Boeing and Contradiction

The Radish King and I have been have a sort of dialog about the post below in the comments. I started to comment again, looked at the length, and decided I'd bump it up here. RK asked, after pointing to a WaPo story that Boeing has a contract for securing the border between the U.S. and Mexico, whether I'd prefer flying in a DC-10 or a 747.

Having been on both, and remembering some spectacular DC-10 crashes, the 747, of course.

As a marxist roommate was fond of saying when rationalizing some bourgeois luxury, "It's impossible to live under capitalism without contradiction."

Yes, Boeing being part of the secret prisons revolts me. And yet. And yet. There's a very good chance that there's some very familiar software involved in tracking, planning, etc. all of this. Stuff I've had a role in at some point.

I've never been sure what to do about this sort of thing. You can try drawing a line, but it's an awfully squiggly line. And somewhere along it, you either go live entirely off the grid, or start compromising. It's hard to stop at just one compromise. More always follow.

Some leftist magazines have a policy of taking ads from anyone and then beating the advertiser over the head with the money—editorializing against the thing advertised opposite the published ad. There's a "be wise as serpents" cleverness or perversity in it that appeals to me. But what do I as an individual do? Is a donation to Amnesty International enough? Civil disobedience? Armed revolution? (Note to the NSA: this is an abstract spectrum of actions and should in nowise be construed as a list of options that I am actively considering.)

I just don't know. The boundary between conscience and living is under constant negotiation, I suppose. Caveat lector, mon hypocrite lecteur, mon semblable, mon frère.


Blogger Radish King said...

There is so much that is corrupt and bad all around and inside of everything else. Someone is being hurt somewhere because of the clothing [we] wear, the food we eat, the cars we drive. The best we can do is to be good people, I think. To make changes when we can and to be good to each other. I think that's key. I'm not very good at being good to each other because I don't want to leave the house. I'd like to say I'm working on it, I'm working on being a better person, on being a better friend, but I'm not. I'm working on ways I can stay in the house more.

4/12/06 11:37  
Blogger Radish King said...

p.s. When I worked on the Stealth, and I did, the bomber we finished flew around the factory and dipped its wing at us as we stood out on the flightline. It took my breath away. It was the most beautiful piece of machinery I have ever seen. It was simply a black thin line in the sky and didn't make any noise until it was past. I have struggled with this for years; my horror at knowing what the machine was for and my delight as a mechanic in having been able to work on it, my feelings on seeing it and thinking it beautiful.

4/12/06 11:39  

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