Does anyone like living in the middle of constant, seething negativity?
Some people like it or shall we more accurately say negativity becomes an addiction.
Hanging out with people who are negative about virtually everything is worse than discouraging. It becomes oppressive, even death-like.
I attended a Leftist university in the early 70s. Our college cheer was: “Big deal, so what, who cares, why bother?” This was the chant of a bunch of rich young rulers being negative and pretending to be apathetic: very, very “cool.”
As a young, ignorant know-it-all, I appropriated this nonsense. Once a patriot, I became hip and negative, aloof and negative, arrogant and negative. America was racist. America was imperialistic. America was all about consumption, raping the earth, war, and bourgeois greed, shallow spirituality, pride, injustice, and poverty.
Every activity was accompanied by negative, critical, condemning commentary: the perfect staging ground for drug and alcohol abuse, serving to drive the negativity wider and deeper.
Our college-sponsored speakers regularly, people who were famous activists and authors, all of them Leftists. They echoed our professors and most of the students with sarcasm, negativity, condemnation, criticism, fierce calls for change, vicious denunciations.
We were treated to the radicalism of Saul Alinsky (Obama’s mentor), Leonard Wineglass, Rennie Davis, Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory, and Daniel Ellsberg. The closest we got to hearing from conservatives came from classic liberals like Pierre Salinger and John Kenneth Galbraith.
Memory is out of focus and distant but what stands out in recall is the pervasive anger and negativity of those days. Compared to today, however, the anger and negativity of 1971 was child’s play.
Yes, there were riots and bombings, killings and shootings, and chaos and mayhem, but there was still a margin of restraint, an ounce of logic, a willingness to find common ground, all lost in the present day.
T.S. Eliot wrote “The Hollow Men,” an indictment of our hopelessness, fear, and anger apart from God. He also wrote about the hollow men responsible for killing 100 million people last century, “If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.”
Anger, seething resentments, forever complaints, protestations, and criticism, taking negativity to new grisly lows, all these make us hollow men, useless men, men without hearts, vision, or courage.
It is no fun being a Leftist. One lives in a constant state of discontent, rancor, and dissatisfaction: nothing is good, nothing is right, nothing will change, all is lost.
Eventually, reality forces a Leftist to change, seeking happiness. Short of that, he is forced to lie to himself, to live in delusion, the short run to self-destruction.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.