Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Life imitating art: "Idiocracy" edition

One of the wonders of the last few days has been watching various people on the movement right rejoice at McCain's choice of Palin, and especially to hear their explanation that what they like most about Palin is precisely that she is so obviously one of them, particularly in her familial conundra. See for example, the claim that the Palin choice shows that the GOP is the "regular people party"; or that her "averageness that makes her such a politically promising running mate"; or that she "appeals to the average, working-class woman."

All of it calls to mind H.L. Mencken's famous observation about what the American people want, above all else, for the office of the Presidency: "As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." The logical conclusion of strict egalitarianism, of course, is to remove all discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of qualification or talent. Palin's appeal lies precisely in this radical egalitarian impulse.

Unfortunately, as the rubes ought to know by now, we don't live in such a world, and the rubes don't usually get to run much of anything larger than a corrupt state. If they did, it might resemble this.

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