I don’t plan to bash John Boehner into the ground forever. As much of a nice guy as I think he is, nice doesn’t mean a person is immune to criticism, especially when they hold very public government positions—yet John said something that was very insightful within his announcement speech of leaving congress ahead of some serious controversy. The cause of his effect—his desire to step down as Speaker of the House and to leave congress all together by his words is to protect the institution of his office intending to offer that the individual sacrifice themselves to the higher concept so to preserve it. In Boehner’s case, he is specifically indicating the minority of his political party who are rebel rousing constitutional purists, and are going to fight him at every step in future key issues, such as the funding of Planned Parenthood, the debt limit and the inevitable fiscal cliff that we are all facing as a nation. Boehner proposed that the institution was greater than the individual which explains immensely what is wrong with American government in 2015.
It seems like a long time ago but remember Trent Lott, the former Senate Majority Leader in 2008? Well, he and ex-Louisiana Senator John Breaux opened up a lobbying firm and took in $30.8 million dollars over a three-year period after they left office. They now work for Squire Patton Boggs who does lobbying work for Amazon. Their job was to twist the arms of people like John Boehner into doing what they needed for their clients. Boehner was often the monkey in the middle who had Trent Lott beating on his door over some issue or another—a guy who obviously helped pave the way for Boehner to emerge as an obscure Ohio congressman to the eventual leadership role of Speaker of the House by working things behind the scenes. Well when those favors are called in what’s John supposed to do, keep the door closed on Trent? Or is Boehner supposed to listen to the twenty raucous Constitutional purists who demanded that Boehner act out of integrity instead of lobbying dollars. Boehner decided that if he wanted to cash in on the “institutional” scheme of government employment then he’d better do it while he was relatively young. So he sang, zippity do da, and announced his resignation—while he still could cash in on his “sacrifice” within congress for 25 years. For him it makes sense, play golf at his new Florida condo for a year while the House drowns in squabbles that have no easy answer, and then return for Christmas of 2016 as a millionaire to close out his years and family fortune by providing access to corporate America the halls of congressional power. So much for the value of the “institution.”
But what was most sickening about Boehner’s announcement was his social proclamation about institutionalism—as if he truly believed that the House of Congress was so sacred that he needed to remove himself from the situation so to preserve it. That is just ridiculous—manically so. Boehner’s presentation of the assumption was meant to throw people off the trail of his true intentions with a long nurtured social illness that poses that institutions—collections of people brought together under the umbrella of common belief are more powerful than the individuals who formulate the beliefs that the masses collect under. The assumption is that sacrifice erases the need for individual logic so long as that individual is willing to surrender their mind to the collective whole of an institution. The media and virtually everyone watching instantly forgave Boehner for his vagina-like approach to exiting Congress at a critical time because he evoked to the public that his individual needs to avoid the coming conflict was not about himself, it was to preserve the “institution.”
When I am critical of the church and religion in general it is because it trains the masses to think in this fashion, which is one of the greatest evils offered to our modern modes of thinking. I would never propose that being an atheist was the correct approach either. I am of the thinking that the correct approach to these complicated problems has not yet been invented. There is no philosopher from the past who has provided a map to navigate by—that map still needs to be created. But putting the individual in a subservient position to institutional value is false. On the other hand, you cannot have mass anarchy either, where individuals live hedonistic lives indulging at every impulse—evil and otherwise. A code of behavior is needed to hold individuals together so that proper conduct at life can be achieved. Yet allowing an institution to define those guidelines surrenders the individual to the impulses of mass collectivism. Not a smart idea because what it does is allow for an institution to wear a mask of holiness, whether that institution is Congress or something like the Catholic Church and allows the value of behavior to be applied to the collective efforts of the institution instead of the individual behavior of its members.
For instance, you might remember dear reader the situation of Jerry Sandusky of the Penn State football program. Jerry was part of a group of well-known and powerful campus personalities who routinely raped children. The behavior was hidden behind the institution of Penn State—the institution was greater than the sum of the individual, so Penn State would live on while Jerry went to jail for his behavior. Yet Jerry was allowed to molest children under the cover of the institution—by using its mass and authority to give him leverage, and access to many young boys. The Catholic Church is known to have conducted themselves in the very same fashion—yet the church itself continues on as a symbol of piety even though it provides a shield to hide the individual behavior of the criminally insane. Congress does the same thing; it hides the individual behavior of its members under the greater good of institutionalism. So if Boehner decides to work the system to his benefit, then its forgiven because he has surrendered individual thought to the yearnings of institutional preservation. But in reality it has nothing to do with the institution so long as Boehner can pay for his Florida condo with the lobby power of K-Street.
Institutionalism is not superior to individual will. Society still has to figure out how to merge good behavior with a code of conduct that is rightly generated by the inner needs of every individual—but surrendering thought to institutional control is not the best option. And neither is the notion of sacrifice. You would think that after many thousands of years of sacrificial emphasis within our institutions—whether it’s sacrificing your life for a job, a family, or a god, that we would have learned to recognize the farce. When a public official like John Boehner says such a thing in a very public statement, you are listening to a ruse—likely in his case—one that he believes himself, especially as a devoted Catholic. Don’t pay attention to the individual misbehaviors of the people who make up the institution, so long as the value of the collective entity is preserved with immunity. Do you see what’s going on dear reader and why we have such a poor philosophy? It allows evil to work its desires behind collective enterprise without the worry of individual value—and this is how poor conduct spreads itself through institutions. With that known, Boehner isn’t just leaving to save himself the future embarrassments that have been headed his way as the leader of the Congressional “institution.” He’s leaving to get rich—while he still can. And that’s the real story.