Friday, October 14, 2011

Conservatively Successful

If I were still a conservative, here is what I might be thinking...

We walk around with our smart phones, music players, and computer pads when we're not attending meetings with our personal computers primed to share our electronic creations with others while we drone on about abstractions aimed at manipulating the lives of others to achieve the half-conceived goals of our masters. Work in this artificial world allows us to keep a lifestyle that depends on increasing the amount and power of our abstractions at the expense of the physical world outside, where creatures and increasing numbers of people are forced to eke out a much harder living, and die younger from the pollution and decreasing resources we leave them with.

Although we are far from being the masters of the universe, we imagine someday being the next best thing. Competition is the key. Beat out more people, just like we pass cars on the highway, and we might have a shot at the top, or at least being very comfortable until we die at a very old age. Increasingly, we find ourselves out of work for months at a time, and must hustle to ingratiate ourselves with the masters or their minions, competing even from home for a chance of getting back into the game. Our high-tech tools keep us prepared for our inevitable re-entry, with fresh skills and the all-important appearance of success.

Rumors and a growing stream of finely filtered news suggest that our world may be teetering on the brink of collapse, but the consistency of our immediate environment belies this option, along with the outrageous, almost science fiction quality of the information. The polished promises of a better life, buttressed by realistic stories and multimedia descriptions, are much more believable than the apocalyptic predictions using complex, scientific reasoning that numbs our minds while trying to scare us into radically changing the world that gives our lives meaning. Still, the weather, the spiking prices of everything from fuel to food, and the increasing dissonance with reality that we feel when we hear our leaders speak, all contribute to the sense that we better not totally dismiss those scary suggestions.

Maybe we'll come out near the top if everything else goes to hell. It may be our only hope of survival. We have an obligation to try, don't we? Isn't that what life is all about? The alternative is to be a loser, like those other people, and that's totally unacceptable. They lost because they didn't hang on, or took more responsibility than they should have – responsibility for others, or the impact they had on others -- not just for their own success, personal responsibility, which is what really matters. If you care about other people, except your friends, family, others like you, and of course the masters of the universe, then you're doing the world a great disservice. At least, that's what Fox, Rush, and the real economic experts tell us.

Some suggest that if people and species die because of our actions, that makes us murderers. If we accept that everyone and everything is connected, then we are potentially all murderers. That can't be true, can it? They must be wrong, if we are to maintain our innocence or at least our perception of it. If we accept that our unwillingness to accept more than personal responsibility, our drive to the top, is causing most of the problems we hear about, then the guilt may be too much to bear. No, clearly they are wrong.

God clearly favors the rich and powerful, no matter what their faults. Therefore, it follows that they can't be wrong about the important things. Aside from the occasional lottery winner, liberal movie star, and trust fund baby who didn't get the right genes, the masters of the universe got to be the masters because they proved themselves worthy.

Giving the most people what they think they want and convincing them that it's worth more than it took for you to make it – that's the true test of success. “God helps those who help themselves,” after all. If someone can't do it as well, or doesn't accept that it's worth doing at all, then they will get what they deserve: poverty. As for those other creatures: they were put here to serve us; if they won't, then they deserve what they get, even if it's extermination. Yes, that's the way of the world, and we have nothing to feel guilty about.

At least that's what we tell ourselves, the true faithful. Yet, for some reason, we're getting smaller in number.

No comments: