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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

By Proxy

“By Proxy” defined: The ability to do or be something without actually physically doing it. (Source:

Certainly one of the niftiest inventions of man is the concept and actuality of doing or being “by proxy.”  Especially this is true in matters that have unpleasant aspects.  An enumeration of examples include the slaughtering and butchering of animals; the casualties and cruel necessities of military action; the maintenance of an uninterrupted flow of sewage; dirty deals made in politics and business with benefits flowing to constituents and customers; laying off or firing of workers; embalmers at their somber trade; the harvest of crops by migrant labor; drug lords who remain insulated while having underlings do the dirty work; a whole array of dangerous, low esteem, and shunned chores of all kinds.  All these tasks can be accomplished not by physically performing them personally, but by proxy.  As perhaps an unfair example, I imagine a Victorian scene at the occasion of an aristocratic tea replete with immaculate silver service and daintily lifted tea cups.  While the attendees preen themselves in respectability and make much display of accomplished manners signifying unassailable superiority, the toiling masses in the grime of poverty and unrelieved bondage labor in anonymity to make the occasion possible.  The undergirding work was done by proxy and the beneficiaries are remotely and safely detached from the realities of production.  The “by proxy” device functions to insulate us from many painful undergirding’s of the “good life.”  It is worth contemplating what changes there would be in society and in history itself if the masked enabler “by proxy” did not exist.  The essential service it provides is the sustenance of unsurpassed respectability and nonchalance even as rude realities are carefully concealed.

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