October 20, 2006


This rooster, the famous Dr. Denny Dimwit, thinks all rebels should be locked up in the interests of the market.

This is the fifth and final post in a series about conformity, rebellion and the American dream. If this is your first visit, please scroll down to the previous posts.

These are dark days for rebels. The Powers that Be--particularly the economic arrangements of the world economy--seem too powerful to challenge in any meaningful way. Some have called this sense of powerlessness the TINA Syndrome (for There Is No Alternative).

Part of the problem as well is that some previous attempts to radically remake the world haven't turned out very well. It's a sad fact that during most periods of human history revolutions have been impossible--and on the rare occasions they were possible the remedy has often been worse than the disease. (Think Stalinism.)

And rebellion has often been ineffective where it hasn't been homicidal.

If there's a way to rehabilitate rebellion in a world that desperately needs it, maybe the path is to combine it with a sense of limits and moderation.

It is not given to people to remake the human condition or write the wrongs of the past. But with skill, intelligence and luck, we can, when conditions are right, make specific gains and reduce some of the unnecessary sufferings of the present. That's all, but that's also enough.

Albert Camus, who (literally) wrote the book on rebellion (The Rebel), recommended this approach:

Moderation is not the opposite of rebellion. Rebellion in itself is moderation, and it demands, defends, and re-creates it throughout history and its eternal disturbances.

Camus thought we should look at history as neither a road to utopia nor a dead end of despair. Rather, "It is only an opportunity that must be rendered fruitful by a vigilant rebellion."


1 comment:

mwildfire said...

Whoa! Way too timid. Rebellion impossible? Only for the mentally colonized. If the majority simply choose to exercise their power, the Powers That Be are immediately rendered helpless. This is even true today; the Powers That Be, whose destructive choices are now seriously endangering the entire planet, still rely on police forces and armies composed of their subjects to enforce these choices. All we need is for every mother to say to her sons, as I have said to mine: if you ever join any branch of the armed forces I'll never speak to you again. People say that's too harsh, but this is the one act so immoral I could never forgive it.