As everything unfolds and I keep learning more, I find more reasons to lose faith in my prior liberal political positions. So, I’m going to try to keep this focused on why I’m not a Liberal anymore by explaining the reasons I abandoned the left’s ideology in the first place and found that being a Libertarian makes sense to me.
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
Let me first begin by saying, I was wrong about what I thought to be right and true. I could go on about how movies, music, news, and schooling had manipulated me into having such a socially skewed view of the world that I believed it was not only possible but necessary to be equal. Equality meaning all people would have the same opportunities to achieve happiness and success. Of course, the level of equality has not been defined so I assumed food, water, shelter, enough money to ‘live’, and the ability to walk through the world without being in danger because of who they are or what they look like. But, in all honesty, it would have been up to whoever was in control of implementing it and I would have found a way to justify it.
Regardless of all of those things having an effect, I still take responsibility for being wrong and not educating myself enough in history or politics. Because of that and being genuinely horrified at the way this country could go, I have to share my opinions. I have no choice.
“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
My journey out of liberalism started right after the election results. I reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton after failed attempts to find even a slither of reason to vote for Trump. (It was always, Vote Trump because he’s not Hillary and vice versa.) I talked to friends and acquaintances who were voting for him, did Google searches, read forums, and looked at his policies right on the website with no luck. I didn’t read the WikiLeaks, but read articles summarizing some of what was in there. When I look back on it, I’m ashamed at what I didn’t research more and what I just accepted as fact. But I know why and how I got to that place.
I remember the Ron Paul ‘Revolution’ back in the day and I was on board from the moment I read what he stood for. It made sense. Smaller government, fewer taxes, gun rights, and the importance of civil liberties. Maybe dabbling in conspiracy theories when I was younger could have contributed to my lack of trust in government. But really, it’s about not giving any one entity or person the type of power you wouldn’t give someone else.
I don’t think power and money equal evil but I do think there is a shift that happens when you gain even a little bit of power. Depending on your life experience, insecurities, and how you handle pressure and fame, it could go either way. Maybe the same person that got a promotion at your job who acts like a dick now, would ruin civilizations. Or maybe they would understand the gravity of the position they hold and make the right choices. I wasn’t sure and I’m still not. But even if we had a bigger government and completely trusted the people in office, that power would have to shift hands eventually and we would have to place the same amount of trust in the new batch. It always seemed like a bad idea.
My level of trust in government shouldn’t exceed the level of trust I have to have in other people. I like people but my life, finances, or well-being shouldn’t depend on them. I was always okay with roughing it if it meant I could support myself. How can I expect someone else to depend on me for any reason or consider me trustworthy if I can’t depend on myself?
“I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights.”
People are passionate and we should be. When I care about something, I care deeply and if I see injustice or mistreatment happening I want to do something about it. If that’s not etched in human DNA somewhere, it’s learned by experiencing it on some level. But we just as easily push it aside to move forward in our own lives. You don’t give money to every homeless person you see, you don’t adopt every dog at the shelter, you won’t help someone who keeps getting themselves in the same situation, and you weigh out how much you’re willing to put yourself out there for someone who’s being hurt on a scale of ‘will I get killed?’ to ‘they’re going to be okay without my help’.
I also try to consider whether my actions will do more harm than good based on how much I’m actually able to affect the situation and how much I know or don’t know what’s going on. Then, there’s that feeling of being uncomfortable and awkward when speaking up or taking action which I’m sure would depend on of how much you’ve done it before or have seen other people do it. We’re also worried about being manipulated into fighting other battles or being involved in a much larger plan we know nothing about, thinking we’re doing the right thing and finding out we were wrong. We feel a certain level of pride when we’re helping and we can’t deny that, which could get out of hand, too. But that doesn’t, and shouldn’t stop us from making a positive change in someone’s life or society as a whole.
We all care. We care about different things just like we’re talented in different areas. That’s how we accomplish anything. It’s impossible to care deeply about every issue. I’ll never know what it’s like to be in all situations so I’ll never have the capacity to feel the way someone else feels about it. But does that mean I shouldn’t get involved? Maybe. Or maybe I’ll be able to contribute in another way.
“The very power of [textbook writers] depends on the fact that they are dealing with a boy: a boy who thinks he is ‘doing’ his ‘English prep’ and has no notion that ethics, theology, and politics are all at stake. It is not a theory they put into his mind, but an assumption, which ten years hence, its origin forgotten and its presence unconscious, will condition him to take one side in a controversy which he has never recognized as a controversy at all.”
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
These are some thoughts that pop up in my head. I tend to overthink things sometimes but I’ve always thought it’s better than running on pure emotion and being reactionary. I always liked to think of myself as a critical thinker that ‘questions everything’ but got lost in questioning, finding new information, thinking maybe it’s true or maybe it isn’t, and getting stuck there.
My lack of trust has gotten me away from harmful situations, people, and mindsets so I’ve come to rely on, and even trust my lack of trust as a survival mechanism. I had the same opinion about government. No trust, they’re all bad anyway, nothing makes a difference. It seems like an anarchical and/or logical stance to have based on what I’ve seen in the past, on certain issues. But that mindset let in an established way of thinking that I wasn’t aware of.
I didn’t think I was getting involved in politics. For me, and a lot of other people, I was appalled that these obvious social issues, had to be brought up or voted on at all. But if they had to, let’s get it done quick so we can move on to the important things this country needs to focus on. So you can imagine my distress when so many people wanted to slow the ‘progress’ down. I thought, ‘Why don’t they care?’ ‘Don’t they see this is important?’ ‘The sooner we take care of this, the sooner we can live cohesively and work together.’
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