Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where are the conservatives?

[What follows is something I wrote the other day on Dissent the Blog. But it is exactly the kind of thing I want to put on Contra PalaVerities. I edited it a bit.]

I recall one night maybe a year ago in a parking lot. Seemed like nobody was around. Maybe there was one guy about forty yards away, where it was dark. But somebody was madly talking to somebody. It was creepy. How could this be?

It be all right. It was the solitary guy, walking across the parking lot, unapologetically yammering at full volume on his goddam cell phone. I hated that guy. I hated how he weirded me out and he never even knew or cared.

This happens to me all the time: you’ll be talking to somebody and then, wham, something starts buzzing on the table; or maybe some goofy calliope music plays; or maybe there’s the sound of nuts cracking coming from somebody’s pants. Your companion suddenly looks at a spot on the wall and then reaches for his goddam cell phone. He looks away from you. You’re forgotten.

So you shuffle away like Puff the freakin’ Magic Dragon—only to run into somebody else walkin’ and yackin’ on the phone. You step out of their way. You’ve always gotta step out of their way, ‘cause, when they’re talking, they’re morons, and they think they own the freakin’ universe.

Hate ‘em. Cell phones I mean.

Why do people—especially kids, but adults too—unthinkingly embrace popular new gadgets? It’s the kind of thing little kids should do, not adults. New modes of life—IMing, going through your day listening to music and utterly ignoring everything and everybody around you, suddenly startin’ up a phone conversation while you're in the bathroom, leasing a Mercedes—you’ve gotta take a beat, man. Don’t just jump in there! How do you know this isn’t just ridiculous?

It’s this endless enthusiasm for jumping right in there and feeling really good about being part of the mindless horde who doesn’t think about anything but just does stuff—that’s what pisses me off. If that’s the way people are, then there’s no hope. None at all.

I swear, soon somebody will find a way for two people to drink the same Coke—serially, I mean—probably with weird-assed straws shaped like Ronald McDonald and comin' out of your neck—or maybe they'll figure out a way to surgically exchange ears, and everybody will be all over it with their "new" ears and punctured necks. They’ll smile and laugh (through their neck hole) and think you’re obviously an asshole if you’re not into it too.

See, this has to do with how conservatism does not exist in this country. If you’re conservative in any meaningful sense, then you’ve got this idea that things barely work as it is. And that means, mostly, you don’t wanna just shuffle the deck just for the sake of shuffling. Things could get worse. We could lose what we've got.

But, in this country, everybody’s into shuffling. Everybody's moving around and doing new things, no matter how insane or ridiculous. And it’s all about commerce and somebody with something new to sell. The money people: they’ll change everything around without a thought, except the thought of how to make money and more money. And everybody goes along with it, ‘cause they’re zombies, and they don’t think about how the most valuable things might just be imbedded in away of life.

So you don't want to mess with things too much. You gotta be careful. Take things slow, if you can.

But who thinks like that, like a conservative?

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