Quentin Crisp, author of The Naked Civil Servant, begins his book with an anecdote about his youth at the beginning of WWII when he, a flamboyant homosexual with little money bought two pounds of henna to dye his hair and sat in tea shops to stay warm because he couldn't afford the gas meter in his room, being unemployed, as one might well imagine. He relates that in the run-up to the war in the 1940s he was at the very centre of outlandish nose-thumbing at conventional society, so outrageous that he was alone in the centre of social rebellion. He continues that by staying the same as he'd been the world moved around him and beyond him to the point that he found himself in the very suburbs of conventionality by simply not changing.
Look at us now. Look at how many of us who began as normal and ordinary middle-class liberal-minded Democrats and moderate conservative Republicans and just plain folk, as it were, are now so far from the mainstream of the political norms that we might well find ourselves in the company of Quentin Crisp, exiled to the furthest fringes of looniness simply for being and for remaining the same ordinary and normal people we were.
I have argued many times that the government does not fail the people: people fail the government. We, living in nations under the rule of legitimate law and able to elect our representatives, have sat at home and let the whole of the West slide into a muck-pit of sickening political corruption. I argue that we cannot blame our politicians for acting by the lights of their own persons, they being scum people to begin with; instead, I accuse our own for allowing this to happen when we had the power to stop it and to reverse it and to improve on what we had to make our nations good. We've betrayed our own democracies and our own people, and therefore we've betrayed the entire world's people by not maintaining and expanding our glorious revolutions of Modernity. Worse, we've let scum people run our public institutions and we've allowed hate-filled ideologues to capture our public and nation discourses. We, being reasonable and sane, have sat on our good principles and watched as the maniacs among us have marched off to the new centre, leaving us stranded in the wilderness of normalcy.
That sword cuts both ways. While our leaders and intelligentsia are off in some cloud cuckoo-land concocting political stews of the eyes of newts we can cut them off as easily as snapping our fingers. They are for the most part so far gone from the principles of Jefferson and Theodor Roosevelt that one cannot these days recognize the nation. Where is Locke and J.S. Mill? What happened to Jean-Paul Marat and Leon Blum? What happened to G.E. Lessing and Edoard Bernstein? They sit in the area reserved for the normal. It's time to rally around our past principled thinkers. It's time to gather the normal among us who sit in the political wilderness of sanity and simply cut off the tiny minority of loonies who have hijacked our social and political agendas. It's time for us to lop off both ends of the political spectrum and form a meaningful party of normal people from the centre, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans in America, as an example, forming one third party of the majority of normal people in the West. The Left and the Right, these terms are meaningless today. And so, I argue are terms such as Republican, Democrat, Labour, Conservative, and so on. I argue for the creation of a third, middle party, comprising normal people with a Modernist agenda. The 19th century was fun while it lasted, but it's over now, and I think it's time we move on to something else. I think it's time we stop gazing in horror at ourselves in the mirror wondering how we got to be so old and outcast, and that we stand up and take control again of our nations. Let's toss the henna and worry more about getting back to work to get the heat back on.
Most of us are likely still as fit as a bull moose.