What are we doing here?

Barry Dredze
4 min readJul 6
Young Patriots by Charles Wysocki (1986)

This Independence Day was a struggle.

The Supreme Court really knows how to take the wind out of any enthusiasm for celebration, too.

But we can celebrate those great occasional and seemingly fleeting victories among all the historic social and civil struggles, so far, should we somehow be lucky enough to actually learn about them, and take the joy from every little win and carry it forward.

“Where there is no joy there can be no courage,” wrote Edward Abbey in Desert Solitaire, “and without courage all other virtues are useless.” And whatever emotions inspired by the fascist death cult majority of Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Coney-Barrett, it surely does not exude joy — spite, maybe, at best from its fans. These assholes are bought and paid for to do a particular job that, while not advertised as such, is clearly understood both by them and those from where their favors come.

Yes, “late stage” capitalism, whatever that is, is a drag. But that’s only because regulated capitalism itself is a system that best responds to human nature. If human civilization were really capable of self-discipline, why would we even need anyone to dream up ideologies like communism and libertarianism to begin with? Deregulated capitalism is not a stage that economic systems naturally go through on the way to some other ordered stage. It is entirely contrived and takes deliberate effort to make it happen. It is not an organic natural system. Take some responsibility, people!

Human beings, it seems, have always worked pretty hard for an easy buck. As technology advances, it seems reasonable to expect that we could rip off other people’s petty fortunes to a wider scope and with less time and effort. So, the ethical difference is mostly just a matter of degree. Which is cold comfort, indeed.

We each can control only what we can control. When we pool our efforts toward the greater good, it seems, albeit temporarily, that we wind up in better shape than if we hadn’t. Where have we seen that before…?

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…, promote the general welfare…, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Barry Dredze

Just another mortal, tweaking my cognitive map on the fly.