Saturday, January 10, 2009
An impassioned plea
read more | digg story
I include this item from "digg" not because I support its contention per se. Of course, most people are horrified by the deaths of innocents occurring in Gaza at the moment. Whatever the justifications and posturing on both sides, these killings are to be deplored.
I include the item because I think it makes an important point about the complicity of consumers, one that has troubled me for years. In fact, to ensure that your money is not used by some nefarious cause somewhere it would be necessary to withdraw nearly absolutely from the world. The cluttered presentation of corporate logos makes that point pretty effectively. Don't burn gasoline, certainly. Don't drink Starbucks coffee. Don't read the Times. Hell, you probably shouldn't even use the Internet.
I first became seriously bothered by this during the US war on Nicaragua. I deplored what my country was doing in that region, but in fact I was supporting it by paying taxes. Really eliminating personal support for the policy would endanger my own personal freedom. I was unwilling to take that step, and instead responded by becoming more politically active in opposing the war in Central America.
Of course, some people do sacrifice their freedom for a moral cause, and I respect them for it. I have friends who were imprisoned, for example, for their non-violent resistance to the Iraq War. Another friend was recently jailed for protesting at Fort Benning, known in the movement as the "School of Assassins." But when these protestors rejoin our so-called "civilization," they too are bound to contribute in some way to activities that they deplore.
It is the paradox of the globalized world in which we live. On one hand, we are more aware of all the injustices and cruelties in the world. On the other, we are effectively bound in a system where we must fund these cruelties and horrors - to a greater or lesser extent - whether we like it or not.