"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jan 10, 2011

Lessons from the last two days of professional liberalism

1. If you (a) hold elected office or (b) a position of power and influence in a media conglomerate, and (c) plan, execute, fund or euphemize sky robot murder, starvation austerity, war powers expansion, occupations and escalations, coups d'etat, wetwork, black ops and the militarization of public space - you bear no responsibility for the decisions of those following your direct orders, or who act under the cover and normalization you promote. If you apologize for those who, under orders, commit the acts which directly contribute to your wealth and comfort, and to the maintenance of a continent spanning system of degradation, imprisonment and oppression, you bear absolutely no responsibility for the consequences of the systemic destruction of human life which you support and promote. You are a public servant. A leader. An exemplar of civilization.

2. If you use campaign rhetoric which does not sanitize political conflict, or read books which do not pass official muster, or if you do sit not in current favor with those who have the wealth and influence to arrogate to themselves the arbitration of taste, worth, sanction, viability and validity, you bear complete responsibility for acts of violence committed by persons you have never met.

3. If you campaign for a man who, during the course of his contest for the most powerful office in the history of the human race, rather brazenly admits that his foremost foreign policy focus will expand the occupation of and attacks upon one of the most destitute regions of the planet, this to include the escalation of home invasions and drone murders, and the re-creation of rape and death squads, you have done your civic duty. You belong. You have earned your due, and your keep.

4. If you doubt the claims of those who rule; if you take even a moment of your day to publicly express discontent with or disapproval of the claims to authority, to sanctification, to the mandate of heaven routinely offered by the wealthy and powerful; if you have the misfortune to assume that the powerful tell lies; if you question the disconnect between the efficacy of government and claims about that efficacy; if you have the audacity to read Marx, or "anti-government" literature; if you have unsanctioned or unmediated notions about money, symbols, representation, affiliation or the epistemes employed in the defense of power, you shall henceforth bear the scarlet letter, the opprobrium of the lunatic outcast. You do not belong.

5. Wear it with pride. Because you do not belong. Live in the manner which best frightens the shit, the complacency and the hubris out of them. Make them waste treasure trying to save you from yourself. Bog it down...


Will Shetterly said...

Regarding 2, I'm on the side of toning down violent rhetoric, but I also recognize that this is a total middle class notion, and I'll be fascinated to see if any of the neoliberal defenders of "the tone argument" want to tone down the rhetoric, 'cause the tone argument is all about using harsh language whenever you're in the mood.

With that quibble, I agree: to Dems and Reps, which is to say, to the ruling class, you're a traitor if you vote third-party and an outlaw if you don't vote at all.

Michael- said...

Well said Jack. brilliant.

mike flugennock said...

Awesome post, Crow; you're reading my mind, man.

I've been living this philosophy ever since early in my college days, when I took a look around at all the people, politicians and authority figures who were into "belonging" and thought "if this is what it is to 'belong' in this culture, then fuck it, man". Ever since then, I've pretty much made a career out of not belonging.

Y'know what really galled the shit out of me, though, was waking up to Morning Joe this morning (my wife is usually awake about an hour before me, and already has MSNBC babbling on the TV) and hearing the normally snarky, catty, blustering Scarborough and crew speaking in hushed and somber tones about the "tone" of political discourse in this country, topping it off with a visit from Harold Ford -- everybody's favorite pasty-faced, mealy-mouthed centrist -- dishing out admonishments to the left to "tone it down". Honestly, sometimes I just want to reach into the TV and smack the shit out of that little pussy.

By the way... anybody here remember back in the mid '90s, right after the Oklahoma City bombing, when the militia types were playing GI Joe in Idaho and getting all kinds of play in the press? Anyone who expressed any kind of anti-government sentiment was labeled a member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™; the Washington Post was labeling us as "Clinton haters". Well, I'm hearing almost identical crap now from the newspapers and the TV talkers. It's as if they've failed to notice -- and likely are willingly ignoring -- the amount of anti-government sentiment on the left. Remember the anarchists who tore it up in Seattle, DC, and Quebec City in 1999-2001? In Pittsburgh about a year and a half ago? That was also anti-government sentiment.

Shetterly's right on the money when he characterizes "civil" political rhetoric as a middle-class notion. I expect to hear even more whining from the Liberal minivan drivers with the "choose civility" bumper stickers any day now. I love how, when people who are fed up with being screwed out of decent health care, losing their homes to the bankers, being thrown out of work and having their retirement funds robbed decide to openly express their rage on the streets and in public forums, all the toothless Liberals immediately start whining about the lack of "civility" in discourse. I'm sure that if Emma Goldman or Abbie Hoffman were here today, they'd have more than a thing or two to say about that. I'm sure that the people rising up in the streets in England, France and Greece would have something to say to us about "civility" as well.

David K Wayne said...

Palin's civility:


Of course, the title of the blog explains enough, but interesting look at on Palin's priorities when under fire.

AlanSmithee said...

I was gonna post something about the cries for 'civility' currently making the rounds of the pwog blogs, but you beat me to it. Outstanding post, Jack!

Ethan said...

Great post, Jack. Hope you don't mind, I stole (with credit) your list of crimes under 1C.

Richard said...

I can only echo the praise that you've already received.

Richard said...

you might be interested in my perspective about this:

Don't Worry, Sarah, I've Got Your Back

Jack Crow said...

Humbled and grateful. Trying to get out from underneath this migraine. Will try to reply when I know longer want to rip my head off of its stem.

Randal Graves said...

Extra swanky post, sir.

Anonymous said...

Mighty fine work ye done there. Appreciate the format, and the closing note of irony.