Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

Moment of Truth: February 18 2017

500 Years of Lying to Ourselves: An Apologetic History.

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Ladies and Gentlemen and all points in between and beyond, I have distilled my discontent down to two rules:

1. The goal is equality of opportunity and equality under the law, inclusive society big and small (freedom from persecution on any basis), basic guaranteed standard of living (including infrastructure upkeep), universal health care, imprisonment as an admission of social failure to be limited to only exceptional cases, the choice to live a meaningful life rather than one dominated by drudgery, and equal access to quality education at every level. In short: respect for human rights and needs from any organization with which an individual comes into contact. These are within our abilities and resources as a species to provide. Without providing these, any system is extorting submission and misappropriating and misusing fees, rather than deserving of civil behavior and agreeable payment from the public. I'm not going to discuss or argue this anymore. If your goals are different, justify them to someone who cares.

2. Anything bad for Trump is good for the world.

I do not argue these points anymore. I don't explain them. I don't teach idiots, and only an idiot would disagree with these two convictions of mine. I would advise you all to do the same. Unless you're an idiot and disagree with me. Then I would advise you to eat a lump of poison. Or do like the KKK families do, murder your husband the Imperial Wizard and dump his body in the Missouri River.

The ability of stupid humanity to accept social conditions which any child can see are appallingly foolish is mind-numbing to me. It's really the dumbness of other people that's holding back the entire species.

Or is it? How do I get through my day, if I'm so enlightened that I can see through the veneer of respectability and discern the misbegotten nature of our society? I'll own it: I fool myself into thinking this garbage is okay. It's the only way to live a remotely pleasant life. Imagine living under the yoke of the Spanish Inquisition in 1493. Imagine how wildly you'd have to fool yourself into thinking it was fine to get up in the morning and go about your daily routine, while people were having their flesh punctured and ripped and their bones smashed until they admitted to abrogating some ludicrous superstitious rule. It's no different now. We are just as self-deceitful. We lie to ourselves just as blatantly. And we ignore the torment of others, torments as vile as those fashionable in the late 15th Century.

And most of us aren't even that bright. We hardly stand a chance against the onslaught of indoctrination blasting at us from the hypocrisy engines our ancestors have collectively constructed, as if to prevent the entire ghastly Machine of Machines from melting in the flames of its own evil fuel.

Not even the genius is immune. Einstein had to cultivate a dithering, absent-minded personality. It was the only thing preventing him from a moral epiphany that would have culminated in him giving away all his belongings and running naked through the streets cutting down people with a machete.

Have you ever heard of Bartolomé de las Casas, the Dominican priest who came from Spain to the Americas in 1502? He hung out with Christopher Columbus's son, Diego Columbus. He was a brilliant guy, las Casas. But even he went about his daily business in 16th Century Hispaniola, owning Indian slaves, watching Indians worked to death in the gold mines. Oh, he had his misgivings. But still he got up every day and performed his daily duties. He was even aware of a sermon given in 1511 by Friar Antón Montesino denouncing the system of Spanish enslavement of the Indians known as the encomiendo.

But it still took las Casas until 1514 to denounce the system himself. He wrote an Apologetic Summary History of the Indies, from which comes most of what we know about the atrocities visited on the Indians by the Spanish. And even after his great realization of the humanness of the American natives, he thought a great idea to replace the encomiendo it was to bring slaves over from Africa and work them to death instead of the Indians. This crappy brainstorm he didn't retract for at least another decade and a half! But then he felt real bad about it, to his credit. "I came to realize that black slavery was as unjust as Indian slavery," he wrote in his History of the Indies. Too little too late, of course, and that's how it always goes, isn't it?

So how can we be surprised that someone like Bill Clinton, smart as he might be, could usher in policies that were calculated to punish the poor and unfortunate for being poor and unfortunate? Five hundred years ago, Spanish Catholicism's best and brightest could barely find the brain and heart and courage to fight the injustice of his time, and all we had was some pampered Boomer bubba college sellout, pushing NAFTA.

Don't think Bill and Hillary didn't have an inkling of how they were screwing workers. They, as we do, recognize very well the perversions and inversions of justice our civilization is built on. They sat down in their trade agreement meetings and said at some point, consciously in their heads, "We'll screw the working and the poor right now, but it'll all come out okay in the end, because MLK said the arc of history bends towards justice. So that's covered." And they proceeded to blithely screw the people, screw them headfirst into the ground like fencepost diggers.

So now your factory can go across any border it feels like. But your factory worker can be legally murdered attempting the same.

In the current discussion about immigration and so-called illegal immigrants, the frame has moved so far away from anything resembling sense, it's no wonder no liberal can make a case that convinces a white lady working at Target in Lincoln, Nebraska.

National borders are artificial. I'm sure you don't need reminding. They don't exist in real life. We make them. It's our choice. And when I think of the rules I enumerated at the beginning of this piece, the convictions I refuse to argue, or discuss, or try to teach to the benighted proto-Nazis whose Nazism gestates in their heads like that alien thing that burst out of John Hurt's ribcage – I just want to scream. We should not even be discussing this. We are not slaves. We are not the property of the capitalists operating in our respective countries.

Why shouldn't a Mexican woman be able to come here and pick fruit if that's a job she wants to do? Why shouldn't any of us be able to travel freely from country to country, seeking the best jobs we can get? Or taking the jobs that serve our needs at the moment? Of course, the turds at the top will tell you such restrictions on freedom as work permits and migration quotas protect the nation's workers. What a load. What a stinking load. All it protects is the ability of the capitalist to play labor markets against each other. And our patriots here at home think they're doing themselves some good. They should be fighting for an end to borders, not a wall that reifies one.

Why are we putting up with this crap? We are not this stupid. But we willingly stupefy ourselves because we believe we need to in order to survive. And maybe we do. What good does it do to wake up one day to the knowledge you're a slave in a global prison camp instead of a free person in a free country, as you had assumed when you went to sleep the night before? What doth it profit a man to understand his situation?

We live in barbaric times. We haven't come such a long way in five hundred years. It's all right to admit it. It puts things in perspective. We are so far from justice, we can't even see it. We don't even have the right kind of eyes to interpret its shape. So there's no point shooting for utopia all at one go, is there? The goals are still the same, but our immediate actions are less demanding. Let's give ourselves a break even as we wrap our brains around how dire the situation is. We're battling a many- headed hydra. Let's just make things a little more humane, shall we, still keeping in mind the vastness of the task, without feeling daunted? This is not an argument for incrementalism, certainly not Clintonian incrementalism – our steps can be as ambitious as we choose – but just a reminder to pace ourselves, cut ourselves some slack, good old-fashioned slack, and not allow ourselves to be beaten by the enormity of the wrong we seek to right. We must all grasp that we're fighting to achieve a world we can't even understand yet. We're fighting against barbarians, no more nor less civilized than we are, but definitely on the wrong side.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth


Share Tweet Send