Essay on The listserve

Submitted By nopmop
Words: 608
Pages: 3

My name is Scott Helvick, and I want to destroy the world.

... and rebuild it.

Forgive the hyperbole. You see, I've found that people are more likely to pay attention when you shock them a bit. I can't tell you how many times I've had this conversation:

Me: "I want to change the world."
Random Acquaintance: "Oh, that's great! I work with this organization that supports rights for the oppressed people of Fuckedupistan. We're having a rally on Saturday -- you should come!"
Me: "Oof, sounds great, but unfortunately, that's the same day as my rally to support rights for the oppressed people of Evenmorefuckedupistan."
RA: "Oh... well, that's okay. You can just sign this petition and we'll put you on our mailing list!"
Me: "Sure, but you have to promise not to actually send me any mail. I get 78,426 messages a day, and I can't miss out on those penis enlargement opportunities."

Yeah, yeah, I know. Hyperbole. Fortunately, this *exact* conversation hasn't happened, but you get the idea. We all have a finite amount of time and energy, and I believe we have a responsibility to use it in a way that will create the greatest positive impact. For me, that impact doesn't result from attending a rally or signing a petition.

When I say that I want to change the world, I mean it. I'm not talking about saving the whales, or fighting childhood obesity, or protecting workers' rights. Those are simply causes -- important ones, no doubt -- but in the end they're just small pieces of a larger puzzle. I prefer to look at that puzzle holistically.

A premise: Western-style capitalistic society, as it exists in 2013, is directly or indirectly responsible for a significant proportion of humanity's ills.

If you disagree with my premise, or are just waiting to be convinced, I would be happy to have that discussion with you -- just not right now. (And not with 20,000 of you. Oy vey, what am I getting myself into!?) This assumption can't be easily proven in one 600-word e-mail.

If you do agree with my premise, however, then I have a request for you.

It is my belief that capitalism cannot be cleanly "extracted" from human societies without leaving those societies in a (temporary) state of…