August 21st, 2012Breakfast with Mr. Gullibleby Joseph Pearce
A few weeks ago I recounted “an evening with Gollum” in which I attempted, apparently in vain, to persuade and motivate an alcoholic friend to pull himself and his life together for his own sake and for that of his child. This reminiscing about past encounters reminded me of a recent encounter with Mr. Gullible.
I’ve known Mr. Gullible for years. He’s an old acquaintance. The thing that characterizes Mr. Gullible is his apparent inability to think for himself. His thoughts are always those of other people. To be precise, his thoughts are always those espoused by talking heads on TV. I have long since dispensed with the watching of television, not wishing to be plugged into the intvenous drip of lies that poisons the mind with toxic sound-bites. Mr. Gullible, on the other hand, is addicted to the toxin and feels that he needs to spend several hours a day being (mal)nourished by the poison. The problem is that he does not know that he is being fed a diet of deadly lies. He believes that television reflects the truth and that talking heads speak with authority. Any attempt to explain to him that the media is dancing to a secular fundamentalist tune is met with a benignly banal smile. He knows better. What he hears and sees on TV is the truth and anyone who cannot see it is deluded. There is no real world outside the “reality” of television.
The sad consequence of this televisual blindness is that Mr. Gullible has no ideas of his own. He simply parrots what he hears most often from the pundits on CBS, NBC and CNN. There is nothing that his friends can say to make him question the “experts”.
During our recent discussion over breakfast, I was surprised that this old man had abandoned the concept of marriage and family that he had held throughout his life in order to parrot the party-line on “gay” marriage. I tried to explain to him that every generation in human history had understood marriage to be the union of a man and woman for the purposes of procreation. A few years ago he would not have questioned this primal and primary reality of human life. Indeed its truth would have been so self-evident and obvious that it would have seemed odd that I had even mentioned it. It was akin to asserting that cats have four legs, or that night follows day. Now, however, he merely looked at me with the same benign banality which greeted any dissident voice daring to question the wisdom of the latest faddish “orthodoxy”. I was a “heretic” for believing something that he had also believed for the whole of his life until the “experts” informed him that he was wrong. He was now enlightened. I was ignorant. His eyes expressed the sort of supercilious vacuity that is the hallmark of the gullible.
It was pointless trying to reason with him about concepts such as the natural law. Law was simply something that politicians were elected to change at whim.
Mr. Gullible is a sad and sorry creature. I know him well. He is both the future and the failure of democracy. His fate is to be manipulated by those who are richer and more powerful than he is so that those who are richer and more powerful remain richer and more powerful. He will do their will because he no longer has a will of his own. Mr. Gullible is the harbinger and herald of tyranny. In the abandonment of his own freedom he imperils the freedom of everyone else.