Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dispatch from Apathy

by ANDREW SMOLSKI

A society made up of people who reject the external effects of their actions is a crumbling machine constantly dissimulating its own self-destruction through the outward appearance of bravado. The semblance of bravery arrived at by the narcissist who sees in freedom the absolute ability to do as one pleases quickly amounts to the moral abdication of all duty to others. The others fade into oblivion as so many instruments to be used in the furtherance of self-interested ends. Regard for reality becomes a constraint, and to avoid it people adopt fantastical narratives about themselves. When everything is revealed to be a sham everyone acts as if they never did or believed those things, which of course means it will occur again. People must become responsible for the predictable consequences of their actions.

Now, this typically becomes twisted and convoluted into the idea of “individual responsibility”; responsibility only covering the immediate self and possibly extending to a family organization. This form of responsibility actually excludes most forms of responsibility that would be prerequisites for people in a democracy; participation in government, duty to others, thinking about externalities. This is part of why the attack on government in principle is ludicrous. It absolves us of any moral responsibility to society and makes it a probabilistic certainty that people will not act ethically, and a near certainty if they do act ethically it will not be a conscious choice.

Democracy must restore faith in government as the responsibility of every citizen to consider themselves as having a duty towards their fellow citizens and consciously analyzing their actions in order to minimize harm and maximize pleasure for both majority and minority groups. It must also make anew the idea of government detached from a paternalistic nation-state built on jingoistic legalese doused in the infernal kerosene of injustice burning slowly as a crippling bureaucratic process.

***

Some rap is the expression of lumpen proletariat capitalist dreams soaked in the language of right-wing libertarian individualism advanced against the government’s security apparatus as it continuously encroaches on the meager livelihoods eked out by those at the bottom of an oppressive hierarchy. It is a rap that sees in itself the aspirations of those locked-out of formal, “legitimate” networks of advancement and opportunity, thrown to the turpitude of an informal economy existing at the edges; a battleground where there “ain’t no such thing as friends, only associates”, as Z-Ro would rap-sing.

Through this rap we can understand the deep desire to break free from all interventions by government. What government is becomes relative to circumstance, to historical contingency. Although as citizens we must attempt at public reason and veils of ignorance, we cannot ignore our lives and our experiences. It is easy to support the police as a white middle-class male, but much easier to despise the police as a black working-class male. If the Black Prophetic Tradition has failed, as demonstrated in some rap (rap I allude to here), it has failed because it entangled itself with formal politics; basically, the nastiest, slimiest game around. Don’t support the people who the support the people beating your people. That action leads only to one place; disintegration and dissolution.

***

The writing from the market and religious fundamentalist outfits like Fox News, Front Page Mag, and Red State is atrocious. It is boring, infantile, and written for a 5th grader who hates everyone for not noticing him/her for how awesomely fascist they are. Personally, it’s part of what stops me from ever wanting to saddle up and sell-out with them. Who wants a world where creativity is stifled and everyone constantly reads the same book; even worse, they read it poorly. Or maybe it is two books. The Bible AND The Wealth of Nations. You could see the whole lot of them murmuring over and over, “Invisible hand… Invisible hand… Invisible hand…”, and every so often screaming out, “You didn’t let the invisible hand work its magic!” followed by a cackling insanity.

I wasn’t alive for a Buckley, Burke, or any other conservative intellectual who gave a shit about actually knowing the topics they speak on (even if they still lied through their teeth). I got stuck with, or more properly, had forced upon me, idiots like O’Reilly and Hannity. Or dimwits like Ann Coulter. Granted, I know these types existed beforehand, even worse versions most likely; consider these like 4.0 models. I can’t consider enemies people who are lumpen petit bourgeoisie status (all the way to the bank). Nouveaux riche idiots who are upset they got in late to the white privilege game as a means towards material wealth. Enemies deserve a modicum of respect, maybe even satire. These folks deserve nothing but ridicule.

***

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,

Ya no puede caminar,

Porque le falta, no tiene,

Marijuana pa’ fumar!

Apparently, Victoriano Huerta smoked weed and was a drunk. He also was President of Mexico (for a little while) and a complete ass. I bring it up, because you can be a pot-smoking, drunk asshole and still be President. Power doesn’t make character, that’s for sure. Remember that the next time you honor someone for their position, instead of who they are.*

*Please refer to Alexander Cockburn’s writings on American politics for a good understanding of this last thought.

Andrew Smolski is an anarchist sociologist based in Texas. He can be reached at andrew.smolski@gmail.com

Andrew Smolski is a writer and sociologist.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]