The course of LGBT activism

There are some very disturbing trends here in the States lately.  As our economy continues to go downhill and our government seems increasingly incompetent, people grow more fearful.  The longer we continue to view our institutions as ineffective the stress and worry among us will increase.  So will distrust.

In the past this has led to greater acceptance of authoritarian measures than people were willing to accept in times of plenty.  Compare Depression-era Germany with the Germany of the 90’s, for example.  When we get desperate we countenance a much stronger hand for civil authority.  Here, too we have our own examples such as the Civil War and more recently 9/11 in 2001, when people were fine with suspending individual rights because of perceived security needs.  The more desperate the situation, the more people are willing to give away.

We are not in good shape right now.  There is a looming financial crises for the government which will of course translate into financial disaster for the public due to the government’s efforts to handle its problem.  They have already started the first round of “quantitative easing” (printing money) and all signs point to more of the same.  Much more.   Add to this the pending debt wall, and there is a hard limit approaching fast.

I don’t think we appreciate just how much of our social fabric rests on perception.  We live our lives against a backdrop of assumptions.  The lights will come on when I flip the switch, water will flow when I turn the faucet.  Driving down the road, most people will obey traffic laws.  My neighbors will respect my property and strangers will respect my boundaries.

The underpinning to all of this is our great national contract with each other as represented by our mutual faith in our government to handle problems.  Most of this is a convenient illusion, a sort of mass delusion that we all share.  The system works because it works, not because there is a great force overseeing us all and making sure that we behave.  If but a few people out of our 300 some million were to be naughty, police forces would not be able to handle them.  The illusion would be shattered and the true nature of our fragile civilization would be revealed.

This is what will happen should the US Government decide to destroy the dollar.  Even if they stop short of full devaluation (something I am not sure is possible given that most of the problem is already out of their hands- they suffer from their own delusions of control) the resulting cascade would still accomplish the same effect.  Public confidence will be destroyed and we’ll have financial chaos- followed shortly by civil chaos.

Even before we get to nightmare scenarios like that one, we can all sense the rising paranoia and worry among ourselves.  While overall crime rates, especially against property, are said to be down random outbursts of violence occur more frequently.  Police response is growing more brutal, just scan the headlines around the net.   Relationships and trust are breaking down.

So why did I title this LGBT activism?  I see some of this anger manifesting among activists and the rank and file in the blogosphere just as it is with everyone else.  As the coalition disintegrates, people are struggling to establish a new paradigm and as part of that process various factions and strategies will jostle for position.  No one knows for certain the course they will choose to take.  There have even been angry calls for some kind of armed militancy, though I am sure it was mainly frustration.  Still, can you imagine lesbians and gays talking like that just a couple years ago?

I’m getting worried at the kind of activism being proposed.  There are some rousing calls for the activism of old; marches, sit ins, disrupting meetings and harassing officials.  General civil disobedience. But there is a time and place for everything; that kind of activism was appropriate in the 50’s and 60’s, when we had a different sort of government and atmosphere.  Right now these things still sound reasonable, if not particularly effective in this day and age, due to our knowledge of their use by Dr. King and the activists of the 60’s fighting for social causes.  What will these sorts of strategies sound like as we careen further down this rabbit hole and our government grows ever more menacing in its efforts to enforce order?

Ghandi, speaking about nonviolence as means of change, remarked that it rests on the assumption of having a principled opponent.  I’m not so sure they will be up against that kind of adversary as things unfold.  It can happen here.

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2 Responses to The course of LGBT activism

  1. Kathryn says:

    MMMMMM….well it can happen anywhere, and frequently does.
    I can imagine what a shock it must be to many citizens of the USA, but the phrase “welcome to the real world” springs to mind.
    Sooner or later our chickens come home to roost, wherever we happen to live.
    Living beyond your means is a road to disaster no matter if you are an individual, a business or a country. Sooner or later, the bills must be paid….there’s no “free lunch”.
    I can only pray that in the USA things don’t get too far out of hand because the expectations of the people vis a vis their Government, are unrealistic.
    Love each other more and compete with each other a bit less, and many tensions will ease.
    The worth of a person lies not in his or her wealth or “social status” in comparison with another, but in the “smaller” (but more important) things like honesty, integrity, honour and, dare I say it?….. in the love they show for their fellow beings of all shapes, sizes and capacities, and for the world that sustains them. Legislation and enforcement is no substitute for the above qualities…..

    Your nation is a great one, and although things look a bit dark right now, there is a way back. It lies not in credit from the World Bank or other means of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, but in living more simply, working a bit harder/smarter than strictly necessary, and keeping in mind that if America prospers, then its citizens will too….provided, of course that the system of distribution of the profits of their endeavour are equitably shared among those that produce them.

    You can do it, guys……. heads down, butts up and get stuck in! Hell’s teeth you put men on the moon! This difficulty is perfectly correctable if everyone does their bit.

    It is regrettable that the disaffected in a society will take the opportunities offered by bad times to further their agendas. A little concentration on the problem of why such people feel so disaffected would bear fruit methinks.
    No one can dodge the problem…………

  2. louisvillekelly says:

    Collapse will most certainly come but I honestly don’t believe that the current economic crisis is the one that will send us over the edge. US government debt is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. During economic contraction, it is up to the federal government to spend and spend and spend. As private industry backs off from investing, someone has to step in.

    The current debt, while relatively large, really isn’t anything to worry about when unemployment is so high. What is needed right now is a second federal stimulus to pull down unemployment. If the government goes on a spending freeze, things will only get worse. Once the economy starts to grow again, and it will this time, tax revenue will rise accordingly and government can begin to cut back on spending and get it’s house in order.

    My belief in why things will temporarily get better is based on an examination of available energy (i.e. fossil fuels). We are at or near PEAK OIL, but the current downturn has caused oil demand to collapse and there is now a pretty huge surplus. In short, there is enough energy available for recovery, just not long term (a decade out).

    We’ll be fine for another 10 years or so but once energy becomes more and more scarce and more and more expensive, well, growth is no longer possible and retraction will then become the norm as the global economy collapses, billions starve and the entire house of cards collapses. Party On!

    Of course, when talk turns to govt. going on a spending freeze, it’s never the very bloated military that is asked to sacrifice. NO, it will be social security, medicare and the other very meager safety nets we have.