A few weeks ago, Mike Sliwa 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 author and activist 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.
As Derrick Jensen points out, 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.
Thanks to Roblyn Crawford for initiating a fund-raising campaign in support of speaking tours. It’s here. Please share widely. Roblyn also is seeking volunteers to support a May speaking tour in California. Specifically, Roblyn says we need a place for Guy to eat and sleep in Sacramento on 2 May 2016. And we need places for Guy to eat and sleep and venues in Marin (30 April), Grass Valley (3 May), Santa Rosa (6 May), Santa Cruz (12 May), and Santa Barbara (13 May). We are also seeking venues and hosts in the Los Angeles area 17, 18, and 19 May 2016. If you are able to help, please send a message to email@example.com
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, webinar: “Six a Paths to Near-Term Human Extinction.” Read description and register here.
Friday, 22 April 2016 at 7:00 p.m., “Responding to Abrupt Climate Change,” Astronomical Society of Las Cruces, Doña Ana Community College, 3400 South Espina Street, Room 141
Early May 2016: Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Rosa, Middletown, Chico, Grass Valley, Redding, and Santa Cruz, California. Follow on Facebook.
1 May 2016, 12:00 noon, Utopia Now! conference, Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland, California
6 May 2016, 12:00 noon, Middletown Art Center, 21456 Highway 175, at the junction of Highway 29, Middletown, California, “The Valley Fire Connection to Abrupt Climate Change”
13-24 May 2016: Ojai, Los Angeles, and Fountain Valley, California. Follow on Facebook.
13 May 2016, 7:00 p.m., Bookends Books, 110 South Pueblo Avenue, Ojai, California
14 May 2016, 1:00 p.m., Bookends Books, 110 South Pueblo Avenue, Ojai, California
15 May 2016, 4:00 p.m., The Grange, 381 Cruzero Street, Ojai, California
9-13 September 2016: The Real Truth About Health Conference, Caribe Royale Hotel, Orlando, Florida, additional details forthcoming
14-27 September 2016: New Jersey New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island. Follow on Facebook.
October 2016: USA Pacific Northwest
November 2016: New Zealand
Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. To listen live, tune in every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here. We’re on Stitcher, too.
As always, the schedule of topics for forthcoming episodes of the radio show is posted beneath the tab at the top of the page titled, “Radio Archive and Recent Video.” Please help us out, especially with episodes that focus on criticism of climate scientists and activists by sending your contributions to Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next of these shows is scheduled for 5 April 2016 and will focus on the non-profit industrial complex. We will be joined by independent journalist Cory Morningstar.
McPherson’s latest book is available in audio, and can be purchased here. Ms. Ladybug and Mr. Honeybee: A Love Story at the End of Time is intended for ages 11 and up.