I was deeply touched by the responses to my cri de coeur. I received a few very touching personal letters, too, from people I deeply admire. I won't say who they were, but I was shocked to discover how many people feel the way I do. I was also shocked to see evidence that having these feelings means very little. They are not a reliable guide to anything, apparently. The messages I received were from people who are doing work that ought to be done and writing things that ought to be written--even if this generation doesn't want to read what they're writing.
The conclusion I've reached--for today, anyway, because I've been so moody lately that it doesn't make much sense to issue a stirring manifesto about how I'll feel tomorrow--is that it's not about me. It is no more than pampered vanity to expect money to roll in at a time like this; almost everyone has been affected by the recession and the world's political instability; and of course money is rolling toward the just and the unjust alike: It always has.
If I can hang on a bit longer here doing what I do, I probably should. If I have any kind of paid work at all, I should be grateful. If truth has been the first casualty of war, I should be unsurprised.
I've never argued that free markets produce perfect outcomes, only that they produce better outcomes than command economies. I've never argued that a free press produces truth; I've only argued that it produces more truth than a controlled press. I've never argued that America is perfect, only that its enemies are worse. I've also never argued that greed is good, or that earning a lot of money should be anyone's foremost goal in life.
I'm going to try to do the work that's meaningful to me. I'm going to try to stop worrying about whether anyone's listening or whether it will be enough to wrench the world off its doomward trajectory. What I write might not be of significance, but I'm not in a position to judge, and neither is the market.
Some day a historian might find something I've written interesting: So this is what it was like to be a Jewish American woman in Istanbul in the year 2011. Or perhaps not. I certainly can't say, so I'll just keep writing and hope for the best.
Thank you for everything you said. It was very helpful to me. I count myself very fortunate that I not only have a place to ask these questions, but that somehow I've managed to find a way to get paid something to do it. I'm an incredibly fortunate and blessed woman, and I am grateful for it.