UK Budget Fantasies and Obamagnosticism

Overheard last week, said by the Kim Cattrall character in an ancient episode of Sex and the City, shown last Wednesday (I think), on a free digital channel called “Fiver”. Quote:

“I don’t believe in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. I just believe in parties.”

In this particular episode, a politician tells the Sarah Jessica Parker character that he wants her to piss on him in the shower.

I can understand people being depressed about sentiments such as these, and portrayals of politicians such as this. But despising, on the one hand, politicians as they are now, and on the other hand despising the whole idea of cooperative, communal life and despising all argument about what form that communal life should take, are not the same thing. Arguing, in particular, that cooperation is the antithesis of compulsion is not the same as denying the need for or value of cooperation. But by defining actually-existing-politics as the only cooperative game in town, you can persuade yourself that hating actually-existing-politicians means necessarily believing only in nihilistic atomism. (See also this recent piece by me about, among other things, what Guido Fawkes believes in.)

Sadly though, people who one year are expressing extreme cynicism about politics will often, the next year, go mad for the latest version of the political delusion at its commanding-and-controlling taxing-and-spending worst, their cynicism and then mania being but different faces of the same urge to worship. This urge now centres (here in Britain as well as in the USA) upon President Barack Obama, the living embodiment, for now, of the claim that politicians can do anything, including make command-and-control tax-and-spend politics-as-usual work wonderfully well, if only they are heroic enough and eloquent enough, and if only they are ready to command, control, tax and spend even more. Some, such as me, are cynical about the entire political process as now organised, that is, cynical about the rules which govern it, such as that command, control, tax, spend are all perfectly fine. But anti-politics of other kinds is just disappointment that a particular politician, or particular clutch of or generation of politicians, is revealed as having feet of clay. The rules are fine; we just need politicians with nicer feet. We just need politicians who don’t, as it were, turn out to want to be pissed on in the shower. I say: wait for perfectly heroic politicians, while keeping the rules that are now such a temptation to them unchanged, and you wait for ever.

I further assume that the entire gang of producers, writers, directors, cast and crew of Sex and the City are, for as long as Obama-worship persists, either all of them Obama-worshippers, or else keeping very quiet about their Obamagnosticism (or very quiet about their Obamatheism).

Were those words just invented by me, I wonder? It turns out, not (I do love Google):

What’s true is that I’ve yet to feel comprehensive obamantipathy, obamangst, obamanimosity, obamanger or obamagnosticism much less obamatheism, but I definitely see obamapathy on the very near horizon.

Give it time, and many will be feeling all of the above. But, many of them will only be waiting for the next politician to worship.

Brian Micklethwait

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