then if you got it you don’t want it
seems to be the rule of thumb
don’t be tricked by what you see
you got two ways to go
i’ll say it again in the land of the free
use your freedom of choice
freedom of choice
freedom of choice
is what you got
freedom from choice
is what you want
Things have gotten pretty bad in the US of A. Once a shining beacon of freedom and opportunity, we have now become the nexus point of a worldwide battle of ideologies. Religious or Secular. Conservative or Progressive. Security or Liberty. War or Peace. Individuality or Community.
Talking about this the other day, it occurred to me that, when I look around at the general trends of thought around me, I am seeing an increasing polarization of ideology. Of course, there are the extremes of Christian/Islamic Fundamentalism, extremist versions of environmentalists, secularists, libertarians etc. But if you open up you view and look at society as a whole, even the political and social moderates are starting to polarize.
How so, you ask? I think as more and more people look at the world and the problems that seem to grow worse everyday, there is an increasing need to do something about it. The big question, of course, is what to do. Of those that have chosen a course, I think there are two polarized options: Progressive and Conservative would be good words, except that those words are imbued with too many other concepts after being embedded in politics for so long. So instead, let me suggest that one end of the spectrum is comprised of those people that, in some way or another, want to go back: back to a simpler life, back to a ‘golden age’. On the other side of the spectrum are all of those people that want to try something new.
Looking at it, I’m sure you can see why the political frames do not work. Many Voluntary Simplicity folk probably fall into the ‘liberal’ side of the political spectrum: but I think it is safe to say that they are often on the ‘go back’ side of the spectrum. Whereas, it may be that many Survivalist types are predominantly ‘conservative’ while they are really pursuing ‘some new thing’ (whether they consciously realize it, or not).
I predict that this polarization will continue so long as we continue to perceive that the world crisis is deepening. The big question: can this polarization pull us out of our crisis? Or will it simply provide an avenue of response as the crisis gets worse? I can’t answer that. I do think a big part of that answer will depend on how many people pull their head out of the sand and take on the responsibility of doing something for themselves and others. With some small measure of hope, I am very much pursuing ‘some new thing’ so that even if the crisis deepens, I will find a way to live that works for my local community even if the world as a whole does fall into the well.
(Originally Posted September 2, 2006)