Lighting a Candle

Many Americans say they are fed up with their government, that “the time is right for a palace revolution.”  President Obama’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, and the voters are angry not so much with the administration as with all incumbents.  But why would anyone pay attention to opinion polls?  All polls are to some extent push-polls—that is, they are designed as much to create as to report public opinion.  Opinion polls are the end result of the inevitable slide of democracy into demagoguery and tyranny.  No one is easier to enslave than the proverbial average guy, if he can be persuaded to think that he has a right to his own opinion.  In fact, the average American is incapable of forming his own opinion.

The manipulation, or rather invention, of public opinion is not an exclusively leftist phenomenon.  Conservatives have their own talking points and plenty of pretty young talking heads to recite the daily agitprop.  Much of what I hear on the radio is a kind of patriotic mythology packaged as American history.  If the left demonizes the American past as an age of bigotry and repression, conservative pundits portray it as a golden age of individual liberty.  In other words, they take the leftist language of liberation and read it backward, hawking the Constitution as if it were “Hope in a Bottle.”  For the radio hustlers, all the Founding Fathers were...

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