By RICK WAGNERPerhaps the worst form of oppression is being forced to do things you do not wish to do. Make no mistake, being prohibited from acting is a terrific limitation on freedom, but the idea of being compelled to participate in something is even greater.
The corollary to that is to be required to believe or at least express belief in things that one knows not to be true.
In the distant past, which is to say around six months ago, most people were able to agree that individuals or groups could hold differing opinions on important topics and the interaction between competing ideas was usually a good thing.
Overnight that has changed, with a substantial minority of the country believing that opinions inconsistent with an agreed-upon orthodoxy — formulated by self-serving oligarchs, desperate politicians and profoundly unhappy people hoping for revenge on society — is deeply wrong and probably illegal.
The remainder of us know that not to be true; not just from a rational and humanistic point of view but specifically derived from the United States Constitution which is, so far, the supreme law of the land.
That idea and document, however, are also now subject to rapid revision. We are now asked by progressives and anarchists to believe, through questionable research, interpretation, and demagogy, that the document was so flawed in its creation that it should have little or no effect on our behavior.
At the same time, progressives speak stridently of their reverence for the Constitution and feel it is their sacred duty to strike down with great force those who would challenge the authority of those who hold offices created by it.
The ability to do this requires the implementation of a technique that George Orwell in his novel 1984 termed “Doublethink” which he described as, “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them.... to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy.”
A number of liberal commentators have tried to attribute this quality to Trump but are incorrect, possibly due to lack of familiarity with the source material or are so immersed in the concept that they are unable to imagine others may have much simpler issues with exaggeration and bloviating.
Unfortunately, most of us seem to hold the notion that such pretzel logic is confined to the great stages of national politics, but this is far from the truth.
For reasons we do not yet understand, all exercise of authority, without occasional correction, drifts governing entities toward the need to convince the governed of things that their eyes and minds tell them are unnecessary or unwise uses of the authority and treasure placed in the governing body’s control.
This is true of most universal concepts; they affect the great and the small.
The pull of gravity moves the tides across the planet just as it causes that can of green beans dropped from your hand to smash your toe.
The lesson here is that there is no escape from this phenomenon and if you do not recognize and deal with it then you are in danger of being overcome by it.
We are entering the battle here in our state and local arenas with our legislature busily scribbling bits of paper to regulate our lives and local politicians and subdivisions reaching feverishly for our pocketbook.
As part of this you will hear many ideas which will require a large dose of Doublethink to accept. Here are a few examples.
Making it more difficult to purchase the means for self-defense will make you safer. Requiring you to store your self-defense items in a manner which makes them inaccessible when needed, will render your home more secure.
Spending more funds on additional services for transients will cause our cities to have fewer transients.
Legalizing and taxing drugs is necessary to have the funds available to spend on addressing the problems created by increased drug use.
The needs of those governed by means of their own consent are best served by bureaucrats placed in positions of power without that consent.
Educational institutions whose product quality has fallen with increased spending must have more funds to improve the quality of their product.
Municipal leaders who have shown an inability to be successful should be reelected to lead their city to a brighter future.
You see, Doublethink has already happened, all it needs is more acceptance.
Rick Wagner is a Grand Junction attorney. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His weekly political talk show airs on KNZZ 1100 AM/92.7 FM on Saturdays at noon.