James Strauss


“He who has no target, hits same,” is an old Chinese proverb.  It applies to such things as shooting, game playing, and life itself.  We are currently living inside an American culture that has had every worthwhile target removed from its visual cortex so that aimlessness, lack of motivation, and subsistence survival will occupy all thinking and direction.  And yes, it is that serious a problem.  Once almost all vehicles for open and mass communication were taken over and understood by corporate America, the redirection of all efforts became a part of the fabric of our country’s long-term mission.  That mission has deliberately been redefined as the creation and building of wealth for a very few.  This mission is carefully hidden away, stated only by a few ‘wild-eyed’ liberals, and given about as much real credence as UFOs.

As our American culture developed there was great stock put into thinking about majestic long-term goals while most of the population worked.  One person cannot launch a rocket into space or lay down a highway.  Many people still living today remember the space program and the wonderfully participative cultural endeavor it was.  Many still recall the wonders of spreading electricity to everyone by the building of massive dams across the nation.  The interstate highway program was another on this massive scale.  Before memory, but well documented in history, were programs to make homeownership available to everyone and to put a car in every garage of those millions of homes.  The installation of cross-country railroad tracks preceded this grand national endeavor.

The American culture triumphed to the point where it soon became the dominant society on the planet.  Those programs are basically gone, replaced by a lot of lip service.  We live in a culture that has come to accept that going nowhere and doing nothing together is as valuable as any joint effort to build something.  This belief system has been systematically put into place by a neoconservative movement that has at its very heart a deeply and deadly selfish intent.  A great part of the effort to instill and maintain this profoundly new culture of ennui has been directed toward hiding that there is any intent to make this happen.  Very subtly, and with the assistance of religious orders of some magnitude, a culture that revered technology has come to despise it, while at the same time, enjoying the benefits of its toys. 

Science is no longer seen as being the manner in which we come to know what is real and what is not, what will work and what will not, what has been tried and been successful before and what has not.  Science today is something to be put up against ‘belief systems’ like creationism, the teachings of the Bible, or the Koran.  Thirty-five states are now actively banning books in libraries.  Books like Fahrenheit 451 and Catcher in the Rye, are examples.  How can this be?  

We know better.  We have history to show us that our current path is culturally suicidal if we continue to stay this course.  But will we read history anymore?  Will we recognize what it is?  We have the movie Lincoln, which the public thinks is history.  The movie, portraying Lincoln to be a better friend to blacks than Martin Luther King, failed to mention that Lincoln wanted to send the blacks back to Africa!  Argo, is another movie that just is not true.  Almost none of what happened in the movie happened in real life, but that is not how it is seen.  Zero Dark Thirty is a travesty of an assembled jumble of fiction made to look like history.  If we cannot tell the difference between these false representations and the real thing then we are doomed to continue to have nothing to aspire to except the creation of wealth, and more phony stories about ‘history’ as others want us to see it. 

We do not have an expressed plan to connect every city in America by high-speed rail.  We do not have this plan on purpose.  We do not have a real space program anymore.  It was killed on purpose.  We do not have a terrific effort to give every home in America high-speed Internet for free.  Not here.  Those places are called Korea and Taiwan.  Our televisions merely fritter away our days telling us that we must lower taxes and spend less.  We must pay the bills.  We must endeavor to persevere.

All of us, as Americans, owe it to the future to hate this attitude.  We must break out and come to believe that there is something worth living for other than getting by and the enrichment of a very few.  We must rage against this age of ennui, this willingness to celebrate ignorance, and this apparent group’s lack of wisdom to know what is real and in our own best interest.