BFE: Watch Those Cultural Labels
Does everyone have their own version of BFE? From what I’ve been reading on the internet, it seems that being from the “sticks” or from some country where sand shifts in organic patterns of great beauty, somehow disqualifies one as a person of intelligence, someone who shares the same humanity, the same human rights, and the same sensitivity, although, perhaps, a better set of manners.
When did being a “redneck” or a “hillbilly” or a “red” or a “brown” mean that one was worthy only of derision, dismissal, and dehumanizing?
Think about that. Ponder. What labels might another person’s trained vision attach to you? I am sure you can think of a few for yourself, no matter who you are. Someone would put a label on you, couldn’t they? You might think that you easily can dismiss their name-calling, because you think you are somehow “better” than they are. Or somehow “apart” from that part of humankind.
Think again: how does your own name calling, sweeping generalizations, and being brainwashed by those who profit from stirring up this division and hatred, make you any better than anyone on the “other side”—no matter what “other side” of the thousands of “other sides” you choose—how does labeling any other human individual make any of us better than the person we lazily label because getting to know the actual person is just too, too much trouble? Is it easier to obey the orders of the hate-teachers and kill that other actual person.? It is easier than thinking? No, not really
As long as you refrain from questioning your conditioning of hatred, as long as you refuse to accept that non-aggression is a principle which must be applied to all humans, and that your labels of another as “inferior” in no way gives you any sanction to violate their human rights, just as their labels of you in no way gives them sanction to violate your human rights, you lose your rights.
“BFE?” “sandn****r?” “hillbilly?” “sheeple?” “civilian?” “JBT?” “Patriot?” “Liberal?” “Neocon?” “southsider?” “dyke?” “mike?” “taco?” “right wingnut?” “gun nut?” “Libertarian?” “bureaurat?”
Now, think up at least five that could be said by a hater of you. See what I mean?
I’ve been a hillbilly, for sure, for a bit of my young life—jumping on big rocks and throwing small rocks at copperheads and rattlers in the Ozark Hills—where children only got shoes if the school insisted they have them. Where the school house was heated with a wood stove. Where I remember when REA came through, and we got an electric cream separator for the milk, and we grandchildren no longer took turns cranking the centrifuge system that was run on arm power.
Where bobcats screamed in the night, there were no lights except the stars, where running water was in the creek and from the spring, and we picked wild greens and berries whenever we found them.
We also read Shakespeare aloud, taking turns, while the rest shelled corn, or split wood, or hoed in the garden. Everyone was expected to read music and play at least one instrument. There was no television or radio. We had a whole room filled with books, and reading Emerson and Adam Smith—and being able to hold up your end of any discussion—were considered absolute necessities at the dinner table.
I have cousins who still live in the country, run ranches, hunt for game, and roll their own. Some may go away to Harvard, Princeton, or one of the Seven Sister schools, but all know how to milk a cow, brand a calf, butcher a steer or a deer, gather eggs, carry water, split firewood, and hitch a team to a double tree. All have helped build barns and cabins, fix fences, and every one can ride bareback better than most can ride with any sort of saddle. Some know how to tan hides and make moccasins, too, because there is a bit of native blood as well. Some also do art, read voraciously, speak more than one language, and enjoy the symphony.
So, when you say hillbilly, think of those who come from eight generations of hill folk, who can parse a bit of Greek and Latin, who hate any non-voluntary form of government, and who remain civil, educated, genteel, kindly folks, albeit often dressed in patched jeans.
Be careful of your stereotypes out there folks: it is when we stop seeing each other as individual humans, and start sticking on lazy labels that we grow blind to each other’s humanity and uniqueness. Be careful of being conditioned by those perverse cultural cues foisted upon you by mainstream media, movies, and emotionally reactive non-thinkers both in and out of government. Take the time to actually learn not only facts, but also other humans. Good character begins with the Zero Aggression Principle. (ZAP)
I have spent a bit of time in Egypt, and must say I found the desert people there to be among the most polite, civilised, kind, generous, and friendly of any of humankind I have ever met. I felt very at home there, and very safe. Living in “BFE”—even in some of the remote villages where water is carried from a central well, there is no electricity, and all the children can read and write, as well as speak intelligently, and everyone is quite civil—puts many of the US urban “cultures” to shame. I have slept on dirt floors cleaner than many I have seen in slovenly-kept homes of arrogant and ill-informed, television-addicted urban beings in major US cities.
So, again, equating remoteness to “BFE” is such a misnomer in my way of thinking, that I would encourage you to not make such a statement, merely so as not to disclose your lack of knowledge. Get to know individuals, and individual circumstances. This is, after, the age of the cooperative individual. And there is such richness of thought, creativity, and love in individual, ZAP-practicing free-marketeers.
Those who would tell you that they need to keep stealing from your to protect you: tell them, No, thanks anyway. I don’t need you” Tell them to grow up and find a better way to live than through theft. Tell them you will not learn hate from them anymore.
Labels are for the lazy: get to know a few actual humankind individuals, outside your family and close friends. Seek out someone who scares you. Seek out someone whom you scare. Make peace with two people. Unless they are actually dangerous, of course, then find someone else to help you make peace. Set aside the labels, and work on learning each other’s humanity. You might even make some new friends. Enrich your world. We are all on this Earth together. Learn love. Forget labels. You have nothing to gain but friends.