“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The rule of pink
I am back in the States. Last night I took a friend to dinner at a small BYOB restaurant with good food and too many tables for a tiny place, but the food always pleases. Sometimes your unintended company at an adjacent table adds to the evening and other time annoys. Seated next to us was a lovely very tanned Asian girl with a perfectly revealing dress. I tried not to leer too obviously but may have. Her date was one of those overly handsome smug pink shirted khaki panted twerps with Italian loafers and no socks. I instantly hated him. It got worse.
As in all things, the dinner and the conversation was designed to ensure that he would get the lovely cleavage for dessert. It was an obvious first date with commensurate small talk and exploration of experiences and plans. The young fortunate man was most pleased with himself when he told her about starting law school in September. Princeton I believe. It will cost about thirteen million dollars but he will make that up and then some the first year out. The young lad wanted to do something for the environment. Very noble. The fetching tanned beauty leaned forward, Asian eyes widened. Nice little sparkly bits on her perfectly shaped vintage champagne sized breasts. He cocked his head and demonstrated his concern for global warming with the use of his hands. The table warmed and the sparkles sparkled.
I waited for the youthful answer to the ozone deficient, carbonized planet. In another era, the dream would be for an engineering or scientific breakthrough, something dramatic and certain.
"I have decided that I want to be a lawyer so that I can sue companies that are polluting the environment.", he said to her approval.
Imagine that. Imagine a society that is so dominated by law and process that ever malady, every issue requires a lawyer. I looked at him again and pictured much less fortunate young men fighting and dying in the streets of Iraq. I pictured them practicing their military arts under rules designed and argued, and implemented by privileged lesser men with no socks and pink shirts. How did our masters and rulers so thoroughly manipulate and dominate us? How did the doers and fighters and builders lose so thoroughly to these men?