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The conditioned mind

Anyone masochistic enough to follow national discussions after the first round of French elections will understand my take on the ridiculous process: People are profoundly unoriginal. They have specific buttons you can push and, like a character  out of a Steinberg drawing, will have tapes of paper with pre-printed words tumble out, completely predictable, completely uninteresting. Watching the absolutely pointless debate between the two candidates or listening to Sarkozy cabinet members or to socialist contenders for possible winner Francois Hollande in the second round—tomorrow– seeing them arrive out of breath to this or that radio or TV studio, spill out the same absurd arguments with the same lack of logic and accusations and trumped-up statistics is a sad spectacle. The French are socialists, so Hollande is their guy. He will listen to workers and syndicates, return France to the prestige it lost since Sarkozy became Merkel’s best friend, take care of unemployment, open wide the gates to immigrants, give us “singing tomorrows.” Or the French are on the right, Sarkozy is their guy. He’ll get tougher on immigrants who won’t integrate, strengthen European bonds, ensure that France doesn’t sink to the miserable economic levels of Greece or Spain.
Where would be thinkers belonging to neither side, the ones who’d dare to say that both Hollande and Sarkozy have strengths and weaknesses, that if there ever was a time for thinking outside the box or actually reframing that box, this would be it? That the tried-and-true no longer exists in this fundamentally changed world, that things can be seen differently and new alliances formed?
The 1 percent are not the rich, they’re the original independent minds.

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