7 Ways To Determine Whether You’re Affiliated With an Archaic – Perhaps Even Harmful – Organization

1. Your entire ideology is based on dated precepts. Let us assume for a moment you’re a young parent, trying to decide where to send your first-born child off to school. There are any number of variables that might enter into that equation, including: each school’s local district, full-time faculty, special services, demographics, cost, facilities, state resources, rating, ranking, reputation, test scores … the list goes on and on. Here’s one factor that no person in his or her right mind would ever consider when weighing the pros and cons of a decision like that: What the young parents of a first-born child way back in 1776 might do. Do you know why no person in his or her right mind would ever think to consider a hypothetical like that? Because time is progress. That’s why. And progress alters context. I mean, who among us would opt to carry water, assuming we had full access to a sink? Who among us would rely on hearsay, assuming there was DNA evidence to the contrary? Who among us would allow some half-ass crank to cut us open with a bucksaw, assuming there was an entire team of surgeons in the waiting room next door?

As a general rule: Before attempting to defend your modern stance with ancient precepts, take out a legal pad and make a list of every leap in evolution that has occurred between that time and now. I guarantee you’ll run clear out of space long before you’ve had a chance to reconsider.

2. You protect the indefensible, while casting out the bold and honest. Regardless of whether one’s referring to an institution or an organization; an infrastructure or a corporation, the very same logic still applies: From the moment a ruling body begins rewarding its at-fault members, while simultaneously shunning those who speak to truth to power, it slowly shifts to operating from a cowering position of fear. This is the real-world equivalent of placing one’s finger in the dike to keep the entire dam wall from falling. When, at last, all that sorry shit comes crashing down (and believe me when I tell you all that sorry shit will come crashing down) this despicable type of behavior never, ever winds up boding in the ruling body’s favor.

As a general rule: If Woody had gone right to the Police, this would never have happened.”

3. Your membership is based more on exclusion than inclusion. At its essence, this dynamic is the unfortunate result of age-old institutions tending to splinter over time, creating a critical divide between rival factions: young versus old, tradition versus progress, liberal versus conservative, etc. Despite the fact every faction remains loyal to the core, the central house is still divided. For a time, the village elders will endure. They’ve earned their just deserts, after all. And – more to the point – they incorrectly assume that seniority alone will be enough to keep the fringe elements at bay. Meanwhile, these emeritus members have grown so eerily out of touch with their staunch base, it not only renders their crass cloud-screaming null and void, it may also render the entire charter in contempt.

As a general rule: Any organization that has gone to extreme lengths to keep the homosexuals out and the pedophiles in is almost definitely an archaic – if not altogether irrelevant – institution. Which, of course, brings us to …

4. Your arguments are so short-sighted as to diminish all credibility. In a day-to-day sense, these arguments represent the little white lies most people tell themselves to avoid a deeper inventory. “I believe it because God tells me so.” “I did it because I love this country.” “The only answer is more guns.” We’ve seen this type of entertainment through and through … so many times it’s laughable, in fact. More often than not, this unique brand of logic actually causes membership to soar, as people rally around the rote convenience of it all. But eventually, the entire ruse gives way to reason. In its wake, what one is left with is the desperate, gut-sick feeling that he or she has been Chuck-Ponzied, made the fool, wholly duped in the false service of someone else’s agenda.

As a general rule: Any organization that is not a well-known branch of the military, yet still dedicates a ridiculous amount of time and resources to “recruiting” new members, is more than likely an archaic – perhaps even harmful – organization.

5. You refer to any higher moral standing as being “elitist.” There is a reason intellectuals are called intellectuals. It’s because they’re pretty smart. Intellectuals who are not smart go by a different name. Those people are called faux intellectuals. Faux intellectuals – by definition – are not so intelligent. But they very often put themselves out there to be. Example: Every time some windbag takes to pulpit, describing intellectuals as an unsavory group of assholes who ride the subway while thumbing their noses at the status quo, not only tips the audience to the low brow of his hand, he simultaneously reveals himself to be … a faux intellectual. Fancy that.

As a general rule: If you seem completely hung up on how horribly aloof the mainstream intellectuals are, then take heed. For you are more than likely the furthest possible thing from an intellectual on the modern evolutionary scale. 

6. You’re almost exclusively quoting dead people. Not that there’s anything wrong with dead people. I mean, let’s be honest, there’s a whole lot more of the deceased out there than there is living, and that distance keeps on growing every day. But it’s also worth noting that each and every deceased person out there was once living in a time and  place that is now completely gone, during which an entire laundry list of brain-dead concepts did very readily apply. This is by no means an effort to discredit the past and/or the practical utility of history. But it is to say that every argument requires more than some weak catchphrase, tagline, or slogan – taken almost wholly out of context – in order to hold weight.

As a general rule: If your only justification for action (or a general lack thereof) is based upon some tagline from a fallen hero – lifted wholly out of context, several decades after the fact – now may be a good time to reevaluate what you’re fighting for.

7. You fail to make any worthwhile distinction between being an American and being in the right. Acknowledging there is a clear difference between the two does not necessarily mean someone: A) hates America, or B) loves America any less than a person who believes the polar opposite. All it really means is that we – as Americans – are fully capable of making mistakes. Keep in mind, this is a country that once sentenced its poor people to death, for fear they might afflict us all with epilepsy. It’s a country that once lynched its own black citizens for little more than random sport. It’s a country that once rounded up its Japanese and confined them to internment camps. Was that wrong? Sure. But it happened. And upsetting though it may be, you really can’t label that type of behavior as being anything but American. There is no shame in admitting culpability, even if that culpability just so happens to exist upon the most biblical of scales. At our best, we as a people learn from our mistakes and continue moving forward. At our worst, we sweep those inconvenient truths beneath the stars and stripes, doomed to repeat them time and time again, until the pain is too much to bear.

As a general rule: If you regularly tend to read, quote, or forward unsubstantiated emails, written by anonymous sources in 19 different fonts and colors, you more than likely make no worthwhile distinction between being an American and being in the right.