By Ross LimpBall
Witnessing the outcome of the exhaustive primary season, many Americans have rightly determined that making our nation great again is a far loftier goal than kowtowing to the nonsense of political correctness. If I read the mood of America correctly, the time has finally arrived when we as a people, for the sake of our nation, are prepared to shed pretense, to damn the consequences, to speak those truths which have long needed to be spoken.
A prime example of the ethos of political correctness is our failure to accept the truth that the majority cannot be held hostage to a few. This is especially the case when considering the expenditure of our nation’s finite resources. The truth, or shall I say, the inconvenient truth, is that our nation can no longer afford to ignore the needs of the majority, in the misguided support of do-gooder feel-good efforts which offer questionable results in the benefit of the few.
Perhaps no greater example of the squandering on the few is the plethora of programs intended for the education and employment of the blind. Spokesman of the blind themselves are quick to point out that they are low incidence, meaning that they are the least in population among the disabled. In an example of twisted logic, they believe that their small numbers somehow justify their ceaseless requests for increased funding of dubious programs, totally disproportionate to their numbers.
Bread and Circuses
As is clear through the writings of the Roman satirical poet, Juvenal, the inevitable decline of the empire is foreshadowed through the expenditure of public funds for the feeding and entertainment of the rabble in an effort to forestall discontent. The true generosity of the American people through the over expansion of the Social Security program has ensured the blind an income, and for the blind who have never earned their daily bread, an income is guaranteed through Supplemental Security Income, a program which provides an income stipend. Furthermore, the blind and only the blind, certainly I’m sure to the envy of the rest of the disabled community are granted an additional standard deduction on their federal income tax due to blindness; alas the blind are fed.
In preparation for discussion of the blind, I was teased by a memory of an incident occurring several decades ago. My research led me back to 1985 when Republican Representative Chalmers P. Wylie of Ohio introduced a House amendment to halt the Library of Congress’ publication of Braille editions of Playboy magazine. The measure was eventually approved by the House on a 216 to 193 roll call vote. Later a Federal District Judge ruled that the Library of Congress violated the First Amendment rights of blind people. Really? Perhaps my copy of the constitution is incomplete and our forefathers did intend that through the expenditure of public funds the blind have a First Amendment right to be perversely titillated.
As I looked further in to the National Library Service, a division of the Library of Congress funded through our tax dollars to create and distribute reading materials in braille and recordings, I came across a publication, “Talking book Topics”, listing materials produced in the previous quarter. The publication is an index of titles which include: author, subject category, synopsis, and surprise, surprise, a book “RATING”. What are some of these ratings? Strong language, some descriptions of sex, explicit descriptions of sex. We cannot help but imagine the blind with bated breath reading down through the titles, eagerly anticipating, well I leave it to you. Enter the do-gooder sociologist quick to explain that in their seclusion the blind are due some sexual outlet. Ah yes, our tax dollars hard at work; alas the blind are entertained.
Lest you think I have no heart for the less fortunate, not for a moment do I suggest that the blind be denied their bread and circuses. I am, however, confounded by their persistent requests for funding of programs whose outcomes are at best dubious. One example illustrates the point: whether the program is for the education of blind children or a rehabilitation program to prepare adults to enter the work force, something referred to as Orientation and Mobility training, is sure to be included. This is the instruction of the blind in the use of the white cane with the intent that they might travel independently. Virtually every blind person in our nation has received some form of this training. But I ask you, how often do you see the blind tap-tapping their way along the streets of our communities? My understanding is that this service is rather costly to provide, therefore, shouldn’t we be concerned for its level of efficacy?
I believe that at this moment we stand at the crossroads of destiny. We can choose to be shackled by the myopic desires of minorities like the blind, or we can put an end to their ceaseless clamber with a resounding no! Here at last is our opportunity to take hold of our destiny and move boldly in our quest to make America great again by devoting our resources to the many as we build to a brighter future.
Ok, enough! Enough! My fellow members of PCB, my hope is that the above example will help us all better understand the art of demonization. Today it occurs on a daily basis, whether from our radios or televisions, or from the mouth of an ignorant politician, the intent is to distract by scapegoating. So, I ask you, how does it feel when the shoe of demonization is on your foot? It is so easily done, for the formula of the demagogue is well defined. It is begun by drawing in the audience with a slogan and an appeal to a populist sentiment. A target group is chosen and through a misapplication of a historical parallel, an exaggeration here, an innuendo there, a misinterpretation of motive, a distortion of fact, a questioning of morals, the target of the day has been demonized. Conclude by drawing in the gullible, implying their superiority over the targeted group, and close with a lofty vacuous sentiment; the mission to distract the populous from consideration of the true issues of the day has been accomplished. Blame substitutes for problem solving. This is how Adolf Hitler and so many other demagogues have come to power, and this is the level to which much of our public discourse has deteriorated. Rather than critically analyzing, rather than listening to and considering points of view opposite to our own, desperate for quick and easy answers we eagerly lap the swill of manipulation at the trough of ignorance and prejudice.
As we enter the fall campaign I plead with you to listen with a critical ear, seriously question simple solutions, and consider that loyalty to country far outweighs loyalty to party. Because the world is complex, because we have differing and sometimes conflicting needs and desires, no politician can promise or deliver quick and easy outcomes, but flawed is always better than disastrous. -Tony Swartz.