There are days, sometimes, when you’re driving home on a sunny day with a milkshake and some McNuggets, listening to the Best of New Order, when everything seems right with the world. Some combination of stimuli hits you at just the right moment and you can’t help but think, yes, Western Civilization is the place to be, for it has brought you these pleasures; this magical moment was brought to you by America and your life is better for it.
There are those who would say that driving your car means polluting the environment. There are those who would say that consuming a milkshake means supporting factory-farmed cattle. There are those who would say that eating McDonald’s means polluting your body with toxins. There are those who would say that New Order is complete crap compared to Joy Division.
To all these people I would say, well, maybe. But all things in moderation. The simple pleasures of life, regardless of their origins, are to be savored. We should not be made to feel guilty for enjoying our lives.
Yes there are injustices and we should do what we can to lessen the suffering of our fellow creatures, but we should avoid making our lives completely miserable in the process. If we let the intense evils of the world get us all down, the world would only become a more miserable place. The world is a better place than it has ever been – anyone who says the past was better is either blinded by nostalgia or wasn’t there. There are fewer wars than we’ve had in a long time. Crime is down across the US, and has been steadily decreasing over the last ten years. The news media would have you believe armageddon is at hand. And the fundamentalist whack jobs would love that to be true.
I’m not saying we should get complacent and rest easy; there will always be more work to do. Buy organic whenever possible, drive less, walk more, eat fast food rarely. And whatever you do, savor it. Even if it’s unhealthy. Especially if it’s unhealthy. Don’t believe those who tell you to be worried or guilty about enjoying your life. You only get one.