Saturday, August 19, 2023

Running others' lives wrong choice

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for July 16, 2023)

You've probably been told you should try to make a difference in the world. This is stated, especially to the young, as if it were undeniably true. Who pauses to clarify that it's vital to make the right difference?

Before you try to make a difference you need to think about whether the difference you want to make would be helpful.

Every mass-murdering head of state has unquestionably made a difference. Millions dead, and millions more enslaved to an authoritarian government isn't a difference I endorse.

Few people get into politics intending to make things worse. The problem is, politics makes people worse.

Getting into politics changes good people into bad people. I would never encourage anyone I respected or liked to run for office. A person's ethical core is destroyed by governing others. You won't clean up sewage by pouring a bucket of clean water into it.

Author J.R.R. Tolkien observed, “The most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” Getting involved in politics is the fastest way to turn a saint into a demon.

Similarly, I don't encourage people to vote because voting won't make a positive difference, either; it isn't allowed to. At best the election swaps out one monster for a different monster. Anything which would make a positive difference isn't allowed on the ballot. This is why "None of the above-- abolish the office" isn't the default option at the top of every ballot.

Maybe you suppose I'm promoting apathy. Not at all, although setting out to make a political difference is often worse in the long run. Sometimes making a difference is worse than doing nothing at all.

Apathetic people, by definition, don't seek to make a difference. You may blame them for sitting by while passionate people make terrible differences, but if so you'd be blaming the wrong people.

Passionate people, when they are passionate about imposing their will on everyone else through government and legislation, are far worse for society than apathetic people. The world would be a better place if those who want to make a difference by ruling others would adopt a little apathy instead. Running other people's lives is never the right difference to make.
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One of the finest explanations of liberty

Soon after I first discovered the liberty community, I ran across this video, posted by someone somewhere as a tribute to the artist who had just died. 

It embedded itself deeply into my mind. 

It's one of the best explanations of liberty and self-ownership I've ever run across. Even to this day. It gets the point across in a simple way. I've never seen anyone able to refute it with counterarguments, no matter how they try. It just is.

Yes, the animation and music are dated now. I've seen updated versions, but this is still my favorite just because it's the one I first encountered.

I'm sure you've seen it before, but enjoy it again.


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