Today I was told that the duty of any self-respecting revolutionary is to push the limits no matter what. While that may be true, it depends on what the goal is: tear down everything and see how far one can push the limits, setting the stage for a brand new … stage? – or restructure things just enough for a new production to seamlessly step up?
In other words, is everything about change for the sake of change – is that what we want – or do we strive for a radically different future, effective now? Or is our primary goal to keep things functional and operational in the wake of reform?
Some things you can’t change unless you burn the old shit to the ground
I have a soft spot for firebrand politics. Some things you can’t change unless you burn the old shit to the ground. Out with the old, said the French republicans, and even though they failed to implement some of their more radical agendas, like their FRep calendar with its ten-day weeks and its days devoted to plants and minerals, they upended the old guard just enough for an institution called democracy to set root. To do that they burned down a prison, rioted in the streets, executed aristocrats, bishops, even the king and queen, and instituted a reign of revolutionary terror that, despite its shortcomings – about which I have written extensively – managed to keep the country mobilized during its war with other European powers. The combined onslaught of Austria, Russia and Britain was held back and a French counter-offensive was launched that turned the tide not just for France, but for the forces of change at large.
The result of that wave was Imperial France and the Napoleonic Wars, the spread of republicanism across Europe, then the globe. The world we live in is a direct result of firebrand politics, the actions of people who’d had enough and smashed the limits, come what may.
I have taken a tough stance on BLM when it comes to the side-effects of looting and rioting. Most people agree that the violence is dangerous, but some argue that it’s necessary. Where does one draw the line? On the necks of those whose heads we want to see rolling, if the French Revolution is an indicator. Things can get out of hand fast, just like that, but sometimes out of hand is the only thing that gets things done.
Torn between the need for change and the need to keep things functional, I write for and against radicalism. I don’t want to see the US, the UK, the EU, or any democratic institution crumble. At the same time I don’t think business as usual is a viable setup.
About woke culture, I think it’s part valid, part joke gone bad
I also loathe cancel culture with a vengeance but at the same time I want to see those who deserve what’s coming to them to get what’s coming to them.
About woke culture, I think it’s part valid, part joke gone bad, and that we have to ride the wave, let the youth of today express their frustration at their predecessors, helping them maintain a balance between jacobin wrath and good old pragmatism.
I think those who are totally against woke culture forget what it means to be young and angry and fed up with handed-down trash.
I also think that those who are totally woke are insensible to all the good things they were bequeathed, acting in ignorant ways.
I think anyone who is dead set on one way of doing things is Wrong Wrong Wrong. The future is integration – of data, opinions, insight, information – and the way ahead combines the lessons from the past with a vision for the 21st century. Like the French republicans and the nobility whom they ousted, no one will get his or her or ze way 100%. It’ll balance out in the end, sometimes leaning toward any of the worldviews available, although there will be times when the world will appear close to total destruction.
The future is integration
We forget the greatest lesson of all. This – everything! – has happened before, and will happen again. There’s life after change, even when that change comes crashing through our living rooms like the end of days.
To all who fear that this is the end of the world I say, just as I say to the totally woke and the totally un-woke, what Dr. Cox said to Carla …
From your socratic Spin Doctor,
Eyes open, mind sharp.
PS – If you think this clip is an example of white privilege because Dr. Cox is white and Carla is POC, the answer is #facepalm. This is not a white man putting down a POC woman, not in this context. It’s a TV character trolling another TV character, a comedy sketch, an example of humor (something that eludes the totally woke) (note: he’s 90% prick.. his name is Cox.. The irony oozes..). This clip is best appreciated as a TV/art moment rather than a political semiotic inside which worms may be found if one digs deep enough. (I wonder what we’ll find when we dig into the radicals’ past.) As for those who see this clip and feel proud for being male and/or white because the world as they know it is filled with bitchy people whom they have to correct all the time (yep, believe it or not, people read the clip this way), they, too, miss the point (the totally un-woke are all about missed opportunities, for which they have to take it out on other people), celebrating gender/race at the expense of the bigger picture. The meaning eludes them. They, the totally un-woke, like the totally woke, the lot of them, are 10% right and 90%…