Red Pill, Blue Pill: Red States, Blue States

Some prefer the blue pill. They prefer to go about their lives not knowing the truth. Others seek the truth. If you take the red pill, there is no going back. Photo: The Matrix

DENVER, May 13, 2012 – Recently I watched The Matrix on AMC; they were running the whole series sequentially over several days. It had been a long time since I’d seen it.

This time I saw it in a whole new light.

When Morpheus tells Neo that he was born a slave and he didn’t even know it, it resonated. When he offered the red pill or the blue pill, he said that some prefer the blue pill. They prefer to go about their lives not knowing the truth. Others seek the truth.

If you take the red pill, there is no going back.

A good friend of mine worked in Russia installing computer systems in schools after the fall of the Soviet Union. He says people were like that there: Many were disillusioned and even angry as they realized how they had been lied to by the state their whole lives. Some couldn’t handle the knowledge.

In 2008, when Joe Biden said there were two Americas, I thought he was smoking something. The America I know is the land of opportunity where hard work, thrift, and good ideas usually pay off; where literally anyone can rise to become president. The election of 2008 should have reinforced that, if nothing else.

Biden was trying to make a case for class conflict between haves and have-nots, yet he spoke a truth I’m sure he didn’t mean to. There are indeed two Americas but it is not the difference in wealth or class that divides us but rather our world view. Still in the majority are those who believe in the vision of America as the land of liberty, the land of opportunity. No guarantees but a chance to succeed in whichever way you define success. There is also an angry minority who want equality not of opportunity, but of outcome—and they want to use the coercive power of the state to achieve it.

It is the polar opposite of our Founding which recognized the sovereignty of the individual and sought to strictly control the tyranny of the state. It turns the Constitution on its head. It creates an alternate reality for us that mouth the words liberty, freedom, equality, and fairness but distorts the meanings.

Many conservatives seem to have made their peace with this arrangement, content as long as the state keeps them safe and still allows freedom of speech and religion. Libertarians want more. In this epic struggle between the individual and the state conservatives and libertarians ought to be natural allies but too often we are at each other’s’ throats. Can you imagine a two party system where the two parties are Libertarian and Conservative and statists are no more?

I can. After the 2008 election I was left wondering what had happened and I’ve spent the last three years figuring it out. I took the red pill. It has changed my life and there is no going back, just as Morpheus said.


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Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.

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