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2012
unknownj
Sometimes I really despair at the world, and the state people get themselves into in worrying about it.

First off, too many people have jumped on the anti-war bandwagon for me to even consider aligning myself with them. I'm anti-war, but I'm not with the rest of them. If there's another protest in London, I'm not going to go, because I won't be lumped together with people who have nothing in common other than a general anti-war sentiment. That's homogenising, and doesn't reflect my specific views. One can argue that if everybody thought like that, nobody would protest and last month's massive showing in London wouldn't have taken place. Well sod that - that logic is only valid if everybody in the world thinks exactly I do. And I know that nobody thinks exactly as I do - which is probably a good thing.

So, terrorists. What's their problem? If they weren't often religious extremists with rules against such things, I'd advise them to chill out with a beer and various soft drugs and just relax. As has been proven time and time again, getting worked up over things just escalates conflicts, and is ultimately destructive. To be honest, I blame a lot of religion - in history, it seems to be largely responsible for a lot of unnecessary hostility. I'm sure that without religion, something else would have had a similar effect, but the point still stands.

And the reason these people get so upset is that they have strong views. I'm glad I don't, it seems like an awfully painful thing. I have very weak views, expressed strongly, and therein lies the difference. Everything I believe is covered in a layer of cynical apathy, which stops me getting worked up over differences of opinion. I might be very argumentative on a subject, and try to get my views across, but I don't tend to worry too much if I fail. Opinions are like assholes - everybody has them, and they're full of shit more often than not.

Take the war, for instance. I loosely believe that the war is being fought for the wrong reasons, and at the wrong time, but I'm not so naive that I don't see the tangible benefits for everybody. Yes, Iraqi civilians will die, most likely indiscriminately. This is far from ideal, but as it stands, Iraqi civilians are dying indiscriminately from starvation anyway, along with those who are being persecuted for political reasons. Do I think that going in there guns blazing is the answer? Of course not. But if it happens, and the outcome is sufficiently favourable towards the Iraqis, I won't lose any sleep over it.

We should be glad that we live in a world where the biggest injustice to protest against right now is the deaths of some civilians while liberating a country. I can imagine much worse scenarios.

And yet, I still say that war can and should be averted if possible. Enforced weapons inspections would be a start, proper interviews with Iraqi scientists would also help a lot. If Saddam doesn't agree, then send French and Russian troops in with the inspectors to make him comply, and if he resists with force, then I'd take that as proof that he doesn't intend to disarm, and I'd let the USA go take him out.

See, it's a pretty weak opinion really. I know people who are waiting for war so they can go trash Starbucks and McDonalds and generally make a lot of noise. I'm glad I'm laid back enough about it that I don't do that stuff - it's all just another brand of terrorism, and is unbecoming of people who think a violent response is inappropriate.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that it's okay to have an opinion, but when that opinion starts driving you towards feeling angry, or taking radical action, then it's bad. When Republicans start talking about how they're glad liberals are going to be human shields and that they hope they'll die, all the while talking about how a fetus is a real person who must be protected at all costs... well, that just goes to show how stupid a strong opinion can really make you look.

Calm down. Relax. Don't stop caring, but stop letting it get to you.

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I decided to stop letting it bother me so much a few weeks ago. I don't want to be lumped in with those "bandwagon" protesters either.

I do what I can as an "activist," but beyond that I also have to worry about my more personal concerns--school, work, (and of course) sex.

I see my strengths as mostly being the non-activism type things... I (perhaps arrogantly) see myself as an enlightened observer rather than an active participant in the world, and as such, feel that my duties extend only as far as giving my opinion, preferably presented in such a way as to make other people think. I don't want to actually do anything about the world any more, or get involved in its workings, because as a very individual individual, I don't feel it's my place to dictate to a majority which has little in common with me. Democracy demands that they sort it out among themselves.

I can understand that to a certain extent, but to quote Dennis Miller:

"And does activism even make a difference at the end of the day? Is there a happy ending? Well, hey, I'm one of the more pessimistic cats on the planet. I make Van Gogh look like a rodeo clown. And, with reluctance, I will say this- when you get involved, most probably, it'll suck at first. It'll be hard work with unclear results. But you know something? So what? That is life in all its glory. Life is not a movie. The right thing to do is simply get in the game. The price of apathy is too high to pay... remember "We Are the World?" You want to see Dan Aykroyd singin' again? If only to prevent something like that from ever, ever recurring, please- get up off your ass, put some... pants on and some undies, and do something."


I love that guy. *smirk*

I can hardly concemn you for that, 'cuz I'm pretty much an "armchair activist" as well, but that's bullshit. You lead by example, after all (unless you are an astoundingly charismatic leader, ha), and getting people to agree with you that, for example, a war on iraq is a thing not to be desired, is fairly useless if they just do as you do and say to other people they think it's bad. sorry that that sentence sucked, eh. but yeah. you did say that you don't feel like preaching to a majority. fair enough. but you're preaching exclusion here, even if it is of yourself - that's not what democracy, by any pure definition, can be said to be about. individualism is great, as long as it is a communal-participatory individualism, insofar as you interact fully with the community you a part of (what defines community is up to you, in these days of bullshit nation-states many people feel no bond to - family, friends, university, the places you go and the other 'regulars', anyone you meet, the entire country, continent, or world, or just people who think like you do, wherever they are, eh?).

these protests on iraq are singularly important, if only because they represent the largest and most effective protests in history against a war that has not yet technically begun. not even the much-vaunted anti-vietnam protests ever came close to what has happened here. and even if this war doesn't occur, the next bunch of bullshit we're given will be more likely to fail to stick (argh, i almost mixed metaphors there, i must still be asleep).

and besides, nice as it is to see yourself as an "enlightened observer", that's just elitism, pure and simple. there are people out there on the street fighting for something they believe in, and they are far more informed than anyone i know (can't speak for you of course, you might be close friends with noam chomsky, for all i know ;D).

my final comment is that the person who replied to this comment before i did posted a wicked quote. :)

hope you're well, dude. your lj seems to think you're doing okay. ;)

Irony - most anti-war protestors are the same consumers whose insatiable demand for oil is creating the conflict in the first place. How many are willing to stop using their cars as a way of protest?

the most valid anti-anti-war argument in existence. ;)

although to be fair, i'm sure if government and corporations actually funded 1/ renewable energy, and 2/ vehicles which were effectively and solely powered by rechargeable batteries (or whatever), people would be quite happy to use them. it's all about the transport, baby.

of course, that is sadly not the way it is. so... take a bus! woohoo! hehe.

Personally, I'm sick of the head-in-the-sand attitude a lot of the anti-war people who they keep asking seem to display..

Anyway, here's one to make you weep - one of the members of Blue, that, um, oh-so-intelligent boy band, is planning an anti-war song. I think it may also be the one who made the comments about Elephants as a response to the WTC attacks...

oh, come on. that's not real anti-war sentiment... that's cashing in. as their manager probably told them to do. ;)

the exact quote is brilliant: "who cares about september 11th when there's whales and elephants dying in the world?" (i believe that was it. notice the basic grammatical errors. hehe.)

the man is a powerhouse of intellectualism, thats for certain!

Seriously man. P.E.T.A. was about to collapse under an avalanch of apathy before That Man (!) went on TV and made such a bold statement, capturing the hearts and minds of a nation.

What a dick.

hehehe. I dunno, for a while it transported me back to the good old days when pop stars actually had personalities and said stupid things that i could laugh at. Bryan Harvey anyone? ;)

Oh, I thought it was fabulous! We need more idiot popstars like that guy in Blue and Avril Lavigne ("I'm getting more and more famouser day by day" - she has an 'interpreter' to help her understand the difficult questions posed by *US* journalists, doncha know)... actually, not more, they're probably all idiots anyway, lets keep these and laugh at them and then just everyone go wise up and listen to good music grumble grumble grumble

see shanu's over post ;)

well, to paraphrase someone i've forgotten... there's nothing i despise more than a bad argument for a cause that i hold dear... but jesus, your sentiment obviously isn't that strong if you're going to reject it just because some idiots think the same way.

i mean, i'm a student. lots of students are idiot assholes. i study english. lots of english students are idiot assholes. i read a lot of sci fi and i write sci fi. both readers and writers of that genre can be assholes, and can be politically right wing, reactionary xenophobes etc. so fucking what?

not the best analogy, but i only just woke up. :)

The second paragraph included nothing of my personal beliefs on the situation, more an example of how its now a fashionable cause and how thick dimwits who know nothing of the situation are joining it because its a way to get publicity.

nyaaaah ;) for what its worth i agree with what you've said. if i truely believed a cause i wouldn't let those morons involved spoil it for me. or.. something.

Oh, I know what you meant, don't worry - but yeah. I think it's sad you don't feel strongly, but then I would, as I do... heh. It's better than some attempt to cynically bumfuck the bandwagon, eh.

oh, it's just i have issues with the anti-war campaign. too much head-in-the-sand attitude. i am anti-war but then i also see that this isn't a democratic, rational state we'd be invading, it's a corrupt dictatorship that kills and oppresses its own. But then I can't say I'd trust those in charge to run a pissup in a brewery, so..

Indecision is funnnn! ;D

Oh, Saddam Hussein is a most astonishing rat of a man. What I object to is the sort of mass bombing (comparisons to Dresden, Nagasaki, Hiroshima etc., are not particularly unreasonable) that is being proposed, AFAIK. "Not content with being oppressed and forced to buy into a personality cult? Well, hey, in the name of freedom, we'll bomb you, slaughter you, then 'win' and leave your bastard ruler in place, impose sanctions that further eradicate a health system that was pretty much the best in the Middle East, reduce you to insane levels of poverty, let you watch your children die, continue to bomb you periodically for ten years, and then HEY! here we come again to make you suffer some more! wahey!"

cowardly american chickenhawk fucks.

(and look, i didn't even mention oil... oops.)

Exactly. I have no confidence in anyone who might be leading this, there's too many examples of clusterfucks around the world to make me think this [afghanistan, from what i last heard, was in just as bad shape as when the Taleban were running the place] and i can't see any post-war Iraq being any different.

but then I also see that in the end, despite how much of a fucking mess it'd be, could well be better than now cause at least there'd be hope of something better in the future. which there isn't now.

so, i dunno. in conclusion ;)

Sometimes I really despair at the world, and the state people get themselves into in worrying about it.

Paradox 1: If you despair at the world, why do you then also despair at the words and deeds of the people [presumably] acting upon a similar despair?

You expose your own second paradox. ;)

To be honest, I blame a lot of religion - in history, it seems to be largely responsible for a lot of unnecessary hostility. I'm sure that without religion, something else would have had a similar effect, but the point still stands.

It certainly does, but it is arguably only one of many contributary factors: US imperialism is heavily felt in the Middle East; the ongoing oppression of Palestine arabs and aggressive Israeli military action around its borders (supported by the US, of course); US military bases where Middle Eastern nations don't want them; an erosion of indigenous culture thanks to the homogenising introduction of US consumer-culture; exploitation by rich, charismatic leaders who exploit religion and sentiment for their own ends... etcetera.

We should be glad that we live in a world where the biggest injustice to protest against right now is the deaths of some civilians while liberating a country. I can imagine much worse scenarios.

Where "liberating a country" is synonymous with "slaughtering innocent civilians because we're too chickenshit hypocritical to send in our own people despite the fact that we're the ones picking this fight" and "hiding behind rhetorical arguments for war that are not only equally applicable to ourselves but indeed moreso" and "attempting to install a puppet government that will be at our beck and call because iraq has oil reserves we really do want to get our grubby paws on" and "shitting on arabs because we have our reasons and arabs are all islamic terrorist animals anyway". So yeah, how about fuck that stupid argument. Power never liberates; it always exploits.

There's also the element that this is also a protest against our so-called democratically-elected leaders riding roughshod over the public that put them where they are today (well, fortunately I've never voted for Blair, but you know what I mean). Yeah, public opinion is often bullshit, but where does that opinion come from? Wow, the missives of mass media and the apathy instilled in us all by (dum dum dum) the ruling class. Astounding connection. I'm with Marx on this one, heh.

I know people who are waiting for war so they can go trash Starbucks and McDonalds and generally make a lot of noise. I'm glad I'm laid back enough about it that I don't do that stuff - it's all just another brand of terrorism, and is unbecoming of people who think a violent response is inappropriate.

Ignoring the minority of people who trash things just "for a laugh", that's a gross misjudgement of what groups like the black bloc are actually trying to do. It's a symbolic blow against the institutions of the capitalism that they are opposed to. After all, it's not like anarchists can get any representation in a capitalist society, is it? In fact, that's just about the only form of expression that people bother to take notice of - people love to ignore leaflets, pamphlets, newsletters, websites, and anarchist art and performance and so on. There are a few examples, of course, such as the good Mark Thomas. And unless I'm mistaken, Mark Thomas, in any case, is not in with the "spiky" black bloc, but rather the majority of "fluffy" anarchists who don't believe in property damage.

(There's also an important point: property damage cannot be categorised as "violence" except in rhetoric - violence is committed against people. Property is not people. Property is theft. Heh.)

(Please read Part 2 before replying, if you plan to!)

thats funny

(Anonymous)
if you even had a life you wouldnt spend so much time on throwing down on someone elses opinions now would you?guess it answers itself..._savanah

Dear Savanah,

Thank you for your deeply insightful and cutting remarks. You are in fact quite correct; however, now that you have torn away the blinkers which previously obscured my vision - metaphorically of course! - I will work hard towards acquiring a "life". Thank you from the bottom of my heart for rescuing me from the brink of my self-destruction!

All the best,

Shaun

(Please read Part 1 before reading this!)

I think the point I'm trying to make is that it's okay to have an opinion, but when that opinion starts driving you towards feeling angry, or taking radical action, then it's bad.

Can you really say that you agree with your own statement here? Do you really believe that the simple act of holding an opinion but never acting on it will be sufficient to ensure whatever it is you hold dear - a comfortable life, for yourself, your family, your offspring; peace; justice; whatever? Do you really believe that the powers-that-be are concerned with you being happy, comfortable, and content? By shutting up, you're doing exactly what every leader dreams of - becoming one of the same docile sheep who might grumble a bit, but will do as they're told regardless.

I know it's a cliche example, but it is, regardless, the best one available: were the American and French revolutions - driven by opinion that made people take action more radical than anything history had recorded - bad things? Don't try and argue that social advancement or democracy would have been inevitable anyway - that's pretty shaky ground. Yeah, England never had a real revolution, and look at us now... what we actually got were social and political concessions to the people because those in power were afraid that the revolutions they could see in other countries would spread here, and they were afraid of losing all their power. So they gave away a little bit.

It seems like your post is mainly a (heavily flawed) defence for your own weakly held views (coated in "cynical apathy"), and an attack on those who have strongly held views (be they, to use the catalyst for your post as an example, pro-war or anti-war). Well... that's the way it goes. There are lots of arguments against that sort of stance, but it's your own choice and it's a position that's hard to shift. The only thing is... if you only take a stand when things start to directly effect you, your list of allies has probably grown thin.

(Disclaimer: most of my arguments expressed in replies to this post are probably equally applicable against me, as I am an anarcho-Hypocrit, ha ha.)

um, hell yeah!

(Anonymous)
Hey, went to see my deadjournal and ended up here, weird! glad i did though! i totally get u!
there's not point in trying to get involved in something we cant change really... if u didnt say that then im sorry but i feel that we can't do anything. by protesting we start a mini war, thought it is peaceful.. there are always people who take it one step further and those people cause fights. we live in a worls of conflict, without conflict we dont know peace (and now il shut up as i sound like i dunno kow what im talking about) thanx
Aimée xx

hmmm,i agree very much so

(Anonymous)
yes yes,religion should be abolished.less problems we would have if it wernt there.My opinions,their there mostly but they arent so much that im gonna go kill people over them,maybe thinking of doing so,but not.no harm in thinking.yes yes.i like your veiws,kep them comming,their quite refreshing.
sincerly yours,
savanah

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