Splintered

Long ago, this blog used to have multiple authors. But then we all grew up and GS became all about “things Nacho has done with his penis” which was probably bad for readership. Hard to say, though.

It’s been a thrill to see the return of former author “Rotting Corpse,” though. Sad that it took the bizarre and horrific state of 2017 America to make that happen. His recent cry for resistance was much needed and hearkened back to the older days of Greatsociety (and dirtyfreaks.com before it) where our little team of bloggers screamed into the lonely darkness about the various outrages around us. This blog started in April of 2001 so there’s a weird sort of “anonymous internet bullies” take on the strange and dark history of the last couple decades on these pages…

The big question Rotting Corpse’s article raises is: how do we fight back? He gives some excellent pointers for potential protesters, but it’s still all so exhausting. And unrewarding. All these protest groups seem like they should be working together but then they start sniping at each other. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. The splintered, factional nature of protest groups is an old problem. It’s what lost us the battle in the ’60s. It’s what usually loses every battle for justice, in fact, and occasionally has dire consequences that impact the world for generations (See: The assassination of Caesar, the rise of Mussolini and Hitler and the aborted attempts to oust them, the French Revolution, and, hey, even the death of Jesus!).

The problem, of course, is that “freedom” and “justice” and “revolution” are, almost by definition, wildly varied. I always think of the “Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” idea. i.e.: “Just keep doing whatever the fuck you’re doing as long as you don’t kill babies and pay your taxes.” (Actually a surprisingly progressive approach for a nation founded by puritanical, racist misfits.)

While, yes, puritanical, racist misfit-ism certainly ruled the day according to the eventual letter of America’s laws, the spirit is still creeping around in the background. It’s all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…and we should defend that. Somehow.

Author Iain Banks once said, while discussing his sci-fi Utopian characters, “the more you control the more you have to control,” as in authoritarianism, once in, rules supreme and with an iron fist but it will eventually blow itself out. Which is roughly how every empire has come to an end for the last gajillion years. Tyrannies also suffer from over-expansion and come toppling down (though, worryingly, it can occasionally take 1000 years).

This is a great way to explain why the Right is always (and always temporally) so successful. It’s very easy to be an authoritarian. It’s also very easy to follow one. In fact, we crave it. Even if we dress them up in liberal clothing, we’re still hoping to be told what to do.

That most basic of human traits further complicates the splintered left.

So, what’s the solution? How do we unite a resistance movement around one cause?

Well, another thing history teaches us is that we’ll never unite until they start to take away our luxuries. Sadly, in the modern world, if we hit that point it probably means we’ve already been overrun. Mainly because what we first-worlders identify as “luxuries” are being maintained and controlled (and, actually, carefully rationed) by the very people against whom we should be rebelling.

Because of this, I’m of the camp that believes there is no solution, or else we would have found it by now after an eon where we’ve seen the rise and fall of countless authoritarian fucks.

I’ve long argued that the only true path towards change has to come from below — the local elections, having a better control over our education system, etc. We need to measure our revolution on the generational timeframe. We need to encourage a love of history in our children and teach them the unadulterated version of our history. We need to awaken the liberal arts half of our minds as well as the scientific halves. We want our children to ask questions, to analyze, to weigh their actions and decisions not only as science and nature demand, but also with a full knowledge of the overall triumphs and failures of human history.

We can’t fight the 40-something racist in Dead Indian Bend, IA. We can’t fight the 60-something Pentecostal madman in PA. These are people who have drunk from the chalice and bought the new reality. And they are legion. When one falls, another will take their place.

But what of the 12 year old who sees, playing out before them fucking Reading Rainbow style, Humanity’s long history of scandal, war, horror, and also victory, glory, and inventiveness?

That person will change. Maybe. I don’t know. Don’t listen to me – I drink beer from unlabeled bottles that strangers give me.

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