front, doesn't it?

~~ Cold late night so long ago
When I was not so strong you know
A pretty man came to me
Never seen eyes so blue
You know I could not run away
It seemed we'd seen each other in a dream
It seemed like he knew me
He looked right through me, yeah
"Come on home, girl" he said with a smile
"You don't have to love me yet
Let's get high awhile
But try to understand
Try to understand
Try try try to understand
I'm a magic man."

--Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), "Magic Man" ~~


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