Reject your political party: Conclusion
Reject Your Political Party Series
I just finished a series of extremely bare bones essays on why you should reject your political party, regardless of party affiliation. Now, I present the not-so-epic conclusion to my rants. (If you haven’t read my previous posts, please do so and come back here when you’re done. The links are above.)
What conclusions have I reached?
This exercise has taught me a lot, about history, myself, and other people. I guess the first (and most obvious) fact is that my writing needs some work. (I believe an artist or writer must be his own worst critic, and improvement comes by doing.) In re-reading some of my other essays, I’ve noticed some structural problems and incomplete arguments. So sue me. I may go back and polish, but probably not. There’s a certain honesty in the raw drafts. (A cop out, I know. Again, sue me.)
We don’t understand history
In my research, I learned a lot about American history that public schools do not teach. For example, did you know the city of New Orleans was a military dictatorship after the Civil War? I didn’t. My public school didn’t think that was important. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but that should be for the student to decide, not the bureaucracy at the Department of Education. Even worse, my public school didn’t even teach world history. I had to learn about it in my college art history class, and my learning continues to this day.
A frightening truth that I’ve learned about people (including myself) is that we are extremely ignorant about our own history. Americans are probably most guilty. Freidrich Hegel said it best:
The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. Anyone who doesn’t know a lot of history should probably quietly withdraw themselves from any sort of political discourse. After all, to paraphrase the author of Proverbs, there is nothing new under the sun. All “new” ideas and “progressive” policies have been explored and tried in some form or other in the past. (A good example are the many parallels between the ancient Roman Empire and the current American Empire, from the monetary inflation, to the constant expansion, to the obsession with sporting events.) If you’re unaware of how a policy affected the civilians of the past in a given area, how can you possibly make a good decision about its merits? Most people don’t take the time to research, and they rely on sound bites and lying politicians to make decisions. I am only human, and of course I am often guilty of this very thing.
Consider the Federal Reserve’s current inflationary monetary policy. How many Americans know that the Federal Reserve is the nation’s central bank that controls the money supply? Thanks to the libertarians, and especially Ron Paul, many more do than did ten years ago. But it’s still not enough. Even fewer are probably aware of the damaging effects inflation has caused in history and around the world. I’m thinking of the Roman Empire right before its collapse, Germany during the Weimar Republic, modern day Zimbabwe, and modern day Japan (to a lesser extent). How can you be for or against monetary inflation if you don’t even understand it? A cynical man might say that those in power want to keep the majority of people ignorant so they can rob them with impunity before they even know what’s happening.
Modern Political Discourse is Very Superficial
Another trend I’ve noticed when “debating” others in political matters is that people (again, including me) are very susceptible to falling for confirmation bias. This means that if a study or statistic supports your point of view, you are more likely to accept it. If the opposite is true, you’re more likely to reject it. Everyone does this, whether they are conservatives, progressives, liberals, libertarians, or anywhere in between. I believe this is an evolutionary trait. Long ago, supporting your tribe ensured your survival. Being skeptical of the feared “others” sometimes meant the difference between life and death. Now, thanks to our rapid technological advances and scientific understanding, this isn’t so important. Confirmation bias often makes meaningful debate almost impossible.
In the age of social networking, people like to post snapshots of themselves. I’m referring to snapshots into their psyches as well as literal photographic snapshots. The problem with posting political tidbits on Facebook or Twitter is that you only have room for a declarative statement, no supporting arguments nor debate. Couple that with the inflated egos and fragile feelings of the current generation and you’ve got a recipe for lies, distortions, and nonsense. Have you seen this meme?
What should be immediately apparent is that this is not an argument. (To the author’s credit, it doesn’t claim to be.) The problem, then, is that it creates an unearned association between the progressive movement and “passing opportunities to the next generation” without a valid argument or any reasons. What has the progressive movement done “to pass opportunities to the next generation?” No examples are given. In fact, if one were to study history, he would find that the progressive movement is either responsible for or has supported the following: fiat currency, eugenics, nation building, World Wars I and II, and unsustainable debt. That’s just off the top of my head, and I’d argue these things oppose the interests of the middle class. Yet people who consider themselves progressives and those who are leaning that way will see this and think, “Yeah, that’s right! I do support the middle class, so I must be a progressive!” It’s a case of prejudice reinforcement. To make matters worse, the content is from the “American Voice of Reason”… Declarative statements such as this cannot be considered reason. Reason requires critical thinking, arguments based on facts and observations, and conclusions based on evidence. None of these things are provided here.
This is just one example of the kind of nonsense you’ll see on Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest of the myriad of social networking sites. This is what qualifies as political discourse in our modern sound-bite and slogan society. This is propaganda. No wonder politicians are able to persuade voters to support policies that are against their interests with minimal effort.
Another example of the superficiality and stupidity of modern politics is Mr. Obama’s most recent campaign slogan, “Forward.” In the context of domestic governance and foreign relationships, this means precisely nothing. Does this mean we’re moving forward with plans to keep bombing the Middle East? Does it mean we’re looking forward to a time when the bombing stops? It could legitimately mean either one, depending on the reader’s point of view. It’s a catchy slogan, I guess, but nothing more. I don’t really know how to even criticize this, because it doesn’t mean anything.
I don’t mean to single out progressives or Democrats; all political movements and parties do this. These were just recent and obvious examples that caught my eye on a friend’s news feed.
Partisan Democrats and Republicans HATE libertarians
(Please note that in this section, I am using “libertarian” as an umbrella term to include all groups questioning government power. This includes, but is not limited to, libertarians, anarchists, minarchists, paleoconservatives, and classical liberals.)
The realization that partisans hate libertarians was probably the most disturbing revelation, but in hindsight it should have been obvious to me. Both Democrats and Republicans wish to use the power of the state to control the other side and mold society into their vision of a utopia. They may not agree on specific issues, but they agree on methodology. That the state is a just and necessary organization is taken for granted. Take the two issues of drug prohibition and gun control. In general, Democrats will argue that drug prohibition is immoral or that it doesn’t work, but in the same breath will argue in favor of gun control. The Republicans will take the exact opposite stance. Neither side will recognize both as immoral and impossible. Drugs and guns are extremely common in our society despite the laws prohibiting both. Libertarians are the only people who question the modus operandi, and argue that peace and cooperation are preferable methods of societal organization rather than force and violence. Democrats and Republicans cannot let this argument take root, because it paints them both as supporting a monster. Also, any alternative view is an attack on their perceived power and control, and must be vanquished. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the two major political parties would try to squash any opposition to their duopoly. The libertarian movement is the fastest growing movement, and attracts defectors from both sides, so it is the most clear and present danger to the dominance of the two major parties.
Your typical partisan voter will attack the libertarians for similar reasons. No normal person wants to hear that he’s supporting tyranny or evil. It’s easier to shut out arguments you don’t like rather than face them. It’s easier to call someone crazy than to really reflect and criticize your own beliefs.
Another reason Democrats and Republicans hate libertarians is because people in the liberty movement tend to be pretty outspoken, and often can become annoying and repetitive. I can definitely sympathize with this sentiment, as I have been guilty of trolling the ‘net looking for a fight. It’s not constructive, but for some reason it is hard to resist. On this point, I’ll admit that new methods are needed in the political arena. What those may be, I don’t know. Let the market decide!
What do we (the liberty-minded) do now?
What can the liberty movement do to reach people? The short answer is, “I don’t know.” I’m sorry if you were looking for something profound, but the honest answer is that I do not know. I am only one man. That is the point! The earth has 7 billion human residents, why do we need answers from leaders who don’t know the answer? Every single individual should have the keys to his/her own destiny. We are not pawns on a chess board for politicians and industrialists to manipulate at will. I also do not believe there is only one answer.
The war-making capabilities of modern states are terrifying, so I believe an armed revolution is off the table. Even if it were on the table, those never end well. The victors just become the new oppressors. Think Animal Farm. I think the next revolution must not be one of violent overthrow, but one rising up in people’s hearts and minds. Individuals can be tortured or killed, but ideas are indestructible. As liberty-oriented people, we need to plant seeds of liberty and a better future in people’s minds and to show freedom by living it. Actions speak louder than words, after all. It’s also important that we do not isolate ourselves from the rest of society. How will the message be spread if the liberty people only associate with other liberty people, like some sort of political cult?
I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading these essays and hopefully you’ve gained something from them. As I mentioned in the introduction, my goal was not to attack any particular political philosophy but to explain why I have rejected the political system. I hope I’ve been at least slightly successful in that regard. I’d love to discuss further, send me a message or leave me a comment. Thanks for reading.
Reject Your Political Party Series
A Disclaimer About My Politics
Thanks for reading this post, I hope I challenged you in some way. Agree with me? That’s cool. Disagree? Even better. I’m just a random guy on the internet, voicing his opinion (at the time of writing this blog post – check the date; opinions change as more facts and experience are gathered). But imagine if I had the political power and will to force you to agree with me! That would be terrible, and that’s the point of voluntarism and non-aggression. You should not be forced to agree with me. Please extend me the same courtesy.
“The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’ meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’ meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.” -Larry Hardiman
Political Blog Posts
- The Democrats Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- The Republicans Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- The Libertarians Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- Democracy ≠ Freedom
- I Don’t “Feel the Bern.”
- Confessions of a Public Servant
- Leaders vs. Rulers
- Libertarianism is Better Than Progressivism
- Why I Do Not Vote (And Neither Should You)
- The Traffic Court Swindle
- Top Five Reasons I Don’t Argue Politics on Social Media
- Why Meaningful Debate is Impossible
- Dos and Do Nots for the Liberty Minded
- “There ought to be a law…”
- A Defense of Fugitive Slaves
- Conspiracy Theories are Dumb
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