For all of you who wrote emails to excoriate me for my earlier post about the endless whining over the broken system, I really, really need for you all to read Noam Chomsky and then come back and we’ll talk.

Digby, hastily backpedaling

You keep invoking that man’s name. I don’t think you know what it means.

No, really, I have read all his political books, and I read his talks and essays on his website all the time too. So what do you want to talk about?

Let’s start here. See if you can detect a, um, slight difference in tone:

Pick up your muskets, kids, or STFU.


Grow the fuck up.

TBogg, approvingly cited by Digby

Grow up.

Matt Yglesias

Matt, bubby, it’s “grow the fuck up.”

Sir Charles

“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.”

– Noam Chomsky

Well! One of those, at least, was refreshingly reasonable and mature, even accepting of the idea that other people might not see it his way.

That man has been involved in politics longer than any of you, faced more hopeless struggles and setbacks (including the possibility of severe jail time for protesting the Vietnam war), and invested more time and energy worldwide into causes we all hold dear, even as mainstream liberals – much like yourselves – have done their best to piss all over him for the last several decades in order to make themselves look more appealing. And as far as I’m aware, he’s done it without ever condescendingly treating people like immature and unrealistic little kids who need some authority figure to take them by the ear and beat them into understanding what’s best for them. I mean, hey, you’re the savvy “realists” here; you go right ahead with this can’t-miss strategy of insulting and guilt-tripping people into the voting booth when they refuse to buy into your fearmongering Armageddon scenarios. That is, unless you want to do some hard, thankless work and invest countless hours into repeating the same patient encouragement to an endless line of people who are disheartened, demoralized and looking to vent about it.

Like he has. For decades.

What? You thought it would be easy or something? Really, all it takes is some grumbling from readers and the possibility of midterm election setbacks to make you folks go bug-eyed and start foaming at the mouth? Weak, man, very weak. Maybe you guys should just stick to pet pictures and dick jokes.

What precipitated my post is an intense impatience with this endless, cynical posturing about how everything’s rigged and there’s no point in anything. That’s fine if you think that, plenty of people do, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why you aren’t watching a sporting event or playing a video game instead of commenting on a political blog. The only thing I can assume is that you want to bully people who still give a damn and that’s just jackass behavior.

Blink. Blink. You know, one could suggest that the thanksralph!ers, the people who never pass up a chance to bash actual leftists while stroking themselves silly for being “dirty fucking hippies” (even if they are suburban-dwelling professionals driving their SUVs to Starbucks), the people who devote their time to preemptively blaming anything bad that happens politically for the next decade on insufficient enthusiasm for Democrats, and other sundry apologist assholes who have jettisoned every last bit of idealism, are actually the ones guilty of bullying people who “still give a damn”. And again, maybe those cynical complainers are just venting their frustration, since they know their elected officials don’t give a bouncing fuck what they think.

Sure, sometimes political compromise has worked for the best, and sometimes what looked worthless at first turned into something better over time. By the same token, however, sometimes it’s been the fanatics and the idealists who refused to sit down and shut up who made things happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.