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The Apolitical Inactivist

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[Disclaimer: I vote. Sometimes. President and the U.S. Congress (House & Senate) Beyond that it's a tossup.]

My awakening began shortly after college. My first employer was an enthusiastic supporter of several groups that billed themselves as "educational" organizations. They were devout conspiracy theorists. My father had been a Free Mason and I thought it was a good thing that so many presidents had been, too. What a surprise to learn of all the many conspiracies out there! One of these groups advocated the same action that "Deep Throat" told Woodward and Bernstein, "Follow the money." It was also during my tenure at this company that Taylor Caldwell had her book, Captains and Kings published. It echoed the theme that the "controllers" were the international bankers that influenced many organizations (clubs and secret societies) who could suddenly turn on the man they made and have him assassinated. I was in the third grade in Louisiana (home of Jim Garrison) when Kennedy died. I grew up in a community of hunters and was familiar with firearms and was shocked when I heard the claims that Oswald had acted alone. How could anyone fire a bolt action rife that quickly and accurately? Even for an eleven year old the magic bullet theory was impossible to swallow. I even began to doubt Walter Conkrite. After the sixites, by 1972, my mind was a fertile field for serious conspiracy theories to germinate. Throughout the rest of the seventies and the next two decades my frustration grew with the observation of the lack of real change in the way our country was going regardless of which party was in power.

Flash forward to 1997 and Dr. Andew Weil's book, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health. Several of his suggestions made sense to me and I tried them. One of them, I really liked! A one week news fast sounded too difficult but I tried it anyway. This was at a time in my life when I was reading three newspapers a day and had the television set on CNN most of the day. It was amazing! I didn't care what Bill and Hiliary were doing anymore by this point anyway. It was such a refreshing change — no news! I'm still enjoying the benefits today by continuing my news fast. So much of the news is politics. Not having a constant influx of news and politics made it so much easier to go about the business of living my own life. In 2000 my life changed again — separation. A divorce ensued in 2001 and in June I married a woman who taught me the importance of living my life without being concerned about what anyone else would think. Without the news and the politics it brought, combined with this new life philosophy, I was liberated!

The same old theories abound and are now like choruses sung by new choirs. Was Bullworth correct with his claims that 5% of the population control 95% of the money? He must have been. I haven't seen any real change, regardless of which party is in power. Don't the big money companies divide their funds on both sides of the aisle in congress? Can you imagine General Electric, Bank of America, Kraft, Alcoa, or Pfizer putting all their eggs in one basket? Was Viet Nam fought to satisfy the desires of the military-industrial complex? Is it true that the first casualty of any war is the truth?

So why should I vote? Does one person really make a difference? Joanne Herring did. She was the driving influence behind Charlie Wilson. Julia Roberts played her in the movie Charlie Wilson's War and she really did make a difference. She did a lot more than vote though. She was at the time, according to Charlie Wilson, "the sixth most wealthiest person in Houston". Do we really want one person to be able to make that much difference? Is my vote being diluted by hundreds more who are voting because of "drive-through voter registration"? When I took a course in civics in high school, we were taught that our government is different because we are not governed by the masses but by informed voters who had earned the right to vote. Our voters were people who knew how our government worked and that by avoiding a simple "majority rules" system, America was different — and better.

Fortunately my background includes enough study to consider myself "government-literate" — I know how our system is supposed to work. There's enough political awareness for me that an informed decision to not be politically active is possible. I'm not ready to throw in the towel on our country, but don't look for a bumper sticker on my car. Don't expect to see me on the mall in D.C. with a million other men waving a sign and singing A Hard Rain's A'gonna Fall. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats should expect any contributions from me. Can't think of any country I'd rather live in, but in many ways, it's not much different than when Thomas Paine lamented, "These are the times that try mens' souls."

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About FCEtier

  • Glenn Contrarian

    FCEtier –

    I see you’re from Down South. As for myself, I was raised in the Delta about halfway between Jackson and Memphis, and about five miles away from where Eastland lived – I’m sure you know who that was. It was many years before I found out that he had been the most powerful racist in America for almost a generation.

    Here’s one platitude and one hypocrisy. The platitude is that those who don’t vote, who don’t get involved in the politics of their land, get the government they deserve.

    The hypocrisy is that I’ll be retiring overseas in the years to come…and I will be strictly apolitical there, for I learned long ago that when in Rome, one should NOT always do what Romans do, if one is not a Roman. It wastes one’s time, and creates enemies where there were none before.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    FCEtier,

    One of the luxuries many Americans have had was the luxury of being apolitical – as opposed to being fiercely political and being forced to pretend disinterest (the residents of a dictatorship) – or being forced to be political because politics keeps getting in the way of you life. This is my situation.

    You do not appreciate the luxuries of your life – and soon, they will be gone.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Ruvy assures us once more that the sky is falling.

  • Bernie Kleinstein

    Are you really surprised that things haven’t changed much through the ages? Haven’t the rich always controlled things and played along with the rest by letting them think that their votes counted?

  • Reese McKay

    Thanks for this, Chip. It sounds like you have a pretty healthy attitude toward politics and “news.” I knew that my grandfather had been a Free Mason, but I wasn’t really sure who else was. I didn’t know for sure if your father was or not. I have always been interested in the Masons and wanted to know more about their history. I have read a couple of books and articles, but that’s about it. Hopefully we can talk more about some of the other things you mentioned later.

  • Reese McKay

    I went through a long period after college of learning how to think and see what is going on much more clearly. I was exposed to a number of different traditions of mind training. People seem to be afraid of such things, thinking it is some kind of brainwashing. But, it is just the opposite, at least if you study with people who are not charlatans. You learn how to free yourself from self-limiting and self-destructive habits of thought. It was once common in many parts of the world for people to become much more educated in what you might call the inner, spiritual world. This involved a lot of self-reflection and learning how to think and reason and free yourself from the tyranny of emotional over-reactions and distorted thinking habits of all kinds. Taking long “news fasts” would be one way of helping such a process along.

  • http://etierphotography.blogspot.com/ fcetier

    Only today did I become aware of this book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • http://opinion-forum.com/index/authors/brianna-aubin/ Brianna

    Your observations about conspiracy theories among the bankers are not without supporters… or unfortunately, merit. In fact, if you want more information on this, I would recommend G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature From Jekyll Island, which talks extensively about the Rothschilds of Europe, JP Morgan, the Council on Foreign Relations, and how the Federal Reserve was created in order to bring the flow of money back under the control of the hands of a few. Nor is your point that there has been no real change in the direction our nation has spent the last century traveling invalid. Though I’m still fairly certain that Oswald shot JFK.

    Individuals are the only thing that has ever made any difference in the world. Even group movements are really just collections of individuals. And when you take away the right of one individual to make a difference, you also take away your own right and ability to do the same. It’s true that your individual vote is unlikely to make a difference, but voting is not a primary to a free society, merely a result. However, ideas are like viruses in their ability to spread to others; merely holding an intelligent, informed opinion and expressing it to others when appropriate can sometimes make an astonishing difference. You’ll never be noticed because of it and your name will never be sung for it, but that doesn’t change the end result. As for a majority-rules system; I am staunchly against the idea. People really do have inalienable individual rights, and when government fails to acknowledge and protect those rights, bad things usually happen as a result. Any government that allows a majority to vote away the rights of a minority is an unjust government, and that includes an unlimited, mob-rule democracy.

    In a society such as ours, a constitutional Republic, a citizen does not have to be politically active when the system is functioning properly (though I do think it is important to vote and that all responsible citizens should do so). I do not believe our system is currently functioning properly, which is why I am trying to influence opinions with my writing. I also plan to attend the Chicago Tea Party this April 15th, if that is what your reference to “a million other men waving a sign” refers to.

  • Brianna

    Forgot something:

    It can be very pleasant to not pay attention to politics (why care when you can’t do anything or make a difference), and it’s true that you need to balance your life so that you don’t burn out or turn into a nervous wreck. However, it’s also true that evil only triumphs when good men stand by and do nothing, and I would respectfully suggest that now is a bad time to not be interested in politics or the path this nation is taking.

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