Thursday, March 26, 2009

Untitled Philippic

I wrote this in response to the follow-up commentary to a post on this guy's blog.


Because I am a modern thinker...that's why. I don't need ideas.

The United States is ideologically conservative. You'll disagree with me, sure, because that's what Righties do. Each of us is sure s/he's the most progressive little dream-chaser out there, but it just ain't so. Fundamental to our value system is that we deserve to be left alone. Our collective motivation for "change" is to change other people into getting off our backs.

Functionally, though, we're as Blue as the balls of a high school A.V. Club. We know that what is good for Goose is not always good for Gander or Maverick or Iceman, and we deflect any request for firm policy off of the Holy Shield +5 that is individualism. Experience and circumstances are different for each of us, we rationalize, so how can one set of rules apply to everyone?

This duality breeds an entire people of noisy evangelists to the Church of Rights who refuse to formalize anything without a dizzying algorithmic tangle of carefully manicured caveats and corollaries. The only thing the Jekyll and the Hyde in each of us can agree on is that everyone else needs to get onboard with us so that we can live in peace.

The modern American says: "When the realization strikes everyone that there is only one way and that way is different for each of us but if we're all taught to follow our 7 billion paths in the same direction to our infinite and personal destinations, everyone will be happy and they'll have proved me right all along. Meanwhile, whereas circumstances are different for each of us and no one has ever felt the same experiences I've been made to feel, how can I be saddled with all these expectations and limitations by a system that doesn't even know me?"

The rational respondent, if there were one, could only answer thus: "Your narrative voice is passive. You aren't even the protagonist in your own sniveling. How can I trust you to take care of yourself when you insist that you are being taken care of by yourself? Infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters churn out volumes of argument that the distinction is purely semantic, but it's not! It's paradigmatic! You refuse accountability for your own existence. Live and Let Live is a cruelty in a world full of you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world," mused the wise and venerable refrigerator magnet, but it proved a lousy leader: it stayed a refrigerator magnet and a single-issue demagogue. All it changed was us--into a nation of self-righteous, magnet-quoting hypocrites.


Barbara said...

This would have made a little more sense in the first reading if you'd mentioned that you meant the "personal responsibility" blog -- NOT the AIG bonus blog...

Adam Dodds said...

Good call, Barbara. I relinked the postso it takes you directly to the source of the inflammation.