Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Meaning of Life, Part 29

Our problem is civil obedience.

Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war.

Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country.

That's our problem.

We recognize this for Nazi Germany. We know that the problem there was obedience, that the people obeyed Hitler. People obeyed; that was wrong.

They should have challenged, and they should have resisted; and if we were only there, we would have showed them.

Even in Stalin's Russia we can understand that; people are obedient, all these herdlike people.

Howard Zinn, The Problem is Civil Obedience, 1970


  1. I love Howard Zinn, and even have a fun story, but that's not the point.

    But i'll tell it anyway, even though i wasn't there. Apparently Chomsky was delivering a speech about US policy and Cuba, and he made some comment about the Cubans attempting to cross "shark-infested waters" to get to the keys and migrate here.

    Well, the story goes, Zinn, who was obviously in attendance, approached Chomsky afterward, and basically read him the riot act: he pointed out that far more sharks get slaughtered by humans than the other way around.


    I'm hear to ask Mr. Shuck two questions, and make a couple of suggestions:

    How do i find out about progressive churches like yours in my area (Northern Arizona)?

    Have you heard of the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn?

    And i wonder what you think of this:

    The suggestions:

    Read ishmael, read ishmael, read ishmael!


  2. ps: i hope none of that was too presumptuous.