Atlas Slacked (and So Should We)

Published on Dissident Voice, by E.R. Bills, February 16, 2011.

“I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.”

Thus spake Henry Miller on the first page of his first book, Tropic of Cancer, in 1934—no doubt one of the reasons it was banned from publication in the United States until 1961. Miller was a square wheel and not the kind of influence a country trying to get things rolling after a Great Depression wanted folks being exposed to … //

… America is in trouble because we don’t believe in it anymore. And we shouldn’t. But not because our president is black or because our government is too big or we pay too many taxes. It’s because we no longer operate under the precept of collective self-interest. We have self-interest down to a science and regard self-indulgence as the fulfillment of the American Dream. But “collective” no longer has a place in the equation because it’s an unpleasantness that the have-mores and the have-mosts pay legions of lawmakers and lobbyists to help them avoid. 

Then they enthusiastically hail unrestrained, unregulated free markets as the amazing cure-all for our times and utilize their government-sanctioned privileges to remove the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th wrung on every ten foot stretch of the socio-economic ladder so that we are systemically and perpetually beholden to them if we are inclined to climb.

The ladder is still navigable if you’re connected, related, incredibly lucky or prepared to jump real high when they tell you to—but if you question their authority or resent their entitlement, you’re an extremist, a radical or an insurrectionist who must be quashed.

As I think Henry Miller would have colorfully noted, unrestrained capitalism, corporatism, materialism and our destructive way of life in general are not too big to fail and we’re not so small that we won’t survive when they do.

The have-mores and the have-mosts who control everything in this country are a conglomerate version of Hosni Mubarak. Different crime scene, different M.O., but same criminality. And obligatorily shouldering their burden simply makes us enablers.

So become a square wheel. Slack a little. Take some time and think.

The mortgage, the car and the flat-screen can wait.

There’s always surrender. But it should be a last resort. Not our chief priority. (full text).

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