12.08.2008

a reckless and unedited attempt at philosophizing about the media, Obama, and secular hope

With the prospect of the Obama administration on their minds, the media is abuzz with newfound hope. A new president has come to save the people from too many years of an oppressive and seemingly indifferent Republican president. We must understand that the media has spent these past years observing and cataloguing the all too many inadequacies, frustrations, tragedies, disappointments and pains of human life – so many of which seem to be caused by George Bush. Secular humanists all, they no longer have the stomach for such suffering. This man, this great man, surely will be able to alleviate our great burden. His Harvard education, finest in the world, will enable him to plan the plan to save all plans. If there are people losing jobs, they will find new jobs when Obama invests in infrastructure. The media already has the news story; haven’t you seen it? Criticism may come from “skeptics,” but the media is quick to point out this is not just “infrastructure”: it is the right kind of infrastructure, the infrastructure this country needs. This is infrastructure that will create jobs now, to save us from having to suffer from the consequences of George Bush very much at all. This is the politics of hope, and the media cannot get enough. They know that every interesting news story is a crisis. And for every crisis, there is a plan. There is a solution. Obama will give us deus ex machina, god out the machine. What is the machine? It is nothing but the coercive power of government. After all, this is the only way Obama can implement his plans. His power as a politician is power to control the government, not to control minds and hearts. The god here is security. Near the beginning of the Enlightenment, Thomas Hobbes gave us this new summum bonum, which could also be called freedom from the fear of violent death. It has come to mean freedom from all material suffering, freedom from having to live a life rightly ordered. We think we should have freedom to do whatever we want (as long as we’re not hurting anybody!) without any consequences. The media doesn’t see that this is what they want, but I insist that it if they were honest with themselves, they would admit it. The media wants Utopia, they want Heaven on Earth, and they want our politicians to usher it in. They should realize how dangerous a project theirs has proven to be.

3 comments:

CMinor said...

I was wondering today if my daughter might be able to land one of those "energy-saving light bulb installer" jobs when she graduates from college in the spring.

Sigh.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Do you have particular networks or personalities in mind when you use the term "the media," or do you mean the media as a whole?

Zach said...

I mean more or less all the popular networks... ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, CNN, most modern newspapers, NPR and public television in general. For what it's worth, this rather clumsily written rant was inspired in particular by NPR.

I think the belief in the power of government to change people and to solve problems is one of the great philosophical problems to come out of modernity or the "enlightenment".