I accept the present emperium
for my own, individual good.
I have been striving to become miserly
in all I think and do so that I,
and those few who look to me
for their protection, shall not
be alienated through my recalcitrance.
And I will not be tempted to consider avariciousness wretched,
I shall not wince or shudder
at happy talk, for even as I know it is vapid
and inane, still it is better that its users
be spared the dark tribulations
which might otherwise occupy their consciences
and distract them from their self-righteousness
And I promise not to consider self-righteousness
in the old, aloof and superior way
which was formerly my wont.
I know that abortion is wrong
and should be shunned
and I shall banish from my mind
the scenes of infanticide
which are condoned the world over
for the good of subject states.
But those questions, again,
I will make myself reluctant to contemplate.
I will approve of genocide in Central America
because it is proprietary
and conforms with our government’s policy.
I approve of the reluctant delivery of food
to Ethiopia’s starving millions
because that country has a Marxist government
and I agree that magnanimity
in such a situation would be mistaken.
But above all, I am in agreement
with all my government does
because to think otherwise
would be to make of myself an enemy of the state.
When concertina wire is strung along my street
I shall not object, nor will it disturb me
because I am now convinced
that what I formerly took to be
a restriction of my spirit
is in reality, for my salvation,
if salvation is in my future,
but even that doubt is a sign of my humility.