This Might Sound A Little Pious, But…
In a recent conversation I had over beer cans in the park, an Australian friend of mine remarked how “there are no good causes left anymore” – an apathy that was backed up a few days later by what another Australian friend of mine claimed was his motto for life – “if it’s not fun, then it’s not worth doing”.
To the first remark, I replied in such a feeble way that I have been unable to escape the shame ever since – “Well, I’m pro-Pussy Riot.” I muttered since that was apparently the best example of a “good cause” I could come up with on short notice. Retrospectively I can see in my answer that the remark stirred up instinctive disapproval, and I should be glad for that at least, but it’s a pity the cerebrum couldn’t more quickly kick in with the sort of scathing reply the initial remark deserved.
To the second one, I gave no reply. Of course, what good would life be if it were not in some way “fun”? But then our privileged and thrill-seeking ways were only won through the tired and bloody sacrifices of others. I dare say that soldiers managed somehow with their songs of comradeship and nostalgia to eek out a morsel of fun in the trenches, but I bet not one of them would have called the experience “fun”. Their cause certainly was worth it, though – and it was this alone that stopped them from slicing their necks with their own bayonets.
Yet in our couch-ridden, facebook-drooling, First World comforts we fail to identify the good causes that are still being fought and died for in the world, dismissing them as “boring” and therefore “worthless” or opposing them mistakenly as part of a fashionable “anti-establishment” or “skepticism”. They do exist, however, and I have taken care to list some below, lest I ever neglect them again. You may add more if you please:
– Challenging racist nationalism and homophobia whenever encountered
– Bringing religious freedom to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and so on (as well as “building up that wall” (between church and state) in our own countries as was requested to Thomas Jefferson)
– Convicting war criminals at home and abroad – Henry Kissinger, Charles Taylor e.t.c.
– Scrutinising the motives of corporations at all times
– Helping the large liberal-minded young population of Iran to topple their theocracy
– Releasing North Koreans from their starvation and slavery (somehow)
– Protecting freedom of speech (especially for those whose views we find revolting)
I said it was pious…