Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Wizard of Oz, and Small Town America

(note: rewritten July 11)

In the lived experience of most Americans, actual encounter with the actions and workings of government is rare, not a part of lived experience, and "rarely encountered," and because of this it is not an exaggeration to suggest that there are Americans who believe government does not exist. I know that sounds strange, but, as Jim Morrison said, "people are strange." They come very close to simply believing that such things are not included in the world (like "the state"). This peculiarity can be explained by the lack of experience with it, which is to say in their everyday affairs, so that, for them, it does not exist. Thus, the affairs of government or politics, or rather all of the impingements upon life implied by those things are simply-dimply not encountered. So, such individuals have no conception of anything such as a State, and, at any rate, they sure do not want "the government" (which also does not exist) telling them what to do. maybe they conjure government only to tell it to go away.
     That such Americans do not really experience this kind of impingement very much is the fact. It is a characteristic of American life and it engenders various different attitudes towards that which they do not believe is really there. They either think government doesn't exist at all, or, perhaps, they think it is something far, far away. We can call such "governmentality" fabled, or fabulous.
     "The Wizard of Oz" is a masterpiece in itself of fabulation, something that sprang from the imagination of one L. Frank Baum fellow, a writerly type of several generations back, and our little Dorothy has an encounter with government, government as one encounters it in Oz-Land, because, you see, a tornado-storm blows up and unexpectedly removes her from one place to another. To quite another place indeed: the place called the Land of Oz. What Dorothy finally does see in terms of governmentality is: fantasy government.
     And I also suspect there is a bit of protest going on in L. Frank Baum's mind because -- Well, this government is not really that good. It's just this old man behind a curtain, if you recall (I recall the movie, as do most persons). 

     What is the difference between the "right" and the "left"? My thinking is that it is denial of government in the one case, we just covered that, but it is pointed criticism of gov't. in the other case. Those are distinct responses. The leftists are more interested in analyzing everything and, thus, they are going to be analyzing and they are gonna cut everything apart. They analyze everything, those guys do. But for the rightist type of mind it just does not exist. Nothing you cannot see exists, and they do not see much government, do they? Well I will say not!
     Of course, to think that the government just doesn't exist is an aspect of the peculiarly American way of life, our special way of life. Which ought to CHANGE, starting NOW!!!!

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