Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Sound of Freedom

Here’s an article that got sent to me by Nader’s email-list folks. It seems to be a transcript of a talk that some guy named Mickey Z. gave, so it lacks a little bit of focus. For example, Mickey goes off on rants about cellphones and about the US military, but it’s not clear what these rants have to do with his larger anti-US-government message. Also, he can be infuriatingly brief; he implies that the New York Times regularly prints lies, but then he doesn’t give any examples and instead seems to think the problem is bigger than the Times. Worst of all, he can be downright misleading, as when he says (correctly) that John Kerry wrote part of the Patriot Act but doesn’t mention that the part Kerry wrote just involves stricter penalties for terrorists’ money-laundering.

But I don’t think Mickey’s really trying to persuade readers of a specific political position or point of view; he’s just trying to get people to think. It’s unfortunate, though, that he has to resort to a little bit of deception and exaggeration to do that. It’s also particularly disappointing that he ridicules traditional methods of protest (petitions, letters to Congress, charitable donations, etc.) without suggesting any solutions of his own (although it does prove the point that he’s mostly interested in just getting some critical thought going). At a couple points he actually seems to suggest terrorist acts as a solution, but he’s pretty indirect about it; he’d probably tell me I’m reading too much into his words. I hope so, since he unsurprisingly criticizes the US military for what he calls terrorist actions.

The article’s a good read despite its problems, with lots of food for thought and a lot of good material on that dreaded two-party system I’ve been criticizing (I particularly liked the “reasons you shouldn’t vote for McCain”). It’s kind of long, but I found it to be light, quick reading. It’s pretty cleverly written, for better or worse. Just keep an open mind and a grain of salt.

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