There are very few things which are more infuriating than to encounter someone with a truly and profoundly hateful attitude, who makes the smiling assumption that you must automatically share their foul idiocy.
I made that point in a far more general way than I could have, because this is one of those experiences which is often thought to be specific to the members of a particular tribe, but is in fact very nearly universal.
Proposition One (top photo)
Of course I am especially startled when ignorant asshole racists and right wing reactionaries make this sort of assumption because of my skin – but I’m not significantly less bothered by ignorant asshole hypocrite leftists who do the same, because of my familiar sounding concerns and interests.
What I really want to say (scream) to both of these groups, is “Please stop insulting me, by assuming that I think in the same ridiculous way that you do.”
As an essentially tribeless, friendly, super-curious wanderer, I encounter these ingratiating tribalist bigotries in a dizzying array of flavours – not just a hilarious (and ruinous) diversity of squabbling political factions – but sexist, racist, classist, educational, attitudinal, dietary, and a myriad of artistic and intellectual snobberies, layered also on top of of those. But for all that, there is no presumption which is so regularly disgusting, nor more offensively insulting to my own personal character, than the standard (infantile) narcissistic boomer worldview.
You know the one I mean. The “philosophy” that begins with the belief “I am the reference unit of this system, and am a reference unit of empirical GOOD.”
Long receding drift-sight
To be very clear, I do not believe you are good – and I don’t believe I am good either – certainly not just for showing up on the planet and shopping. For both you and I, there are many chances to do good (and wrong) every day, and there are many chances to learn from bad choices and misjudgments we’ve already made, so we can get closer to achieving our intention to keep DOING better.
All as distinct from simply existing in a state of lazily assumed perpetual good, which requires no growth of self, learning, meeting of standards, over-arching principles, code of sacrifice for others – essentially – no actual practised good at all – just an un-earned self-serving pose of righteousness.
The attitude that value is not in being, but in doing, (for others, in particular) is horribly offensive for a lot of people – because it also means that the people who disagree with them are not conveniently simply and fundamentally evil – they just do wrong stuff, make wrong choices – but could do better next time.
Well what fun is that? If we aren’t good, except when we act good, and they aren’t bad, except when they act bad – how can our precious treasured hatred for them be a sacred good?
It can’t – it isn’t – it is SHIT. More precisely – is is juvenile and selfish, or in old-school classic leftist terms, the very height of counterrevolutionary indulgence.
No flying-cars after all
The other thing about this view – where we actually have to act our own good ideas in practise, instead of just screaming about the terrible wrongness of the other guy, is that we very quickly realize it isn’t as easy as we say to sacrifice, and soon stop being quite so strident and sanctimonious.
Smart people rarely bear this in mind – but intelligence makes you far MORE, not less, susceptible to propaganda (and conceit is a serious compounding factor, in almost every case). Never in the history of the world have so many intellectuals been working so hard to keep us half-brights, thoroughly stupid.
Theory after theory, endlessly trotted out, all with the exact same goal – to prove the problem is the other only – so we can all go back to sleep and feel good shopping (killing).
You see – underneath all of our furies and our petulant rejection of the modest mirror-check, there is an enormous argument and discussion we should be having, but instead keep avoiding at all costs – a question which is our absolute duty.
What are we spoiled western consumers going to do in the future, so that we are no longer dedicated, en masse, to the destruction of all the civilization we inherited, and the inevitable mass death of innocents – maybe even our own kids?
Sorry – have you been asleep for awhile? Are you still a climate denier?
Obsolete means of control
Let me catch you up to date on what the consensus science now says (despite the deliberate pandering understatement of summations, so as to not provoke a tantrum from the ‘leader of the free world’ – cue international laugh track). Sigh.
Even if all of the Paris targets were met (and there was almost no chance that would have happened, with no binding mechanisms) we’re already past the point where we can prevent feedback runaway from arctic ice, changing ocean currents, and the release of vast stores of trapped gasses from melting permafrost.
Staying under two degrees C warming is simply not going to happen. That opportunity came and went while we were fighting over the oil to which we are so pathetically and ruinously addicted, that no morality or limitation EVER interferes with our entitlement .
Now ask yourself – what is the difference between a person who can walk around and talk and do things for themselves, with lungs and a heart and immune system that all work, compared to a person who needs artificial respiration and forced blood circulation? How much uglier and less resilient is a machine, when compared to a fully-functioning metabolism?
But this is the inescapable prognosis for the world, thanks to the sum of all of our stupidity – not just those icky corporations, nasty rich people, not the military, not the flag-wavers or the hippies – ALL OF US TOGETHER!
For those about to die from internal combustion – we salute you!
There is now no way for the earth to recover it’s own balance naturally – we’ve smashed that already, which means we’ve given ourselves the incredibly dangerous (and yes, also mind-numbingly expensive) responsibility of becoming planetary engineers in the very near future.
The thing is, even with a maximum effort on this project (approaches being studied madly now, behind the scenes), the governments of the world all understand perfectly well that the planet will not, in the mid-future, be able to support nearly as many people as it does now (at least four billion less, probably five and a half).
Which means that the stuff that we – left and right, rich and poor – are all arguing about right now – is still the number and apportioning of luxuries that we will win at the expense of our children’s and grandchildren’s unbelievably bleak future.
As long as we’re all very clear on that, please do carry on with the gleeful sneering about snowflakes, and the ornate and completely immobilizing theories of ‘the all-powerful system’ – whatever we need for cover, instead of getting over ourselves and taking mature responsible unified action, right?
Unless this thinking shifts significantly, so it begins to take the future of our own kids and grandkids into account, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A HALF A FREAKING CENTURY, please don’t expect anyone serious to think you anything other than a blithering self-absorbed and entirely irrelevant idiot.
Really not my mindset at all.
Thanks ever so much for understanding.