I happened upon the following graphic on a conservative website recently.
This isn’t entirely subtle. The crude intent being to smear Mr. Hitler by implied commonality with Hillary Clinton. It’s an extremely common artifice across the political spectrum that seems almost beyond our capacity to resist. To see I’ve used it myself in these pages wouldn’t be a surprise. We all understand the mechanics. If an established bete noir ate artichokes, then artichokes must be bad. If he conspicuously didn’t eat his boogers, then boogers must be good. This doesn’t require a particularly nimble mind to embrace. Though returning to the specific image above, it was captioned with the following lament:
Central Planners will always be with us in this vale of tears
That is true. And It is true because men are not solitary armadillos shuttling to and fro from eternal bachelor burrows. Rather we form intricate relationships, establish hierarchies, and enforce constantly e(de)volving norms of behavior and social lubrication. Human beings are not opium pellets, and will always coalesce into groups. Groups require organization to be productive and keep hands away from necks.
Whether we care for the concept or not, an ecosystem featuring some degree of directed coordination will always emerge. It may take the form of a pharaoh’s court or the bureaucracy of institutions. But, like tribal conflict, central planning will live until man does not. Our chore is to seek the most benign format and practice extreme discretion in who we people it with. Though here is another image of reviled central planners.
But beyond what may seem like a sterile slot in society, there are the very personal elements to acknowledge. We have a role outside ourselves. We have responsibilities even greater than the nurturing of our own little snowflake. We are all very short links in a very long chain. So when you see sentiments decrying society’s preeminence over the individual, give a pause before reflexively gasping at the connotation of evil. Society is the vessel that carries our children’s future. And if you have children of your own, tell me the value of their lives to yours. If a tally were made, is your life, your ambitions, your vain pleasures and piques really the sole animating force in your own life? Are they even the most compelling ones? I’ll wager the answer for most is no. That what most people have created for and given to others matters more–though I don’t wish to slight our solipsists and sociopaths. Regardless, the point should be fairly plain. However one wants to trace the concentric circles of society, assigning its welfare priority over any given individual hardly seems an apt marker for malevolence–certainly not on the scale of a Hillary Clinton.
As a closing aside, readers of this site will ipso facto trend heavily iconoclastic. This material finds little purchase among native conformists. So there’s a natural tendency toward individualism, possibly even a benign sliver of misanthropy. Though I doubt those will cloud the issue. As we are not armadillos, neither are we eusocial ants. We have our day in the sun and our responsibility at the end of the day. We pass the world from our fathers to our sons. If we can both enjoy the transfer and give more than we got…well, that’s a life damn well lived.