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Moment of Truth July 29 2017

The Supreme Gamble

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

As founder and spokesmodel of the Socialist Leisure Party, I am under constant attack from every side. My detractors are legion. From the right, they want to shut us up because we're spreading the dirty secret threatening to undermine capitalism's extortionist hold over the masses: there's enough wealth in the world today for everyone to lead an easy, pleasant and fulfilling life. From the vanguardist left, they want us to quit advocating recalcitrance and the romance of shirking work, because it undermines their image of the noble laborer as a deployable soldier in the battle against the current regime they wish to replace with themselves.

My first task every morning is to fight the urge to get up and fight. It's not easy being aggressively inert. But somebody has to take it upon himself to do this thing that doesn't need doing.

Our stupid national ethos fetishizes certain types of risk. There was even a popular song about risk assessment: "You got to know when to hold em; know when to fold em," the singing Gambler cryptically advised. If you risk your last dime and, through a combination of obsessive devotion and luck, make millions, you are applauded, lionized, celebrated. If you risk your last dime and fail, you are stigmatized and shunned and swept under the rug of oblivion. If you take the risk of devoting your time to teaching or nursing or firefighting or farming or otherwise doing the grassroots labor society requires in order to function on a day-to-day basis, whether you succeed or fail you are pretty much treated like scum.

For the sake of a handful of winners, we are held hostage in a nightmarish casino where most of us sweep the floors or refill the shrimp buffet in a thankless bargain with the management.

One tenet of the Socialist Leisure Party is that we in the USA are pressured to accept risk in order to enter into any social contract, and succumbing to such pressure must be avoided at all costs. We will not invest our time into mastering a trade. We will not devote our lives to contributing labor to a company or a municipality or, god forbid, a government, against the empty promise that it will support us with a pension in our old age. Simply put: we will not devote. Governments, companies and municipalities have earned nothing but our distrust, and we owe them nothing more.

So, yes, the basic motivation for the Socialist Leisure Party is risk avoidance. And isn't the basic motivation for civilization the same? We store up food to obviate the risk of famine. We enact traffic laws to decrease the risk of accidents. Obviously, total avoidance of risk is impossible. But it is indeed the goal of the collective human project since we first cohered socially. Which is why the USA must practice its peculiar form of brainwashing in order to coerce us into risking our all for the great benefit of the few. It goes against the logic by which our species has become successful.

Sorry, but the answer of the entire membership of the Socialist Leisure Party is a resounding "no thanks."

We recline on the hill of humanity's birthright: the avoidance of risk. You want me to throw in with your idiotic plan to sell overpriced hand-crafted baseballs in downtown Detroit? For what? What good does it do my spirit? What good does it do my body? In what way will it protect the people and ideals I believe are good, right and beautiful?

At least in bed I can appreciate whatever sunlight creeps into the room without exerting myself on behalf of someone else's money-making scheme, an idea misbethunk because its very conception has been mutilated at the root by the extortionist logic of capitalism. At least while gazing at clouds I'm not working against those I love for the sake of paying my rent. At least while wading in the waves and skipping stones I'm not actively making the world worse on behalf of Monsanto or Amazon or The Consolidated Sex and Fishing Slavery Corporation.

It has been suggested that the current Congress of the United States has secretly adopted a Socialist Leisure stance. The confusion is understandable. They do seem to be quite accomplished at accomplishing nothing. The entire membership of the Socialist Leisure Party has been mightily impressed by their constant failure to contribute to society, or even to leave any noticeable evidence of their intrusion upon the monotonous flow of time. They would be like Japanese ghosts, the yurei, who travel through the world without feet, leaving no prints. They would be like Jesus, who explained the absence of a second set of footprints during trying times for his devotee by saying, "That's when I was carrying you, my son," although this Congress makes no claim to have carried anyone or anything, not even a little old lady's groceries.

They would be as low-impact as a Japanese ghost or Jesus, but for one thing: they are trying to look as though they're getting something done. They aren't proud of their inaction. And despite leaving in place that great communist mechanism, the Affordable Care Act, to exert its devious Maoist influence on the populous, this Congress is definitely not socialist, except in the sense that they share the wealth of the masses among themselves.

No, do not be fooled by these frauds. Yes, they are lazy. Yes, they are ineffective. Yes, they cower and hide from their constituents, pretending they're invisible.

And this should be their time. Ineffective government, founded under Ronald Reagan and nurtured by Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich, has finally come of age. This is the Donald Dump era, where anything can be true, any failure can be called a success, where a blank stare can be Secretary of Education, and a toxic waste spill can run the EPA.

Nevertheless, this Congress tries too hard. No true Socialist Leisure partisan is taken in by these charlatans. They take no pride in their lack of productivity. The only reason they haven't done anything is because they're afraid if they take responsibility for any kind of policy they might lose their jobs. No true Socialist Leisurist is afraid of losing a job. Unemployment is our middle name!

In these dark yet psychedelic days of Donald Dump, this is the great risk we of the Socialist Leisure Party take. Yes, we also risk. We, the most risk averse of all, and therefore the highest form of civilized human beings, we also risk. We who invest nothing, plan nothing, think null thoughts, make no effort, and offer nothing to our fellow human beings, we risk suffering a fate worst than sweet death. We risk being mistaken for the current GOP Congress.

And what have you risked, you finance cowboys, you pharmaceutical corporations, you venture capitalists? Your savings? Ha. We of the Socialist Leisure Party laugh. We laugh very quietly because we don't want to spill the cocktail balanced on our belly.

For us, being mistaken for a member of the GOP Government is as devestating as it would be for a kindergarten teacher to be saddled with the reputation of Jack the Ripper.

Maybe when it comes to risk, we in the Socialist Leisure Party have been co-opted into the risk-fetishism of postmodern capitalism. No one can claim to be pure. Purity doesn't exist. We live in a risky universe. Even lying about in a hammock has its risks.

Salvador Dali once said, "The difference between me and a madman is, I am not mad." The main difference between us and the GOP pretenders is: we are not them. And, though we aren't proud of much, we are proud of that.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth


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