A few weeks ago, Mike expressed his frustration at our lack of impact with the radio show. “Let’s push the audience,” he said. He indicated the typical listener, like the typical American, is heavy on criticizing the dominant cultural narrative and light on actions consistent with the criticism.
Remembering we have ample excuses to forgo action — so usually we do — I quoted one of my favorite lines from lying author and primary member of the defamation campaign against me, Derrick Jensen: “Would you rather have the best excuse in the world, or would you rather have a world?”
Mike brought up the Black Panthers and their willingness to act, despite the consequences. A little research reveals the Black Panthers, commonly painted as terrorists, conducted many kind, helpful acts even as perceived and reported by the mainstream media. They were renowned for adherence to principle and they are now viewed as horrible people. Coincidence?
Who among us is willing to make serious sacrifices based on principle?
The answer is obvious. Collectively, we forsake a living planet because we prefer good excuses in the pursuit of avoiding difficult work. After all, we have all those excellent excuses to not act. The momentum of civilization is powerful, and resisting those in power will almost certainly lead to imprisonment, torture, perhaps even early death. On the surface, these reasons all support inaction.
Whatever became of people willing to die for a cause? Oh, right: They were killed. The American Cultural Revolution withered in the 1960s and died in the early 1970s. The revolution took with it a few of the Black Panthers, the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and a lot of other people whose pursuit of principle interfered with the motives of those who benefit from American Empire.
Excuses aside, let’s not push the envelope. I’m tired of barely pushing the envelope. Rather than pushing it, let’s fill the damned thing with shards of glass, launch it via cannon, and blow up the envelope and every nearby cultural meme.
What have you got to lose? And, beyond that, what have we got to lose.
Life? We’re all going to die. I doubt adherence to principle is related to length of life, although it might be related to the quality of one’s life.
Liberty? Surely you jest. As ought to be clear to the few paying the slightest attention, our individual freedoms are allowed only as long as we continue to serve the masters.
Yes, it could be worse. We could spend our last days incarcerated, with even fewer freedoms than we currently possess. The jail cell could be more obvious, even to those deeply attached to the current, insane cultural narrative.
Or perhaps that wouldn’t be worse than spending our days trapped in the prison of civilization. When I taught poetry in various incarceration facilities, I longed to have the ability to think and write, unattached to my paid work. “Three hots and a cot” seemed ideal. I now have the freedom to do what I like, but I seem constitutionally unable to throw off the yoke of the messenger.
Upon moving to rural New Mexico, I wanted merely to live simply. Alas, my inner teacher intruded. The pursuit of scholarship interfered. So here we are, my voice the world’s strongest on the topic of abrupt climate change despite my desires and intentions to the contrary.
The topic I pursued — and continue to pursue — along with the takers who dominated my post-university life, made the path challenging and occasionally miserable. My own decisions made it worse. It turns out that living simply is neither simple nor easy. I don’t recommend it.
But I keep pushing, in my own way. Mike, too. You’re welcome to join the party.