Thoughts after Henry Rollins

WARNING: SANCTIMONY FOLLOWS

Henry Rollins made what I thought was a legitimate point in Thornbury on Saturday night – this is a new century (one none of us are likely to leave alive) and there’s no particular reason why it has to proceed according to the mindset and rules of the last one. We’re only ten years into it – it’s young, impressionable, and our attitudes will inform what it does. And that doesn’t have to be negative. Why couldn’t the people in a few hundred years look back and say “the 21st century was the one where they finally got it together”?

And I agree. It’s not like the younger people of 1910 felt the twentieth century should or must follow the habits of 1850. Most of the things that changed for the better were unprecedented, were things that the old guard said, on the strength of the past, would never change. Could never change. This is the way things had always been done.

And those blights we still face… well, they’re not immutable laws either. Racism, prejudice – the solutions for these problems are here right now, and have been for a long time: treat others as you’d like them to treat you. (And don’t let these things slide when you hear people around you lapsing into them.) Poverty, social injustice, war – the solutions for these are much more complicated, but at the very least they have to start by overcoming this sense that they’re inevitable, and necessary. They’re not. We just say “life isn’t fair” and “that’s the way it is” to save ourselves from the effort of changing. Poverty has causes. Social injustice has causes. War has causes. They can be addressed.

So far as I can see it, the critical thing is this: every day we can choose to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Nobody can change the world by themselves, but every day you make decisions that influence how things turn out, even on a minor scale. You vote. You react when political matters are discussed. You make choices about what you consume and how. Pretty much everything you do, in combination with those around you, influences what happens. Whether you intend to or not, you cannot help, as one of the billions of humans on this planet, influencing its direction just as everyone else does. The point is doing so deliberately. And at the end of each day there’s no reason why you couldn’t look back and say – well, I did my part. The direction my actions pushed the world in, even to a tiny extent, wasn’t a negative one – it was a positive one.

And of course, whether you do or not, rest assured that other people will be doing their bit to influence what happens. And they’ll often be the people with whom you most disagree, the people who want to push the world in the ways of fear and greed and hate. Don’t let them win just because you thought that only they should have an impact.

If we all realised that our choices and actions make a difference, and we can do our part to push things forward in a positive way – if we all refused to be held hostage to defeatist, lazy excuses like “it’ll never change” and “there’s nothing I can do” – then this really could be one brilliant century.

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11 responses to “Thoughts after Henry Rollins

  1. I am a fan of Henry, love his TV grabs, especially his take down of Ann Coulter.

    I will put this up on my wall…..such wisdom is rare these days.

  2. Splatterbottom

    All Rollins is doing is calling the left to arms one more time. It is just another rendition of the same old tune. The only way leftist ideas dominate is if they manage to shut up those with other ideas.

    The new bandwagon is the playbook of the modern Machiavelli, Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals.

    These tactics cause deep division within society, but if your going to make an omelet … .

    It is not that we don’t all want peace. Most of us do. The problem is that we can’t agree on how to go about achieving it.

  3. “We” don’t all want peace if there’s an economic benefit to war – hence Iraq. “We” don’t all believe in human rights – many think it’s okay to violate those of other people “if it keeps us safe” somehow. “We” don’t all want social justice. “We” don’t all want equality and an end to discrimination.

    We here might, but we’re not exactly unopposed.

  4. I used to think Henry Rollins was the man until he bagged out Venom. Hail Satan! 😉

  5. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy, it would be fairer to say that people have differing views a s to what constitutes social justice and how to go about getting it, as they do about equality and the need to go to war.

    What you really seem to do is to demean people with differing views to yours. Alinsky would be proud of you.

  6. Yeah, maybe people define “social justice” so that it means “leaving poor people to starve”. Maybe they define “equality” so that it includes “discriminating against people based on their gender”.

    I’d demean those people not just because what they believe is inhumane, but because if that’s how they’re going to go about defending it – appropriating terms that clearly mean the opposite, for the purpose of confusion and deceit – then they’re deserving of little else but contempt.

  7. Splatterbottom

    Your ‘categorise and despise’ approach is not going to win hearts and minds. Nothing good comes from the politics of hatred.

  8. I should perhaps rephrase the above – I don’t “despise” people. But I am contemptuous of the practice of defending cruel policies by hijacking the language of humane ones.

  9. Splatterbottom

    Language hijacking goes on with both sides. I think if you want to change peoples’ minds (not that I’ve ever looked likely to changing your mind on anything) you should try at least to understand where they are coming from and talk to them about the human cost of what they propose, and about not being ruled by their fears.

    Just attacking them rarely works. The US seems to have divided in two and they are just shouting at each other.

  10. Ok SB, you’re the third neocon in a fortnight to bring up Alinsky.
    Has Glenn Beck done a spray on the guy?

    Hang on, I’ll be right back………………..

    Oh for fuck’s sake!

    Could you please, please, think for yourself!

    The man is a lunatic and you know it.
    Stop bringing up his talking point on this forum.
    It demeans you and gives me the shits bigtime.

    Cheers.

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