Yes, that's it, exactly. When you give up your responsibility, you give up your power. Those who want you to forsake your responsibility, and accept comfortable mediocrity, are the ones who want your power so badly they can taste it. But what you give up as "power to", they take as "power over", and not to your benefit.
This essay has me thinking in so many directions that I cannot get them all out, so I'll just make a few notes here, and likely follow up later.
First, I've been thinking about a good response to Francis Poretto's comment on this post of mine about Derrida. My nascent plan is to create a CGI that will do an Eliza-like function, where the text it spits back is some of Derrida's babble. I'm just going to feed the non-English bits through Babelfish, without any editing, as the amount of sense they make is unchanged. (That is to say, they make no sense no matter how presented.) I just haven't figured out yet whether to randomly pick out quotes, or to pick them out based on keyword parsing of the text that's entered. Is it real, or is it Derrida?
Another thing that this has me thinking about is how we stop the schools from indoctrinating our kids with the idea of collective existence. I've always despised this, but never really given it much thought beyond homeschooling our own kids and decrying the ideological brainwashing done in schools in general. Clearly, I need to give this more thought.
Also, this reminds me somewhat of something my wife wrote about 7 or 8 years ago, that I need to go reread.
I wonder what the viability would be of a candidacy for high political office focused around precisely the function and nature of responsibility and freedom. I have always assumed that people who tell the truth are unelectable, but is that really true?
Finally, I am immensely proud to live in a country that can produce people even now, after all of the watering down of the last century, who can think like Bill Whittle. I am proud to live in a country that produces people like Frank J., and attracts people like Kim du Toit and Eugene Volokh. I am not proud that we also not only produce, but many of our fellow citizens celebrate, people like the racist demagogue Al Sharpton, the blatant extortionist and sham Jesse Jackson, and the profoundly disturbing Pat Robertson. Still and all, I'm grateful for the good, and resolved to work against the bad.Posted by Jeff at August 20, 2003 12:32 PM | Link Cosmos