My liberal arts education is completed and I'm starting up my martial education. I ran across something by Chap, which suddenly reminded me of how difficult that liberal arts education was for me as a young black man. What occasioned this was thinking about how I came to read 'A People's History of the United States' and what it meant to me at the time. But I'd rather sum it up this way:
The most important thing to know, if you are young and black, is that there is a powerful and influential cadre of people who believe without question that they know what's best for you. 90% of them are Leftists.
It's difficult for me to explain how hard it is to measure the boundaries of an intellectual prison. It is very much like the paradoxical lesson offered to Neo by Morpheus in The Matrix. Except that there is no Morpheus and you only have your own dreams. In order to survive, you come to distrust your instincts. You fight against yourself and keep fantastic hopes alive. You keep searching for knowledge and everybody you know points you into the same corners; you become impatient with all of the sameness. I did.
I had one extraordinary gift that helped me to escape. It was that I never had any shame, and nothing but pride in my own black and family identity. Everything really followed from that fact. I couldn't be shamed into learning something 'about myself' that I didn't already know. I assessed my situation and all I could say that I needed was money. For most of my life, that has been true - all I need is money. But I've also pushed to do something greater which is why I make a point to get out of Zinn, and that's something of the point too.
I want to leverage my work into a pile of money which is tall enough to make my family aristocratic.
This may not happen, but it is one of the reasons family is important to me. I judge myself according to how much I can produce for them and make their lives a measure sillier and more profound than my own. Sillier in that they won't have to work as hard, more profound in that they won't have to work as hard. See? If I become rich, there will be a class of predations they will be free of, mostly of their time, and then they can either choose to do something obscenely focused or something completely airy. If they only bother to follow the markets, the money will last.
If I didn't care about creating enough wealth to pass on, and if I didn't see the value of elevating my family, then I certainly wouldn't work as hard and smart as I do. I could be a happy peasant - because I have certainly surpassed the street level dosh point. Who was the racist who said that all black people wanted was a warm place to sleep and a comfortable pair of shoes? Something like that. Yeah. Call it the Earl Butz Dosh Point. Because if you're a peasant and you work hard for the simple life, every inconvenience to to isn't about pushing a boulder up a hill, but just maintaining yourself. Then you need a big brother, a good government, a leg up. When I fail in my arduous task at the level of effort I have set for myself, I become average and that to me is unacceptable. If your level of effort is to be average, then any kind of failure is equally unacceptable but you don't blame yourself, you blame the system.
In walks Howard Zinn to explain why the system has been failing the average Joe throughout the history of America. Easy job for a go-to commie. And so he has become famous. And of course communism is all about providing a good life for the masses of average people who have no intentions (and ultimately no possibilities) of making a pile of money tall enough to make their families aristocratic.