Congressman Paul Ryan, nurtured by Jack Kemp, learned politics during the Reagan years, represents a well-to-do district, and is a man of his times. The powerful charade called a roadmap on the budget and deficit is not pulled off single-handedly. Powerful media and others support it. For the enablers, “truth” is a by-product of ratings or an attribute to be weighed in partial measure. For all of its inter-connectivity, an often missed insight about the new media is that it has diminished the power of truth as objective evidence.
Culture is always the incubator for negotiating the truth and folly that marks a generation. Culture shapes a sense of virture and service, empowers how and why actors perform, and justifies and supports how leaders use state power within the political economy.
Within the country, the new culture of political economy has undertaken the role of reshaping the views of voters by offering andecdotes to manufactured fears–neither based on truth. In this brave new world, the political word masters speak of job killing spending, job killing deficits, job killing unemployment benefits, job killing stimulus, job killing funding of essential services, and job killing infra-structure projects. Yet those who call the politicans on this ridiculous ledgermain are declared to be rogues themselves! Rogues who want to kill more jobs!
The best cultural parallel is perhaps the magnitude of the crowds that gathered in England outside of Newgate prison to watch the hanging of common thieves (you could be sentenced to hang for stealing a hankerchief!). Oblivious to the injustice and cruelty, the society developed an unsatiated appetite for the high drama of these public occasions. English capital crimes, in part, were reduced because judges at Old Bailey thought the clergy had grown too influential in gaining lenciency, so they asserted the power themselves to deny it to the clergy!
So in the culture of today’s political economy, those who want to help others are not tough enough. Those in power who have a plan for bringing down the federal deficit cannot be trusted. Those who would modernize America are socialists. Those out of power carry the hangman’s noose. Those who support strict construction of the Constitution would scrap the 14th amendment in a fit of activism and now put immigrantion agents in hospital delivery rooms to monitor births.
So today, politics is based more on titillation than truth. No matter the facts of the numbers, the truth of the matter, that condition persists and remains. Anne C, Michelle M, and candidate Sharon A, and others who helped make the new culture are also products of it. Controlling trap doors of the culture of political economy is a prize of power (ask Palin) and more important than being on message (Obama’s gift and craft). We cheer or jeer, like they did at Newgate prison, watching the country swing from our separate bubbles.
Thanks for reading! /wr/ Stir the Perlo. leave a comment.
Image: Hand-painted Roman kylix, a musician and her benefactor, c490; fair use.