Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Back in the day when I was just some crazy, radical hippie kid in Lawrence, Kansas and the Oread Daily was nothing more than a mimeographed sheet a few of us wrote and passed out by hand we used to call them "Limousine Liberals." They were those snobby types who "cared so" but did little. They chided everyone who wasn't of their ilk as they went about their happy lives free of fear, free of want, free to be.

They didn't work in plants, they didn't farm the fields,they didn't wait tables, they didn't go to jail, they didn't go off to Vietnam. They just smiled.

They didn't grow their hair long, grow pot, go braless, drink out of bottles, fight with cops over things that mattered. They went to dinners.

They looked down on most everyone but themselves.

They sure as hell looked down on us "dirty hippie commie types" because we didn't have taste or manners, we didn't dress for success, we weren't "adults," didn't defer to them, and we were just plain nasty.

They looked down on the "regular folk", because they wore coveralls out in public, because they had grease on their hands, because they hadn't read the latest issue of the New Yorker, because they voted the wrong way and spoke the wrong way and didn't eat right to boot. Most of all they looked down on these people because they just didn't understand what these liberals knew was best for them.

Yup, they looked down from on high on all of us youthful crazies and right wing townies, beer drinking, pot smoking yokels locked in some sort of political scrum in the dust of River City.

None of us (yippies, hippies, revolutionary wackos, or those on the other team, on the right side of the infield so to speak) really gave a hoot about what these liberal professors and lawyers and well dressed, well mannered, well respected men and women about town thought of us though. We knew who they really were after all.

Those Limousine Larrys got on my nerves.

Apparently they get on the nerves of an East Texas woman by the name of Pam whose "letter to Joe" you can read below.

The following is from Joe Bagent's Website "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War."

Hard times aren't coming, they're here

Good Afternoon Joe,

You can count me as a new reader. I found you down a trail of links. You write eloquently about what I call the spiritual blight in the good old USA.

I lived for years in and around Austin, Texas and I've had a belly full of arch "liberals" who look down there nose at anyone who doesn't get their organic free trade coffee beans from Whole Foods Market. (Driving there in their SUVs with a Save the Whales bumper sticker, no doubt). In other words people who think they are "liberal" because of what they CONSUME, and don't begin to understand how elitist and offensive they really are.

Back here on planet earth (deep east Texas now) you get what they sell at Wal-Mart or Brookshire Bros. because those are the only grocery stores in town. Of course you also have what you can grow, raise, or catch. East Texas may not be Belize, but it's a lot closer to the Third World than it is to Wall Street.

Meanwhile the "I want it all and I want it now" mentality seems to be winding down as (lo and behold) you cannot as an individual or a country consume more than you produce (or the planet can sustain) in perpetuity. Having ransomed our future and the future of our children's children on the backs of the rest of humanity we find we cannot even pay the interest on the debt. Economic hard times aren't coming, they are here. It only remains to be seen as to how bad and how long.

I'm wondering how welcome those "rich Americans" are going to be in places like Belize if the dollar really does tank and we drag the rest of the world into a depression with us? My guess is "Not very."

Of course, if you are a regular working person who sees disaster coming, there isn't much you can do but try to find a bolt hole and figure out how many feet of beans you need to plant if the stuff stops showing up at Wal-Mart. A lot of smart people say capital and exchange controls are coming which means you might get out but whatever money you have won't. Of course, if you are uber rich, you have some kind of Panamanian blind trust set up and you already have you dollars stashed elsewhere. (Oh yeah, the Bush family just bought a big ranch in Paraguay.)

I think you are right and the world is in the process of being profoundly reshaped. There are frightening prospects and dire predictions aplenty, but I very much fear that "Totoville" may indeed be the end result and the ONLY real freedom that may be left is thought, but certainly not action or speech.

Certainly, I am not hopeful. I see my fellow Americans stunned that the mass delusion of prosperity they bought into with home equity loans and credit cards is being revealed as folly, while the bankers pocket their bonuses and look for new sheep to fleece. Very few seem to get the underlying fallacy that fueled their egocentricity and feeling of "entitlement." You just cannot buy contentment and happiness. If you spend your life working a job that offers no fulfillment to pay someone else to do everything meaningfull in your life and buy your "entertainment" is it any wonder that you feel out of touch with everything? (I would be happy if only I had fill in the blank.) It's like the ultimate outsourcing and a bottomless pit, because things just don't make you happy no matter what the marketing gurus want you to think.

I've been fortunate to have those moments in my life that I think would be called moments of enlightenment -- those moments when you feel totally engaged and alive with a sense of awe. (Crossing the desert southwest in the middle of the night when some DJ out in Bumfuck, Arizona, decided to play a commercial free Rolling Stones retrospective comes to mind. Windows down, full moon on the saguaro, and Mick howling at his young and angry best.)

But you are correct, those moments come with the luxury of great freedom and the time to THINK, and I traded a lot of comfort and "security" for that freedom. But then I never was a "material girl", my biggest weakness is for tools and the skills to use them. Right now my weaknesses are dairy goats, chickens, and open pollinating non-hybrid garden seeds. Speaking of which it is time for me to go and get my hands dirty.


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