Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Eco-sabateurs got it all wrong

These fools are also the bad guys.

I mean the so-called Earth Liberation Front, the so-called "eco"-saboteurs who burned a row of luxury homes near Seattle this week.

Fools. And not on our team -- I mean the dispersed, tribal, independent "culture hackers" out to not just fight the present culture afflicting people and planet, but is out to actually create a new, sustainable, fair, simple, adapted and adaptable culture that promotes both freedom and individual style, and symbiosis with with land and other people. (Hey, aim high!)

Yes, I loathe McMansions, too. But what the fools who took to burning these homes is missing is the fact that you can't defeat an enemy by becoming the enemy. And If short-sighted selfish gluttony -- i.e. McMansions -- are a form of violence that these fools seek to confront, then you can't do that with more violence. That keeps violence itself -- including the violence of self-serving greed and waste -- alive in the culture.

Here's whatI believe: Yes, the culture itself must change. But when it comes to real cultural change, then evolution is the only real revolution.

That is real monkey wrenching.

But don't I use the monkey wrench, from Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang, as my personal symbol? And isn't The Monkey Wrench Gang about ... well, eco-saboteurs?

Well, yeah. But what I believe to be important about that book was not its theme, as much as it was its attitude: compassionate arrogance, physical connection with place and land, intelligent redneck-ism, and a patriotic willingness to fight for that which you love and need.

And in that, I believe the "monkey wrenching" was Abbey's resisting the present culture and acting to forge a new culture by speaking taboos in that book, by daring to put those themes out there in an accessible, entertaining, understandable way. That is the real revolution of The Monkey Wrench Gang -- not the story the book told.

But burning houses? That's not monkey wrenching, because nothing was achieved by burning but personal gratification. And much was hurt -- like, a potential message to the world at large about what's wrong with the trophy-home industry -- that would have gone much further toward real, long-term change in the culture at large.

Want to fight? Be different from that you're fighitng.

Want change? Be the change for all to see.

Want to get the message to others? Don't be a fool.

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