Monday, January 25, 2010

Look inward, and nowhere else

Years ago, I stopped referring to myself as a liberal. This was because I started to see what the term really meant—not according to conservatives—but according to radicals, and according to me. I won't go into detail about all of the qualities that liberals have that I don't, because that's not what this post is about. This post is about a specific liberal quality that drives me absolutely up the wall.

Do not play the blame game. As a recent post articulated on the liberal site that I belong to, Care2:
...We want to fix something that we perceive as terribly wrong. When this happens we look immediately to find someone to blame. But in doing so, we sidestep taking responsibility.

Really? As I stay up-to-date with the current events of this world, I see people in power, politicians and corporate executives, fucking over people and communities. I do not see it because I am attempting to put blame on someone besides myself. I see their actions first, and realise that those actions have an effect. And that effect is bigger than the effect my actions would have, simply because I am not as powerful an individual as a politician, and my community isn't as powerful as an entire government or corporation.

This isn't the first time I have heard this type bullshit from liberals. Liberals are not as individualistic as conservatives, but they still have some very individualistic beliefs. The view about blame is very similar to another view that I despise, which is far more "spiritual" in nature: You must fix yourself before you can help anybody else in the world. As if the two aren't connected. As if helping others doesn't also help fix you as well.

Everybody, especially everybody who has been born into privilege, does have a certain amount of responsibility. But a lot of our responsibilities lie in the fact that we allow a corrupt system to continue. That is not the same as making a system even more corrupt.

If activists are trying to stop an organisation from polluting the air, it is because they are blaming that corporation for polluting the air. Should the activists instead leave that organisation alone and allow it to continue polluting, all because they don't want to place any blame on anybody but themselves?

Basically, my point is that it is possible to blame more than one person or group of people for a problem. But it is a good idea to put things into perspective, and understand who is most responsible for causing what problem. In other words, in order to find a solution to anything, it is important to understand cause and effect. If you refuse to blame anyone for causing the problems of this world, regardless of whether or not they actually did, you are ignoring a crucial step towards remedying those problems.

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