Tuesday, December 25, 2007
There is much pretending throughout the progressive and liberal community in my view.
Success and the good life, credentials and status, position and privilege must be protected, at least for people like "us." At the same time, our position and privilege is dependent upon playing a certain role. We must pretend that we are not defending privilege and position and must pretend that we are for the downtrodden. We must pretend that privilege and position is all earned, and that anyone could have anything that we have. We must defend the system of dog-eat-dog competition without allowing that to be too obvious. So we pretend that introducing "fairness" rules and regimens into our personal life nullifies all of the things we do to attain and preserve the spot we have clawed our way to in society.
Sometimes this balancing act is fairly easy, since there are so many people willing to help us keep the facade up and since reality doesn't intrude into our "reality based" fantasy world, but once in a while something like the Bush administration arises and calls our bluff.
When our bluff is called, there is no amount of time and energy we will spare in internecine warfare arguing fine points of what a liberal is, or what our position should be on each and every minute issue and sub-issue and variations on every issue. These arguments can never be resolved, because there is no basis of consensus. Actually there is a consensus, but an important component of the consensus is that we never talk about it and we must pretend that it isn't there.
The consensus from which liberals and Democrats operate:
We are the better people. We are smarter, we are humane, we are more compassionate, we are better informed. We are better citizens, we are more cooperative and realistic. We are winners, not losers, and we deserve everything we get. We are spiritually superior. We are centered and balanced, calm and insightful. We are on the right side of history. We are building a better world.
The general public does not realize that we are the better people, and the ones who should be making the decisions. This is because Republicans are able to take advantage of the people's stupidity and ignorance and turn them against us.
Most of the problems in the world are the result of stupid people running things. If we smart people were in charge, all of the problems could be solved with science and technology and rational social planning.
Class analysis, and the struggles of working class people against tyranny have no place in modern society. They are obsolete and passe, and only something that we read about or see in movies. Romantic as those stories are, they are no substitute for hard-headed practical reality, whether we like it or not. This is a matter of being a mentally healthy, modern, well-adjusted adult in society. None of the lessons from history apply, because things are different now. Only strange maladjusted people are attracted to obsolete political ideas. They are all obviously losers, and are a great danger, almost as much of a danger as the Republicans are.
Since politics and economics in the traditional sense are dead, we embrace a new paradigm of self improvement and self-actualization. Anything that interferes with our focus on ourselves and our pursuit of creating ourselves as an actualized being is to be rejected. The way to achieve the perfect society is first to create a perfect self. Meanwhile, so long as the authorities do not interfere with our self-actualization, we must comply in all ways with that authority. This allows us perfect self-expression within perfect social conformity. Anyone who attacks our personal choices is the enemy, and anyone who attacks the social system based on personal choice is also the enemy.
Others, however, who do not share our values are not to be given personal choice, when and as we can prove that their personal choices are wrong, often with convoluted claims that their choice impacts us somehow. We support the police state and massive incarceration of people, so long as they are being harassed and imprisoned for the right reasons. Any variance from our idea as to how people should be is the right reason, by definition.
We believe that we must “be the change we wish to see,” and the change we wish to see is more people like us: polite, talented, beautiful, intelligent, calm, successful, clever, enlightened. So we merely need to be ourselves, focus on ourselves, and serve ourselves. Those who cannot or will not become like us need to back down and get out of the way.
We fully support aristocracy, capitalism, corporate domination, and consumerism, provided that they support our self-actualization and afford us the personal lifestyle choices we prefer.
Thanks for that mberst.