Monday, December 9, 2013

Modern Man Revisited

Believe it or not, this article was found on the site, and lends itself, I feel, to this libertarian site. General Strike USA is a great find if you are looking for Internet News that is truly fare and balanced and honestly unafraid. Enjoy while it's still legal and the internet is still available to us poor tax payers and the 'shit-upon' by our bully government.
This article, written in 1920, could work very well if it were written in these days of tyreny. And with the genous of H. G. Wells as one of the writers, it is no wonder that it is timeless just like his wonderful novels.  

"If we don't end wars, wars will end us!" -HG Wells

 Modern Man

By H. G. Wells and Chris Rice
(Originally published in 1920)

It is scarcely too much to say that the ordinary man thinks as little about political matters as he can, and stops thinking about them as soon as possible. It is only minds shocked and distressed by some public catastrophe and roused to wide apprehensions of danger, that will not accept governments and institutions, however preposterous, which do not directly annoy them, as satisfactory. The ordinary human being, until he is so aroused, will acquiesce in any collective activities that are going on in this world which he finds himself, and any phrasing or symbolization that meets his vague need for something greater to which his personal affairs, his individual circle, can be anchored.  The real life of the ordinary man is his everyday life, his little circle of affectations, fears, hungers, lusts and imaginative impulses. It is only when his attention is directed to political affairs as something vitally affecting this personal circle, which he brings his reluctant mind to bear upon them.

Man accepts his city or his government, just as he accepts the nose on his face. Man still has the instincts of the family tribe, and beyond that he has a disposition to attach himself and his family to something larger, to a tribe, a city, a nation, or a state.  But that disposition is a vague and very uncritical disposition. Man has a subconscious fear of the isolation that may ensue if the system is broken or discredited.

Keeping these limitations of our nature in mind, it no longer is a mystery how Republicans and Democrats which are embodied in active courts, which maintain laws, exert power through armies and prisons, wave flags with a compelling solemnity, and are self assertive and insatiably greedy have not aroused hostility.

Today in writings and talk of men, there is an effect of drunken men growing sober. The feuds of “the right” and “the left” that once filled our heads now seem reasonless and insane. The great discoveries of our time have so enlarged human resources that, for all their divisions, for all their wars and politics, the people still enjoyed a considerable and increasing prosperity. All the while the powers that be plundered the world; and for a time, it seemed that they might plunder indefinitely without any great catastrophe to mankind. Looking forward, we realize how transitory and provisional and unstable their securities.

For a time we became destitute of creative ideas. We saw the world undramatically; no longer as an interplay of effort and destiny, but as a scene in which a trite happiness was sought and virtue was unrewarded. Even highly critical and insurgent intelligences, in default of any sustaining movements in the soul of the community, betrayed the same disposition. Political life, it was felt, had ceased to be urgent or tragic. It had become a polite comedy. But this comedy at the end grew grim. It is inconceivable the world in which we now live could produce a Jesus of Nazareth. It is equally impossible to imagine anyone with sufficient passion to crucify him. We could scarcely suspect that there still remained a great task at hand for our race to do; that enormous disturbances were close at hand, or that the path of man through space and time was dark with countless dangers and must to the end remain a high and terrible enterprise. The contemporary mind did not see it in that light.

The system in which we all live, the system of leisure and privilege, of industry and tradesmen and of downtrodden and disposable laborers and poor and common people, had seemed the most stable and established way of living the world had ever seen. In this ideal of a polite and polished world men were no longer ashamed to be lazy or unreliable or greedy. Injustice became the law of the land deriving its power from one-sided morality and corrupt legalities. The freedom of choice limited peoples’ lives, education interfered and destroyed thought, while any dissent was persecuted. Sleek persons and sly politicians extinguished what fires of political and religious passions might still blaze in the hearts of men.

The balance of power now consolidated for the prosperity of the few essentially destroys our general state of happiness, the system of arts, and laws, and manners are enemies of society; threatened, we inquire with anxious curiosity where lies our actual security. We are still ignorant to the extent of danger or the number of our enemies.
The abuses of tyranny now unrestrained by justice or constitutions revive and flourish uncontested. Speculation, profit, greed have been applied to the art of war. The military has been changed from honorable to for hire for profit. Cities and civilians are no longer protected and cannot survive the decay of military virtue.

However numerous a downtrodden class may be, and however extreme its miseries, it will never be able to make an effective protest. The poor have always been poor and will always be with us. Poverty and individual misery are only intolerable to the educated class. Men of ideas are necessary to a popular political movement more so than the downtrodden masses. This is why public education refuses to educate. Freedom of speech becomes whatever you say may be used against you in a court of law. The community then is like an animal to be fed in the hands of the governing class.

The least difficult thing to trace is the amount of total property of the community held at any time by any particular class in that community. These things fluctuate very rapidly. The peasants are loaned property and wealth that can be foreclosed, repossessed and auctioned at any moment, for any reason, for profit. The poor are just as miserable as ever and they are broken up into a variety of types without any ideas in common. Divided along racial and class line to squabble over the crumbs provided by the state.

The process of the upward concentration of wealth has been resumed. Powerful, rich and selfish men are the unchallenged rulers who themselves enact laws doe their own benefit. For over a hundred years there has been a steady improvement in the methods of production of almost everything that humanity requires. Though the common standard of living has risen, the rise has been on a scale disproportionately small. The rich have developed a freedom and luxury unknown in the world hitherto. Vast accumulations of materials and energy have gone into warlike preparations and warfare. No expense would be spared to keep the poor uneducated and subjected. Over taxation with pseudo representation is the new tyranny.

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