From the looks of it, our age, to many, on both the left and right, is one with a standard of living that has been raised too high to neglect appreciation, with liberties that have multiplied and engendered an equally greater rise in happiness. Neither claim is true. But the interesting thing is why people believe these things and how they continue to believe them.
The sustenance of an illusion is not democratic. To be sure, our current illusion — that everything is more than alright, but better than ever — does depend on the majority of people ultimately buying that idea and living accordingly. This illusion does require that people wake up every day and truly believe things are good. Indeed some may believe that because they are simple people, and by virtue of being simple, they are virtuous. They are humble, kind, patient, and hopeful about the present moment.
But there are also those that sincerely believe that good things are here to stay and many more will come. Of particular delusion is the capitalist and the people convinced capitalism has offered humanity irreplaceable improvements that no one could possibly deny the benefits of these things. There are some good things that capitalism has helped bring into the world. But there is a whole nother side of capitalism that it’s defenders usually ignore or remain ambivalent about. The harshness of a capitalist society leaves at bay all the other parts of being a human that make human existence more than mere survival. The nature of life as competition, between businesses and employers for hire, is one of the saddest. Competition is for sport, not livelihood. Yet, some of the most moral people have nothing to say about all of the immorality created by a society in which people have to be desperate for pay and sell themselves on a daily basis in some cases, and at least for an interview in others. A person can have no moral principles in the capitalist society. None by which they truly live.
Feminism has also offered it’s own false ideas that stand not up to the scrutiny of common sense. As a movement, it has tried time and again to emphasize the simple notion that all it is seeking to do is to help woman’s status in society, and move society towards respecting her more or more fully. And yet, I can find nothing more disrespectful to woman than the current way men try impersonating models (an enemy of some lost impulse within the feminist’s mind), the female form exploited as a selling point by Hollywood, clothing companies, and pornographers. How much higher than this low ideal of a woman who has sex whenever she wants with whoever she wants, and earns as much money as she needs to feel free to oink like men have had to do when we impersonate capitalist pigs. The illusion is that all of this is what women want and how they truly desire to live.
There are more to add, which, if you were uncertain of such a fact, will become clearer as we look at why these illusions are kept alive. The truth is, as I’ve said before, the average American, even most Americans as a body of people interacting with the political sphere, are more or less powerless. Certain ideas sell better than others, and the woman as housewife cannot sell as well as the woman as a walking purse on the prowl for freedom and goods to consume. The idea that people shouldn’t work for a boss they’ll never see, contributing to ends they’ve never agreed to except insofar as those ends assure him/her a steady paycheck, doesn’t sell as well as the idea that if you continue working hard to others rich, you can, bit by bit, buy more of the things you believe will help you enjoy life.
There is no way that an illusion like the one we have before us could last so long and with such vigor unless it was being sold to us. And there is no reason for it to be sold to us unless it kept us dependent on those selling it.