Punchinello’s Chronicles

August 19, 2009

The Great American Cattle Drive

Filed under: View from the Bottom — Punchinello @ 5:43 pm
Tags: , ,

I’m not a cowboy. When I was a kid, I watched Westerns on TV and I’ve read stories about cowboys. But that’s about my entire knowledge of the process. Even so, I get the concept of a cattle drive. It’s related to the use of sheep-dogs in Scotland and New Zealand, and involves two basic concepts. The one is that cattle are dumb and easily spooked. The other is that by spooking the herd on one side, you get them to run in the opposite direction.

That’s what’s going on with the American voters and the American population. The government is acting like cowboys or sheep-dogs, and we, the people, are acting like cattle and sheep. Our political leaders, particularly at the federal level, really and truly believe that all of us are stupid. We simply aren’t smart enough or altruistic enough to care for the overall society.

We’re selfish. All we care about is ourselves. They say. Unlike our oh-so-wise politicians who compassionately care about even the most poor of us. Right? Yah, right!

Every day there are loud bangs, whoops and hoo-haws, noises, and sirens. We read about scary things in the news, see it on TV, and hear it on the radio. Every time we settle into one direction, BLAM!…we get pushed in another direction.

And we’re falling for it!

So what’s the direction we’re being driven? If we accept that all this stock-market data, healthcare debate, swine flu nonsense, hurricane doom and so forth is driving us somewhere, where’s that direction?

The two basic ideas are capitalism or socialism. Capitalism, regardless of flaws and problems is about individual liberty and the individual choosing how to live his or her life. Socialism, having failed around the world is about a small group of leaders making the decisions for the overall society. Those leaders supposedly have the “good of the many” in mind.

We’ve been toying back and forth between capitalism and socialism for about 100 years. We’ve never really put into place real capitalism, mostly because so many people think they want some form of government management. The result, like in China, is a hybrid form of capitalism with overtones of government regulation. And that seems to be coming to a head.

With mostly liberal Democrats in control of all branches of the administration, not to mention the general media, American individualism is under broad attack. Everywhere we look, there are huge arguments between so-called free-market capitalism having failed utterly, and regulated government having kept millions of people from dying.

Middle-of-the-road voters like to believe they’re above all this. They aren’t obsessed with politics. They’re much more reasonable. They want to get along. They’re moderates, undecided in each vote until weighing all the factors. They’re going to wait until they have all the “facts” until they calmly, intellectually and studiously place their vote. And politicians know this.

So for all those calm, collected, intellectual moderates, we have the Great American Cattle Drive. Before anyone can get calm, collected and reasonable, another bang goes off. Another scare comes along. More fear enters the equation. More stress, more panic, and more running like hell to who-knows-where.

Many people blame conservatives for fear tactics, over-the-top rhetoric, and all the yelling and screaming. Why? Mostly because the liberals use those tactics on a regular basis. That’s routine, and right out of the civil disobedience handbook. Of course they’re going to blame “the other side” for all the things they themselves are doing. It’s part of the cattle drive.

The only way to counter all this is to have two sets of cowboys. One side is skilled at setting off bangs and explosions. The other, the conservatives, aren’t so skilled. But as we all know, if you stand in the middle of the road you’re likely to be run over. And that’s what’s happening with all this polarization.

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