I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
August 29, 2017 - 12:16 p.m.
How did it get so cold? Who ordered this? it's still August. It's bad enough that I'm not wearing shorts, am I going to have to change into warmer sweat pants? It's better to do that than to sit here complaining; I'll be right back. That's better. Now I'm nice and toasty. There is a sensual pleasure to wearing warm clothing.
I did something yesterday I haven't done in ages; I went to Bagel Bob's in the village for half priced bagels. They have them on Mondays after 4 PM. When I walked in I was very disappointed that nobody said that they missed me. I also went to my PO box. The big excitement of the day was just catching the bus back to City Island. Don't you wish your life was an adventure like mine?
I'm having a blogging crisis. I work myself up about problems in the world. The ones I want to write about are the issues I have with the way people think. There is so much righteous indignation; often it's justified, often it isn't. Being righteously indignant feels good. My crisis is that I'm am feeling righteously indignant and I don't want to act on that and be part of the problem. I'm caught in a paradox. Thinking about it this way is helping. I hoped it would.
Barry Goldwater said; "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." As usual Barry Goldwater was wrong. A vice is exactly what it is, same as gambling or drugs. Thinking of the righteousness of your cause gives you a shot of endorphins. It's addictive. It can do more, it can give you a sense of purpose. If you use that as a means to an end, as a motivation to do things that do good without giving you an endorphin rush, that makes the world a better place. But that's hard. It's not what people most often do. It's not what I do. I admire those that dedicate themselves to helping others because it's so difficult. It's so much easier to wave your banner and say, "Those are the bad guys! We have to stop them!" The world becomes a Manichean battleground.
This is what the events of Charlottesville are about. The protestors see themselves under attack, their way of life threatened. You have the people that marched with swastikas, Nazi salutes, and chants of "Jew will not replace us." Those are not the ones I'm afraid of, there aren't that many of them. They can do damage; they can kill people, but they aren't an existential threat. I worry more about those that deflect the criticism of the Nazis and White Supremacists and redirect it as the it towards those that want to take down the monuments and to the counter-protesters. And I worry about those that think that extremism in defense of liberty, in opposing those the protestors and their sympathizers, is no vice.
A common argument is that we need the extremists to fight the alt-right and to compare it to Germany before the Nazis took over. What people ignore is that the Nazis presented themselves as the defenders against the Communists and too many went along with them. I'm more afraid of the Right, I'm on the Left and Trump is the president. But I am going to fight, within myself, to not see it as us versus them. I'm not going to do things because they feel good. Jon Snow had it right; We are all on the same side, we're breathing.
This isn't going to convince anybody. That's not its purpose. I'm just telling you what's going on in my head. All I want is for people to be good; to think of others. Anger is not the way to achieve it. Fight for right, not against people. Don't waste your energy attacking Tina Fey for a sketch on SNL or Taylor Swift for a song. I don't think any of my Gentle Readers feel this way but in case some do, don't see Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem as a threat to the America. We don't need people to rile us up over issues. We are already riled up.
Did I rile you up against those riling people up? That's what I'm afraid of. I need to write something fun. Maybe I'll devote tomorrow's entry to my speculations on Game of Thrones. I'd like to be inspired. I don't seem to have anything on the agenda today. I should have music to write about the next few days after that.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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