I am very troubled. I got out of labor and unionism because I felt as though I was surrounded by fanatics. Whether on the right, the left, or in the middle, everyone in America these days seems to live for an opinion, not to simply live first, and have an opinion only afterward. The whole goddamn country is made of fanatics. Pro-choicers who kidnap children. Pro-lifers who kill doctors. Union members who kill “scabs” as though they’re not fellow workers. Anti-unionists who infiltrate and entrap fellow workers, forgetting that they’re stealing fathers and mothers. Pick an issue and everyone on either side is using underhanded, illegal, or at best, very questionably ethical means to fight for their position. There is no dialogue, there is only single-mindedness, the harshness of combat.
Is it any wonder all we do as a nation is make war? We have lost the western traditions of dialogue and dialectic; we ridicule them, in fact, as backward, passive, dysfunctional. The entire structure of our culture, the entire process of individual self-identity and individual praxis in the United States has become steeped in militaristic, radical thinking, on all sides. Everyone rats everyone else out. Everyone shoots at everyone else. Everyone imprisons everyone else. Everyone tries to brainwash everyone else. Everyone is a liberator, fighting the forces of evil all around. Perhaps it is a latent remnant of the Judeo-Christian sensibility, of salvationism, of unfulfilled messianism. I don’t know.
But when every last person in a society justifies his or her own “moral” or “patriotic” or “revolutionary” (read: “personal” in all cases) set of overcompensitive ends with whatever means is most numerically expedient, consequences be damned because some underlying “ethical foundation” is said to be unassailable, what you have, in effect, is a crucible of war and war-consciousness that rests on a universal foundation of unwarranted self-importance. The ’60s did not generate a peace consciousness and praxis, they have simply digested themselves, replacing a reactionary logic of war with a radical logic of war and creating the identical body of self-important moralists. The result is the goddamn fucking same. The “dark ages” half of the twentieth century gave us Vietnam. The “enlightened activist” half of the twentieth century gave us Iraq. It’s the same fucking war and we are the same ass-backward holier-than-thous who accuse, rather than listen to, each other.
We learned nothing and cannot learn. The individualist logic of Smithian capitalism, in concert with the selfish, ultra-singularist ethos of the American mythology, means that we will forever be a warlike people. Our culture is doomed to destroy itself, one way or another. Everything right now turns my stomach. I can’t look at the party literature. I can’t read the political sites. I don’t agree with any of it. I am the last remaining lunatic who thinks that even if someone is an obstacle to change, it’s probably not helpful to blow them sky-high…
I suppose this is a bourgeious, anti-feminist, anti-environment, counterrevolutionary feeling, but I very much want to leave and go to a place where there are no causes, just people.
Everyone is so positive that they are right. Well, I am very proud to say that I have no idea whether I am right, about anything. I am both critical and open-minded. I will listen to all opinions, accept none out-of-hand, and make a judgement based on whatever information is available, from all sides — and I will always be willing to consider new facts and changes in the weather.
But I don’t think that’s enough to ever really be happy.