By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
The adult humans who live in the Golden State of California pride themselves in being progressive and inventive. Folks who live in Silicon Valley consider themselves to be on the cutting edge of all the “high tech” industries they have spawned.
Sadly, the myopic vision and foot dragging of California’s political leaders in dealing with extracting oil near its shores and promoting technology to convert salt water to fresh water for the arid land that supports the dominant agriculture industry show how hypocritical people with political power can be.
But hypocrisy is “in” these days. Californian drivers pay the highest prices per gallon of gasoline due to the required additives that are supposed to reduce the smog in Los Angeles County. Several consecutive years of drought have resulted in rationing the use of water for city dwellers and in curtailing the amount of water for irrigating farm land.
In another controversy, more than 30,000 illegal immigrant criminals are jailed in overcrowded prisons instead of repatriating them to their homelands. In San Francisco illegal immigrant juvenile delinquents pending trials for alleged crimes are protected from deportation. Such recalcitrance in removing undesirable and socially disruptive illegal immigrants is further proof that this state has no rational direction.
The most blatant form of hypocrisy in California is the fiscal irresponsibility of the elected representatives in the state capitol who spend tax revenue they are unlikely to collect and borrow from the future to fund deficits. The overly complex and prejudicial system of taxing citizens cannot be explained simply to an angry public or managed prudently by government agencies. Each year hypocritical voters and influential media organs want more benefits for the general public who rarely vote for increasing taxes to pay for these numerous benefits.
What has such hypocrisy to do with masochism, you might ask. Despite all the politically correct jargon from elected officials saying that local governments are interested in promoting public welfare, their lack of appropriate and timely action clearly demonstrates that suffering economically and personally as a consequence of repeated bad political and economic decisions must continue. Since voters refuse to change the political make-up of the legislature in Sacramento, self-flagellation seems to be desired by the apathetic, masochistic citizens of this state. Half of registered voters bother to go to the polls to vote in non-presidential elections.
Everywhere that folks meet in a group, there are nasty gripes and sarcastic remarks heard about what is being done or not being done in Sacramento and Washington, DC. The never-ending polarized arguments of the two political parties reflect an attitude that suffering by a significant amount of legal citizens is tolerable if not relished. Not all that “suffering” is physical however.
In his book, Games People Play, Dr. Eric Berne, “a prominent California psychiatrist” (back in 1964 when his book was published) identifies a game he calls “Ain’t it Awful” (which is played by people who give others the impression that they are victims of some horrible circumstance.) Dr. Berne describes that game in the following words: “Ain’t it Awful becomes a game…when the player overtly expresses distress, but is covertly gratified at the prospect of the satisfaction he can wring from his misfortune.” Any person that plays that dangerous game appears to be a masochist to me, an amateur observer of impractical and neurotic human behavior.
By their actions, masochistic California voters continually beg to postpone the financial agony naively ignoring the fact that the piper has to be paid sooner or later. The savvy political sadists in power vaguely warn voters about California’s dismal financial future and withhold the stinging lash of tax increases temporarily. These term-limited leaders act like Red Skelton, the comic masochist who used to say on his popular radio show, “If I dood it, I get a whipping. I dood it!”
If any human acts in a manner that deliberately ignores the fact that a painful consequence will necessarily follow, such a person is a masochist. The decision-making people who are responsible for governing California knowingly commit their bureaucracy to missions that are ambitious, risky, and financially underfunded. The pain of failure may not be felt by the public immediately, but it will be experienced as time passes and reality becomes more apparent.
This proud nation may have arrived at a tipping point where the sadistic leaders in other countries will stop financing this country’s extravagance. Then, all the squirming local masochists who ultimately must fund the folly of trying to “buy your way out of financial trouble with borrowed funds” will be severely castigated.
Good luck, Jerry Brown. Is it possible for all the Democrats that were recently elected to state offices to find a practical solution to this economic stalemate?