“What good does your cursing do? You stand around, you curse and you chatter, but you don’t do anything. You’ll chatter your way into the grave.” –Percik, Fiddler on the Roof
Regular readers of this blog know my fondness for the musical, Fiddler on the Roof. I find so much in that which could easily be applied to our time and society, or to any other for that matter. The quote above is no different.
Really, now, how many people do you know who complain about the status quo of their lives, but do not and will not take any deliberate action to change anything for the better? You know, the ones who constantly bellyache about the current political state of affairs, but pull the party lever every two years. Perhaps the source of their irritation is their unreasonable, tyrannical employer who expects them to work and be productive, when they would rather stand around the water cooler discussing his ‘warts’. Maybe it is the ‘filthy rich’ oppressing the lifestyles of ordinary people, who would much rather wander out to the mailbox to see if the monthly “bean check” has arrived instead of risking everything in business for themselves. This list could go on and on, but for the sake of argument, it is sufficient. One thing which is common among these scenarios, though, is that it is easier to talk about the problems associated with them than it is to put any effort into making positive changes happen.
“Somebody ought to do something about this! Somebody else, that is, do not ask me to stick my neck out. Do you know what it is like out there?”
One current event which fits this description quite well is the whole Covid hysteria and pandemonium. The face masking. The lockdowns. The social separation. The increasing pressure to “vaccinate”. In any given part of the world, within any given group of people, many have simply blended this in with their lives, complaining about the inconveniences posed or the “sacrifices” they were forced to make, but have not once refused to go along with the charade. Today, over one year after the corona virus took the world by storm, the overwhelming data show that the average person in good health is in very little danger from contracting the virus, yet the narrative continues that this is an existential threat to humanity. Today, the average person either knows or suspects this to be true, yet the obsequious submission to inane, contradictory, totalitarian rules continues. If the sign says, “Wear a mask”, then people comply, even though they hate it and believe that it is useless to stop the virus. Go against public opinion? Refuse to be different? God forbid! They may complain in private, but when others are watching or listening, they keep themselves aligned with the status quo. After all, what can one person do, anyway? You can’t fight City Hall, can you?
In an article on Lew Rockwell, Allan Stevo wrote about the need for people who refuse to be quiet, who attempt to succeed against the odds, who will not live the way that society wants them to and, in the process, change the world.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Percik was everything which Stevo has described. He was arrested and exiled to a labor camp in Siberia because he saw something he thought was wrong and dared to speak out about it. Nevertheless, the cause he lived and worked for, flawed though it was, eventually came into being. Was it worth the personal cost to him? My guess, if you could ask him, is that Percik’s answer would be an emphatic, unhesitating, “Yes, absolutely!”
On the other hand, as Tevye was fond of saying, the Jews of Anatevka who only cursed and chattered were evicted from their homes without mercy and scattered to the whims and caprices of an uncertain, unforgiving future, probably many of them to their graves.
There is only one question to answer. Are we radical world-changers or conformists keeping our heads down and trying to blend in with the crowd?
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. — Romans 12:2, New Living Translation
“Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say?” –Luke 6:46, Contemporary English Version
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” –James 4:17, New International Version
It does not get any plainer than that.