neshomeh: (Default)
[personal profile] neshomeh
Pausing briefly in my volunteer cataloguing work to put something interesting in a place I won't forget about it. This is sort of a poem in three parts:


Not a Liberal

They say that I am a radical.
If I am a radical
then I am not a liberal.
The future will be different
if we make the present different
But to make the present different
one must give up old tricks
and start to play new tricks.
But to give up old tricks
and start to play new tricks
one must be a fanatic.
Liberals are so liberal about everything
that they refuse to be fanatical about anything.
And not being able to be fanatical about anything,
liberals cannot be liberators.
They can only be liberals.
Liberals refuse to be
religious, philosophical or economic fanatics
and consent to be
the worst kind of fanatics,
liberal fanatics.

Not a Conservative

If I am a radical,
then I am not a conservative.
Conservatives try to believe
that things are good enough
to be let alone.
But things are not good enough
to be let alone.
Conservatives try to believe
that the world is getting better
every day in every way.
But the world is not getting better
every day in every way.
The world is getting worse
every day in every way
because the world is upside down.
When conservatives and radicals
will come to an understanding
they will take the upside down
and they will put it right side up.

A Radical Change

The order of the day
is to talk about the social order.
Conservatives would like
to keep it from changing
but they don't know how.
Liberals try to patch it
and call it a New Deal.
Socialists want a change
but a gradual change.
Communists want a change,
an immediate change,
but a Socialist change.
Communists in Russia
do not build Communism,
they build Socialism.
Communists want to pass
from capitalism to Socialism
and from Socialism to Communism.
I want a change
and a radical change.
I want a change
from an acquisitive society
to a functional society,
from a society of go-getters
to a society of go-givers.

-- Peter Maurin, qtd. in Catholics, Politics, and Public Policy by Clarke E. Cochran and David Carroll Cochran

I wouldn't call myself a radical, but I think the poem contains ideas worth thinking about.
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