You didn’t mean to do it
So I don’t have to believe it
If you didn’t really mean it
Then magical thinking gets us by.
-Vanessa Carlton, Fairweather Friend
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? You, the ideal I once trusted, now my greatest foe. Perhaps you may be oblivious as to why I now hold this bitter grudge against you. Well, let me explain.
At first, you seemed logical enough. It was an intuitive causality: actions have consequences. I once too believed that the poor were such because of laziness, that unwanted pregnancy was due to women acting slutty, that victims created their own problems. But that was back in junior high. As time passed by, my understanding of the world broadened, and with it came questions. I started to listen more closely to people’s stories, and your explanation didn’t add up. Why is it that those who work so hard in menial jobs tend to be the ones who most struggle to make ends meet? Why is it that women who avoid “provocative” clothing still get raped? And how can you speak for them when you yourself were never exposed to their reality?
You had no answer. At least none that were satisfying. Instead, you trotted out the same elementary causality argument as always, as if you never heard the voices of the underprivileged. When I demanded you to then explain those voices, you were evasive, every time retreating back to that same tired old point. It was then that I realized: your argument was little more than an excuse. You didn’t want your precious little reality disturbed, no matter how artificial, so you put the onus on those suffering so you wouldn’t have to deal with their problem mentally or in action. Perhaps I’m wrong. I would like a more satisfying explanation for your behaviour, as I’m always an adherent of Hanlon’s Razor, but your obstinate attitude makes stupidity seem inadequate a motive.
But this is a more general sense. But what about me? Well, that’s a good question, as the nature of this vendetta is quite personal indeed. For one example, you constantly tell everyone that there is only one family that works: the nuclear family. Father being the breadwinner, mother being the homemaker, and obedient little kiddies makes for the perfect recipe. Well guess what? I lived in that family, and we were still dysfunctional and psychologically fucked up. It’s nice to know you value your myth more than my reality and that it trumps true familial love in any other form.
That was but one betrayal. This other one comes down to a label: The Entitled Generation. I’ve written about this before, so let’s get to the point. I did what you expected, worked hard, and followed the well-worn path to a university degree. But because I expected a meaningful job out of it (which you TOLD ME that would result in), I was entitled. Like a stab in the back that awful word was. Because I wanted to be treated like an autonomous human being and not just a cog in the employer’s machine, I was self-centred. It was then that I realized the nature of your friendship only applied given the condition of total obedience. The moment anyone’s life went south or they questioned their lot in life, well tough shit for them.
Well, if you want me to be your enemy, then be your enemy I will. If I had any doubts that I would instead turn to socialism before, there are none now. For all its faults, it at least tries to care. You on the other hand are more interested in preserving your bubble rather than helping anyone outside it. Tell me, who is really entitled then?
I used to believe in obedience. I became so self-hating whenever I would fall out of line, wondering why I couldn’t be the perfect kid others deserved. But now, I’ve found a true friend: autonomy. The one thing that separates me from being a mere machine. The thing that values my self-respect. The thing that gives me purpose in my life. You only presented an illusory one. Once shattered, I could believe in it no longer.
And yet, part of me still wants to believe. Somewhere, there are people for which “conservative” and “caring” can be put in the same sentence. But for the time being, I can’t see it. Too many people follow your twisted perspective of the world that it obscures my view of the good ones.