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Thu

24

Jul

2008

The Idiocy of Hope
Thursday, 24 July 2008 12:47
by ddjango

On Probable-President Nobama's campaign website is a slick icon that says "Powered by Hope". I have to admit, that's right on the money (semi-pun intended). For many ersatz and about-to-be-erstwhile Nobama supporters, the power certainly has not been reality. Not without substantial encouragement, progressives slid happily into the glittering swamp of vagueness with nothing to propel them but hope, and conjured up, variously, a Gandhi, a JFK, a Blessed Savior, a Renaissance Black Man, Jack Johnson with a halo.

The past couple of days must have been trying for many of these so-called "progressive" types. It must be difficult to be enraged at a hilariously satiric and irreverent magazine cover at the same time you're enraged at the subject of that cover for betraying you and dashing your hope to smithereens. Go figure. The only thing intelligent I can say is, "D'Oh!"

There was, of course, enough of the hope stuff to spread around on the Clinton side, too. Hope that there'd be a woman president, hope for another Clinton presidency, hope for the fading pantsuit industry. These are, after all, the Clintons from Hope - they just don't live there anymore. When they finally train-wrecked, many of their now-hopeless passengers said they were gonna vote for McShame. Now that's "progressive". Someone aimed for the wrong target on the "whiners" thing.


A couple of quick points here: (1) it has already been more than adequately documented that Nobama has not moved one inch from the positions he's held for years and has betrayed no one; (2) if there really is an election in November (another train-wreck of thought, entirely), it looks like we're gonna get both of them. Shouldn't the latter be the best that both "sides" could have hoped for?
They who do not understand that a man may be brought to hope that which of all things is the most grievous to him, have not observed with sufficient closeness the perversity of the human mind. -- Anthony Trollope
What is hope? In itself, it is but Desire. Fantasy. Delusion. Hope is, in fact, nothing. If you have nothing but hope, you have nothing. Hope is not reality. It is only itself. Try eating it.

In the context of our evolving ecological miasma, hope has now become dangerous. Reality is so horrid that we hide out in a fortress of hope to the extent that hope and denial are indistinguishable. We are, indeed, "hoping beyond hope".

When we hope for the impossible, what are we? Stupid, of course. Pure and simple. Dumb as a bag of cinder blocks.

When we hope again and again that the same road we followed into the smelly swamp in the past will this time open into a glittery glade by a shady brook, what are we? Insane.

When we hope that the truth is not the truth, in spite of overwhelming evidence that it is, what are we? Dead.

A few years ago, the "left" accused neoconservatives of not facing reality. The neoconservatives replied, "we make reality". The "left" replied by calling their chunk of the blogoswamp "reality-based". It was a hoot. Both sides yelling, "You don't get it!" at each other.

This time, the Right was right. Sucks, doesn't it? Reality, as we know, tends to do that.
We should not moor a ship with one anchor, or our life with one hope. -- Epictetus
Since the term "progressive" has progressively smarmy connotations for me, I find myself wondering what "progressives" are hoping for. An FDR resurrection? A JFK resurrection? A Jesus Christ resurrection? Well, maybe. But what I think they really hope is that they can continue to be "self-reliant", selfish, self-righteous, and totally isolated from the real world without suffering the pain of the common human spirit. They hope to have it both ways: stand on the railroad tracks, but not get run down. The more they join in Nobama's "Change!" shoutback, the more they really hope things won't change; the more they deny that the terrible changes that have already occurred are now permanent. They think they have hope. They have none.
Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms. -- Mark Twain
What did old Sam mean by that? I think he simply meant that hope, if at all useful, is such only if it is realistic. A snake is a snake. If you're a mouse, please stop hoping that you'll get across the river on its back without getting fanged, no matter how glib or pretty the sucker is. And by all means, please stop hoping that this time it's not a snake.

You can hope all you want, but here's what's likely:
  • there will be a serious, perhaps nuclear attack on Iran in the near future

  • the middle-east/asian situation will dangerously deteriorate

  • the national and global financial and economic system will continue its move into meltdown

  • global ecology will continue to disintegrate exponentially

  • true power will further concentrate into fewer hands

  • technology's developmental pace will lessen the value of the human spirit and be used more to control humans than enhance our lives

  • standard of living and quality of life will noticeably deteriorate

  • the US government will deepen fascism and concentrate further on social control

So, you hope I'm wrong. Fine. Have at it. But the question is, "Is your hope the thing that will make it different?". I think not.

Of necessity, I have abandoned hope that these events will not take place and these currents will weaken or reverse. I prefer sanity to hope. If for you, hope is all that is keeping you sane, you're standing on very shaky ground. I have not "lost" hope, by the way . . . I have voluntarily shunned it. I. Am. Free.

Free? Yes, free. The logic is simple: if (a) "freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose" and (b) I have nothing because all I had was hope and now I don't have that, (c) I'm free.

Here's the catch, however: freedom depends on personal responsibility. If I give up hope, all that's left is you and me. My choice is to be responsible for myself. But I am not being responsible for myself if I am being irresponsible where you are concerned. In spite of what Thatcher and Reagan said, we are a society, we humans. I think in the coming months and years, we must reject hope, embrace reality, and simply help each other survive with as much gentility, dignity, and care as we can muster.
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