Friday, January 05, 2007

Chronic Activism Syndrome (CAS) and how to avoid it

Piggybacking on what Chutney has said, let me add my two cents.

Giving up on Cynicism

The thing about CAS (Chronic Activism Syndrome) is that it’s damned exhausting in the end.

Bumper sticker logic, isn’t.

You can’t force the world to be something you think it ought to be. That just makes you miserable in the process.

You can only do what you can do.

Life is what you make of it. It can be a horrible place or a wonderful place.

It’s all in how you look at it.

This is H.L. Menckens' viewpoint, which I often ascribe to.

  • All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them.
  • All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.
  • Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
  • from Smart Set (December 1919)
And another delicious Mencken quote, while I'm in the mood

  • A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
Damon Albarn of Blur put it this way

  • I'm a professional cynic, but my heart's not it in. I'm paying the cost of living life at the limit.
Jesus of Nazareth said, "The poor will always be with us." I happen to agree with him on this point. Short of selective breeding of the entire race, there will always be a certain number of people who are unskilled, unintelligent, unmotivated or unlucky. There will always be the necessity of charity (or government subsidy, which has almost entirely replaced it).

It will also always be necessary for decent people to fight the injustices that lead to poverty. The next time some pious apologist for government oppression and the status quo feeds you the line that poverty is good for the soul, remember that when everybody's standard of living starts to increase, materialism will begin to decrease.

If s/he is blowing that particular brand of smoke up your arse, it must be in his or her self-interest to keep you down.


H/T to this website. Materialism, Poverty, and the Root of Evil.

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