Solipsism is not, technically speaking, a disease . . . except in my upcoming novel. Solipsism is a philosophy, partly attributed to Rene Descartes, whose “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”) contends that only one’s mind can be known to exist. The implication is that solipsists do not recognize any reality other than their own.
I’m of a more practical bent. Descartes probably didn’t do his own cooking, or he might have modified his philosophy to “Edo ergo sum,” or “I eat, therefore I am.”
Which brings me to the Senior Citizens’ Domestic Affairs group I attend whenever I have the stomach for it. As practically the only Southerner in this group that is obsessed with slavery, racial issues, gun control, and “How could someone as provocative as Donald Trump be so popular,” I feel called, from time to time, to confront these urban Yankee solipsists with the notion that there are realities beyond the Isle of Manhattan.
Not to advocate for slave-owners, racists, or the gun rights’ activists, because they are equally intolerant of other points of view. What strikes me as odd, however, is the general assumption by all sides (except me) that you can solve problems with money and legislation. We can’t get good gun legislation because the NRA supports too many legislators. We can’t get good enforcement of existing laws because the ATF is underfunded, as are the courts and the police. And, of course, we can’t afford enough jails to contain all the criminals we have created with all our laws.
In short, the attitude seems to be one of “We need more money to pass more laws to improve on existing laws that we can’t or won’t enforce because we don’t have enough money to enforce them.”
This approach may work for lawyers (who constitute the greatest special interest group in government), but it doesn’t work for anyone who appreciates freedom. Every law creates outlaws, and every law favors one group over another. But government is inherently solipsistic in that it refuses to accept any reality outside of its own legal system. Lawyers like to talk about the “Rule of law.” Alexis de Tocquevillle anticipated that America was in danger of creating an “aristocracy of lawyers.”
Whether “liberal” or “conservative,” “left” or “right,” “Democrat” or “Republican,” they are united in their solipsistic belief that government has the right to extort taxes to control the personal and social lives of anyone who happens to have been born within its political boundaries.
Has anyone besides me considered that putting Congress out to pasture a few years might mitigate many of our social and financial problems? The president, too. My perpetual favorite candidate, “Nobody,” is never on the ballot.