The Outstater

September 25, 2023

A Man for the ‘Masses’

AS ERIC HOLCOMB prepares to leave office after another summer of foreign travel ostensibly in search of jobs for us, the opinion of him has softened. It is expressed to friends this way: He is a blockhead but he is our blockhead.

And as the view has become more charitable, we have had to put certain pictures out of our mind. There he is with that smile of obliviousness holding a gift plate on a visit to China with a high official of the Communist Party only weeks before the outbreak of COVID. There is another — the same smile but masked — welcoming Indiana’s ration of 70,000 random Afghans dumped on us by the Biden administration, a good number of whom now are believed to be threats to national security. And another of him introducing Indiana’s “historic” very first Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer, an ex university operative whose woke job description testifies only to the idiocy of our times.

That done, we are ready to defend the man. Holcomb represented us perfectly, a paragon of democracy, the governor we deserved. The examples above, although cringe-worthy in retrospect, reflected the views of a majority of Hoosier at the time. He was us, winning reelection by over 24 percentage points, the largest margin for any Indiana Republican gubernatorial nominee, a man for the masses.

Now, the word “masses” is not used here as it is commonly understood, i.e., as the agglomeration of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians. No, the masses include many of the best of us, the wealthiest, the most powerful and influential. I accept the definition of Alfred Jay Nock in his wonderful 1937 work, “Free Speech and Plain Language”:

“(The masses) means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses.”

This would include most state legislators, the mayors and councils of our major cities, the editors of the metropolitan newspapers and the chief donors to both political parties. Holcomb, obliviousness and all, was their — our — leader.

But we will soon be on our own. It would be unfair to monopolize the talents of a man like Holcomb any longer. He must go on to a well-deserved retirement on an ample government pension, or, better, assignment to a position of sinecure in some lofty but undemanding post. We wish him only well as we encourage the next governor, smiling or not, to include in his or her administration at least a few people who can solve problems.

For oblivity, however much it appeals to us, is a luxury we can no longer afford. — tcl


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