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Are You Independent?

Appeals for common ground with rapists, murderers and bankers isn’t sacrifice but an excuse, a call for better angels dancing on the head of a pin to look away as ego commodifies a camel through the eye of the needle. Aways back the Brexiteers in Cornwall cost me a fun job writing for a webzine based there, but I suspect greater Cornish values have jack to do with making xenophobes sleep better. Just hard to hear them over drunken shouting in Devon, I gather. I empathize greatly with all those wishing to not be ostracized by their leaders, and hope ultimately this all results in collectively dropping some of these many unnecessary borders altogether. Doubtful short of alien contact though, but maybe as with the Watchmen comic book maxi-series it could be faked. Of course, within those pages of Watchmen, Alan Moore had his Ozymandias character pull a John Galt and abduct the world’s greatest thinkers, the scientists, writers and artists, to work together devising means to save the planet. He didn’t invite politicians, for a reason.

I grew up in Texas, which unlike all other states of the USA was once its own nation. Later I lived in a region of North Carolina which long before my time had actually tried to secede. So these settings contributed a sensitivity to independence on my part. I just wanted to say from over here that self-determination is necessary to liberty, and I feel it could be fostered better were our governments more earnestly representative and democratic. Ironically we need to deflate many an ego to get there. Nobody wants to say it out loud, but social media platforms are popular because they enable the DIY segregation of flattering egos. No jerks but circle jerks. Challenging the system fully means challenging its empowered monopolists as well, including those platforms. Preaching outside the choir is vital, but if you want to share traffic or revenue with those corporations you have got to expect even worse, because you would be abetting. But I think ideological walls bring more long-term disaster than the physical counterparts. Radical centrism is as doublespeak as creative industry, or moderate rebels or populist billionaires. Male feminists are to chivalry as businessmen are to politics. Not only does this culture insist that what others may need is less important than what the culture purports to need, but it insists that others should want what the culture wants at the further expense to legitimate needs.

As for Libertarianism, which many see as a path to liberty, I saw the Tea Party specifically as being too ashamed to confess to its obvious conservatism, but now I see them all as full-on confederates, wanting whatever fetished glories of feudalism to leave egos unchecked no matter how many bullies are enabled. That is shared though they’re much more disjointed than conservatives or liberals. As divided as the Republican party supposedly is right now, a Sanders Presidency would result in a Dixiecrats 2.0 situation. Which would be great for so many of them to finally come out of the closet like so, because voters must learn when it’s all rightwing, there is no choice. But I don’t get how, when we all know pharma is evil for price-gouging, hooking millions on unnecessary poison and spending as much on lobbying and out of court settlements as adverts, we’re to take them at face value on vaccines. One thing I’ll give some Libertarians points for. I mean, paying doctors to lie has kind of always been the thing for drug companies. Along with any and every antiwar effort, if the pro-life movement were worth its weight it’d be vehemently in favor of universal free healthcare. A single exception contradicts its entire platform. But they can’t even be bothered to take offense at GMOs trying to one-up god. And I say that as a guy whose maternal grandmom won an Albert Schweitzer award for her pro-life efforts. Thousands of volunteers, most of whom could probably use medical help themselves, oblivious to how their empathy’s carjacked to maintain customers for insurance/pharma corporations. But it is pure ego to make excuses for the harmful side-effects one’s branding evokes in others. The idea there exists good wars is as preposterous as the idea of a good capitalism. Both want allowances for a certain kind of shakedown, war favoring prizes to effective diplomacy and capital favoring prizes to humanity. As though bullying is fine provided it’s in brand, if it enriches or otherwise services the good guys.

Not favoring a brand isn’t virtue-signaling. Virtues are good and necessary and have nothing to do with personal preference. If a thing is beyond reproach, you’re likely in a cult. But it is so fucking weird how popular lexicon has cast the syntax of terms such as virtue-signaling, social justice warrior and variations of truther as derogatory. If the basic ideas of truth or justice or virtue are regarded as inconvenient or annoying, then society should second guess itself. What if right and wrong have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with personal preference? It’s the same pathos as Trump never apologizing for squat, how those who have pursued platforms can do no wrong. It takes a helluva lot of rationalizing to explain away the piling of bodies necessary to rise above the public’s best interests. Regularity of mud-slinging aside, there’s something to be said for how anyone’s ideal candidate is perpetually beyond reproach, how just acknowledging real discrepancies on their part is taken as an attack when there’s millions of people better than those ever up for grabs, but who lack the requisite Rolodex for selling promises. I oppose western civilization not because I lack morals but because I feel it lacks any sense of morality in policies foreign or domestic. I am radicalized as radicalized can be, and I am not anti-establishment because I lack ethics or virtues, but because the establishment does in each and every facet. Its few notable accomplishments come from undoing laws which should never have been conceived in the first place and endured for far too long. Of course, mud-slinging outside of foreplay leaves a public mess.

That adage of politics making strange bed-fellows, or the other about how the enemy of my enemy is my friend, only works when politics allow for no room for principles or convictions. Which sounds like another platitude but fuck it. There’s another familiar old saying about keeping up with the Joneses, which too many persons are obliged to attempt obsessively, when life tends to avoid more than include those stereotypical bucket list events, curating a nuclear family, et al. Most industries could really be shut down entirely. The norm of 3 square meals per day and sleeping a singular block at night, much of that came about from demands of industry, as though life were a paint by numbers affair. I feel it’s insulting. Life can be so much more than manifesting new tax-payers, new workers, new customers.

We can be humbled or we can be self-indulgent but we cannot be both, as humility justifies itself while indulgence always requires explanations and pardons. Self-indulgence works against all group dynamics. Ego is always the source of problems, never the cure. Consider the inundation of feel-good, follow your dreams greeting card bullshit to our pop culture, and how easily those sentiments empower the likes of the Trumps of the world. Surrounding ourselves with those who support us is self-serving, with those who need us is heroism. I say comfort zones are the opposite of survival skills. Homeless are either forced to go without or choose to go without creature comforts, but there’s no reality show praising them as survivors because in their case Capitalism is what’s survived and we cannot sell alternatives. If the power-grid goes black and/or the government collapses, while suburbanites are emptying their medicine cabinets it will be just another day for the homeless, yet we belittle them for being unable or unwilling to score the latest iPad produced in proximity to suicide nets.

The onslaught of artificial culture has our society erroneously believing they deserve the entertainment, have earned the right to be pacified and catered to. Because the profiteering parent companies make life so impossible, everyone must drown in escapism. In the same breath, bitching and moaning for the wealthy to solve all problems, when you choose to buy their games rather than spend that money getting some groceries for the poor family up the way. Take responsibility. You can’t clean the whole mess but you can hold the bag open. When the gluttony behind the accumulation of their holdings is what causes societal ills, asking the wealthy to oblige only furthers a codependency, while allowing them to play saviors when they should by all logic be regarded as enemies of the people.

I am a high school dropout, who’s been homeless throughout enough windows to easily cover two-thirds of my adult life. I have never depended on any form of welfare. I’ve never paid a bill late and have never been even vaguely in debt, because I have quite consciously never lived beyond my means. I’ve never had a credit card, and have not held a checking or savings account in well over a dozen years. It’s been as long since I last filed taxes, although sales taxes are unavoidable, but it’s complicated when employers are without exception by my experience, entitled to pay late and/or less than agreed or weasel out of payment altogether (times are tough but we’ll pray for you brother). Maybe my most un-American trait is refusing to claim what I do not have. In my last side-gig freelancing in comic books as a writer or editor, I was personally ripped off by the billionaire creator of the CSI television franchise, for work executed on his vanity line of educational graphic novels. A dropout proofreading educational comics says a lot about today’s comics. Prior to that I wrote for Heavy Metal magazine for several years, recruited and working by night as by day I dismantled barns by hand, dug post-holes for hundreds of yards of fencing and built a number of flower gardens, veggie gardens and memorial gardens. Working homeless all the while. Nobody in the world could soberly accuse me of laziness. But across these years I’ve also raised many tens of thousands for charities centered on those worse off, including the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, the Salvation Army and an old detox center in Worcester called Jeremiah’s Inn. I’ve gone without utilities many seasons to pay for the utilities of others, enough to have learned that living in larger cities while not being a customer to utility companies is illegal and will result in a sheriff knocking on your door to serve you eviction papers. If a revolution doesn’t acknowledge that law enforcement, the Intelligence Community and Military Industrial Complex are all on the wrong side, the controls inhibiting life, liberties and pursuits of happiness are not being resisted or abolished, only sought for re-appropriation.

I survive in spite of the #USA. The only political candidate I will ever give my support to is the one preaching to burn DC to salted Earth. If a brand allows the death of others, supports the death of others or provokes the death of others, fuck the brand. If refusal to save lives can be rationalized under any circumstances, you are not a good person. This might be denigrated as an out-dated axiom or platitude, but only by those wanting exceptions for their own. If life holds no value, why pretend to share in a society? All it takes to be a good person is to refrain from lying, cheating or stealing, but I’ll be damned if I can encounter one person able and willing to go so far beyond their limitations.

Me as the long-winded but chain-smoking writer who hates paper trails is about all the ideological self-contradiction I would ever muster. That and a sustained abstinence while believing wholeheartedly sex is fucking awesome. I’d rather eat sins than cake or crow.