Malt Corn, Statesmen, and Hypocrites

State of the Union? What State of the Union? I watched an episode of Moonshiners off my DVR and learned a whole lot more. I also read a little bit; not a bad alternative to allowing my blood pressure to skyrocket as a smug little man tells me how great things are going, but that there’s still much to do. Whatever. I learned instead that the natural yeast from malt corn doesn’t cause a hangover.

I also learned, from reading Leonard Read, that “no individual keenly aware of his limitations tries to solve the problems of the universe.” Oh, wait, that sounds like someone I know—someone who was blathering on network television last night. Further, Read asks, “Who then does try to solve the problems of the universe? The millions of politicians—not statesmen—with not a smidgeon of awareness as to how little they know.” If these politicians are to be believed, Read says, they expect us to believe that:

They know how to run the lives of all persons within their towns, counties, states, nations. The truth? They know not how to run their own lives let alone yours or mine. “To be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of ignorance.”

True words indeed. Turn on the news or read the papers or scan the internet for the span of no more than a minute and you are bound to come across at least two stories of political corruption or a politican’s hypocrisy (but I repeat myself). The amazing thing is not that they are still lying, cheating, and stealing, the really amazing thing is that we still act surprised. Liars lie, cheaters cheat, and stealers steal; excel at all three and you will soon be on your way to public office. Get in with the right group of sugar daddies and you might even become President some day.

Quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, Read writes: “Despotism may govern without faith but liberty cannot.” Read continues:

The millions of dictocrats [do as I say, not as I do] in the U.S.A. are without faith in liberty. To the contrary, they are obsessed by the fallacious notion that they are supermen, self-anointed to wield a godlike power over others. This is a messianic delusion.

Yes it is. Jesus was the true Messiah, allowing himself to be crucified for the sins of the world (John 1:29), and political messiahs have been crucifying their constituents ever since, trying to atone for their own sins. It is all rather sad and depressing.

So what to do? Read has a suggestion: “To improve the lot of mankind, let each of us do his duty, starting with himself, deepening his understanding of the miracles wrought by freedom.” Simple enough. Take care of your house and stop worrying about your neighbor’s. I reckon this advice would also apply to political leaders? It should, but they probably wouldn’t listen to a freedom-loving, free-market capitalist like Leonard Read anyway. Fair enough. Let them hear Jesus then:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

State of the Union, my eye. I have better things to do. Like removing planks and searching for malt corn, for instance.