In Defense of the Camel
Alex Issigonis, a Greek automobile designer born in what is now the Turkish city of Izmir, was quoted in the July 1958 edition of VOGUE as saying, “A camel is a horse designed by committee.” Famous for designing the Mini as a small, utilitarian, simple to use automobile, his name is lost to history. These same adjectives, coupled with a similar design aesthetic could also be used to describe Steve Jobs. Mr. Jobs was the laser-focused CEO of a small, silicon-valley based company called Apple. Neither one was interested in public opinion surveys or focus groups, and as we know, neither man ever amounted to much in life.
Thankfully, our public leaders are held to a higher position. President Clinton was forever accused of giving wet-Willie’s to people because his index finger was always wet. But it was only wet for the purpose of seeing which way the wind was blowing. Every president since and every senator and representative down the line from the national to the local level have taken this game book to heart. Public opinion is the narcotic to which every politician is addicted. We are the Gallup Nation. For reasons that elude me, our Founding Fathers insisted on forming the government as a republic rather than a democracy. Fortunately, that nuance (nuisance) has been lost on all subsequent generations. Committees now lead us and our government has become the camel. And don’t we all love camels?
In fact, the situation is a little more complicated. While public opinion dictates the position of politicians, lobbyists and partisan “news” organizations teach the public what to think. So, lobbyists tell us what to think, we tell the politicians what we now believe and the politicians tell us what we want to hear. It is a very efficient system.
For some reason, we, collectively, have an unfounded appreciation for Abraham Lincoln. First of all, with a name like Abraham, are we sure he wasn’t Jewish? I, for one, have never seen his birth certificate. I can’t help but wonder if a modern president were in office back in 1862 whether or not we would have had a Civil War at all! Public opinion at the time must have been pushing one way or another. Why did our leader not bend to their wishes? Certainly, if we had wanted slaves freed, we would have said so.
Hamilton wrote numerous articles for the people of New York regarding the future of the Union in the Federalist Papers. Arguing for a Union rather than thirteen independent countries (or 3 or 4 regional countries) ignored the wishes of the public completely. Who’s to say that we would not have been better off with 4 individual countries rather than one big one? Maybe the Civil War would never have occurred if the north and the south were already different countries! Forget the first few articles from the Federalist Papers regarding foreign aggression, they were obviously written under duress.
Camels are fun to look at. We like them. We should all have one, like a gun.
I have submitted this article to the requisite committees who have changed it at the request of the lobbyists and we submit it to the public for the absorption in hopes that our politicians adopt it as their own.
And now back to Fox News…