Do you know what the origin of the word “idiot” is?
It comes from the ancient Greek for someone who is totally self-centered; someone without any interest in public affairs. To the inventors of democracy, “idiocy” was the opposite of “citizenship.”
Readers, we are surrounded by idiots.
When I was putting together yesterday’s post, the pictures I used inevitably had a host of comments sighing “It’s Washington, what do you expect?”, “Politicians have always been dirtbags,” and “This is why I don’t vote.”
The issues change, but the reactions remain the same. People throw up their hands and start spewing folksy, thought-cancelling truisms about how politics is inherently corrupt, or how it’s always been this way and always will be, or how it doesn’t matter who you vote for.
I am sick and tired of this defeatist BS. I am sick and tired of people trying to dress up their apathy and lack of backbone as sagely wisdom. I am sick and tired of people disguising their self-centered ignorance as somehow intentional and thought-out.
To everyone who bashes political action- either in the form of elections or grassroots actions- how exactly do you think progress is made? If the “this is why I don’t vote/march/take interest” people were actually heeded, we’d still be building palaces for some self-styled god-king.
Plato once said, “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” I think people need to understand that. Taking yourselves out of the political arena- either by choice or by simple ignorance- isn’t saving you the effort of having to choose between two evils. It’s condemning us to be forever ruled by one of two evils without any hope of change. Politics isn’t just some fraction of life you can ignore- it’s everything. It touches literally every area of life. What you can or can’t watch on TV, what you can or can’t eat, smoke, say, go, or do- that’s all politics.
This whole mentality is bred by luxury. You don’t see people who’ve lost loved ones in the wars shrugging their shoulders and saying “Yeah, that’s politics for ya.” You don’t see people who are actually being censored state they have no interest in public affairs. You don’t see people who are invaded and occupied acting surprised when the causes for the war is explained to them. When you say, “Hey, I just want to live my life here,” what you’re really saying is, “Hey- it’s not my problem.”
Not only is it your problem, but it’s mine as well. I don’t think it fair that I have to have my calls monitored or get strip searched at the airport just because the rest of you are.
Yeah, I know it’s a pain. You work 8 hours, if you don’t work more, and drive through traffic to chow down some nasty food. You just want to watch some TV, maybe kick back with a beer. I get that- I really do. I don’t want to have to shout myself hoarse about this stuff. Where’s the limit, people? At what point does half an hour of lousy TV cease to outweigh your ability to understand what’s going on in the world and what you can do about it? Where’s the line?
So enough with it, already.
You want to be ignorant, fine- but don’t try to pretend that your ignorance or inactivity is somehow heroic or noble, or that it affects no one but yourself. You are cowards. You are criminally negligent. Your ignorance is not something you get to laugh off. Your apathy is not an acceptable state. It is simply and utterly unethical. People suffer and die because of what you don’t know and don’t do. Don’t pretend to be anything other.
So here’s my proposal. None of you get to enjoy any of the benefits or rights won by people who actually spoke up or got up. For you people, no voting, no assembly, no privacy, no religious freedom, no labor rights, no trials- nothing.
Well, you do get one thing. It’s this:
You are terrible human beings.