Just Another Deluded Hippie
Holy Smokes! What I'm I doing blogging? The wonderful thing about blogs is with a billion pages on the Internet, surely I can't do much harm. Something that motivates my blogging is the notion that something good can come from people in rich countries engaging people in the developing world. Global Voices asks: "The world is talking. Are you listening? That to me seems a very good question, and yet I recognize that lots of very nice people couldn't care less. A part of me wonders why I don't just shut up and listen. The answer seems to be it's easier to listen when I'm part of the conversation. And blogging is a little like hearing myself on tape, somewhat painful.
Through this post at Africa Unchained I came across some discussion about aid to Africa. Emeka Okafor highlights an article by Thomas Sowell this past July during the G8 summit. With regular posts at Timbuktu Chronicles and Africa Unchained Okafar is able to link to his own posts. His writing in those blogs is centered on Africa, still my empression is that Okafor isn't as conventionally politically conservative as Sowell. So Okafor didn't highlight this from Sowell's piece, while I suspect he hardly disagrees:
Today, too many people in the West continue to see Africa as an outlet for the visions and policies of the left that have failed in the West and are even more certain to fail in Africa.In some ways blogs make it quite possible to read only the what confirms one's own biases. But it doesn't seem so easy to do really, so reading contrary views on politics is something most peopleeventually end up doing when reading blogs.
Emeka Okafor's piece on Sowell links to this post at Enviropundit and from there are several more links on the theme of the corrupting aspect of aid to Africa. John from Therapy Sessions writes in the comments:
I underestimated your blog when I first saw it...I thought: just another deluded hippie.Okay, I know that's just a throw away line, but still it struck a chord. From Feral Scholar I'd spent a little while yesterday visiting one of David Horowitz's Web sites, and well been reading some rightist pages lately. So I don't mean to pick on John at Therapy Sessions, because actually reading through some posts, he's clearly doing some good thinking and interesting writing. But in reading a little there and a little at his wife's blog, Flightless Hag, it struck me that we might just talk past each other.
I'll not run from the label "old hippie," but from my perspective it's not like deluded hippies are a dime a dozen these days. At Tribe I've discovered that "hippie" is a pretty derogatory term among the youngish set. Being of a certain age I harbor none of that negativity. "All we need is love," man. So that's something that contributes to my poor communications sometimes. Another is that I react poorly to threats of violence and fantasies of violence. Maybe it's more complicated than my "old hippie" status, but I'm sure that's connected. Today's go-getters punctuate their rhethoric with violence. James Wolcott takes note in a recent post. Wolcott has a sharp wit, and perhaps it splitting hairs in noting that his insults never involve throat slitting and slow-roasting torture so popular on rightist blogs and Web sites.
I'm not sure what to do really. Something that seems clear to me is that I shouldn't just avoid discussions with that style of rhetoric comes up. I'm surprised that quite thoughtful people enjoy the fray. A very learned nephew several years back shocked me by saying that the TV show Cops was a favorite of his. O'Reilly's and Limbaugh's audiences aren't just knuckleheads--dittoheads? The really difficult thing is to discover something very much like my own revulsion is felt about me.
Ah, so the older I get the more I sound like my parents, and the more I spout cliches. It is helpful for me to remember: "You can't judge a book by its cover." Still a deluded hippie after all these years. I won't be talking of slitting throats, but I won't be running away in horror either.