T he idea that “saving” or protecting aspects of the world actually implies destruction of the remainder–a lack of needing to care about the world in its wholeness.
For example let’s take National Parks. Implicit in a law protecting the environment from our destructive resource depletion and waste is the approval for the industrial rapine that has denuded forests across the globe and spilled oil in gulfs, oceans, and across African countries with no practical concern or consequences. We’ve spoiled that place, but, we assert with self-congratulations, look how pristine this one is!
Unfortunately, a liberal or progressive attitude is simply one that attempts to mitigate bad acts by assuaging the guilt of the actors and allowing themselves to participate in our wonderful human progress.
And though I must be accounted a man “of the Left,” I am not sanguine about the politics of the left. But the politics of the Right is more troubling. We don’t actually have any “conservative” politics in this country (world?). We have Authoritarianism–this is our brand of conservative. This politics is about dominating the population by creating submission to power, money, religion, commerce, law, technology…all the provenance of the Father.
Liberal or Progressive belief in the neutrality or benevolence of science and technology simply lays the railroad tracks that lead to the easy coercion and manipulation of those systems now dominated by “advanced” technologies, for example our vast surveillance state apparatus.
In short, the Left makes the Right possible.
Our only (and eroding) freedom has been “speech.” However, this is not a freedom with any meaning in the material world. And in fact, the proof of this is that “speech” is now more free when attached to an ideology that is extremely well-funded. THAT funding is an ACT of speech and not just speech.
I am free to blog (for now)–but I am liable to be “surveilled.” So I am in effect not even really free in this single and most cherished of our “false” freedoms.
The Madisonian “fear” of factions is a fear of a particular kind of faction, Madison representing and writing for the benefit of a particular faction himself. We are dominated by factionalism–it’s just that these are few, narrow and powerful (obscenely wealthy). Our media “politics” are simply ways to maneuver groups into serving particular power structures. This is “issue” politics: abortion–how many do we happily approve of killing while protecting the unborn?; this is school vouchers and school “choice”–nearly all of these transfers going towards a religious education and nearly all choice being for corporate privatization; this is “big government” and taxation–though isn’t an economic system favoring corporate interests a more insidious and dominating form of government?; this is terrorism, almost non-existent in this country but perpetrated without end BY this country.
Speech without power is useless. My speech is powerless. This is why I believe that the American drive to be armed is a valid response to this powerlessness. A weapon is powerful speech. It is not my speech and I don’t find it moral, yet…this is the conflict we are creating. This will be our next civil conflict. (In Melville’s “Billy Budd, Sailor,” the hero, when frustrated, stutters. He is confronted by a character who tells lies about him to the Captain. This man has power over him in the military hierarchy and his lies are corroborated by henchmen and lackeys. Billy, stunned into silence, “speaks” with lightning power through his fist. He kills his accuser with one blow.)
This is an antagonism that has been anticipated. Drones were developed to dominate this population; the Middle East is a technological training ground for impending domestic martial existence.
Talk away, freedom-fighters. It is, as they say, cheap.