You Should Know…
I’m as liberal as all of you put together. Go to the mystical core of almost every religion and you get this: Help the poor; the suffering. Conduct yourself fairly and graciously.
Now, I love historical and political theories and analysis as much as the next person. There’s just so many ways to account for, and describe, events past, present and future: class struggle, psychology of the herd, economics, mass trauma, factions with interests…. I, and others, have spent significant portions of our lifetime in such studies. And discussing them to exhaustion.
But put against the core standard of “Help the poor, help the suffering, Be decent.”— well, in the end, they’re just (to revive an old saying) “So much blah blah about tra tra.” All such approaches and explanations exist purely because that very direct formulation of what is required for a good, just, and thriving society is largely ignored.
I mean, what has to be done is not complicated. Doesn’t take any kind of “book learning” to grasp. If you can’t follow this from love, then there’s self-interest against the time you yourself might be poor, suffering. And that can happen. People have gone from Tsar to prisoner in moments.
Any notion that we’re going to restructure classes or whatever theory one might hold is purely for entertainment purposes unless and until most people live by those precepts as a conscious priority, and insist their governors do the same. After we’ve all discussed how to get the indispensable good things done.
So why the bold assertion of my liberal credentials at the start? Because the rest might not seem “liberal,” as generally used. I can’t say exactly what I want to get across, but I can offer some of the territory around it.
Take Global Warming. Climate Change. So back in the years of King George the Murderous Doofus, when I went to libertarian sites tracking down the war-mongering, I came across this guy who said: “Look. I’ll never believe in a hundred years that puny humanity can change the whole atmosphere. But I do know that pollution is bad. So why not approach me from that angle?”
And why not? So I quoted that to some liberals interested in stopping climate change. “Why insist that someone buy your point of view, when you can work in concert with them, though from different motivations?” Nobody says “abandon talking about anthropomorphic climate”; just add “but then, too, stop the pollution.”
The point, ostensibly, is to reduce carbon emissions; a possible result using both tacks. There’s no need to force someone do the right thing for your own reasons, right? So I got: “Fuck him.” “He’s an asshole; this is real.” Complete capitulation to my understanding, or nothing! We don’t need allies to get what we want? What?!
Now, back to the “help the hurting, be classy” idea: That doesn’t mean to baby people, eh? There are situations where vivid recollection of a trauma can be brought on by a “trigger.” Don’t ever cause people that trouble. But then there’s this spate of self-induced suffering (then, at times, anger) upon hearing something ugly. This is nothing other than a kind of manipulation. It springs from the well of early childhood when one cries to get people around them to do, or not do, something. Babies can’t run the world. (Well, in a sense they most certainly do, and should.)
Being an adult requires facing hard things; that most of the world isn’t really interested in how anyone feels. Life brings objective and difficult choices to make, and people sometimes just don’t like other people. Being an adult comes from exercising the “conscience” muscle; not the “what about me?” reflex.
Finally, there was this great book by the lamentably late Shiva Naipaul (brother of V.S.). “Journey to Nowhere.” Shiva wanted to understand how the Rev. Jim Jones/People’s Temple mass suicide and murder (four year olds, infants cannot commit suicide) came to be. So he interviewed everyone he could find in the People’s Temple rise. A Black Panther who gave Jones the phrase “revolutionary suicide.” The woman who taught Jones the “rotten chicken liver as tumour pulled from a person” faith-healing trick. And numerous others who were involved in the evolution of Jones “mission” and methods.
At a certain point Naipaul snaps to: Nobody he spoke with felt responsibility for what happened. Which led him to his very valuable insight: The way the People’s Temple cult, in fact any rotten cult, worked was that Jones was the Bringer of A Noble Mission. So he got his dick sucked and great cars and whatever he wanted when he wanted it. And his followers… and his followers…. got to indulge in harming others because “The Great Mission.”
To go all Transactional Analysis on you: It was a deal between Jones and his followers. “I provide you cover to indulge in bad things, and it’s all washed away in light of the great cause we serve together.” For some reason my mind drifts to the KKK and their mirror image Antifa at this point.