"We believe that success, as the world determines it, is not the criterion by which a movement should be judged. We must be prepared and ready to face seeming failure. The most important thing is that we adhere to these values which transcend time and for which we will be asked a personal accounting, not as to whether they succeeded (though we should hope that they do) but as to whether we remained true to them even though the whole world go otherwise."--- Dorothy Day, The Catholic Worker, May 1972
As a young man I was grievously wounded with the affliction which could not keep down the question, What are we building at the cost of so much blood globally, and why? The question is so easily misunderstood for ungratefulness, lack of ambition, and many other things, especially in an age of plenty and economic bubbles.
I was no better than anyone else, and so even when through study of "our" American positions I attempted to heal and resolve the wound politically, it all seemed a colossal game to me and only got more painful. As for the other side during the Cold War years, it was no better. At least here we could say the government was acting immorally without facing jail or a firing squad, no small difference.
But did that excuse us? As I looked at the facts it seemed clear that we as much as they were pulverizing the poor of the world with megaton death bombs through imperialist adventures that were completely unnecessary, not to say unjust and wicked. Why couldn't we just mind our own business and be what our political rhetoric said we were?
By the time, in my early 20's, I discovered the Catholic witness of Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day I knew they were right in all the important things. And even if a lot of their disciples in recent decades were forsaking the proclamation of the Church, acting more like politically correct New Agers than Catholics, no one could lay that blame on Maurin or Day. They rebuked all such, often gently, but firmly nonetheless. The Utopians who constantly hitched their wagons to the Catholic Worker (and still do today) couldn't understand Peter or Dorothy because they didn't understand either Original Sin or Redemption; or in their myopic folly they rejected it. But you can't have Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin without that, without the Gospels and witness of the saints. It just becomes another lie to even try.
So those two blessed ones were my downfall, because they took Jesus Christ and His Gospel seriously precisely in our unique and brutal moment in world history. The last scales fell off of my eyes. I would have to make difficult, radical changes in my personal life and career pursuits, reject all propaganda about the American Dream; participate only in those areas which could be morally justified, while joining the call to return to our spiritual senses and ultimate good. The political Right and Left were practically twins, awash in blood, if not outright decoys covering for one another in the vast American War Machine. I was about 22 or 23 years old, and hadn't even returned to the Church yet. But never again would I want to participate either directly or by default in building the global super-death machine. And to follow them seriously I knew I must be Catholic, even if a lousy one (I must have been a spectacle carrying spiritual literature to work for so long).
They were prophetically right; and as half-baked as I was for decades, stumbling often, living more or less in contradictions, I was constantly attempting to absorb what she and Peter were witnessing. Even when I didn't want to, I couldn't avert my eyes and ears from their prophetic voice. The whole vast network of credit, predatory loans and planetary war were one tissue. No one really owned anything. Not the Plebs anyway. The banks owned it all and these only extended the lie that debt to them constitutes 'wealth,' which kept us in servitude. Moreover, having concentrated more and more wealth into monopolies through the trick called "privatization" they have at the same time sought to mock and change our values, turn women and children into meatslut. That's why all of this isn't funny, and cannot be reduced to crass envy or covetousness.
And so we come to 2010. The treasury has been looted, the nation's infrastucture, built by the taxpayers who fought wars and shed their and other blood for the bankers, thinking they were serving their country, is being sold off to foreign nations. And as always the usury charged on every debt, small or massive, ensures that the modern day Money Changers stay on top.
But don't imagine it's easy (or worse, romantic) rejecting The System. You lose the respect of many. And that hurts if you are a flesh and blood human being. It is no small Cross.
But if I were the worst Christian in world (and maybe I am) I would, after reading the Gospels and the founders of the Catholic Worker, still confess that these are absolutely correct. They saw and told what was and is being built: It's Pilate or Jesus, we must choose our foolishness...
---Apropos of that, see Peter Maurin's "Choose to be Poor..."
--->Is Your Videogame Machine Watching You?
--->See When Bankers Rule by Peter Maurin...
--->John Pilger: Why are wars not being reported honestly...?
--->Your Job to India? Back in 2003 PBS said Job Flight is on in earnest. Your job may be going to India...(click); and just the other night I heard a panelist on the BBC World Service say this is "deliberate job redistribution" which is going on, the program of political leaders and financiers who are neo-socialists and internationalists at heart. Some deplore it in rhetoric but none make laws to stop the bleeding...