Saturday :: Jan 5, 2008

The Hippies Were Right


by paradox

One of Duncan Black’s favorite minted expressions, rightly so, is dirty fucking hippie, the instant dismissive moniker chucked at any liberal idea to crush its legitimacy. Hippie, of course, just doesn’t connote liberal negativity but a classification of eliminationist rhetoric, planting the notion that liberalism is a form of “the other,” the unwashed incomprehensibly un-American hippies somehow wandering among us.

I, this vain conformist 6-1 17% body fat veteran GQ wannabee, was called a hippie once, just for being at a war protest. It wasn’t that I was wrong by protesting, it was that I couldn’t possibly fit in with the real America all around us just by being there.

Long ago George Will, still wearing that my-anus-is-tighter-than-a-snare-drum bow tie, haughtily dismissed Al Gore’s assertion from Earth in Balance that the internal combustion engine may one day have to be abandoned. America could never be America without gasoline engines, why, this hippie-like utopia of environmentalism is dangerous, if we truly got environmental like that we’d take the country down.

Not only that, the most horrifying of all the horrible hippie dreams would eventually come true, the atmosphere of the earth would be seen as a global commons resource! That…that would have to mean a form of global government to manage it, American militaristic hegemony couldn’t exist there!

Sarah Robinson of Orcinus has written of countries that survive times of great change with verve and style, and the past shows us so many which perished from lying to themselves because they couldn’t survive the dysfunctionality and injustice their political systems cemented in place. It’s becoming increasingly clear that if America and the planet does not confront global warming, abandoning the internal combustion engine, our climate will change so much a critical variable to our existence will be wiped out and we might not even make it as a species, let alone a functioning political entity.

Those environmentalist hippies were and are right, in other words, to survive American has to become radically different with vastly different leadership, but it’s hard to remain optimistic when current political leadership yaps about nothing on purpose to prop up the status quo.

Not only does our leadership ignore global warming, but their agendas are completely absent on other critical policy specifics: nothing for the War on Drugs, militarism spending or corporate media propaganda, even their Iraq and health care stances appear cautiously weak. That’s now a country lies to itself to oblivion, relentlessly propping up a status quo that won’t even work for the next 50 years.

Our amazing energy-gobbling society is appallingly fragile, but even after weather events like New Orleans Americans are amazing confident they have mastered the biological elements of the planet to survive. A severe drought for consecutive North American wheat harvests or the simply inability to distribute food by truck will crush America in a matter of weeks, but the nation still roars on blindly with internal combustion, Midas mufflers hiding the furious noise but unable to stop the disastrous warming of the planet.

The hippies were and are right, it turned out in the end, completely and totally. Until our political leadership unabashedly trumpets that fact with an agenda of real change I’ll continue to be pessimistic for long term political American existence, radical change in how we live is absolutely necessary, starting with abandonment as a species of internal combustion.

That’s an easy and fun evolution, by the way. There was an America for 100 years without gasoline engines, and there will be again one day. We just need the leadership to start.

paradox :: 7:49 AM :: Comments (43) :: Digg It!