Ideologies often credit man with either more nobility or more venality than he deserves. In reality he is a mundane creature. He wants a home for himself and those he loves, stocked with food. And he wants to have the right to control his own destiny, own his own stuff, and to acquire more if he can without interference or fear of imminent death. Such low-level acquisitive desires support high concepts: property rights and the rule of law, without which there would be no foundation for democracy.
My desire to live a free, mundane life is a fundamental cog in our messy, glorious, capitalist democracy. It is built on millions of such small entrenched postitions. Red-filtered, my desires are despicable and bourgeois and must be beaten out of me with indoctrination or force. Green-filtered, my small desires are despicable acts of ecological vandalism. My house is a carbon factory. My desire to travel, to own stuff, to eat meat, to procreate, to heat my house, to shower for a really, really long time; all are evil.
I agree with this article, it simply reinforces my understanding of the nature of humanity. Most of us are mundane. We wish for peace and quite to go about our simple daily routines, which are mostly meaningless to everyone but those closest to us. We just want to get by….and in the United States, we just want to get by happily.
But there are those who believe they are born for great things. They are born to change the world. This can be good; slavery was ended in the western world. I’ve always supposed that those good and impassioned people that lead the way on slavery turned next to achohol and the temperance movement which in turn lead to prohibition which of course gave us the Kennedys. Now how sad is that.