"Why Am I Doing This?"
by Michael Krieger
"Those of you who’ve read me for many years will have undoubtedly noticed a major transformation in the tone and content of my writing over the course of 2017. This shift has been the result of much personal introspection regarding how I had been doing things in the past and whether I was pleased with the outcome.
In the June post, "People Are Devolving Into Degeneracy and Violence – Don’t Join the Club," I noted: "When times get tough people can unite and fight back against a common enemy, or they can be manipulated into fighting each other. Unfortunately, the latter has become increasingly popular amongst all sides in what has become an increasingly deranged, adolescent and counterproductive political environment.
Meanwhile, the people who are truly powerful, the oligarchs of industry and their bought and paid for political minions are the ones who really benefit. The primary purpose of this website from the very beginning has been to highlight how power actually functions in imperial America with the hope that people across the political spectrum could unite and push back against the unaccountable rent-seeking practices of a common enemy. It seems I was extraordinarily naive.
When a writer and thinker such as myself is forced to admit failure, it’s a very tough pill to swallow. Writing this blog is in many ways a thankless task. I’m essentially doing volunteer work day in and day out because I passionately believe in the ideas I put forth, and to see them have little to no effect on the public debate can be very depressing. Rather than seeing human beings unite to throw off the predatory shackles that bind them as I had hoped, I see people who should be coming together punching and yelling at each other in the streets — and that’s on a good day. On bad days, people are getting shot or run over, from Virginia to London. Watching all this madness unfold while the truly powerful sit back and grin, more secure in their positions as ever before thanks to rabble fighting each other, sometimes makes me want to just stop doing this writing thing. After all, what’s the point?"
Upon deeper reflection, I’ve come away with several unpleasant self-critiques about how I had been engaging with readers over the past five years. For one thing, I realized that most of my posts revolved around expressing outrage about how poorly other people were acting and how dangerous these actions were to society at large.
While understanding how the system works and identifying some particularly bad actors is very important, it’s not nearly enough. By spending so much thought and energy on the transgressions of others, I realized that I had done my part to contribute to the “outrage culture” which currently infects our political dialogue. Pointing fingers at others incessantly is what unconscious people do, which more conscious people inspire others to live up to their best nature. For years, I had been doing too much of the former, and not enough of the latter. That’s not to say there’s no value in calling out bad actors, I think there is. The point is that my content had become defined by a dangerous imbalance, and it was bad for me and bad for you.
To see what I mean, let’s take a step back in time. Upon seeing the government response to the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, I immediately knew that the country was headed for a very dangerous and tumultuous time. This realization left me with a sense of a mission to get out there and warn people about what was happening and the destructive implications that would inevitably follow. You simply cannot have elitist theft and corruption at the scale we witnessed in the post financial crisis era without major blowback. I figured that the most important thing I could do was explain how the entire economy and political paradigm had become a parasitic, criminal, systemic cancer. I figured if people “woke up” to reality and got upset about it, we could unify the public against oligarchy and implement true governance by the people, for the people. I was completely wrong.
People certainly got angry, but much of this anger was channeled toward the election of a narcissistic con man, who immediately handed his administration over to Wall Street, just as all his predecessors had before him. Even worse, the election of Trump has made it even easier to divide the public against one another, rather than against true power. The road we’re headed on right now doesn’t end well, and I’ve recognized the error of my ways.
As I noted in yesterday’s post, operating from a state of anger (or fear) will only result in very bad responses to our real problems. Calling reality as I see it is as important as ever, but merely trying to get people outraged will never get us to where we need to - as individuals or a nation.
Part of the reason I felt like a failure when reflecting upon how things turned out since the financial crisis was due to my unrealistic expectations. I assumed a largely unconscious population could overcome and transcend our corrupt, neo-feudal society simply by becoming outraged. This was an extremely stupid and lazy assumption, and I now recognize that. I’ve since come to understand that a culture does indeed reflect the individuals who reside in it - an discomforting, yet fundamental truth.
So why am I doing this? For starters, writing every day forces me to think things through and challenge my own assumptions on a regular basis. It’s a very powerful release for me as a person, and allows me to expel a lot of emotional baggage I might be otherwise carrying around. Secondly, I figure that if I’m going through all this, then countless others are as well. The responses I’ve gotten from so many of you this year confirms that this is indeed true. Many of you have told me that I’m providing some perspective and sanity in an increasingly insane environment. If this is all I can achieve, then it’s worth it.
I’m not here to preach or tell you that I’m right. I’m sure I’m completely wrong about all sorts of stuff, just like I’ve admittedly been in the past. Rather than instructing people about what to do, my hope is that we can grow and learn together through these daily musings.
I don’t want to be the leader of a revolt, I want to help people think. I’d rather inspire people, than make people angry, and I hope I’m finally doing that."
This sounds familiar...