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Shinzo Abe: A Very Real Person
What does it mean to be a real person in the twenty-first century?
Today, Shinzo Abe died. He was killed. Not by some abstract disease or paper cause for Brezhnevian bean counters. He died because a guy went up to him and shot him. Abe served as the former Prime Minister of Japan for four terms and more than eight years. His policies of managed stagnation affirmed a catchphrase in economics: “there are four types of economies: developed, undeveloped, Argentina, and Japan”.
I know little about Japanese politics other than its unique economics. I doubt Abe was killed over interest rates or industrial policy. Yet those economics hint to me that Abe was a real person, someone living in reality rather than fantasy. It was an understanding of the managed decline which was not an option. It was treating the world as it is, not as he wished it to be, which is exactly what the world deserves.
It is then a grim coincidence that Abe met the darkest, realist of ends. Even writing in that euphemism feels fake to me. Many I knew were in denial that this was even possible at all. Political violence? Targeting the truest of elites? I was shocked that it would happen in Japan of all places. From the video, it appeared that Abe had no security around him whatsoever. So perhaps Japanese social order and the strong social trust it instilled in Abe himself was his downfall. This begs the question: how much insanity are we papering over? And will we return to reality? A few weeks ago an assassination attempt on Brett Kavanaugh was foiled. I don't know how many such attempts there are on Biden or Trump in a year, but I would guess it isn't small. There's a reason they shouldn't walk around as freely as Shinzo Abe. There's a reason Shinzo Abe shouldn't have walked around as freely as Shinzo Abe.
The world we live in is darker, yet darker than our sanitized lenses will let us perceive. To be a real person is to know and interact with the world as it is. The charades and neuroses of the fake world are really not worth bothering with. I don't care about being canceled. I care about life or death. I don't care about social mobs or followers. I care about reorganizing the world. I think Abe was like that too. He could've cared about life or death more. But he definitely cared about reorganizing the world. There's more we could learn from him. Learning from him is perhaps the best way to honor him.
Thank you Shinzo Abe — a very, very real person.
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