You Need To Be An Activist

May 22, 2012

Another rant incoming, so strap in, keep your pants on, and get ready to find out what else you’re doing wrong and why I’m disappointed in you.

But it’s okay, I love you anyway and I forgive you. I’m just so…proud of you. And everything you’ve done already. I just need you to do one more thing for me.

You need to get out there, get together with all of the other people I love, and be an activist.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You’re a good person. A moral person. An ethical person. You might be religious or, like me, you might be an atheist. You appreciate people. You might even appreciate things like modern art, a good beer, a nice steak, a wonderful soup, or fine wines. You love your parents, your partners, your friends, your children. You even love other people that you don’t really know, a little bit anyway. You love them because they’re people and, hey, you’ve got that in common right? Give that nature a little of what-for, people! Survive and thrive anyway!

However, if this is an accurate descriptor of you then I’ve got something to tell you. You’re not working hard enough. You’re not out there convincing people to make the world better, you’re not out there marching with the people you support and care about, you’re not fighting with tooth and claw every instance of idiocy and irrationality you come across. You’re not educating yourself and talking about your education so you can educate others. You’re not thinking critically of all of the things in your life and you’re giving up on trying to make your life better.

You’re sitting there and telling yourself that one person can’t change things, and your five dollars doesn’t help anyone, and your vote is irrelevant, and that your opinions are never listened to. You’ve been trained not to hate yourself, just to distrust yourself. You’ve been trained to stop asking questions of anyone but you and your own conclusions. To treasure controversy. To rely on uncertainty while sitting carefully in the status quo. You’ve been trained to fear change because if things change, and you chose wrong, then only you are to blame.

This, all of this, is a false narrative. It’s a system created to steal power from you and rob you of the strength to make your life better. Part of it is by lying to you about power you don’t have – this is the lie of social mobility, of equal access, of equality between the sexes, the races, the genders, the identities, the societies. The other part of the system is teaching you that the power you do have is worthless and weak. This is the Police State crushing opposition, this is the use of large numbers and huge divisions to show you that your votes don’t matter, this is the engineering of political discussion centering on the national level so you never hear about the places your vote matters the most – in your own community. Mostly, it’s the lie that you, alone, cannot help other people. Either only the Government can, or only the people themselves can. The narrative on both sides teaches you to keep your head down, to carry on, and to hope that you can save just enough to be moderately wealthy at the end of your life. If you’re lucky. And you don’t send your kids to college. And you never buy that new car. And you don’t have a medical problem. And never get into an accident. And never have an emergency. And never go on that vacation  you always wanted to go on. And never buy that dream house because, well, this one was available and you’ve already got kids and it’s so expensive to move.

I’m going to tell you something, though. it’s a secret that people in power don’t want you to hear. A secret that carries with it the strength and magic of the human condition. Here it is –

You, most of all, are important to changing the world. And only you can make this happen.

You might be wondering how I can talk to all of you, the diverse people who may be reading this, and say you’re all important. Well, it’s because you are.

I don’t know how much many of you know about military history, but generals are only one part of the equation. Alexander would have never conquered India if his hoplites did not believe in him. Napoleon would not have secured victory over most of Europe if his army did not move together as a single unit and work together as a single entity. And Patton could not have marched across Europe without the supply trains at his back. What does all of this mean to you?

If you want the world to be a better place, you might need to look to social generals to give you direction, to hash out the philosophy and the economics of making the world better, but once you hear marching orders you must march. If you do not band together with the other people around you, if you do not spread the word and demand from the people around you an equal fervor in making the world better then you are just contributing to the problem. You are laying down your hoplon and spear. You are laying down your rifle and grenades. You are throwing away your M1 and walking away from the most important culture war in history.

You’re damning countless powerless, weak, and needy people to death. Or worse.

Now, to make the world a better place you do need data, research, and effective arguments. Luckily, we have a lot of those. If you want to know where to start, go read my rant from last Wednesday, Record Scratch. If you want to know how I arrived at any of my conclusions, just ask. I’ll explain. The long and the short of it, though, is you know what needs to be done.

Now pick up your arguments, your data, your ideals. Pick up your sword and shield, young hero, and become an activist. Fight tirelessly now, fight ceaselessly now, for one day your children will come to you and ask, “How did the world get this good? Who made it so everyone can be healthy? Happy? Equal?”

And on that day, if you take up this charge, you may be able to look into their eyes and say with all honesty, “It is because I heard the hero’s call and I saved it.”

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