Throughout history, and in many cultures, there have been stories of great magicians, those who conjured up ‘spells’ to influence the actions of others, change their forms and hold ‘power’ over things far beyond their physical existence. The magicians of today are the writers and speakers who present ideas, who tap into the psychological desires of the populace, the ‘zeitgeist’ of their particular age and sum-up mass action through their work.
Hitler was a grand magician, Churchill a lesser one and Obama is a magician whose powers are solely dependent upon the spells written for him. If we look at languages, we can see that there are – contingent upon specific cultural frameworks – certain ‘power words’ that instantaneously affect the thoughts and feelings of those who are listening or reading; sometimes this amounts to millions of people. These are mere words, yet ones that can change the direction of a personal argument, the direction of a community, or indeed an entire planet for a potential eternity. “Racist”, “reactionary”, “idiot”, “weirdo”, “extremist”, “terrorist” – these are a small example of some of the most popular ‘power words’ used today. Of course, each word only ‘has’ power if the target of such a spell (anyone listening) believes in the significance of it. One sees it all the time – if a particular ‘power word’ has no effect upon the target in question, the instigator quickly jumps to another, and then another, in a desperate attempt to destroy a person (or an idea) by a process independent of reason.
I do not support the conscious usage of ‘power words’ when used for invalid mean, for example to incite violence, however they hold a potential power that is unmistakeable and one that could be used to support the realisation of a much more preferable paradigm. Where, however are the ‘magicians’ of the ‘liberty movement’? Indeed, it seems that the majority of the proselytization techniques of these ‘movements’ are dominated by arguments of utility. Whilst these are impressive to that small minority in society who move about in academic and ‘think-tank’ circles, such arguments are almost absolutely uninspiring to the broad mass of people. The average person is so buried under facts, statistics and figures that he cannot wait to get away from the argument as soon as possible – due to pure boredom and annoyance. These arguments do not ‘stiffen the sinews’ or ‘summon up the blood’, but merely excite those elements of society who generally prefer the armchair of esoteric discussion rather than the application of ideas and actual change. It simply isn’t good enough, and empirically, one can see how little (practically nought) such arguments have changed the direction of the societies to a preferable paradigm where such methods are used.
Furthermore, it seems that in many ways such arguments have a negative effect upon the popularity of the ideas of freedom, autonomy and voluntary association. Many a time have I seen a firebrand state socialist debate from the heart and ‘win’ arguments against ‘staid’, ’collected’ debaters of the ‘utility brigade’. The futility of utility arguments is exposed consistently, not because of their lack of logic and reasoning, but rather their inability to inspire and speak to the deep psychological desires and passions of the populace at large.
I want to see less snivelling, matter-of-fact, limp-wristed arguments derived from pie-charts and trend curves, and more passionate, fiery and leaping arguments that take no prisoners and unashamedly speak truth to power, whilst dropping poetry into the ears of all those who will listen .
Let’s make some magic.