This guest post is authored by Michael Irving
I would like to come back to our email exchanges in which I mentioned you were “rubbing our noses in it” about economic collapse, particularly with your 10-step plan. When I think about the implications of what you are saying from the perspective of the actions of EarthFirst! or GreenPeace your words sometimes make me want to puke. I’m aware that what I am suggesting may be just plain dumb.
First, people who would tend to read your blog and agree with you are generally people who care about the earth, including animals, plants, rainforests, coral reefs, and so on. They probably also care about people and what is happening/going to happen to the species.
Second, “caring about,” means empathy, and empathetic people are usually seeking the “peaceable kingdom” state in which we do the right thing and the world and its creatures settle down to live in harmony and there is a future for the natural world and us.
Third, your recent posts have been asking readers to become militants in the cause, revolutionaries fighting to overcome the vile system that opposes the “peaceable kingdom.”
So, why are people getting upset? They are upset because you are putting them into a morally untenable situation. You are showing people that there is great wrong in the world and then telling them that righting the wrong is their personal responsibility by whatever means necessary. It is so hard for people to go from “can’t we all just love one another” to “avenging environmental soldier.” It requires a complete shift in consciousness, a paradigm shift. You are asking your readers to rearrange their thought system to accept a new reality. They know that if they actually make that shift they can never come back, they will have gone down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass.
So here is where you’ve put them — and me:
I can be one of the 80 guys going into Cuba with Castro to overthrow Batista.
I can join MLK in Selma.
I can go to Palestine and oppose the IDF at the wall.
I can chain myself to an old-growth tree when the loggers are coming.
I can join Ed Abbey’s Monkey Wrench Gang.
But if I do any of those things my life will never be the same and most of the people I know will reject me. I might end up in jail. I might end up dead.
No wonder there are so few Earth First! activists or Sea Shepherd people. And yet that is the choice you are holding up for your readers to look at, and it is hard, hard, hard.
Michael is a concerned grandfather living on the land in northeastern Washington.