Then, there’s the other side of the coin, the trade union meeting or farmers’ collective where members are terrified of individualism, and, as a result, never get anything done and/or become so afraid of innovation that change becomes the enemy. In this context we can begin to see what a ‘strong individual’ might mean for an effective group and what a properly functioning group might imply about the meaning of a strong individual. In these musings there are no absolutes and no clear black or white. The individual and the group temper each other. For example, an inert group can be roused into action by the urgings of an energetic individual; and a strident individual with a tendency to railroad others can be refined into understanding by the multiple perspectives of the group. I hope a reader is finding this obvious. The problem is that our political discourse will not allow for this kind of complicity of ideas.
One difficulty is that when we situate this straightforward thinking in the context, say, of the current Republican debates or Fox News coverage of the daily work of our President, everything suddenly appears complex. The language used in these two forums has become almost incomprehensible. What can it mean when Newt Gingrich uses the expression ‘real capitalism’ or Mitt Romney says that he does not have lobbyists working for him? We are in the deep waters of equivocation. We are in a space where it is impossible to have a problem-solving discussion. We are in an arena of pure power struggle. It does not make any difference that the words mean little or nothing. The only thing that matters is that the individual politician be seen to support a particular power bloc, and then be chosen by this bloc to support its interests. The strange thing about Romney and Gingrich is that they are seeking the approval of the same bloc (the 1%) but need the votes of a substantial number of the 99%. So, the objective is to effectively hoodwink as many of the 99% as possible. And there lies the key to the survival of American plutocracy: the media has been set up over many decades in such a way (see Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’) as to convince the people that they are participating in a democracy, while what is really happening is that we are being offered a circus of equivocation that poses as debate, while the only real change that takes place does so in back rooms among bought politicians who continue to consolidate the power of the wealthy through outrageous legislation that twists our language into a meaningless mess (‘corporations are people and money is speech’).