Sunday, October 18, 2009

Statist Tools: Tripwires

  • "The evil Boosh. Bush is responsible for everything bad according to you."
  • "STOP with the death panels stuff. It's just not true."
  • "You third party boosters are nothing more than Democrat shills."
  • "Sarah Palin? [Sneering laughter] My God man, there's nothing more you can tell me." [Walks out]
I suspect I am not alone in hearing similar exhortations erupt in the midst of an otherwise reasonable discussion. In each instance that I heard these, what I would call a "tripwire" had been triggered. What are tripwires? Where did they come from? What may be done about them?

In the incidents above, the tripwires were, respectively:
  • The first mention of any of GWBush’s errors (reaction from a variety of conservatives who’ve been conditioned by the untrue attacks on W to defend him for nearly everything);
  • After receiving a news story about QALY (reaction from a captive of the statist media);
  • After anyone threatens to leave the GOP unless its leadership stops demonizing lower party members (reaction from a party hack);
  • Any mention of Sarah Palin (reactions by any Dem and many RINOs).
When, upon hearing some words or phrases, a listener launches into a rant or other unbridled action, we may say metaphorically that the words acted as a tripwire.

As with someone who triggers the tripwire of an antipersonnel mine, most people who are set off by a tripwire (the 'sploder if you will), or a speaker who inadvertently sets one off (the tripper), are not pleased with the result.

But what of those who gain from the tripwires being triggered? Are they simply the beneficiaries of the tripwires naturally sprouting up as do weeds after spring rains, or do they have some role in setting or keeping the tripwires in place?

Deliberately speaking such words in the presence of a listener known to respond explosively is clearly a ploy that is seeking a repeat of that explosion.
  • In the case of a joker, we see it done purely for entertainment, especially when applied to someone known to be strung too tightly.
  • In the case of a trainer, the reason is to callous the listener so that they become inured to hearing the words.
  • The more Machiavellian hit tripwires to derail the listener from whatever course or thought in which they are presently engaging.
  • The worst are demagogues who use them to enrage mobs.
Those who engage in such manipulations can clearly be seen as provocateurs or, at the very least, tools of provocateurs. So clearly, some people gain from the setting and maintaining tripwires.

Then there are those who respond angrily to some words, as if the words were their tripwires. They aim to cause many speakers to curb their speech in the interest of maintaining comity or avoiding sanctions. Such a manipulator may become known as a censor or tool of a censor. Clearly, such people enjoy a degree of power from this situation than they would otherwise experience. So they benefit to from the setting and maintaining of tripwires.

Included in this group would be those who we should recognize carry around a chip on their shoulder and are ever ready to respond to any utterance that even vaguely sounds like a tripwire. For lack of a better word now, let's call them professional victims. I will provide an example of this tomorrow because this is a special case that may be the source of great damage to our society. At any rate, this sort of person helps provide justification for the promulgation of the tripwires and thereby aiding both the of the two previous types who set and maintain the trips.


I have provided but a few examples of what I call tripwires and their consequences. You probably have more than a few of your own. You may call them hot-button items instead. Consider sharing some of yours in the comments. What is important to recognize is that our society has been put on edge by these items. And who is the primary culprit who has pressed them upon us by constant repetition of issues and items that promulgate them? Why it’s the media that most of us – as revealed by their financial collapse – have learned to mistrust in the extreme.

If you wish to be able to join with your fellow Americans to counter the Statist push we all recognize at least to some degree, you have got to find ways, train yourself if needed, to stop from exploding when someone trips your wires or pushes your hot-buttons.

Don’t let the scoundrels win. They who constantly lay landmines that harm our society and culture will continue to succeed until you get wise to their manipulation of you and your neighbors. Get together with your neighbors and discuss how it is that tripwires exist and shed light upon each and every one you can perceive.

Each tripwire is a little thing. Uncovering them one at a time will help you keep from triggering them and maybe, hopefully, defuse the bomb-like issues that divide us to begin with. Any success from each small but cumulative effort will serve you and America very well.

I thank Mark Vande Pol, author of Shemitta: For the Land Is Mine, for his aid in editing and suggestions in composing this essay.

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