The Significance of A Counter-Culture
I am a born and raised member of the social class or group of people often simply treated as the “other” in our advanced society; one of those people that are often grouped together with absolutely no commonality except their opposition to the dominant culture of this Western European society. For example, as a “Chicano” (read: blood thirsty, human-heart sacrificing, mestizo savage, drug dealing gang member), I stand side-by-side with Moslems and Gypsies to name but two of many culturally inferior groups of people with worldviews that are lumped together under their catch-all classification as “other”.
In this context, I may not have a clue what it means to be a “Moslem” or a “Gypsy” but I know exactly how they feel being invisible in terms of human worth or value in the eyes of Western European societies. I know how they feel about being totally disrespected for their own worldviews and how they have been forced to live by the standards of what is believed to be right in the eyes of Western European society. Most importantly, I know what it feels like to have your land and all of its natural wealth seized through militaristic dominance and ideological self-righteousness used by the dominant culture to cloak its own ugliness. The people they have slaughtered, women they have raped, children they have murdered, mean nothing when it is done in the name of the dollar, the gun and the holy war, Amen. While I do not condone the acts of terrorist suicide bombers and I am an American Veteran that would defend my equally duped bothers and sisters in combat (right or wrong), I can very easily empathize and imagine how they must feel to prefer death over life under conditions of cultural and ideological domination.
As an intelligent man, I realize that my position requires an advanced knowledge base and many years of study that has managed to remain free of cultural assimilation, not to mention a willingness to suffer the wrath and disdain of even my own family members, however, I cannot and will not pretend that I do not see the ugliness that is at the heart of my own society. For example, none of the social contract theorists we considered bothered to take an approach to developing their understanding of the social contract that includes or incorporates the existence of individuals with differing worldviews.
We live in a degenerate society. Can any fair minded American take pride in what this country did to the Native American Indians, or the way the land of the Mexicans was taken over, the enslavement of the Negro and prolonged oppression of these various groups of people in the name of assimilation? For a country that professes equality, is the second class status of women justified? Did the spread of world-wide Western European colonialism ever take into consideration the worldview of a colonized people?
We can even completely ignore the significance of the “other” and concentrate on the American ethic in and of itself and still find evidence of why our society is degenerate. Consider the dog eat dog rat race of the business world. Stated simply, it is not pretty, nor is it for the faint of heart, it will surely require the most successful among us to alienate themselves from their families and loved ones to the point of being totally dysfunctional. The activities engaged in by the wealthy leading up to our current economic crisis are perfect examples of what I’m talking about.
[Sidebar]: Since I know and love my people, because, as a bilingual-bicultural Chicano, they are, after all, still very much my people, let me say a few things to shut the cry babies up, something that they, out of ignorance or blind hatred, are at this very moment telling me what I can do with myself and with my life if I don’t like being an American. First of all, I believe that the United States is one of the greatest if not the greatest country in the world, skin heads, red necks and gang bangers notwithstanding. I also believe that I am perhaps in the best country to be able to face and overcome historical injustice. It takes a strong character to face your own shortcomings and the fact that I believe that things must change is not based on a hatred of the country but a love of the country that is not unlike the love we feel for a family member that has taken the wrong path in life and needs our support and encouragement to right themselves.
In the same way that a beautiful flower can grow in a field filled with mud and shit and dirt, so too has the American landscape been able to produce much beauty among the ugly remains of the modernist programmatic and the self-righteous deeds of those that have intentionally dominated and oppressed others in an effort to maintain their own status of privilege, power and wealth. As an equal part of the legacy of this country, such behavior can never be denied.