A few weekends back, I was at a festival in Portland, Oregon. While at the festival I was wearing a Chicago Cubs shirt, and someone approached me and said, “Go Cubs!” This person then stuck their fist out for me to pound. As I went to pound their fist they turned their fist back towards their body and then stuck their middle finger right in my face and said, “Fuck the Cubs!”
After the shell shock and anger wore off someone else approached me and said, “Forget that asshole.” I did forget that asshole and let him to go be an asshole to whoever he wanted at the festival. I regret that decision and should have confronted him about his behavior.
The reason I tell this story is because it’s a microcosm of why we are in such dire straits. We see assholes all around us that lie, cheat, backstab, and impose their will/ideology on us and we just move along hoping they leave us alone and target someone else. If we just put our head down, and be the bigger person things will be ok for us. Well I have breaking news… it’s not working.
Look at who our current president is… the asshole of all assholes. Look at how insane the wealth gap has gotten. Do you think the eight men that have a combined wealth of half the world’s population obtained this from being the bigger person? Of course not, they obtained this insane amount of wealth from being the bigger asshole.
This is why the phrase “nice guys finish last” has such prevalence in this culture. Consciously and/or subconsciously many of us acknowledge this phrase as reality because survival of the fittest capitalism creates “winners” and “losers”.
On August 4th, in Portland I got to see first hand how important it is for this system to protect fascist, misogynist, racist assholes (Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys). It was so important for Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys to express their violent views that Police fired flash bang grenades into the crowd of counter protesters who did not inflict any violence on the Police, Patriot Prayer, or the Proud Boys. This was done under the guise of preserving the free speech for Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys. Even if their speech was to recite Chapter 1 in the book of Assholes. The event made me wonder if our culture had a history of intolerance towards assholes does this event in Portland even happen?
This survival of the fittest system is made up of winners and losers. And that day, like everyday, Global Capitalism reigns the assholes won because they may not have the numbers but they do have the power.
I say this against the backdrop of the recently departed John McCain. Many liberals who identify as “left leaning” will praise the man as a Patriot and Hero. If the horrors of John McCain are now spoken leftists will be told do not disrespect the dead, we will finally be the “assholes” for saying the truth about the man’s life.
My comrades let me be the first to tell you, it’s ok to say not only did John McCain die of terminal cancer but he was in fact a cancer that was terminal for thousands if not millions of humans on this earth. McCain bombed thousands of innocent civilians while serving in Vietnam for Operation Rolling Thunder, he always pushed for US military intervention in various countries around the world, he voted to strip healthcare from people battling cancer, he called peace activists “low-life scum”, and he’s quoted as saying “I hate g**ks, I will hate them as long as I live”. These were just a few of McCain’s favorite things.
Here’s where the problem lies. To confront the public that is compliant with the American Exceptionalism narrative about the real John McCain leftists have no problem bursting this bubble and coming off as “assholes” to liberals and conservatives. But when will leftists confront the bubble of “asshole left purity” that is encompassing our marginal numbers?
The Democratic Party is where radical political movements go to die, but left purity is what cannibalizes these movements. Yes, we see the social media tit for tat of left purity, and this does sow discord on the left from a virtual standpoint. No radical change will truly happen on a website or through an app. Those are mere tools of the trade for change. Change will happen in the streets. I have witnessed the left purists cannibalize a movement faster than fictional character Hannibal Lecter.
The purists came in with their uber counterculture appearance to prove to all of us that if it’s one thing that is pure in this world it is them. Everyone else is suspicious. And if you have the appearance of a “normie” you certainly aren’t to be trusted. The purists wouldn’t dare pontificate the ways of the world to the movement it was as if people in the movement had to prove themselves to the purists because they are leftists oracles. Then one wonders why the left isn’t as big as it should be.
We must eject these purists from our movements the second we spot them. Being a leftist isn’t about appearance it’s measured through your mind, heart, and actions. If we want to build mass movements we must understand people from all walks of life, from all races, and from all genders must be allowed in as long as we can align with their mind, heart, and actions.
At the same time we must be principled in our approach but not to the point where it becomes a purist principle. Odds are if you’re reading this you’re engaged in an activity that is destroying our planet. Not intentionally though, we have to try and survive these set of living arrangements we were born into. You may even have done something that could be deemed hypocritical, none of us are immune to that even the purist of the pure on the left have.
I drive a car, I sometimes eat meat, I have purchased items that have been made in sweatshops, and I have purchased items from large Multinational Corporations that are devouring our planet of its natural resources. These a just a few things that make me a hypocrite. I have made plenty of other mistakes in my life and will continue to do so. But my intentions are what most of the left’s intentions are. I am against Racism, Patriarchy, Capitalism, Imperialism, and Colonialism. I want a fair and equal society that’s in harmony with a living planet. But for the purists this isn’t enough.
The living planet is dying at a rapid pace. It’s not saving its last segments of liveable ecology for who is the purist on the left side of the spectrum. The living planet doesn’t care.
Metaphorically speaking, the planet is erecting its steel cage to enclose the human species in a winner take all fight to the death. A contest that will have no winners, only destruction and the extinction of our species. I say this is metaphorically speaking because the actual steel cage the planet is erecting around our species is the rings of fire currently engulfing the globe.
The Arctic’s strongest sea ice is breaking a part for the first time on record. Once this ice is gone, the heat beating down in the Arctic Ocean will release massive amounts of methane that will make all of us feel like we are trapped in a microwave.
Earth’s carbon concentrations have soared to heights not seen since 800,000 years ago. Atmospheric concentrations of methane were the highest on record in 2017 with an increase of 6.9 parts per billion to a total of 1849.7 parts per billion.
All of these thoughts race to my future son, his generation, and all of the younger generations on this planet. When Industrial Civilization collapses due to Abrupt Climate Change, and fighting to the death erupts in the streets he’s going to want to know why this is happening. His generation and the younger generations that came before and after his generation won’t care who was the purest of the pure. They will want to know what, if anything, was done to stop this death and destruction.
I will talk to him about Industrial Civilization, Capitalism, Overpopulation, Abrupt Climate Change, US Imperialism, Fascism, Colonialism, and Racism. But then I will have to say how sorry I am to him when I talk about left purity.
I will tell him there was a segment of society that was fighting all of the things previously mentioned, but we couldn’t build an effective mass movement to confront the ills of the world. We couldn’t effectively establish a set of principles that united us, but a set of principles was easily constructed to divide us. We couldn’t do it partially because we played the game of left purity, we let the purists cannibalize our movements. We failed to confront them like we have we failed to effectively confront assholes in general. The assholes may have finished first for a while on this planet, but in the end far more things will even outlast them on planet Earth.