A Good Way to Civilly Disobey
It’s time to stop relying on the current state of politics and instead rely on ourselves.
Civil disobedience has been an American cultural mainstay for quite some time, but the credit for illustrating the concept of civil disobedience for our generation should be extended to the 60s with the civil rights movements.
To counter civil rights movements, conservatives who fear change tried to suppress it by erecting confederate statues, burning crosses, and an assortment of vile actions from vile people that think they have found a voice again in todays culture. And it’s tough to argue that their voice holds no power over us. We are living through a government that takes its cues from conservative media, vile as it may be.
Yet, leaving the vile aside, a question of when and how to civilly disobey is pertinent in our current cultural and political atmosphere. People harbor more tension and anxiety, and our political infrastructure is crumbling under corruption and mismanagement.
Student loans are an area in which millennials should focus their attention because the economic incentives promised upon receiving a college degree and the onerous terms placed on financing the obtainment of that degree have been a carrot and a stick. Given the atrocious governance and administration of education, it is unacceptable to allow those in control of student loan administration to control our current loan contracts. Their misrepresentation of the value of those contracts should render many of them void.
In a sense, by structuring our society around college, the government has pushed a financial burden on a huge portion of the population and then indentured them. Many of the students with such a degree cannot leverage it in an our economy. Plus, certain government actions are directly attributable to the state of the economy, namely the financial crisis and the current Executive Administration, so a pervading sense that we’re all in this together should drive policy.
Information may be the most valuable commodity of the last 10 years and will continue to reign as the most valuable because information obfuscation and data-driven enterprises continue to carve out powerful markets. So when the majority of the population is given information that obtaining a college degree from an accredited institution is the only acceptable way to build a proper livelihood, the messengers must bear some responsibility for influencing the actions of productive workers.
Furthermore, people who attended K-12 schooling through the nineties and mid 2000s are in an unfortunate position of having been educated during a transition from analog to digital, and thus, were not presented with a prospect to learn how to communicate with computers, i.e., learning programming languages. Catching up requires focus and critical thinking, which has not been instilled in many people having to make ends meet.
Millennials will shortly have more leverage over the general economy, and the burden of student loans should not be what holds them back from transitioning power away from the baby-boomer generation. I’m not advocating a generational war, but a transition of power needs to take place amongst officials that enact change over the country. The conservative wing of the baby-boomer generation has made clear that they are unable to govern without allowing corrupt influences to set policy choices. Moreover, while they had to endure the cold war, in which they saw the use of propaganda that influenced Russia, they are embracing use of such propaganda today. In effect, they are castigating almost everything we learned in social studies and civics classes. Maybe they do not have the courage to speak against such propaganda because they may lose power. But a leader who lacks courage to stand up against something that is so clearly a moral wrong is unfit to lead. The prospect of losing power is always at the door of a leader, and inaction or delusion that stems from the fear of what’s at the door renders any leader feckless.
Feckless leaders are dangerous, and Congress is filled with them. They are people setting policy that defines what we can do and what others can do to us. Political idealism can be valuable, but we have hit a tipping point in which idealism is a problematic waste of time when we need a pragmatic organization around only a couple of policy objectives to change the direction of our society.
I think our current student loan problems are a pragmatic aspect of our economy that, if we millennials organize, can transform our country for the better. By reorganizing our approach to student loans, we can more quickly free highly intelligent individuals to focus their time on work that transforms our economy and drives it more quickly toward the future, rather than sit idle while a small cohort of conservative wolves profit. I.e., if you haven’t noticed, our economy has been driven to make the lives of consumers easier in a way that entices them to sit idly by; we value our entertainment more than our upward mobility. Rather than accepting our complacency, we should recognize that ease should be directed toward upward social mobility, and our government is the only source of power that could accomplish such a transition.
The prospect of every student loan holder to default is an area that should be further explored. We would suddenly hold the power to change our economic structures for the better. See The Debt Collective. I believe this is an example of civil disobedience that could produce the best outcome for our country. It would give the people who will soon drive our economy the leverage they need to better structure our economy. But organization takes time, and we must tailor our expectation to that fact.
Therefore, the first thing we should do is vote.