Exclusive: Activists Who Can’t Love by Rocket Kirchner

by Rocket Kirchner
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Rocket Kirchner (blog)
Rocket Kirchner (youtube channel)
November 14, 2012

Face of the Anti-War Movement 16

Image by theqspeaks via Flickr

Have you ever noticed the paradox of an activist whose heart palpitates for the starving children of Africa to whom they have never met, all the while grinding his or her heel into the faces of the people that are around them to whom they know? They shout louder than all the other activists. They carry more signs, write more letters to newspapers, shoot out more e-mails, and make more phone calls to their elected representatives, and call into more talk radio shows every chance they get. But they do not know how to love their neighbor as themselves and it really shows. They lack the milk of human kindness. In a word, this kind of activist is spiritually dead.

The trouble with this form of activism is that at root it is an abstractification in seeking to solve problems. Hence they become part of the problem, and not the solution. Therefore, they ignore the specificity of the problem that is right in front of their face. If, let us say, that they can try and save the world and ignore their corner of the world, then its stands to reason that in their shortsightedness they will never save the world. In fact they will not even change a damn thing, but rather muddy up the waters. Instead of admitting to this shortsightedness, they go into denial by projecting an overreaching program that they back up with some kind of ersatz utopianistic smokescreen.

What is problematic about this is two fold. The first is its ineffectiveness. The second is its hypocrisy as the lovelessness of the activist poisons the atmosphere of other activists around him or her. What follows is intractable doctrine, rigid ideology, deadly head games, leaving the prospect of effective long term potential civility to getting stuck in the mire of a paralyzing epilepsy.

Supposing one was to confront this kind of activist and say, “As a fellow activist working toward the same goal on this project, you might want to consider treating those around you with some dignity”. The activist who can’t (or won’t) love caustically retorts, “That is not needed. What matters is the goal at hand”. Is this not a twisted form of pragmatism? To which the challenger replies, “Do you really think that you can change this world without first changing your heart?” The activist who just won’t love looks at the other activist who made that statement with a stark blank stare of incredulity as if one has nothing to do with the other. But the fact of the matter is that to be truly effective in the long run, one has everything to do with the other. Every movement of the wheel, every roll of the dice, and every turn of the screw depends on love. For without love we are nothing.

Suggested Links:

The Love That Does Justice (pdf)

Not Without Love: Memoirs


Exclusive: Why is there no peace in the peace movement? by Rocket Kirchner

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda: A Spirituality of Resistance

Chris Hedges: Love is the most potent enemy of war (2004)

The Discipline of the Radicals + Loving The Unloveables

Message of the Day: Love and Forgiveness

Message of the Day: Love


11 thoughts on “Exclusive: Activists Who Can’t Love by Rocket Kirchner

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  6. WHAT IS RIGHT with the way we live in AMERICA?

    The elections are over so what now? As the song being sung says Without love what have we got?

    Just a couple of points number one our so called FREE PRESS went of laughing at the $6, billion they took out of the pockets of my fellow Americans and some of them that I know and drink coffee with from time to time could care less about love and more about fight.

    Number two— this morning on my way to a small grocery store where I trade I saw a young woman with two school age kids walking along, as I passed I thought I should have stopped and offered them a ride.

    But when finished at the store I took the same street back and there they were still walking. I stopped traffic for a bit rolled down my window and ask, “ Can I give you a lift” she replied that would be nice.

    Her and the children had been living in Killen TX. She said they moved to Eagle Pass but could not find suitable housing so she was living with her mother in Pedras Negras, so each day she and her two school age kids walk to Bride Two come across and walk up to the main drag where at the end is a public school.

    She divorced the father of her children. He had been deployed four times and he was not right in his head.

    I gave her one of my business cards and told her that my wife and I practiced Christian Charitable giving with a helps program; she smiled the said good by. Her son is ten and his name is Charlie.

    Later this evening at the same run down coffee shop sitting with those with chins drooping down crying about HOW BAD IT IS I told some the story above and how I would be at gate two early Thursday morning to give them a ride to school.

    Some vets stared back and asked WHY?

    • Might a lingering suspicion of genuine kindness have something to do with the inexorable logic of manifest destiny and the “frontier?” Once upon a time, there were human beings in America were there not? Whatever happened to the vision of Crazy Horse that has been so trivialised by the tortured psyche of Americans? Is it just another cultural gimmick to be consumed and forgotten, a quaint folk-lore motif to be eviscerated by the machinery of Hollywood ~ or does it have a deeper resonance? Should it not be accorded a sacred place in the deep heart of the vast continent itself?

      • David , genuine kindness is just that… in its intrinsic qualitative nature of the good, if i may sound so Platonic. It is not based on guilt or expatiation of manifest destiny. but one could extrapolate and state that loveless activism is based on the guilt of manifest destiny here in the States.

        Love is not reactionary. because it is not flying off the handle of anything to react too. Those activists that understand love and practice it have got a winning combo.

    • the reason why they asked why is because of their despondency was taken by surprise by an act of kindness for no other reason that that is what we human beings should do. Cynicism is the enemy of truth.

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