By Rev. Ed Churchman
Let no man here says he’s above any other — we Dudes are a society of equals, man. This time around, I look at something very Dude that was cooked up by a very undude group of people. Levelling: The breaking down of defined social barriers. The one-ness of all people on par with each other. The true state of the Dudeist nation.
But before I ramble about levelling itself and what part it plays amongst Dudeists, we should first look at this group behind the great revolution to which they give the name, The Levellers. No, not the band, man, the civil war. No, man, the English civil war. What am ‘I’ talking about? Ah, I lost my train of thought there… oh yeah, right.
Now, the Levellers, as a group, were political activists who somehow managed to get together and gel after a bit of a disjointed start, a bit like a proto-Seattle Seven. After the first English Civil War (1641–1651) there were still a lot of irked people out there, and none more so than the parliamentarians and those still members of Cromwell’s New Model Army. There was still a king out there and all his royalist supporters who were heaping a whole lot of unfair back on the people.
The Levellers were born out of the agitators of the New Model Army, and managed to begin cohering after a while, using inns and taverns as meet-points where they could finally discuss ideas over an oat soda or two. But to be honest, the details are a bit heavy and confusing, the whole thing was a mess and it’s hard to get a frame of reference without going to college and getting a degree in history and of course remembering it all.
So, what did the Levellers, such as they were, want out of, y’know, The Man? Well, they never actually managed a firm manifesto, but broadly, they all pretty much were hoping for the following Dudely pursuits:
Popular Sovereignty – As Benjamin Franklin described it “In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” In other words, they wanted to vote in the big kahuna, not be pushed by some jerk no one liked. By our standards we’d want to vote him in, and then take him out for a beer afterwards.
Extended Suffrage – They actually wanted everyone to be able to vote. Equality amongst dudes! Although they still probably weren’t down with universal suffrage, for, like, women and such, but it’s a step forwards, right?
Equality Before The Law – No special rules, man, every dude gets treated the same when it comes to being thrown in the docks before the judge, no let-offs for your old family friend ties, or special backhander-to-the-judge privileges.
Abolition of Corruption – The politicians and the judges needed to be kept cool, and not be brought down to the level of pornographers and charity-sponges. And we all know those guys suck. Accepting bribes and giving in to certain influences who believed they were “above the law” or some ridiculous, self-righteous shit.
Religious Tolerance – Now this is something we can all dig. No more issues between the protestant state and the Catholics, Jews and assorted religious peeps of England. Something that still allows people to write “Jedi” under religion on the census each year and not get pelted with rotten vegetables in the street (legally, at any rate). By the way, there’s a burgeoning movement to get Dudeism on the UK census in 2011.
They fought for this, on paper and on the battlefield, spreading their doctrine aggressively. Sadly, during the civil wars, it was too much like Nam, with a distinct lack of rules, and no formal avenue of complaint. But their ideals were admirable, even if they were rather undude in their methods, they were fighting for the rights of the Dude. And I hope you’re beginning to see where Dudeists fit in with the idea of levelling, right?
So what does this concept mean to us? No Dude rises above another, man. You may see some people have titles, like The Dudely Lama, and The Archdudeship or such ‘n’ such, and think, hey, those guys are ranked and shit, why not me? Well, those are just handles, man, not marks of authority figures who are gonna boss you about. They have the honor of earning those names through righteous deed and state of being (and being the first to register the name on the website account creation database), but they’re not out to lord it up, far fucking from it. Everybody else gets at the very least the honor of being dubbed a reverend around here, by personal choice, because we’re all equals.
This isn’t animal farm we’re living in here, man, we’ve achieved a social and gender equality by coining the term dude for everyone. The everyman is the everydude! You pick your handle and we’ll respect it. You do the deed you’ll earn a status mark from the Dudely Lama, who’s not so much at the top as in a privileged corner, by my reckoning. I don’t think anyone’s looking to form some sort of authority pyramid around here, just the odd chain of bureaucracy that keeps the system working and puts the organization into organized religion. We’re the sorts to respect a man for what he does, not what it says next to his name on the office phone list.
As Dudeists we all live in our own neighboring bungalows (spiritually speaking). The community is one big fucking public residence and our doors are always open to one another, and those not meaning any specific form of harm. We’re not elitist or exclusionist, we don’t lock our hilltop mansions and erect security fences plastered with “beware of the dog”, “no hawkers” and “trespassers will be fucked up!!” signs. If you don’t come a-stresspassin’, you’re welcome in our home (still spiritually speaking, we lock private residences for a reason).
Why do you think the Dude lives in a bungalow? I mean, yeah, apart from it being the standard domicile of the native Californian. It’s symbolic of the levelling. He’s on the ground, man, and so are all his neighbors, including his landlord.
We all live in metaphysical bungalows, even if some guy decides to build himself a pad hanging off the side of a cliff, or a big fucking mansion on a hill. These people aren’t better than you, they’re just the same as you, only they’re uptight and pissy about the fact they don’t want to be just another human being cruising his way through life at ground level. And as we all know, desire breeds unhappiness, leaving behind the contented man to smile away his days in his recliner.
As Dudes we recognize the equality of man. “So, you’re like the king around here? Far out man, far out. I dig the crown you’re sporting, very regal.” “Thanks Dude, I dig your style too, keep on keeping on.” That’s the conversation you’d hope for, one of mutual respect. But it’s not likely to happen while most people in this world still have a stick jammed up one side of their cleft asshole about their class. Big problem in India still, I’m afraid to say, and across a lot of the world. Jihads in the middle east, tribal wars across Africa, a north-south divide in Korea, the UK now in a four-class social system.
What’s the solution, you ask? Hey, don’t look at me. If I knew the answer I’d be up there accepting a Nobel prize and giving the cash to Amnesty International to carry on the good work keeping people’s universal rights on the level. It’s something we have to work on, and as long as every Dude knows the secret and keeps on spreading it out, we’ll get there.
And what’s our secret? We don’t need war, or aggressive pamphlets, we just need a calm, quiet voice keeping people sane when it all gets too hectic, reminding them that we treat everyone the same, even the fucking rug-pissers. Sure, they may not be housebroken, but they’re not beyond some redemption, right? Surely no one’s in so deep the Dude can’t reach ‘em. Just sit them down, give them a Caucasian and point them in the direction of the little Dude’s room, which, incidentally, is on the same floor as all the other restrooms around here. We’re all privy to the new shit. Am I wrong?
Good article here. I’m always shocked when I hear people state issues such as equality and racism are things of the past. That’s like a recovering alcoholic saying they don’t have a problem with the sauce anymore.
While some may have eradicated equality problems in their own hearts and households, we all know it still exists out there. It’s a daily battle, man. Every day you have to make a point to do good things in the world and be a good dude.
Rev. Ed C says
Well said Chalupa!
Something that gets me is forced equality. It’s a proof that people can’t get their heads around equality when people are still using the “token ethnic” process used in a lot of bygone TV shows in all walks of life. We call that one “positive discrimiation”, where people are forced into places to try and make the numbers equal. That’s not equality, that’s book-balancing accountancy. Real knee-jerk reactionism to political correctness with no thought or feeling for true equality.
Only when people are truely into the whole equality thing, for real, can we move on as a society. Another mission for Dudeism’s own brand of non-preachiness, I think. Lead by example my fellow Dudes.
Great read Dude. I love history in general and knew a little bit about the Levellers from a biography I got of Thomas Paine (lotta people accused him of being a latter-day “Leveller” as a slur), so to read about how it gels with Dudeism was really cool.
My favorite was the beginning of the last paragraph: “And what’s our secret? We don’t need war, or aggressive pamphlets, we just need a calm, quiet voice keeping people sane when it all gets too hectic, reminding them that we treat everyone the same, even the fucking rug-pissers.”
Take it easy, and as it says above, lead by example.
As an aside, the other day when some people tried to convert me to their brand of Baptist (they saw my bumper sticker…), I made sure to tell them I was a Reverend.
Excellent stuff, man. Living as I do in a for-real bungalow, it warms my heart to know that the whole Bungalow Concept has righteous merit in the eye of Dudes.
Rev. Ed C says
Smalls: Glad you’re down with the message, man. I’d like to think if Honest John Lilburn was a man of our time he’d abide with our message, although I think he’d still be a political activist… oh well!
Manny-San: Yeah, my grandmother lives in a Bungalow, and I always liked that, the whole one-level thing. I live in a flat currently, and have done for over five years, but it’s 2nd floor, lots of stairs and strained removal-men’s backs. Many many years ago I decided to design my own house for fun, and made it all one level. All these years on, it makes sense why!
Rev. AF says
I think you are pretty right Rev., when we begin to make distinctions between humans we begin to go down becoming uptight. That’s why I apply just two rules:
1 whatever happens between consenting adults is their business.
2 humans belong to two groups: good (dude) who respect others’ rights and bad who do not(un-dude)
And i have to say that now things are much less complicated. :)
Far out dude.
Yeah, Dudes. Life is really pretty simple when you get right down to it, unless of course we decide to fuck it up. When I bought my little bungalow a few years back all my friends thought I was nuts. ‘Cuz it’s like, really little. But it forced me to discard a lot of detritus. Now I’ve turned it into a quiet little place here in the bayou country of south Louisiana, complete with a rug that, you guessed it, really ties the living room together.
And Rev. AF, I agree whole-heartedly. It’s like I tell the un-Dude ones when they get twisted up, if it ain’t your penis or your anus, it ain’t your business.
my special lady friend and i purchased a 3 bed 1 bath “bungalow” last June and we often get asked about the size… hard to explain to the un-dude that we are choosing to NOT live beyond our means. Sure it’s small, but it’s all we need, dude. Four walls and a roof, you know?
Rev. Ed C says
Well, as the Levellers (yeah, I am talking about the band this time) famously sang:
“There’s only ONE, way of life. And that is your own, that’s your own, that’s your own!”
That’s the anthem of the Dude in the face of the undudely one who’ll try to tell you how to run your life. I think we can all say quite proudly, and honestly “we’re not hurting anyone here, man.”
This was cool, man! The Righteous Dude is all about the merging of Dudeism with other ways of thinking.
Bringing the Levellers (not the band) did have some very Dude goals. Maybe a little reactionary in their methods, but, hey, man, that’s cool. All they needed to do was have a White Russian and maybe a Thai stick and they would be the perfect fit.
We all have rules, and we all have goals. When one cannot find a way to reach a goal and follow the rules, something needs to change. Usually, it’s the rules.
Also, me and The Mrs. Righteous Dude live in a single story, 3 bed 2 bath house. I guess that equates to a bungalow? I only know we are surrounded by huge 2 story homes. And most of them are for sale.
Righteous Dude, you bet that your dwelling equates to a bungalow. It’s just as much about the dudely residents the dwelling contains as it is about the structure. Even more so, if you get right down to it. Keep on abiding.