There is a hubris that I find more and more grating with time. It is possessed and professed by white American men of liberal political disposition. Not all, but almost exclusively.
They know the world is fucked and for their benefit. They didn’t ask for the inheritance and they don’t want to claim it. This knowledge creates a despondency,—a nihilistic worldview—that turns into inaction and bitterness. And unflinching judgment and disgust for the rest of humanity. Only a handful of dead people, Bernie and Chomsky get a pass.
It’s sad and it’s lazy. But the most annoying part is that these enlightened men who claim to have killed their egos balk at the idea of faith. They know with certainty that there is nothing out there and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot. And, because they believe that we are all we have, and they put such little value in humanity that disappoints them, all we have is nothing.
These are smart guys who are blinded by their own stupidity. They’re lost in an infinity of loneliness. They’re in free fall. And those same convictions and ethics which led them to see the suffering of the world melt away when they come to the misguided conclusion that nothing matters. They become antisocial.
They stop trying to change things. Their futility leads them to becoming impediments to substantive change. They become apathetic in the very same way that the ignorant are apathetic. Their pessimism makes them worse than the blithely ignorant because they become so invested in destruction of the whole system in a way that the ignorant aren’t capable of grasping. They are intentional in their inaction.
I think a lot of these guys need an injection of Sartre-like optimism. Yes, the outlook is bleak. And, yes, it will require super human feats to make things better. But the only response in the face of this knowledge is to try anyway.
Fight, you bastards, fight.
Why do I say white liberal males? Because they are the last to understand their roles in this whole scheme and still entitled enough that their despondency is based mostly in theory. They’re not the ones suffering…yet. Just the idea of suffering is enough to stun them. Meanwhile, everyone else who is actually putting out fires and pumping out basement water doesn’t have the luxury of pouting. They don’t have time to sit around and be so emo.
So these men kill their egos and try to make themselves smaller. And they think the rest of us should, too. They don’t see how even in their enlightenment they still prescribe “my size fits all” solutions to others whose problems are very different. Even in their meekness, they impose colonization on all whom they behold.
I don’t have patience for these men.
If the future is to be claimed, it will be by all the non-white cis hetero men who actually do know what it is like to be menaced and have freedom taken away. We who have tasted the blood in our mouths will end up leading the way, dragging these overgrown children behind us. They will benefit from the labors of others and, in doing so, repeat the errors of their fore bearers, for whom they have so much contempt. That is the ironic justice of the whole matter. They will become that which they despise most.