Despite strident denials there are large numbers of people who are Marxists without knowing they are Marxists. In fact, it is because they’ve never read Marx or studied economics that they’re not aware of how much of their world-view is Marxist. Well, that and because the Marxists took advantage of mass-media, mass-education and mass-entertainment to pound into their heads a uniform Marxist message that became what “Everybody knows.”
Yes, I imagine for some of them it is shocking to find themselves called Marxist when they’re just signaling they’re educated and have all the right thoughts by repeating everything their teachers told them was the “right” (left) way to think. But let’s not forget the number of them who (not here, of course) also defend “Marxist” everything from economics to literary analysis as the best thing evah. (And call us ignorant because we don’t like ideologies that killed a hundred million people, even though their professors ASSURED them that it’s never really been tried.)
However, as annoying as they are, they are not nearly as deluded as the children of Rousseau who have never read Rousseau and might not even know he existed.
But every possible portion of the media-industrial complex has blared at them a combined sense that Nature is always better and that one should go back to the simple ol’ days. (BTW it’s amazing how many of these people are vileprogs, who keep telling us we can’t go back to taking the bill of rights seriously becaus e”times have changed”.)
I’ll forgive those of you who are devotees of camping. I do sort of understand that most of you grew up with indoor bathrooms, warm water on demand, refrigerators, and enjoy camping as a break from modern life, simpler but not too scary. So, rest easy. I won’t even blame that on Rousseau.
No, what I want to blame on Rousseau or at least his misguided grandchildren, are the mother and daughter who sat next to us on Tuesday while we waiting for a table for burgers. You see, I was writing late, and we needed food, and I didn’t feel like having leftover turkey.
Unfortunately, apparently, everyone had a rush to Red Robin at the same time. (Okay, possibly it was the local buy one get one free special. What can I say? We’re cheap.)
So we were sitting there, and there’s a family with elementary schoolers right next to me, and the little girl is babbling about a project she did for school and how she wrote about the downside of technology. Stuff like how people now just spend time talking on their cellphones, instead of connecting to each other. And how they only talk to each other through the computer, instead of going out.
I excused this. (I know, I know, how magnanimous of me.) She was maybe 10, and you know, that’s the stuff they teach them in school (which is the point.)
BUT…. but then her mother chimed in. She started talking about how much better life was without the internet. How people wrote letters and visited family.
This was the point at which I decided I had a terrible need to go to the door and look at the snow outside. Because it wasn’t this woman’s fault. It’s what she heard starting when she was her daughter’s age or less.
I even understand it. I understand the “nostalgia for simpler times”, something that has affected the super-wealthy forever. And our society IS super wealthy.
So, in defense of the internet:
Yeah, we no longer write letters. I’m cool with that. Why should I hanker for the long lines at the post office. Not to mention that when I wrote letters, I wrote super-long letters and it cost me a lot of money.
Nowadays I keep in touch with several friends via email, and via phone texting, too. I keep in touch with them regardless of where they are, and they get my messages instantly.
Then there is instant messenger, various forms of, which allow me to have very close friends who live halfway across the world. And then there are ebooks, blogs, the ability to reach the reading public without having to go through the gatekeepers of the industrial-news-entertainment complex.
I remember when just talking to other writers was a difficult thing, particularly writers at my level, when I started getting published.
Beyond all that, and regardless of what one thinks of just-in-time technologies and others, and beyond the world of communication online, the internet, internet shopping and internet ordering has made it possible to cater to individual necessities, not just the average.
Take my older son. Depending on how the shoes are shaped, he wears either 15 EEE or 17 EEE. His feet grew to that size at 13. The city we lived in didn’t have any stores which carried that size, or at least not regularly. So finding shoes for him meant a trip to Denver and even then it was uncertain.
Now? Well, I order from Amazon, because it’s convenient. But failing that I could order from a hundred places on line. The thing is, people are making these shoes, and we are buying them. Oh, and they’re cheaper than they were in the “good old days.”
And in defense of modern days, if I must make one:
Rousseau might have thought we’d have been happier naked and eating whatever grew naturally around us, but I can tell you, even though we were relatively well off for the village, life was not exactly fun in unheated houses, where electricity was sporadic, and where everything you do in life took a lot of work.
Most people lived worse off than us and lived on the edge of survival.
I like living in a house that’s heated, where I turn on the switch and the light comes on, where I have a working refrigerator, hot and cold water and (this is very important) plumbing so we don’t have to use a guzzunder and the house doesn’t smell.
Other things I like, in random order and not limited: aspirin, anti histamines, antibiotics, comfortable shoes, comfortable clothes, an embarrassing choice of entertainment from books to movies to music. I can go 100 miles whenever we feel like it AND we don’t have to take the whole day to do it. Oh, yeah, and if we need to go across the world, we take a plane, instead of a steam ship that takes weeks.
We can fly through the air, we live healthy lives a very long time, longer than our ancestors dreamed of, and we live lives even kings couldn’t dream of 100 years ago. The world is our oyster. And possibly our clam and our mussel too.
But all the children of Rousseau can say is that “Things were better before.” I.e. in the days they never experienced; in the days when they would be either dead or servants, according to predominant likelihood.
So, let’s burn Rousseau in effigy and enjoy what we have.