Why do politics when you can go insane?

To the untrained eye, it might seem like a center-left technocrat beat a moderate Republican last Tuesday, and politics have returned to business as usual. You probably think that, because you have been hypnotized by the mainstream media. People who see past the bias—primarily those who get their news from sources directly affiliated with one of the parties—know that this year’s election sounded the death knell for American liberty. There’s this lady, who ran over her husband with a Jeep because he didn’t vote. There’s Texas’s petition to secede from the union, which cites TSA screenings and is well past the 25,000-signature threshold after which the White House guarantees a response. And there’s Eric Dondero, the libertarian and former Ron Paul aide who has launched a personal boycott of Democrats. Props to J-Sri for the link. Insane elaborations after the jump.

Lest you think Dondero’s boycott of Democrats is limited to Democrat-owned businesses or even affiliated organizations, New York magazine has asked him a series of clarifying questions. You’d think that he made himself pretty clear in his original blog post on LibertarianRepublican.net. Quote:

All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.

Whom, Eric Dondero—all family and friends whom you know to be Democrats are dead to you. Also your mustache makes you look like a narc, but that’s not important now. What’s important is that, having gone into the election offering his implied consent that it would be legitimate and binding, Dondero regards the result as an affront to liberty. He means it, too, as he explains in his response to the question of whether he would visit a Democratic family member dying of cancer in the hospital:

I’m done with any and all Democrats in my life for good…I’ve just had a pretty intense experience with someone close to me today, someone I’ve known since childhood….If there is one person out there who I would break down my rule for it is this person. Lifelong friend. East Coast in fact. It’s been 24 hours and I’m still holding strong.

24 hours, huh? It is here we begin to wonder whether Dondero made his declaration in haste, and if some of his recommendations—“Do you work for someone who voted for Obama? Quit your job”—will feel kind of silly in March. Like the 60,000-some people who believe Texas should secede from the United States and, presumably, accept Mitt Romney as state president, Dondero’s plan seems grounded more in the desire to make a dramatic personal gesture than in any practical sense.

But hey—he’s cut every Democrat he knows out of his life. He could not be more committed to the cause of Mitt Romney having been elected president. Like Eric Hartsburg, who got the Romney-Ryan logo tattooed on his face, he’s probably “glad to know that I did all that I could.”

Yes, Hartsburg did all that he could, short of actually going to work for the Romney-Ryan campaign. I think we can all agree, though, that getting a tattoo on your face is way more hardcore—like no longer talking to your lifelong friends or quitting your job because your boss voted Democrat or running over your husband with the car. That’s dedication. It’s just not the kind of dedication that in any way advances your goals.

Dashed liberty notwithstanding, the United States federal government will convene for business tomorrow. We will probably even have a few more elections before our socialist overlords attach us to the vitamin extractors. Had he not cut himself off entirely from all Americans who do not agree with his views, Eric Dondero would still have time to influence government. He’d just have to do it in ways that were a lot more boring and—dare I say it—less self-aggrandizing.

But that would also be less American, at least by the standards of 2012. Our politics is more gestural and less active than that of our forebears. Probably, that’s good—the issues we care about do not affect, for example, whether we can be bought and sold by wealthy southern gentlemen, and so we are free to treat politics as sports. We can express our fanaticism instead of playing in the game. But there is still work to be done in American governance and civic life, and no amount of face tattooing will accomplish it.

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  1. I’ve noticed that hardly any of my GOP FB friends are posting stuff post-election… obviously the haven’t de-friended me, but I thought at least a few of them would have more to say. The one post I’ve come across was bewailing the electoral college, and I felt it necessary to drop a reminder of the 2000 FL debacle and Bush losing the popular vote.

  2. Your post assumes Eric Dondero is real. I read his piece, and the pieces that followed yesterday and today, and the pieces that were there before the election, and the website, as satire. It’s actually more insane to imagine the site and the people on it are real than it is to assume it’s an elaborate hoax.

    Here my definition of “real” is not the objective meaning which would care if Eric Dondero was once a child, and then shaped by experiences which eventually fostered his present worldview and behavior. In that sense he could very much be real. But a more useful meaning for “real” is whether Eric Dondero exists to serve us, the internet community currently reacting to what he’s posted. To that community, Eric Dondero is the extreme on which we anchor our identities. We see his sophomoric ideology and insane presentation and with no hesitation or qualms, appoint ourselves sensible and good. He’s the Other. If we found his insane ramblings on a piece of paper in the street we would not read it, react, and drop it. That act has no meaning. No, we’d have to run to a friend and show him for our reaction to have meaning. You cannot calibrate your sense of self in a vacuum.

    Maybe this is solipsistic, but I don’t believe Eric Dondero exists except for me. For me to…poop on. And I think if he didn’t exist, we’d have to create him.

  3. “That’s dedication. It’s just not the kind of dedication that in any way advances your goals.”

    Good work.

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