I grew up under the mistaken impression that saving the world was old fashioned, something left over from the beginning of the century like high button shoes. The first cartoon I ever saw was Crusader Rabbit and I vaguely understood the sarcasm in the name. I thought officiousness was the province of old women, still fuming over the repeal of prohibition. But as I grew up, I discovered that Crusader Rabbit was no figure of fun. I learned that my country was the worldís leading producer of GOOD CAUSES.
Television, radio and the press compete with each other in starting social and political movements. The government and higher education respond with new laws, new courses, and new philosophies. When a fresh crusade begins, the old ones are not abandoned. The crusader is like that man who keeps ten plates spinning on ten sticks at one time. As he starts a plate, he returns to the old ones to give them a little more spin.
America is fighting so many wars that a real war would almost be a relief. Propaganda is the main weapon; and itís curious that the government, with all its police and prisons, must advertise its laws. In the 60s, I was told that sexual repression would ruin my mental health. In the 80s I was warned that lack of sexual control would ruin my physical health. Why is everyone so solicitous of me? Iím shell shocked by the advertising war on drugs. Everyone cautions me to eschew cigarettes. I must daily cleanse myself of racismís guilty stain. Iím expected to thank my consumer advocate for criminalizing products that I might be stupid enough to purchase. Rampant fundamentalism is threatening to my rights. Or godless secular humanism is returning civilization to barbarism. I ought to save a whale. My life-style is called into question at every turn. I should raise my consciousness up from the sewer of sexism. How about the homeless? Must I be the voice for the animals, to cry out against their exploitation? What about hunger? And the children, the children, letís not forget the children. But first, we must save the planet.
I would complain with Stirner that ĒOnly my cause is never to be my concern;Ē but the talk shows all instruct me to love myself. I believe that California now has a properly funded Department of Self Esteem.