In addition to tattooed racists ripping off Cookie Monster’s singing style, academics, journalists, and politicians seem particularly obsessed with hating apathy.
Professors who vandalized, bombed, and shut down educational institutions as students in the 1960s long lamented the apathy of successive waves of students, as if the former activism is preferable to the later condition. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein offers “14 reasons why this is the worst Congress ever.” Number one on the list? “They’re not passing laws. Let’s start with the simplest measure of congressional productivity: the number of public bills passed into law per Congress.” Klein points out that the 112th Congress has passed fewer bills than its postwar predecessors. This is a bad thing? Government apparatchiks, perhaps guilty over their adverse impact on citizens fulfilling the most basic duties, have pushed to make voting-booth apathy illegal. “Jury duty is mandatory,” William Galston wrote in the New York Times, “why not voting?” Former Obama administration budget director Peter Orszag recently argued that compulsory voting would “make our democracy work better, in the sense of being more reflective of the population at large.” But why would enlarging an electorate to include people with so little interest in politics that they don’t even vote improve the body politic?
Everyone has their own idea on how to “end apathy.” Most of them aren’t very enlightened and would benefit from heightened apathy about the apathetic.
The important part of doing something isn’t the “doing” but the “something.” Is that vague verbal placeholder a variable for helpful or harmful action? Should it be the latter, the honorable tradition of obstruction thereby earns its honors by—what else?—obstructing. Deliberative restraint, not headless-chicken frenetic energy, generally leads to positive change.
The greatest word in the English language—no—is the most hated word amongst “end apathy” enthusiasts. Don’t let its brevity fool you. Never have two letters said so much. That beautiful “n” word needs to be spoken more to those who use the ugly “n” word. As multiplication instructs, a negative confronting a negative makes a positive. Political science doesn’t quite get this.
Wade Page energetically evangelized white supremacy through music and the Internet. His lethargy extended to employment, relationships, family, debts, neighbors, and health. Not having a life leads to designs of taking over—or simply taking—the lives of others.
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