Is activism a waste of time?

One of the most frustating things about our society to me, is the cynical belief by most everyone in America that activism is a complete waste of time. Meanwhile, people drive mindlessly for hours on end, in essentially circles. They spend hours upon hours watching brain dead programs on TV. They waste much of their off work hours on mindless shopping for mindless products. Yet, if it comes to giving 15 minutes to some form of activism, then that’s out! How bizarre is that, to think that independent activism is a wasteful use of energy?

It’s not that people are totally inactive. They aren’t. Many spend hours at work ordered by others down to the most minute details, and are forced to follow orders or lose their paycheck. It seems that when people are off work, if they do donate their time, then they feel it is only valid if, here too, they follow orders inside well defined parameters. For example, many people will come to something like a ‘Run Against Cancer’ and volunteer a whole day for that. Why? Simply because it is an activity structured much like work, where some authority tells you what to do, and that to do it like a sheep ON THE JOB is good. You simply show up and do the job laid out for you by others. Just like at work paid by the hour.

But independent activism is different. It is uncoordinated and there is no central authority much of the time. Often, too much time is spent trying to coordinate where there is no coordination easily found. Authority is missing. It is frustrating to us Americans, since most of our ‘work’ is spent following orders. Contrary to our national ideology that we are supposedly an indivualistic society, it turns out really, that we are a nation of sheep following orders. So when the herd dog cannot be found, then we American sheep begin to panic. We get angry at the sheep next to us, and blame them for not following orders good enough. That’s even when the reality is that the sheep dog that normally drives us is drooling at the mouth and unable to stand up at all, due to being quite rabid.

So there are in reality very few people willing to do independent activism, simply because nobody amongst our companions tells us that it is a worthwhile activity. The authorities offer us no pay, and often offer us hostility instead. One of the most common things shouted out against activists if you protest against the warmaking, is “Go Get a Job!”. It infuriates other sheep when somebody is actually not doing something inside carefully prescribed parameters, like they would only do.

But it is not just those that are outright hostile, but the sea of cynicism amongst us ourselves that is even worse. Each and everyone of us is an activist of some sort, and has their own ideas of what would work. But it is almost always met by apathy, doubt, and cynicism when one tries to coordinate that particular activity with fellow supporters of the cause the activism is trying to promote. Always, it seems, there is the turn away as the others say, “No, that is just impractical. No, it accomplishes nothing.” And their counterproposals are always to follow some REAL authority figure’s orders. Just like at work. So even in circles that seemingly support independent activism, we find the same tendency to following orders that everybody has to have to survive on the job. It is usually that we are met with demands to follow some strategy that ‘liberal’ churches, or one of the offical political parties(Democratic Party), is animating.

Truth is, we have a society that uses mainly money to reward or bash us with. All activity outside ‘getting paid’ is seemingly inconsequential, and it is considered that only a fool does anything without getting paid. And by paid, I mean in emotions, too. Get the dollar, get the love. And the opposite also applies, too. Just have the authorities withhold the dollar, and you then begin to get the disdain. Keep it up too long, then you become homeless. We like to think that we are free, but in fact we are not. So that is why I try to do independent activism even as we receive the almost constant contempt for doing so. It is merely the contempt of my fellow slaves, because they don’t believe much in themselves, but rather only believe in following orders. What a shame, but trying to radically change our society before it destroys us all is worthwhile, even if at times we make mistakes in best how to do it. We have to at least make the effort to stop ‘the authorities’ from heading us down such a destructive road.

2 thoughts on “Is activism a waste of time?

  1. Tony, It is hard for me to come up with words of encouragement for people who don’t believe in God. I would say, “That which you do for the least of my brethren you do unto me.” Nothing on earth is more important than caring for and loving one’s fellow man……there is certainly nothing that makes a bigger difference. I would love to know what motivates nonbelievers to do good.

    Keep working hard for the good…..there is nothing more important than caring for the least of our brethren….all things shall pass away….new things shall come.

  2. What motivates nonbelievers to do good? Well…. I no longer believe that belief in God, or not, says much about that aspect of our personalities alone. There are other factors that weigh in much more, principal of which is the presence, or lack of presence, of empathy. Both religion and atheism teach the importance of having empathy for others. Sadly, most of the followers of either concept, either way, are lacking somewhat in that empathy for others they are occasionally taught to have.

    That is not really surprising, since we live in a world society where if one does not look after #1, certainly hardly anybody else will. Having children helps develop empathy for some, if just as parents. As parents, we can all look back and see how important were the adults with empathy in our lives, when we were still children. And whether as believers or atheists, loving parents try to teach the need to have empathy for those less fortunate in life.

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