Kenneth Minogue, Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology.
We live under the tyranny of “causes”. Our society is governed by “causes” or “issues”. Our behavior is measured by them. How much do we care about conservatism, patriotism, environmentalism, classism, racism, feminism, liberalism? It is the despotism of “isms”. We are expected to care, to invest time and treasure and energy and emotion on issues. The true believers (how few of them there actually are they never want to reveal), the unofficial kommisariat stand watch over us, making sure we voice the appropriate sentiments using the prescribed vocabulary. If we fail we run the risk of being labeled racist, sexist, or liberal. We become “unpersons”. The kommisariat is so effective they rarely need thought police. We self-censor. We have shackled ourselves.
I am declaring my independence. I am freeing myself of the bonds placed on me by an unjust society. I choose to walk a separate path than one outlined for me. I am shaking off the shackles imposed on all of us. I am free. I refuse to care about your “ism” any more. I will not be subject to a list of approved beliefs required of me simply because it falls into your “ism”. If I think people should be given what is their due in life, it isn’t because I am outraged at racism in America; it is because that is how I would like to be treated. If I think that we should find a way to do things that do as little damage to the environment as possible, it isn’t because I have subscribed to the fashionable misanthropy so popular among the tree-huggers, but because I realized that I live here. If I oppose high taxes, it isn’t because I believe that every word Reagan uttered is holy writ, or that Divine Wisdom resides with the Republican party; I simply believe that a worker is worth his wage, and to confiscate up to 40 % of his paycheck is theft. If I believe in welfare reform, it isn’t because I hate the poor; I just think that the easiest way to take away a man’s dignity is to make him go through life with his hand out.
The time has come to surrender the politics and ideology of groups. The ready-made, off-the-rack belief systems are now “one-size-fits-all”. One word is enough to conjure up a prix fixe menu of beliefs. One word is not enough to describe a human being.
Here is my manifesto: I don’t care. I refuse the false duality of “either you’re for us or you’re against us”. I don’t care for or against. I am a free agent. I set the terms of my assent or dissent. If you want my support you have to fit my laundry list of conditions. You have to conform to my beliefs. Or at least, you have to leave me alone. In fact, I prefer you leave me alone.
APATHISM, the newest political movement. People who band together to reject the self-appointed "leaders" demanding our fealty and attention to keep them in power. People who band together to tell the government to get bent, to tell social organizations to leave us the hell alone. People who band together for the sole purpose of helping each other best work out their appropriate ends, free from intereference and "caring".
"She was a person who lived for others. You can tell the others by their hunted expression."
APATHISM rejects people who say they care, who share our pain, who get weepy when they hear a tragic tale. APATHISM is hard-headed objectivity, looking to our ultimate, objective good. APATHISM rejects the notion that we have to suffer the tragedies of others. If a person needs help, I will help. Don't expect me to care, and want to talk about my feelings.
Perhaps if we "cared" less, we would think more, and would find again a solid intellectual ground to establish our lives and our nation.
More importantly, perhaps then those self-righteous clowns out there would leave me the hell alone.