January 11, 2008
Where all the so-called "opportunities"?
Being that so many conservatives still clinging to the ideology of "self-interest creates opportunities for all," I just want to know where all the opportunities are for our crowding population. Life expectancy is high, abortion is a difficult option for many people caught up in this crumbling society, and adoption is impossible, even for the well-to-do gay couples that raise their privileged voice for every person that does not identify as straight. Where are all these opportunities? If they are there, where can you find them? The job market shifts so drastically that die-hard conservatives have become hip and almost completely disconnected from the working classes that last year they were so eager to identify with. This is such a new spin in the culture war. If you step back for a few seconds, you can see just how removed the ruling class is from the people. There is so much hype surrounding each candidate... "oh we could have the first black president!" "our president can be a woman for once!" "we have a Mormon running!"
What about the real issues? Pollution? Foreign policy specifically relating to third-world development? Unemployment? Job security (especially for writing-related jobs)? But with a highly-hyped culture of cool within the middle class being fed with propaganda about professional identity and networking. It is now cool to be a yuppie. We can find solutions to everything - all our environmental problems, all the urban decay - with capitalism. But we forget that we are relying on the cause of these problems to find solutions.
That is why I disagree so passionately with all these so-called "anarchists": the system will never collapse. Everything feeds on fear. As long as we recognize problems and create "solutions", bureaucracy will always exist and capitalism will be here tomorrow. As long as we think our neighbor will rob us at night, that strange men deal drugs to our kids in school, that the person in the trailer next door to us "robs from welfare," that somebody has it in for us somewhere and somehow, capitalism will exist and pat us on the back and say: "it's okay, work your life away in our factory with a constant uncertainty about whether we will keep you, and we will solve all these problems, all your fears will go away and you can be wealthy."
The clergy of the Medieval period told their suffering peasants their reward was in heaven. What is the reward of the people that work over 90 hours a week on minimum-wage jobs? The fact is, this structure created by the bourgeoisie in revolt against the aristocracy, in favor of a world of "charity," "wealth," and "freedom" was even more against the natural order. With it came an obscene emphasis on refinement, cleanliness, and conduct. You can refine oppression to look less and less nasty. Put nice words in people's mouths, make them speak a certain way, make them take a bath and comb and style their hair, make them act certain ways, get them to appreciate finely-crafted products of culture, but in the end, the pursuit of these has led to brutality, exploitation, public health crises, race, class and gender antagonisms, and pollution.
To remind the world of Derrida's main thesis about the canon, the bourgeois project of modernity was simply to use canonical texts, fictional and non-fictional, from Western history to justify the interests of their class. To extend this understanding, most writers without polished and refined writing styles -in the codified languages of Europe- were not granted the privilege to be published and exalted. It wasn't until the age of critical theory that we discovered the novelty of "refined texts" would wear off with nothing new that the publishing world printed anything novel. Now, being that the literate world is jaded and novelty is not even novel, we have a post-literate culture. But, right when art was ending in the industrial world, science came with promise.
Polio vaccines, household cleaning supplies, ultra-sterile medical equipment, efficient transportation, bridges, highways, military equipment... the atom bomb. Technology allowed the appropriation of the culture of scientific inquiry into the business-dominated world of industry. We still view the ground God set before us as "dirty," deriving our perception of something uninvited into the space of our lives with something that was here, that was part of the natural order. We fear the germs that we can't even see more than we fear the greedy, selfishly-motivated leaders of our world. We accuse the weak of being weak. That personality is a choice. That you can have control over yourself. Did we forget that there is a social order that people cannot control. How can you control unemployment when hiring or firing has no real objective grounds other than the already-established company's functioning? Everything needed for survival and happiness was already here before human intervention. Now that we've caught ourselves in the age of global ecology that few understand, we feel a need to fix that as well. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The world wasn't broke, but we sure tried to fix it.
Did we succeed? Depleted ozone-layer gases? A quickly diminishing drinkable water supply? International political conflicts? A flimsy international market? People governed only by what will make them wealthy?
These are the dirty things of our planet. These did not exist until we made them. Money didn't grow on trees for a reason. Contradicting the natural order, we made a mess of things. That little bit of dust in your clean and sparkling house is a reminder that your privilege that your ancestors seized for themselves contradicted the flat, communistic, anti-hierarchical, and yes, boring order that had existed before these transgressions.
Seeing people holding signs in front of grocery stores, fathers of 4 kids that will work for food. So easy and convenient, right? Easy for the few. Women on street corners in Pittsburgh that have been standing idle in the cold for long enough to hint that they aren't waiting for a cab. Yuppies driving BMWs in Shadyside nearly running over poor black mothers with their kids looking for a job somewhere, women that these privileged "hard-working, driven individuals" don't recognize the existence of.
The sad thing is, George Orwell was being too generous with the date 1984. Now, we don't even consider class. We are blind to the caste that people are born into. Who their friends were in high school, their college of choice. And the middle-class, more than ever, avoids the Orwellian admonition to not lose connection with the lower class. We've abandoned that for a long time. The bottom class is socially illegal as they "refuse to tow the weight" with us "hard-working" middle classers. Where are the opportunities? If there are college graduates that can barely get a full-time job, what gives people the indication that a job for high-school dropouts that have worked since they were 14 is easy?
We have refined oppression. Refinement does not eliminate oppression. That's why I say "FUCK CAPITALISM." It's not about sounding pleasant, looking nice, feeling all warm and fuzzy. The surface of the human being has become oh-so aesthetically-pleasing. We've perfected the look and refined the cultural processes, even found ways to manipulate them. But deep inside, humans are still the vile, shit-flinging vermin that Darwin always loomed over, reminding us of our "lowly origin." We still compete on an individual level and loosely network with people of similar status, of similar tastes, of similar interest to sustain our disgusting way of life. The people holding paper cups on the street are us. As long as we hold to our ideology of "advancement," we will continue to dehumanize ourselves and others. And our shameless pursuit of refining the already perfect resources of the planet will exhaust the limited supply and fill the Earth with things that we may yet find later to be dangerous to local and global ecology.
Congratulations to all the oh-so clever modernist movers-and-shakers from the anxiety of this senseless postmodern age... you've managed to change the exterior of our problems. You've sprayed down the facade of your ivory tower, while inside the books are dusty, worn, and have been locked away from use. I hope there are people that are concerned about the truth, with a curiosity about the natural order and how to reverse our attack on it.
"And now it is once more the tidal wave/ That when it has swept by leaves summits stained./ Oh, blood will out. It cannot be contained."
Damn, I think he would have made one helluva commie! :) Every day is the judgment day, and everyday we cast our vote for the state of the world... vote wisely!
Posted by EvanReynolds at January 11, 2008 4:47 PM
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