We Are All Prophets Now: Responsibilities and Risks in the Prophetic Voice

Sermon delivered August 5, 2007, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

It may be the fate of humans always to believe that we live at the most important time in history, that our moment is the decisive moment. But even factoring in this tendency toward collective self-centeredness, it is difficult to ignore that today we face multiple crises — economic, political, cultural, and, most crucially, ecological — which have the potential to make ongoing life on the scale we know it impossible. Predictions about the specifics of the trajectory are beyond our capabilities, but we can know — if we choose to know — that we must solve problems for which there are no apparent solutions and face “questions that go beyond the available answers,” to borrow Wes Jackson’s phrase.Wes Jackson, “Toward an Ignorance-Based Worldview,” The Land Report, Spring 2005, pp. 14-16. These threats have been building for the past 10,000 years, intensifying in the past two centuries to levels that only the foolhardy would ignore. The bills for the two most destructive revolutions in human history — the agricultural and industrial revolutions — are coming due, sooner than we think.For more on this, see my 2003 interview with Wes Jackson.

Never before in this world have we had such a need for strong, principled, charismatic leadership. In the United States, where such leadership is most desperately needed at this crucial moment, we can look around the national scene — whether in politics, business, religion, or intellectual life — and see that no one is up to the task.

Thank goodness for that.

It would be seductive, as we stand at the edge of these cascading crises, to look for leaders. But where would they lead us? How would they answer the unanswerable questions and solve the unsolvable problems? Better to recognize that we are at a moment when leaders cannot help us, because we need to go deeper than leadership can take us. Perhaps there are no inspiring figures on the scene because authentic leaders know that we are heading into new territory for which old models of movements and politics are insufficient, and rather than trying to claim a place at the front of the parade they are struggling to understand the direction we should be moving, just like the rest of us.

So, let us stop looing for leaders, stop praying for prophets. Instead, let us recognize that we all must strive to be prophets now. We are all prophets now. It is time for each of us to take responsibility for spea king in the prophetic voice.

I don’t mean this in the shallow sense of the term prophecy, claiming to be able to see the future. The complexity of these crises makes any claims to predict the details of what lies ahead utterly absurd. All we can say is that, absent a radical change in our relationship to each other and the non-human world immediately, we’re in for a rough ride in the coming decades. Though I think the consequences of that ride are likely to be more overwhelming than ever before, certainly people at other crucial times in history have understood that they had to face crises without definitive understanding or clear paths. The barriers to that understanding are not only in the world but in ourselves, and facing our collective failures is most important. A 25-year-old Karl Marx wrote about this in 1843:

The internal difficulties seem to be almost greater than the external obstacles. For although no doubt exists on the question of “Whence,” all the greater confusion prevails on the question of “Whither.” Not only has a state of general anarchy set in among the reformers, but everyone will have to admit to himself that he has no exact idea what the future ought to be. On the other hand, it is precisely the advantage of the new trend that we do not dogmatically anticipate the world, but only want to find the new world through criticism of the old one. Hitherto philosophers have had the solution of all riddles lying in their writing-desks, and the stupid, exoteric world had only to open its mouth for the roast pigeons of absolute knowledge to fly into it.Karl Marx, letter to Arnold Ruge, September 1843.

We should instead understand the prophetic as the calling out of injustice, the willingness to confront not only the abuses of the powerful but our own complicity. To speak prophetically requires us first to see honestly — both how our world is structured by illegitimate authority that causes suffering beyond the telling, and how we who live in the privileged parts of the world are implicated in that suffering. In that same letter, Marx went on to discuss the need for this kind of “ruthless criticism”:

But, if constructing the future and settling everything for all times are not our affair, it is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.

To speak prophetically is to refuse to shrink from what we discover about the injustice of the world. It is to name the wars of empire as unjust; to name an economic system that leaves half the world in abject poverty as unjust; to name the dominance of men, of heterosexuals, of white people as unjust. And it is to name the human destruction of Creation as the most profound human crime in our time on this planet. At the same time, to speak prophetically is to refuse to shrink from our own place in these systems. We must confront the powers that be, and ourselves.

The Basics of the Prophetic

What can we say about this task of speaking in the prophetic voice? The prophets of the Old Testament offer some guidance.

First, let us remember that the prophets did not see themselves as having special status, but rather were ordinary people. When the king ’s priest confronted Amos for naming the injustice of his day, Amazi’ah called Amos a “seer” and commanded him to pack his bags and head to Judah and “never again prophesy at Bethel , for it is the king ’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” Amos rejected the label:

[14] Then Amos answered Amazi’ah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees,

[15] and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” [Amos 7:14-15]

Nor did the prophets seek out their calling. Jeremiah told God he did not know how to speak, claiming to be only a youth. God didn’t buy the excuse:

[7] But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you you shall go,
and whatever I command you you shall speak.

[8] Be not afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”

[9] Then the LORD put forth his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.

[10] See, I have set you this day over nations and over king doms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
[Jer. 1:7-10]

Nor was it typically much fun to fill the role of a prophet. On this, Jeremiah was blunt:

[9] Concerning the prophets:
My heart is broken within me,
all my bones shake;
I am like a drunken man,
like a man overcome by wine,
because of the LORD
and because of his holy words.
[Jer. 23:9]

And, finally, the Old Testament reminds us that to speak prophetically involves more than just articulating abstract principles which are relatively easy to proclaim. For example, these inspiring words from Micah are quoted often:

[8] He has showed you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
[Mic. 6:8]

That is an eloquent way to summarize our core obligations, but at that level of generality it is one that virtually all would endorse. Cite that verse and everyone will nod approvingly. But remember that Micah also was calling out the injustice around him, often in harsh terms:

[12] Your rich men are full of violence;
your inhabitants speak lies,
and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

[13] Therefore I have begun to smite you,
ma king you desolate because of your sins.

[14] You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
and there shall be hunger in your inward parts;
you shall put away, but not save,
and what you save I will give to the sword.

[15] You shall sow, but not reap;
you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
[Mic. 6:12-15]


[2] The godly man has perished from the earth,
and there is none upright among men;
they all lie in wait for blood,
and each hunts his brother with a net.

[3] Their hands are upon what is evil, to do it diligently;
the prince and the judge ask for a bribe,
and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul;
thus they weave it together.

[4] The best of them is like a brier,
the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
The day of their watchmen, of their punishment, has come;
now their confusion is at hand.
[Mic. 7:2-4]

To speak with such passion requires a clarity in our own hearts, minds, and souls. To speak with that clarity to others requires that we have first examined our own lives. When we call out others, they typically ask us — and rightfully so — whether we have asked the same questions of ourselves. When we have asked and answered for ourselves, then we can find the courage to speak in that prophetic voice, knowing that we have confronted those questions and are willing to struggle with our own failures.

Our task is not to shine the light on others, but to shine the light through ourselves onto that which is unjust in the world. When we have been honest with ourselves, that light gains intensity and focus as it passes through us. If we have turned away from a ruthless criticism of ourselves, that light will never reach the world and will illuminate nothing but our own limitations and fears.

Risk Assessment

That process is not easy, especially in a culture that offers those of us who are privileged a steady stream of rewards for suppressing these thoughts and not facing these struggles. It is easy to turn away from injustice and turn to supermarkets with endless shelves of food, to glasses overflowing with wine, to television’s stories that lull us to sleep on those nights when food and drink have not erased completely our troubling thoughts of the world.

It’s also not easy to speak prophetically because in unjust systems the people who carry out the system’s orders usually don’t seem to be bad people. The corporate CEO who throws workers out of their jobs to increase profits also is a great softball coach on the weekends. The colonel who orders cluster bombs dropped in civilian areas, ensuring that children will die for years to come, also is a caring parent. The real estate developer who destroys habitat to put up McMansions also keeps a lovely garden at home. And all of them, no doubt, contribute generously to their churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples. Many of us, in fact, do jobs that we know contribute to the unjust distribution of resources and the steady erosion of the planet’s ability to sustain life. I don’t exempt myself from this; I work at the University of Texas at Austin , where — no matter how much critical material I teach in my courses — I help legitimate an ideological factory system that certifies students to go off in the world and fire those workers, drop those bombs, and destroy that habitat.

So how are we to find the strength to speak in the prophetic voice? The answer is in the collective. Unless one is truly a saint, it is difficult to resist all the temptations and confront self and others without support. We think of prophets as lonely figures who have stepped out, or been cast out, of a society for spea king the truth bluntly. But even if an occasional idiosyncratic figure can speak from such a solitary place, most of us cannot endure that kind of isolation. So, we must speak prophetically together, not in unison or in lockstep — spea king prophetically means spea king from one’s own heart, which will mean our voices are always distinctive — but in solidarity.

But even when we are surrounded by those who share our concerns for the world and for each other, there are always risks if we are to take up this role. To claim the prophetic voice that is in each of us, we have to assess those risks so that we can deal with them sensibly. Here I want to borrow from an exercise developed by Allan G. Johnson.Johnson has written two widely used texts about power and privilege: The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005); and Privilege, Power, and Difference, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005). For more information, see here. At a conference for activists wor king on issues around racial justice, Johnson posed three questions about risk. My slightly modified version of his list is:

1. What are the risks you would have to take (or have taken) if you actively work for social justice in a way that is self-critical and challenges powerful institutions and people?

2. What are the risks if you don’t do that work?

3. If you take the risks in #1, in order to survive and thrive what do you need from:

* yourself

* others

* institutions and organizations (public and private)

When people with relatively high levels of privilege do not make a conscious attempt to assess accurately these things, we tend to overestimate the risks of acting and underestimate the risks of not acting. In other words, privilege makes it easy to avoid our responsibilities. So, it’s important for us to consider these questions carefully, not just for what we learn about ourselves but to help us in reaching out to others. We need support, and others need us to support them, to understand the risks they face. We need each other to encourage us to take risks.

The Prophetic Path to Love

We live in a society that appears to be awash in political talk and religious activity. But, in fact, we live in a deeply depoliticized society, full of political chatter on cable TV but lac king spaces in which we can have meaningful discussions about how to address problems that politicians often ignore. We live in a largely soulless culture in which megachurches flourish, but many of us search for something beyond doctrine and dogma to help us answer questions that preachers often ignore. We live in a world in which politics is too often little more than public spectacle and religion is too easily cordoned off as a private matter.

In such a society, we don’t need more politicians who avoid the pressing problems that have no apparent solutions. We don’t need more preachers afraid of the questions that go beyond the available answers. And we don’t need a prophet. We need prophets, ordinary people like us who are willing to tap into the prophetic voice that I believe is within us all.

To speak in that voice is not to claim exclusive insight or definitive knowledge; it is not to speak arrogantly. To speak in the prophetic voice is not to proclaim the truth self-righteously but to claim our rightful place in the collective struggle to understand the truth, which we do in order to deepen our capacity to love. This we should never forget: We seek the prophetic voice within us to allow us to love more fully, something that Paul understood. When we call out injustice, when we find the courage to speak truths in a fallen world, it can be easy to be consumed by our anger and our grief, to lose track of that love. I know this, painfully, from experience.

So, as we go forward to find the courage to speak prophetically, we should hold onto these words from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

[2] And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. [1Cor. 13: 2]

Let us seek knowledge. Pray that we stay strong in our faith in each other, that we help each other find the courage to speak prophetically. But, more than anything, let us remember to keep our hearts open so that we do not lose the capacity to love, always more. Let us leave here today ta king seriously — as if our lives depended on it — a question posed in song by one among us who regularly dares to speak in the prophetic voice, Michael Franti:

“Is your love enough, or can you love some more?”Michael Franti and Spearhead, “Is Love Enough?” from the 2006 CD Yell Fire! That question also runs throughout Franti’s video documenting his trip to Iraq, Palestine, and Israel, “I Know I’m Not Alone.”

Robert Jensen is Emeritus Professor in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin and a founding board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. He collaborates with the The Land Institute in Salina, KS. He is the author of several books, including The Restless and Relentless Mind of Wes Jackson: Searching for Sustainability (University Press of Kansas, 2021) and The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men (2017). He also hosts Podcast from the Prairie with Wes Jackson and is an associate producer of the forthcoming documentary film Prairie Prophecy: The Restless and Relentless Mind of Wes Jackson. Jensen can be reached at rjensen@austin.utexas.edu. To join an email list to receive articles by Jensen, go here. Follow him on Twitter: @jensenrobertw. Read other articles by Robert.

16 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Robert B. Livingston said on August 7th, 2007 at 10:19am #

    I have never been as disappointed with anyone quite as much as I am with Robert Jensen who writes and speaks so well, who understands so many important issues– especially problems with the media.

    For all he says and does, the cock crows again and again: “9/11,” “”9/11,” “”9/11.”

    Where is he?

    It is as if the world with all its sin compels him to rip his bodice and exclaim, self-righteously, and wrongly: “the prophetic voice is not to proclaim the truth….”

    Like Noam Chomsky, and others who mock “conspiracy theories”– if Left Gatekeepers do not exist it is only because people like Jensen do such an admirable job of keeping real truth “off the table.”

  2. Michael Kenny said on August 7th, 2007 at 1:50pm #

    What worries me about Mr Jensen’s homily is that it could have been delivered by George W. Bush without anyone being surprised or thinking that he had changed his ideas! The world has “a need for strong, principled, charismatic leadership”, he says. Then: “our (sic!) world is structured by illegitimate authority that causes suffering”. He wants to “shine the light through ourselves onto that which is unjust in the world”. Surely the whole problem is precisely Americans’ tendency to regard the world as “theirs”, to see themselves as “God’s anointed”, with a God-given right and duty to lead the world, whether we want American leadership or not, and to remake it in America’s image and likeness, whether we want it to be so remade, or indeed, to be remade at all. What Americans need to do is to withdraw from the world, not lead it off into a sunset ablaze with American glory!

    Another thing that shocked me was the word never uttered: Jesus. Mr Jensen is a Christian, Presbyterians are Christians, Christians are followers of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, a dissident Jewish holy man. Yet all we get is long quotes from the (extremely bloodthirsty!) Old Testament, a Jewish religious book, of which, as a dissident, Jesus, one assumes, did not particularly approve. A Christian who never quotes from the New Testament (Jesus’ “ideology”, if you will) is like a communist who never quotes Marx, or worse yet, one who quotes only Ludwig von Mies! All we get is a short quote from St. Paul on love. Not surprising, since there is not much love in the Old Testament. Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, as the song says!

    If this is what the American left comes up with, I don’t see any advantage over the American right! It’s just a question of who is to be pushed around and who is to be patted patronisingly on the head. And, of course, precisely what is to be rammed down the throats of an unwilling world. Our world.

  3. Adam said on August 8th, 2007 at 3:28am #

    I’m a fan of Roberts Jensen’s writing – especially his book “The Heart of Whiteness” and his overall writings on race, racism, and white privilege. However, I agree with Mr. Livingston above about the 9-11 issue. The evidence that the official story is phony is now abundant and unavoidable. In my opinion, the litmus test of any true “progressive” is their willingness to go there and deal with this giant 2 ton elephant in the living room with us and what it means. We need a talented writer like Jensen to join fellow Presbyterian David Ray Griffin and the rest of us on this.

  4. Rev. Jose M. Tirado said on August 8th, 2007 at 4:51am #

    Well…Mr. Jensen´s homily was nice and inspiring…and the comments as pigheaded and insipid as they come. First of all, the “evidence” on “9-11” is not “abundant and unavoidable.” See Manuel Garcia´s work on this in CounterPunch for just starters. Secondly, the charge that the “Old Testament” (the Jewish scriptures) is just violent is racist and misleading. There are books of history there as well as poetry. It is a collection. But I digress. The “Left” in the US is as loony as they are charged to be if they cannot leave the Democrats and choose a political alternative that will give them the system they yearn for, that is, the Greens. As well, the 9-11 crowd ignore the greater empire building of both parties and stick to tried and proven ways to increase the nuttiness of Left positions and further make the Left irrelevant.

    Jensen´s article was about being prophetic–calling the empire builders what they are and making us all account for the ways we are compicit in the proto-fascism that dominates America these days. Our refusal to rise up en masse, to abandon the Dems who remain connected to the corporate teat and to vote for those who desire a true multi-party democracy with no imperial ambitions, is a failure of nerve. Prophets had that in abundance. We instead have conspiracists, wrapped in neuroticism and held together by a failure of nerve.

  5. gerald spezio said on August 8th, 2007 at 5:36am #

    Mr Jensen, you betray your routinely demonstrated critical intelligence when you posit foolish new age inner prophets. When you write that we need prophets…”who are willing to tap into the prophet voice who I believe is within us all,” you are indulging in childish magical thinking. We might just as well listen to undercover CIA bastards like David Korten telling us that the Goddess is coming with the”nurturing feminine model.”

  6. Rebekka said on August 8th, 2007 at 6:50am #

    Sad that the commenters here can’t read between the lines. The point here is to NOT ‘follow the leader’, rather be your own leader, lead your own marches, and lead your own armies against the common enemy of us all which is the elites who have always had a ready supply of bad leaders and false prophets to satisfy our urge to be herded together under a banner, any banner, but not the banner of our own conscience. Thanks Robert Jensen for spelling it out for those people who didn’t get it before.

    And just to reiterate the point one mo’ ‘gin: “We must confront the powers that be, and ourselves.”

  7. Bill Williams said on August 8th, 2007 at 7:26am #

    I, too, have been disappointed by Jensen’s embrace of the official story about 9/11. Has he checked out the alternative explanations?


  8. Adam said on August 8th, 2007 at 4:37pm #

    Rev. Jose M. Tirado said…
    the “evidence” on “9-11? is not “abundant and unavoidable.” See Manuel Garcia´s work on this in CounterPunch for just starters.

    The CounterPunch article been debunked.

    Debunking 9/11 Debunking by David Ray Griffin

    and also his
    The New Pearl Harbor; Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11

    Online read:
    Top 40 Reasons to Doubt the Official Story of September 11th, 2001

    “Secondly, the charge that the “Old Testament” (the Jewish scriptures) is just violent is racist and misleading.”

    Online read:
    Skeptic’s Annotated Bible — Cruelty and Violence in the Old Testament

    …and then come back and defend your POV addressing the arguments presented.

  9. Rev. José M. Tirado said on August 9th, 2007 at 8:13am #

    To Adam, (and anyone else interested in this silliness)
    Re: David Ray Griffin. Mr. Griffin´s credentials as an “expert” on this matter are bogus. He is a theologian. Manuel Garcia is a physicist. There are many others who have analyzed the same material and reach far different conclusions. The information is readily available.

    My suggestion to you and those remaining in the US who follow this nuttiness is to get out on the streets and away from your computers, go bowling, learn Spanish, join a union and become civic-minded folks who can then assemble and work out the better society they claim to desire. To fanatically pass off this tripe as some kind intellectual dissent is beneath contempt and frankly, (as if “beneath contempt” wasn´t frank enough) distracting from the real and important issues Americans can effect.

    Re: Top 40 reasons. It remains unbelievable that the collected debris of vacuous junk on that site would be cited by anyone with a straight mind. Of course, I don´t believe the 9-11 conspiracists have “straight minds” so I will let that stand. As well, I would recommend the many Noam Chomsky responses if one is looking for a serious analysis of this Administrations incompetence (something conspiracists like yourself rarely admit to). ZNet is a good place to begin.

    Re: the Skeptic´s Annotated Bible. A close look at my response would reveal the use of the phrase “just violent” (and you quote it above). I never denied there was violence in the Jewish scriptures. I referred you to context as well as the other content contained there. You might want to read the Bible first before going and looking for references to it elsewhere.

    Lastly, I don´t have to defend my POV here or anywhere else. I write articles (some published here, some at CP, some elsewhere) and connect with the many ex-pat Americans (I live overseas) who oppose American imperialism. I do what I can to change the system. I write letters to newspapers and to Senators and Congressmen/women. I don´t waste my time presuming Robert Anton Wilsonian conspiracies exist anywhere else but in fiction. Life is way too short for that silliness. There´s alot of work to be done.

  10. Kim Petersen said on August 9th, 2007 at 11:08am #

    With all due respect Rev. Jose, your logic is thoroughly self-defeating because, of course, it would obliterate your POV. It would also obviate the linguistics professor Chomsky’s POV. Extrapolating your logic presents a world in which understanding the intricacies of life would be left to the realm of experts. It would then be pick and choose your experts and then the conundrum: which expert(s) to choose.

    If it is that 9-11 is the domain of experts, then the experts one would turn to are not physicists but rather civil or structural engineers. There are plenty of them on record as stating the “official” conspiracy is false. There are plenty of demolition experts who contend that what happened that day was a demolition of three buildings.

    Manuel Garcia (whose views I respect) is a physicist who studies fluid flow and energy, and while this has pertinence in the analysis of what transpired on 9-11, does it qualify him as an expert specific to what happened with the towers?

  11. Rev. José M. Tirado said on August 9th, 2007 at 12:10pm #

    Hi Kim,
    Don´t extrapolate my logic. I am referring to one case.
    The situation here is simple: there are better ways to energize an anti-imperial “Left” than to presume an administration of profound incompetence (think Katrina) can keep secret all aspects of this event so under wraps that not one…no one whistle blower comes forward to reveal the inner secrets of the conspiracy. Or even a petty detail.
    As for Prof. Chomsky, he can speak for himself.
    My “beef” is with an American “Left” which spends more time arguing the arcana of such events (which, as I am sure you are well aware of, many civil and structural engineers have said no explosions occurred in any of those builidings) rather than organizing for a change which is fully within their power.
    Experts can be found in any field to determine any solution. I am merely attempting to direct the good readers and intelligent writers of DV to spend their time more wisely organizing for change (the subject of my next submission to DV) than to figure out that Big Brother is All-Knowing and capable of remarkable feats beyond any human led organization yet proven has been able to do. They are not. (At least not this administration)
    We probably agree on much of the rest. Let´s get to work…

  12. hp said on August 10th, 2007 at 1:22pm #

    “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”

  13. Kim Petersen said on August 13th, 2007 at 4:33am #

    Again, with all due respect Rev. Jose, whether your logic is restricted to the one case or extrapolated (which is entirely fair), it is unsound, and I submit that you still haven’t defended its soundness as per my comments.

  14. Rev. José M. Tirado said on August 15th, 2007 at 7:35am #

    Hello Kim,
    Well…It seems you didn´t read my response, don´t understand logic, or just wanted the last word.

    In case of #1, the “soundeness” of your response is easily contestable. You said,

    “Extrapolating your logic presents a world in which understanding the intricacies of life would be left to the realm of experts. It would then be pick and choose your experts and then the conundrum: which expert(s) to choose.”

    That is simply not true. First, one cannot “extrapolate logic” (sic). One can extrapolate from the argument something other than what was originally written. You are suggesting that simply because I point out one expert (a physicist) that I am suggesting that “experts” know better than us about this issue. That´s not what I said, though actually on many similar issues I do say such. For example, my surgeon I trust far more than my wife when issues of my recent knee surgery were discussed. Now, as to which “experts”, you further say,

    “If it is that 9-11 is the domain of experts, then the experts one would turn to are not physicists but rather civil or structural engineers. There are plenty of them on record as stating the “official” conspiracy is false. There are plenty of demolition experts who contend that what happened that day was a demolition of three buildings”

    Well, likewise, there are many structural engineers who say quite clearly that no “bombs” went off; that the official report was correct. So we have dueling experts. You choose to accept one set and rule the others out. That is fine. But my whole point, (repeated here for the exhausting last time) was that by doing so you are playing into the same silliness witnessed time and again on the Left which I have since since Nixon´s days, that is, the belief in the remarkably consistent and unerringly powerful powers-that-be who can manipulate Truth in a fictionally complete sense and keep under wraps all dissent and potential whistleblowers. Such a belief reinforces feelings of helplessness whcih, in my opinion justifies doing nothing but complaining. Since “they” can control everything and “they” are all powerful, I can do nothing. Therefore I need not try.

    Extrapolate from that conclusion Kim, and you get exactly what we have: a bunch of whiny pseudo-Leftists who remain atomized behind their computer screens serrving up their fellow atomized cyber friends doles of conspiratorial clap trap that makes everyone feel good (“we ” know they are all powerful and we have the “Truth”) while at the same time justifying sitting at home and not taking to the streets, which is how every other major movement of social justice ever got anything done. It is a peculiar-to-this-generation and time illness that keeps “them” in power.

    My suggestions were simple: engage in more productive activities which increase solidarity with people face-to-face, doing such can accomplish far more good for all of us: I suggested learning Spanish (whose speakers now outnumber African-Americans and need to be a force reconciled with), go to church (or mosque, or synagogue, or temple since upwards of 80% of Americans believ in God and they too are a force that need to be folded in) join a union (to understand firsthand working class solidarity–I was a union member and president once and grew up in a union household and got my first lessons in class consciousness that way) or go bowling (a reference to a recent book on the death–or dearth–of civic society in the US).

    These actions will accomplish far more than arguing with me (or “experts” in any field over any issue, or self appointed “investigators” of “conspiracies”).

    Re: #2, I believe “logically” I have explained myself–you may refer to any beginning logic textbook for this (my last class in logic was 27 years ago so I admit rustiness.)

    Re: #3, the “last word.” Means nothing.

    I also said some of the things I do which, if you care to “extrapolate” from that, I am suggesting others may do: letter writing, wrticle writing, and again, any effort to increase actual solidarity between people.

    An old friend, a former Communist once told me “Tirado, we don´t need any more martyrs, we need victories.” He was right. We also don´t need any more blogs, any more “investigations” or any more speculations about how powerful our enemies are. Their power is derived simply and completely by our acquiescence. It´s time to stop.


  15. Kim Petersen said on August 15th, 2007 at 6:46pm #

    Dear Jose,

    With all due respect, if you read my previous comment carefully, you would see that it refers to extrapolating from cases and not logic, per se. Granted (with thanks), for the sake of clarity, my first comment should have read: “Extrapolating [from cases based on] your logic…”

    You are also incorrect in your diversionary speculation as to motivation. I respond simply because I disagree with your rationale, which, I contend, remains, unbuttressed. Therefore, the basis of my contention stands and your name calling, I respectfully submit, remains unsound.

    Your say-so is not sufficient to determine what the “truth” is or isn’t. Your position is counter free inquiry and this, I submit, is counter to progressivist principles.

    To engage in more productive activities is fine, but the question remains who is to determine what is productive. Maybe you do, but I certainly don’t want to live in a Big Brother society where some people take it upon themselves to determine what the “truth” is for everyone else.

    There is no reason for a solidarity movement to break down when the goals are the same. Diversity of opinion should be embraced by progressives. Those individuals who would wish to coerce the movement to only their mode of thinking and their “truth” are, I submit, the genuine desolidarizers.

    And it is, arguably, those people who desolidarize, under the guise of self-determined possession of the “truth,” who the ones who hold back the movement from victory.

    In solidarity.

  16. Rev. José M. Tirado said on August 17th, 2007 at 11:16am #

    Hello Kim,
    I will no longer respond if you continue to ignore what I write.
    Note your mixed usage of “productive” and “truth.”
    I have opinions on each, however, I have only made suggestions as to the former.
    Which “solidarity movement(s)” are you referring to? I give clear examples on what I believe are “productive” expenditures of our time and investments in “our” energy. I also am clear what I regard as boring and unproductive (“conspiracy” theories, particulary “9-11”.)
    “Desolidarize” (sic) is an odd word to describe the words of a man who suggests (clearly if you read my posts) ways to develop and increase solidarity among so-called “Leftists.”
    I realize I have wasted my time here. I remain, however,
    in solidarity,