How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate Politics

I’ve begun to despise politics. Not because I don’t care; rather I’ve cared too much for too long with little to no tangible output on the world besides heated conversations with peers and a few converted souls (who, as if I’ve poisoned them, walk around peddling the same critiques I’ve hit on over the years.)

So I am now attempting to position myself against political thought. I would like to be able to adopt the essence of Robinson Jeffers’s poem “Be Angry at the Sun”:

“Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

Yet, theirs IS mine. I cannot, like Jeffers, retire to a hut in Carmel and live a hermit life among rocks and salt. It might be because I am too young (I still have desire beyond my reason) or because I am too poor (who can afford land in Carmel?). Brecht said of types who reject politics:

“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean… all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”

I’d like to ask Brecht what he might think of someone who, knowing a great deal about politics, might reject the process wholly. If one hates politics, does that make one a political illiterate?

Could it be that one could know too much about politics, know that there is nothing to do be done to prevent these ills (prostitute, multinational companies) from occurring? Could it be that Brecht’s characterization is shallow and forgets all the men and women who have spent years toiling for political causes only to have their efforts wasted or otherwise bashed in by legislation?

Why not liberate oneself? Is it imbecilic to spend time engaged in art instead of politics? Does one have to do both at the same time? There does not seem to be anything political about the loss of a father; the failed suicide of a friend; a dog walking down a railroad track. Experience goes beyond politics; it seems to me that only the weak-willed and the weak-minded assume that politics are integral to the life-process.

And thus Brecht was an idiot. Who knew? The term idiot might be reductionist. He obviously was neurotic; no one claims to be of peasant origins while being from a comfortably middle class family without having some hangups. I guess he couldn’t hang out with the cool kids unless he was ‘truly proletarian.’




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