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The Anthropomorphization of America

Much like justice, American politics are meant to be blind. Just as the judiciary is built on a system that is blind all but the facts of a case and considers a defendant to have numerous rights, including the presumption of innocence, so the Constitution is dead to everything but the equal rights of the people.

Both the legal code and the federal code are meant to be reactionary, concerned with only empirical facts.

It may seem odd to say that living, breathing people with interests and needs can be anthropomorphized, but this is precisely what the modern political narratives of social justice and compassion-driven legislation have brought into being.

The only way in which political parity or egalitarianism or other code words that excuse government meddling in private affairs exists is in civil liberties, which are equal and reflexive. This means that individuals, in the eyes of the state, are seen only through this lens. This promotes individual freedom and true justice since the government’s only concern is maintaining the parity of the free exercise of liberty. Stripped of the caste system that is the inevitable end of viewing citizens as a collective body of needs to be satisfied, exploited or discouraged by the government, this blind system of government is far more humane than activism.

But the anthropomorphism of the polis is only half the problem. Government organs, rather than being seen as a threat to civil liberties, are turned into benevolent gift-givers- a friend one can turn to in times of need. Rush Limbaugh best summed up this phenomenon as a dichotomy wherein the government is Santa Claus- kind, jovial and bearing free goods- and self-reliability, which requires discipline, privation and work. Short term self-interest demands the former. Long term self-interest demands the latter, but this requires empiricism, a draining process, the benefits of which pale in comparison to the immediate gratification of the compassion of the government.

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Of course, this compassion is faux. And the problem is there is no such thing as “free” in the public sector- whatever is given must be taken away from someone else. Inevitably, opposition and demonization must occur. The scope of parity is constrained to a certain, deserving portion of the population, defined necessarily by the government.

Regardless of whether it is the people who humanize the government or the government which humanizes the people, the end result is an investment of broader, stronger powers wielded by an executive, legislative or judiciary body which now feels the heady power of moral righteousness.

Such crusades are chronicled throughout history- and the tales make for grim reading.

The answer is not to run away from traditional values nor to call for more tolerance or that government and societal organs be given broader powers to lift up the disenfranchised and fell their oppressors, but to sweep humanism from those places where it does not belong.

Both the mob of public opinion and various federal bodies bristle with their own virtue, but they are false beings. Individuals are the only creatures that can think or feel. Consensus may occur and drive a majority, but it is peril to conflate the collective agreement of a group with a single organism. Only despotism can reign when the locus of individual will is grafted into the bodies of any interest-driven mass or government agency.



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About Katherine Revello

A recent graduate of the University of Maine, where she majored in journalism and political science, Katherine Revello is an aspiring political commentator. Her focuses include theory, the philosophy of money and populism. Currently, she is a graduate student at Villanova University. She is the founder of The Politics of Discretion, a blog dedicated to advancing her philosophy of discretionism. Follow her on Twitter: @MrsWynandPapers