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Sep 8, 2012

Lifestyleism  n., from Lifestyle + ism (as in racism, speciesism, cosmeticism); 21st cent.; not in my 1994 Collins, and not yet in en.wikipedia (or is it?), so I'll work on putting together some description / definition:

Lifestyleism (as defined by Derrick Jensen) is the believe that personal lifestyle changes are sufficient to create significant social changes. The most virulent forms of this are actively opposed to organized political action. 

" To ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others. " -- Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)

At the beginning of the "21st century"  Lifestyleism and Cosmeticism (which often occur together) are sharply on the rise, and are (among) those wonderful "Bright Green Lies" [= title of an upcoming book by D.Jensen] that allow (all-too-many of) us (ie. humankind) to continue the

Dance of World Destruction

In order for us to maintain our way of living, we must...tell LIES to each other, and especially to ourselves. It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable. The lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers to truth are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities. Truth must at all costs be avoided. ... And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction. (from "A Language Older than Words", 2000, by Derrick Jensen)

Lifestyleism as such is a huge and horrible dead-end that environmentalism has gone down. It is very harmful and it serves capitalism in many ways. One of which is that capitalism wants for us to be atomized but there are no personal solutions for social problems. Capitalism teaches that there are and also, the 1980s were the first time where corporate newspapers called human beings consumers more than it called them citizens. That is huge. If they can convince us that we are consumers and not citizens it reduces our range of possible resistance actions. If you are a consumer, you can buy or not buy. If you  are a citizen, you can buy or not buy, or you can organize to boycott, you can organize for a bunch of other reasons or when a government becomes destructive in the pursuit of life, liberty or happiness it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. You can revolt. There is another transformation that has taken place that is just as wrenching which was few thousand years ago. When we were converted from human animals who needed community and who need habitat into citizens. One of the exchanges sociologist generally agree happens when you become a citizen is you grant the state a monopoly on violence. We are human animals who have teeth and have claws and we have relatives who are being killed. So one of the things we need to do in decolonizing is to move back and back and back, retransform back from being consumers, to citizens and citizens to human animals who need habitat. A couple of things real quickly I should have ended on that because that is really stirring. A couple of other things about the whole consumerism thing is one is it is simply ineffective. I did the math on this several years ago actually Aric McBay and I did the math. If you reduce your trash consumption to zero, so you produce zero trash. The average person in the United States produces about 2,600 pounds of trash per year. So you reduce it to zero, you wear tennis shoes until they fall off, you repair your toaster, you don't buy anything that doesn't have any packaging-- blah, blah, blah. Bad news the average per capita trash production is the United States is actually 26 tons. Ninety seven percent is actually by industry. You know those magic tricks where-- look over here, look over here, the real action is over here. That's what's happening is they are getting you to focus on-- I gotta reduce my trash, I gotta reduce my trash when that is 3% of the whole pie. Same with water, they say shorter showers, gotta take shorter showers it's going to save the world, the world is running out of water. Fucking bullshit. Ninety percent of the water used by human beings is used for agriculture and industry. Only 10% is used by human beings. Municipal human beings use the same amount of water as municipal golf courses. If you take shorter showers, all it is going to do is wreck your social life. Completely irrelevant to social change. That is a dead-end we need not go down. We need to organize and we need to take down the oppressive systems. Thank you!!!

-- Derrick Jensen,  in "Michigan, March 2 [2012] Talk edited"

recommended related reading (and great present for youngsters, imo)

"As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial", 2007, a graphic novel by  Derrck Jensen & Stephanie McMillan

recommended related reading:  "Forget Shorter Showers - Why personal change does not equal political change" -- by Derrick Jensen, Orion Mag., 2009

          The Truth may hurt. Lies do kill.

          Truth only hurts when it should.

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Posted: Saturday September 8, 2012, 12:12 am
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Brian M. (202)
Friday August 31, 2012, 11:54 am
Of course, the truth hurts. The truth kills, or is in the process of killing us all through mass extinction. We have missed the window for slowing or halting climate change. The struggle for survival will grind us down to make bread for no one.


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