by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
2017 was a tumultuous and extremely binary year for a considerable number of Americans. For those who thought everything was going swimmingly during the Obama years, Trump’s election wasn’t simply a shock to the system, but an extinction level event for civilization that handed the U.S. government to bunch of Putin-controlled fascists. In stark contrast, Trump’s election was seen as divine deliverance by his devoted cheerleaders and red hat wearing obsessives. Finally, someone from outside the swamp had successfully trash-talked their way into the Presidency. As such, an imminent restoration of American greatness is all but assured.
Naturally, neither one of these perspectives is remotely accurate. They’re just distinct fairytales that quarreling groups of Americans have enthusiastically embraced within an increasingly insane and divided political environment. The societal pressure to self-segregate into either passionate support for “The Resistance” or “Trumpism” was overwhelming all year and has continued to this day. I recognized this early on, and wrote about it back in February.
Here’s an excerpt from that piece, Lost in the Political Wilderness:
I think the U.S. citizenry is being afflicted by a sort of mass insanity at the moment. There are no good outcomes if this continues. As a result, I feel compelled to provide a voice for those of us lost in the political wilderness. We must persevere and not be manipulated into the obvious and nefarious divide and conquer tactics being aggressively unleashed across the societal spectrum. If we lose our grounding and our fortitude, who will be left to speak for those of us who simply don’t fit into any of the currently ascendant political ideologies?
Little did I know it at the time, but the sentiments expressed in that piece, coupled with the four-part series on Spiral Dynamics that followed, would result in profound changes to my overall outlook on life and the evolution of this website.
Prior to 2017, I focused an extraordinary amount of my attention and energy on the destructive actions of others and had become obsessed with highlighting how much everything had degenerated in society. As such, I would frequently publish multiple posts per day in an attempt to get as much information as possible into the hands of readers. My own thoughts were published less often than many of you would’ve liked, as I spent a disproportionate amount of time reading news compared to personal reflection. As 2017 unfolded, I began to ask myself many questions about how I was spending my time. This culminated in the August post, Why Am I Doing This?
While understanding how the system works and identifying some particularly bad actors is very important, it’s not nearly enough. By spending so much thought and energy on the transgressions of others, I realized that I had done my part to contribute to the “outrage culture” which currently infects our political dialogue. Pointing fingers at others incessantly is what unconscious people do, which more conscious people inspire others to live up to their best nature. For years, I had been doing too much of the former, and not enough of the latter. That’s not to say there’s no value in calling out bad actors, I think there is. The point is that my content had become defined by a dangerous imbalance, and it was bad for me and bad for you.
To see what I mean, let’s take a step back in time. Upon seeing the government response to the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, I immediately knew that the country was headed for a very dangerous and tumultuous time. This realization left me with a sense of a mission to get out there and warn people about what was happening and the destructive implications that would inevitably follow. You simply cannot have elitist theft and corruption at the scale we witnessed in the post financial crisis era without major blowback. I figured that the most important thing I could do was explain how the entire economy and political paradigm had become a parasitic, criminal, systemic cancer. I figured if people “woke up” to reality and got upset about it, we could unify the public against oligarchy and implement true governance by the people, for the people. I was completely wrong.
People certainly got angry, but much of this anger was channeled toward the election of a narcissistic con man, who immediately handed his administration over to Wall Street, just as all his predecessors had before him. Even worse, the election of Trump has made it even easier to divide the public against one another, rather than against true power. The road we’re headed on right now doesn’t end well, and I’ve recognized the error of my ways.
As I noted in yesterday’s post, operating from a state of anger (or fear) will only result in very bad responses to our real problems. Calling reality as I see it is as important as ever, but merely trying to get people outraged will never get us to where we need to — as individuals or a nation.
In other words, while I recognize that outrage is often a necessary catalyst to significant social change, outrage alone is insufficient if you wish to tilt the odds toward a positive outcome. Change is a constant in this universe, but change can manifest in many different ways. I realized that if I wanted to see a better world, I needed to work on myself too.
It’s easy to focus on the flaws of others and obsessively call out the corrupt and unethical paradigm we live under. It’s much harder to focus on yourself and your own personal shortcomings. I realized that I, and many others, were too busy being outraged to see how our own individual actions were contributing to the increasing madness around us. Looking for an outside political or corporate savior to our problems is an insane approach and will lead to nothing good. We need to take personal responsibility for our actions and consciousness if we want to take the next step forward in our evolution as a species. Each and every one of us has a greater impact than we recognize on the world around us every single day with each and every interaction we have with one another.
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