Convention Surrealism, Soviet Realism

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Where people are free, and where liberty is valued, we have, as in the University of South Florida Sundome and Paulfest, eudemonia. Human flourishing, unlimited and peaceful. Two days later, I attended my first (and only) day of the RNC convention. There we witnessed the joyless, force, and fear-filled kabuki of the state party, its favored state media, and its braintrust, known as the Boston mafia. The restaurants and bars near the convention were a wasteland populated only by mismatched groups of police, TSA, National Guard, Homeland security, and other “police.” I was reminded of several 20th century totalitarian regimes around the world, where the people on the streets stay wary and controlled, while armed groups of soldiers lounge against buildings looking at the locals for something to allay their boredom, and validate their existence. A restaurant owner in front of his empty restaurant two blocks from the Tampa Convention Center, just after 1 pm on Tuesday, spoke angrily to no one in particular “Where are my customers?” I stopped, and told him “This is what a police state looks like.” He didn’t get it, but he will. Meanwhile, the convention attendees (except for those with access to party leaders) were trapped inside and force-fed overpriced, nearly inedible, and certainly unhealthy food. Most of the GOP doesn’t understand liberty, their own party, economics, or history, but they still have to eat. Central planners and controllers managed the venue, the media, the message — but the less than enthusiastic faces, the lack of general happiness in the Tampa convention was Soviet in every way. Unfree people, very poorly informed, with indigestion.

7:08 am on August 31, 2012