Click on photo to enlargeThe above knit cap (beanie), which illustrates and inspired this rant, is for sale at the corner liquor store and reminds me of the wondrous democracy we are trying to spread around the globe (The object in the embroidery, to my eyes, appears to have been designed to resemble some creature that is part human female and part wild animal, down on all fours, wrapped in Old Glory, and waiting for something to be done to it, doggy-style).
I saw it there the other day and found myself thinking about a certain young hotel-chain heiress and the fame her home-made porn-video brought her---especially among teenagers, about the graphic images of naked female porn-stars adorning popular hot-selling name-brand snowboards, about superbowl game half-time shows, and a female performers' “wardrobe malfunction”, about the pornography smeared all over the internet, about the name of my corner liquor store, ‘Liquor Junction’, and the t-shirts they once sold with the message, "Liquor Junction – Liquor In The Front - Poker In The Rear".
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not prudish or puritanical, and I'm certainly not offended by nudity, sexuality, or humor. What I do find offensive is a culture where everything (including human beings), is seen as a commodity with a price. Our so-called democracy, and the capitalism it is based on, reeks of exploitation at every level (American Heritage Dictionary-exploitation: 2. The utilization of another person for selfish purposes.), and yet many people can’t understand why there’s so much crazed religious fundamentalism in the world opposed to such a system.Exploitation, enabled by elitism, has been utilized throughout "civilized" history, most obviously as racism, classism and sexism.
We are, at the moment, The Superpower Of The World, possessing most of the Weapons Of Mass Destruction, and hell-bent on having things done The American Way, whether the rest of the world likes it or not. Yet no amount of power, technology or dollars can save us from our own myopic narcissism, the human elitism that allows us to exploit and plunder every beautiful fragment of existence.
I argue below that only a fundamental change in our thinking, a complete ‘paradigm shift’ so to speak, will allow humans to continue for much longer as a viable species.
The Schism In Our Isms
There are no political voices that speak to my earth-centered non-anthropocentric, supposedly radical, ideas (American Heritage Dictionary - radical: 1. arising from a root or source; fundamental; basic.).
The words that resonate in me come from nature-writers, deep ecologists, 'back to the land' self-sufficiency types, and indigenous people who still live off their land.
Capitalism, socialism and communism have all put human needs far above those of the biosphere. All this 'humanism' has fostered the concept that we are somehow different, above the laws of nature, and most absurdly, that we are the masters, 'the stewards of the earth'.
I believe this 'elitism' in our thinking is the root cause of racism, sexism, classism, ethnocentrism and nationalism.
Human elitism, in my humble opinion, has invented every religion, every political system, and every fundamental division between them, resulting in thousands of years of subjugation, torture, murder, wars and genocide.
But the elitism we use to divide, classify, subdue and murder humans only affects one species, and is nowhere near as destructive as the anthropocentrism we employ in the appropriation and destruction of habitat required for the lives of every other species on earth.
This is ecocide, and where genocide is the destruction of ethnic or religious groups, ecocide is the destruction of entire ecosystems. All of this stems from elitist thinking, and this elitism coupled with our human capability for tool-making (and weaponry), is likely to be our complete undoing.
But nature is my true passion, not politics or religion!
However, I believe that the greatest threat to the natural systems of earth (of which humans are only a part) comes from global corporations and their agenda of world domination, from corporate-sponsored fascism disguised as free-market enterprise and democracy. Anthropocentrism, elitism, and greed have now brought us to a state of perpetual war, continual destruction over increasingly scarce resources, until the whole nightmare blasts reason to some cataclysmic oblivion.
Through our collective humanism we not only allow all this to proceed, we encourage it, by paying dearly with our labor, and our dollars for the false comfort of consumerism, for our prejudices, our wars, our weaknesses and our self-deceptions.
Tyrants exist only because we continue enabling them to exist. They do our elitist dirty work for us, in keeping the ‘undesirables’ (the poor, the hungry, the crazy, the disenfranchised, the homeless, the foreign, the different), from our doorsteps. They keep the goods rolling to Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and 7-11, the televisions blaring, and the infernal-combustion machines clogging the highways.
Meanwhile, someone pays for each bomb or bullet that claims a victim of elitism.Someone, such as myself, who allows their tax dollars to be used for such atrocities.
We allow it because we’re selfish and afraid, fearful of death, of poverty, of imprisonment, or of finding ourselves hungry and homeless.
If we stop paying taxes to tyrants, for killing and destruction, we’ll no longer be the elite, with nice homes and cars. We’ll just be impoverished victims and we can’t have that can we?
So, in fear, we simply delay and worsen our fate, because finally, when all is said and done, the tyrants will fall and the empires will crumble.And when the lovely world we evolved from is but a bombed-out toxic wasteland, it will be each one of us who was to blame. In our humanist ignorance and fear, in our weakness and insecurity, we are causing it all, and we will, eventually, reap our just rewards.
For me, humanism has revealed itself for what it truly is, and "You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train" (Zinn), so I find myself compelled again to speak, at odds with my own species, for the rest of nature, for those who have little or no voice in the greedy temples of mankind.
I feel there is no sustainable future for humans through anthropocentricism, humanism, elitism, racism, classism, sexism, nationalism, fascism, capitalism, socialism or communism, but there is an 'ism' that might help us find our way out of this abysmal mess.
…a profoundly sustainable and democratic idea, and all we’d need to do is live under the laws of nature.
As Edward Abbey once wrote, “Where There’s Life, There’s Hope”.I thought I felt a rant coming on…
…and many thanks to Denny at LJ for the loan of the obnoxious beanie for scanning.This rant was simply another attempt at dialogue, hopefully with a less human-centered compromise in that dialogue, about what real change might require.
Labels: politics, progress?, rants, social commentary