Nice-ism n. tendency, more or less socially codified, to approach
reality in terms of whether others behave cordially; tyranny of decorum
which disallows thinking or acting for oneself; mode of interaction based
upon the above absence of critical judgement or autonomy.
All of us prefer what is friendly, sincere, pleasant-nice. But in an
immiserated world of pervasive and real crisis, which should be causing
all of us to radically reassess everything, the nice can be the false.
The face of domination is often a smiling one, a cultured one. Auschwitz
comes to mind, with its managers who enjoyed their Goethe and Mozart.
Similarly, it was not evil-looking monsters who built the A-bomb but
nice liberal intellectuals. Ditto regarding those who are computerizing
life and those who in other ways are the mainstays of participation in
this rotting order, just as it is the nice businessperson (self-managed
or otherwise) who is the backbone of a cruel work-and-shop existence by
concealing it's real horrors.
Cases of niceism include the peaceniks, whose ethic of niceness puts
them - again and again and again - in stupid ritualized, no-win situations,
those Earth First!ers who refuse to confront the thorouhly reprehensible
ideology at the top of "their" organization, whose
highly important contributions now seem to be in danger of an eclipse by
liberalism. All the single-issue causes, from ecologism to feminism, and
all the militancy in their service, are only ways of evading the
necessity of a qualitative break with more than just the excesses of the
The nice as the perfect enemy of tactical or analytical thinking: Be
agreeable; don't let having radical ideas make waves in your personal
behavior. Accept the pre-packaged methods and limits of the daily
strangulation. Ingrained deference, the conditioned response to "play by
the rules" - authority's rules.
In the context of a mauled social life that demands the drastic as a
minimum response toward health, niceism becomes more and more infantile,
conformist and dangerous. It cannot grant joy, only more routine and
isolation. The pleasure of authenticity exists only against the grain of
society. Niceism keeps us all in our places, confusedly reproducing all
that we supposedly abhor. Let's stop being nice to this nightmare and
all who would keep us in it.