In our second book, I have a chapter on ETHICAL DISSENT. Basically, it is a term I use to partially explain why someone might want to ‘leave’ the grid and ‘Get out. Get out NOW!! Ethical dissent is manifest but passive disagreement with the status quo modern lifestyle I encapsulate in the term, ‘cul-de-sac’. In that sense our living off the grid is a protest, a rebellion, a rejection of what has come to pass for normal living.
Kinda like the Amish but with solar panels instead of horse-and-buggies.
Of course, in the book, I beat the idea to death with all sorts of smaller ways to dissent from bartering, trading, using cash and gifting to ‘feeling trapped’ and protesting all the rules and regulations of urban living by even breaking some of them. Or moving away. Basically, I whine and moan and then suggest that, instead of complaining, one CAN DO something and moving off the grid is just one of those ‘SOMETHINGs’.
I also confess that going off the grid is a bit of a resignation, a bit of a retreat, a senior chicken’s way out. It’s healthy, natural, beautiful and fun, tho. Buc, buc, ca-haw!
Nothing in Ethical Dissent is new nor is it a brilliant piece of philosophy but it is a contrarian’s view and I subscribe to it. And I know I am not alone. Many feel as I do. In fact, the new ‘sharing culture’ term used to describe community-used cars and city-owned fleets of bicycles and that sort of thing is a similar response to a system that seems to be creating more and more inequity rather than more and more equality. But that new sharing response is at least constructive rather than negative. Many people are making much more positive efforts at small and local levels to effect social change than I am by opting out. But there is a place for both routes. There is choice. There is awareness. There is a movement of sorts. It is all good.
However, it may not be enough.
The increasing madness of rules, regulations, obsessive-compulsive safety protocols, political correctness, coddling, compensating, apologizing and – the worst of the bunch – FEAR mongering has to be resisted. NOT because all those things are so, so very wrong (usually, they have some merit, actually) but because, by emphasizing that mindset, by MOSTLY investing in policies, procedures and by relying on institutional-think, we are robbing people of initiative, motivation, excitement, adventure, inventiveness and their capacity for free-thinking. We are taking the fun out of life. Especially for the generation or two behind me.
The 20 year old of today is not firing on all four. Neither is their 45 year old parent. Read Ben Sasse: The Vanishing American Adult. Nutshell version: the children of today are bored at birth, raised in swaddling coddling and molded into conforming, well-schooled cowards who grow up with no vision, no sense of purpose and an unhealthy reliance on authority and government and back-lit screens. Plus, they think drugs are recreation! We are breeding stone lemmings.
Well, maybe that’s a bit over-the-top but you get my point. We are slowly losing our ability to thrive, survive and be independent by the subtle and not-so-subtle demands of urban living. Modern life provides for you. Does for you. Lifts for you. Carries for you and watches out for you. Modern life is your mommy. And it is NOT good for you and it is especially NOT good for your kids. Modern life, it seems, sucks the life out of you.
THAT has all become increasingly clear to me as I lift and carry for myself, as I fix my own crap and as I become a teeny bit more independent. OTG is good for you. Well, it is good for me, anyway. Sal, too.
And that is where we have to start – at the beginning of life. Ethical dissent and the more positive side of that, Constructive Resistance has to be fomented and developed in kids. We need more positive resistors, rebels WITH a cause, impudent innovators and fresh free-thinkers. We need to foster independence again. It ain’t gonna happen indoors. It ain’t gonna happen on social media. And it ain’t gonna happen within the institutions we have now. They all foster group-think.
To ensure that the BIG BROTHER mentality does not happen, we have to encourage all the little brothers and sisters NOT to conform. We have to give them permission to step out of the box not seat-belt themselves in. And we have to start by getting them outdoors. It’s a first step.
“Dave, where the hell does all this nonsense come from?”
Naomi Klein. Naomi ‘smart-cookie’ Klein. She of The Shock Doctrine best-seller, she of the This Changes Everything best seller. She of the recent analysis on the real threat that Trump represents. Klein sees Trump as way more than just an Orange Clown, way more than the Idiot-in-chief. Trump, she suggests, is not only a master of sleight of hand, misdirection and distraction but he is a larger-than-life con-man poised to implement his elitist .0001% plan as soon as some kind of ‘shock’ or trauma presents itself and provides the excuse.
In fact, by executive order, he has already attacked the latest Dodd-Frank-like rules of Obama that were put in place to protect the American public from more bank bail-outs. He is setting everyone up for another con.
Bush implemented Homeland Security and the Patriot Act as his response to airplane martyrs with box-cutters and the people bought it. Americans gave away a lot of their freedoms and liberties in exchange for protection from Arabs-with-pack-sacks and knives. Trump will do even worse in the name of safety and protecting the Homeland. He already bailed on the Paris Accords in the name of protecting Joe-the-blue-collar worker. And he can hardly wait to do it all throughout the US of A. He may, in fact, precipitate that opportunity-in-waiting. Klein thinks he will.
So do I. F.D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But most of us read or heard that to mean: “Don’t be afraid. Be brave.” Klein posits that it can also mean that fear is used as a weapon to enslave. In an effort to be ‘be safe’ we VOLUNTARILY limit, restrict and inhibit ourselves. We retard our own progress. We stifle creativity. And we allow BIG OTHERS to decide for us. Fear is then – in that context – a tool of the tyrant. And by NOT openly resisting, by NOT choosing to fight back, we are essentially acceding to the bully. We surrender. We are complicit. We are voluntarily enslaving ourselves and giving up our lives.
True: I chose NOT to fight back. I went feral instead. I saw it early. I resisted. I balked. I even made a pathetic attempt at politics to ‘fight’ it. But, I gave up and opted for nature, beauty and health instead. And, maybe at my age, I made the right choice for me. But make no mistake, a choice will have to be made. And, if Klein is right, Trump will soon put that decision front and centre for you. ESPECIALLY for Americans.
Choose well, my friends, we Canadians are somewhat caught up in your apron-strings.