I just realized something. It has to do with the “anarchists” and “revolutionaries” I read and hear about who say things like, “Some say [life without governmental oversight] is impossible, that without governmental authority we’d descend into violence, lawlessness, and corruption. But look around, isn’t that pretty much what we have now?” (from an AKPress catalog) To which I sternly reply, No. You want lawlessness? Try Libya, Somalia, Colombia, places where you can get killed at any time by either side of a war in which you have no say and no stake. In America, we have rule of law, we have effective police and firefighting forces, we have services, hospitals, schools. Don’t try to tell me we’re doing as badly as certain other countries, countries without rule of law. If you think America is a failure because we haven’t had any revolutions lately (unlike Egypt, Tunisia, or Libya, who have all been ruled by the same greedy dictators for decades), then you don’t know what a revolution is for.

And that’s what I really believe.

However, that’s not what I realized. I knew all of that already. A person such as myself, who holds moderate pragmatic (as opposed to idealistic) political viewpoints, accepts things for what they are and assumes a certain positivity, that things are organized, not in a dystopian, inhuman bureaucracy that actually seeks to hurt and oppress people, but for mankind’s general benefit.

The dystopian view may actually summarize the beliefs of the anarchist or revolutionary. Neither of these terms—Anarchist, Revolutionary—should be used without extreme consideration as to their actual meanings. But it occurs to me that neither should the word Moderate.

Moderate means I’m not willing to see the government and its forces as negative, or to actively or reactively resist them or conscientiously refrain from utilizing them. Even while I’m reminded of my impatience and disappointment with President Obama everyday in the newspapers (after getting suckered by his Change rhetoric), I still can’t face my feeling: how much this system and its constituent parts, its linchpins, enablers, and support system, really bother me, frustrate me, anger me. Despite all of the good things that Americans do have—if I call 911, an ambulance will be here within a half-hour (try that in Italy; I’ve heard stories)—it hurts me to see that my government is being run by a bunch of greedy, reactionary, complacent, self-serving, promise-welshing, lie-spewing, racist, ageist, anti-poor, corporatist scumbag puppets. It really, really does. And all of my moderate beliefs—that reform is the key, patience is a virtue, that a vote is a powerful thing, that things will work out and that “the curve of history bends towards justice” (spoken by a revolutionary)—seem to serve another purpose than the fading smile on my face. In fact, they serve the purpose of complacency, of staying at home and not getting involved, keeping my anger pent up and “managed” so I can go on with my life, secure in the trust that our System is ultimately watching out for me and will continue to do so.

And yet where did that trust originate? In oil wars? In party politics? In media manipulation? In trustbusting? On Wall Street? In the Patriot Act? In the promises of change, unfulfilled and forgotten like a child’s promise to do his homework after one more round of Nintendo? The game continues, while the homework remains undone.

Here is my realization, to whit: All of my beliefs are an excuse, and in fact an apology for these transgressions, so I can stay at home and carry on and smugly critique the rationality of those who don’t hide their anger. Perhaps we have rule of law, yes, but we’re also witnesses to the failure of the human element in government to live up to America’s potential as a Law-ruled society. Why can’t lawmakers legislate with their consciences instead of their calculations? We could be doing so many great things for ourselves, but it seems like each day brings another failure, another injustice, against workers, the poor, minorities, women. I guess maybe my mistake is believing in America. As long as that belief exists, I’m doomed to feel like a victim, while those who are no longer moderates—who have decided they see America as it is and not as it should be—have some semblance of self-respect.

Perhaps the key is finding positivity within Reality—the way things actually are—instead of within vague mental assumptions. For example, I assume the best in people and in the world. A real “benefit of the doubt” kind of guy. But I leave myself vulnerable. That vulnerability has haunted me my entire life. Were I to change that about myself, I would need to seek something else positive to look for. Maybe that thing is a new Me, unvictimized, unafraid, skeptical, questioning. Or perhaps it is the community of likeminded people who are similarly free from the victimization of unfounded positivity. Moderation becomes dangerous as one grows older; it tempts one to become close-minded. The sense of “okayness,” the assumed benevolence of government and mankind, serves to prolong detachment from reality, to avoid really thinking about the world and America and how shitty things are, and especially to avoid accountability for that state of affairs. And I can see that kind of self-delusion spreading into other parts of a person’s life to whom it becomes a habit.

Visions of a better future, that fuel a revolution, are positivity’s only real purpose. Belief in the American dream could catalyze change in the right person. That’s the kind of positivist I’d like to be. But short of that objective (which makes America-hating, zombie-apocalypse-anticipating “anarchist” grumblers look like fatalists and perhaps even moderates in their own right), complacency is its outcome. I really do believe it doesn’t serve anyone to wish for a violent revolution in America, in fact to do so wishes harm on innocent people like in Libya, Somalia, or Colombia. But whom does it serve to assume that things will work themselves out? Literally, no one.