Thursday, August 02, 2007

Quod erot demonstratum

Over at High Clearing, a blogger calling himself Thoreau has declared "Enough is fucking ENOUGH". Except he spelled 'fucking' with a 'v' in the middle, I guess because he wants to swear but didn't have a chance to check with his mommy first, or something.

Thoreau is enraged because somebody he is tangentially acquainted with (somebody who works with his wife) is moving to Texas, because her husband has been deployed to Iraq, even though he has resigned from the military. And that sucks, yes, it does.

Thoreau notes that "The people whom we elected to end this mess refuse to take any political risks." Later on, he cogently adds to this: "We should all be screaming from the rooftops “How the hell is this shit still going on?!?!?!?” We do on this blog, and on a lot of other blogs, but the Serious People In High Places do nothing."

And then, just to make sure nobody suggests he actually get up off his fat ass and DO something besides bitch on the Internet, he tosses this in as well:

"It would be tempting to say that we need to take to the streets. Earlier this evening I was ranting about that, and saying things that I know are wrong but feel so good to say when the adrenaline is flowing. But the truth is that the street protests didn’t end the Vietnam War. The Boomers tell us stories about 1968, but they neglect to mention that US forces remained in Vietnam well after 1968. The full set of reasons why we eventually left Vietnam is a story that we can debate some other time, but people in the streets certainly weren’t enough."

Here's my response, from the comment threads:

The Internet is, perhaps, the greatest thing to happen for creeping tyranny since… I don’t know… the first Big Boss thought to hire the first secret informer.

See, it’s just like you say. We scream our heads off, on our blogs. Also, we sign electronic petitions and send around forwards and links to cool videos that reflect our political views and we give a little money here and there. And nothing happens, and then we get on our blogs and we whine about it. And all of this is, apparently, enough for us. The itch is scratched, and it’s all very safe and bloodless and pleasant and comfortable and we don’t even have to get up from our cushie chairs, and when we’re done ‘changing the world’ for the day, well, we can go look at porn, or watch that episode of HEROES we missed, over at It’s very very convenient.

I think we are all aware that you do not effect significant change to the real world from a comfortable desk chair behind a standard PC. And I’m sure the Dick Cheneys of the world find it all very very amusing, the way we bluster and posture and shriek from the comfort of our own centrally heated and air conditioned homes. What’s the lesson furtive tyranny has learned over the past forty years? Don’t draft anyone.

No, seriously. As long as you don’t draft anyone, the vast majority of people will confine their protests to venues that make no impact whatsoever. And, what the hell, as long as you implement economic policies that incrementally but steadily grow the indigent class while steadily eroding any kind of real educational or social opportunity, you’ll always have a steady stream of fodder flowing into the military. You’ll use them up pretty quickly, but what the fuck… nobody wants to WIN wars these days, it’s much more profitable to just continually FIGHT them.

So we bitch and we whine and we pout and we stomp our widdle electronic feet and nothing happens so we bitch and we whine and we stomp our widdle electronic feet about that. But what are we actually willing to get up out of our leather recliners fors? The new Harry Potter book. The new Spider-Man movie. Oooh, the new I-phone!

Yeah. That shit motivates us. We’ll move with a purpose, wallets gaping, for some of that action. But ending the war? Nah. All we’re going to do is blog about that.

Our elected representatives won’t take any chances? Gee, what did you expect? They’re POLITICIANS, dude.

What’s our excuse?

I'm not sure what actually ended the Vietnam war, but I'm pretty sure violent street protests played a significant part. I am VERY sure that the lack of same... that the lack of ANY kind of meaningful leverage being brought to bear by the American public against their completely, complacently out of control government officials... is significantly enabling the continuation of policies that we all seem to find vile and horrifying, yet that we won't do anything meaningful to oppose or disrupt.

I guarantee you, if a few thousand people in every major American metropolis decide to lie down across major traffic arteries during rush hour, you'll see a response. If you don't want to go to that kind of extreme, well, I suggest we all put our hands in our pockets for a week. Let's every single American (hell, let's every single human being on the planet, for that matter) who wants to see this war ended NOW stay home from work for a week. Do yardwork. Play with your kids. Watch TV. (Don't spend money.)

THEN watch the people in positions of power fall all over themselves doing whatever they need to do to get us all back at our desks again.

We do that, just once, and then, all we have to do is THREATEN to do it again if we don't get universal health care.

We won't do it, though. It, y'know, might COST us something.

And that's pretty much how I feel about it. I think we are all sheep, waiting for a leader to a come along and say "Okay, three o'clock next Tuesday, everybody get up on a kitchen chair and jump off. THAT'll show 'em." Or something.

We do still have the economic power to bring our government... any government, and any ruling coalition existing behind and/or above any government... to its knees, though, and they way I've briefly outlined is the way to do it. A national strike would send these fat cats gibbering to their bomb shelters. Or, if you don't want to risk your job, then fine... keep going in to work, but stop spending money. Pay the bills, take care of the necessities... but when Season One of HEROES comes out on DVD, leave the fucker on the shelves. No discretionary spending, AT ALL, until the war is over, the bloodsuckers are all impeached and/or in jail, and we have some goddam universal health care.

It would be hard on us, sure. But it will KILL all the rich assholes who depend on OUR money to keep their yachts afloat. Let DVD, CD, book, concert, and movie ticket sales drop off a few percentage points and these guys will all be calling their elected representatives and fucking DEMANDING that something be done.

But, y'know, we won't even do that, because god forbid we don't run out and get the new Harry Potter book the instant it goes on sale.

And, as a final note, here's yet another comment I've hung in the thread I referenced above:

Okay, I just want to add one more thing:

I was 19 years old when Reagan started running his "It's morning in American" ads. And even at the age of 19, I was instantly aware that this was emotionally moving, semantically meaningless, utterly hollow horseshit. And when Reagan won with this emotionally moving, semantically meaningless, utterly hollow horseshit, I realized what it meant -- the average voter of that time preferred pleasant platitudes that demanded nothing except a momentary finger twitch in the voting booth, to real truths about difficult times and necessary sacrifices.

I have hoped throughout my advancing years that the 'average voter' would at some point grow up. But when Bush first ran in 2000, I instantly smelled the exact same flavor of horseshit that Reagan had been peddling. Most of Bush's 'compassionate conservative' blather was meaningless twaddle. The only substantive promises or policies Bush spoke of were obviously lies; anyone who could do second grade level math could see his crap simply didn't add up. And ANYone with half a functioning brain cell only had to look at Bush's resume, in the private sphere and as governor of Texas, to see someone who was monumentally unqualified for ANY elective office... and beyond that, someone whose actual background and behavior were the exact opposite of the carefully calculated facade his campaign created, and the mainstream press happily perpetuated.

All the commenters here on High Clearing seem to be quite intelligent, and many of you seem to have voted for Bush at least once, and I'm just like... what the fuck, dudes? Does the Pentagon really HAVE subsonic mind control rays? How the christ could you be so goddam stupid?


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