"Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." ~ Ambrose Bierce
Suggestions for Healthy Living
It's hard not to despair. George W. Bush is a statist thug, a liar, murderer, thief, and coward, and we're either going to get four more years of him, or . . . John Kerry: Another statist thug, with all of Shrub's faults excepting perhaps cowardice. And yet the vast majority of Americans seem blissfully unaware, believing both men, or at least one of the two, to be decent, honest human beings who have the best interests of the nation at heart.
The truth, of course, is that both are typical politicians; i.e. power-hungry, unhealthy men whose greatest skill is delivering snow-jobs to willing journalists, and thus to the American public. What's an aware person to do? The following are some suggestions for healthy living in the face of incipient desperation:
- Don't panic. The world has always been insane. Our ancestors faced all the madness we face today, to be sure without nuclear weapons, but with plenty of lethal threats all around. They somehow survived at least long enough to have children. And, of course, we're all going to die some day. If it's sooner than we'd hoped, that's a shame, but living in constant fear cannot head off our eventual demise, nor guarantee that we'll survive to old age, or without pain.
- Don't capitulate. Don't fall into the trap of thinking, "There's no use resisting, so my only hope is to join the mob." That path leads inexorably to Niem'ller's lament.
- Show courage. I'm not talking about anything extraordinary: If someone holds a gun to your head and says, "Open the safe!" by all means comply. On the other hand, if you're with a group of people who are defending the kleptocracy that America has become, it takes only a small amount of courage to demur, courteously but resolutely. If you're willing to stand for principle in writing (i.e. letters to the editor or columns posted on the web), so much the better. Every voice counts.
- Don't become fanatical. Don't, for example, hate your co-workers because they parrot a Statist mantra. Don't make your entire persona one of opposition to others' politics. Rather, become the voluntary trader you want others to be. In other words, lead by example.
- Don't forget to live. While we are here partially to speak and act against injustice, we are also here to enjoy this life we have been given. Pursue beauty, in whatever form it speaks to you.
- Be discreet. There is a time to flaunt one's opposition to, say, drug laws, with open civil disobedience. Pick that time wisely, and at other times, do what you choose to do carefully, as if eyes were always watching.
- Consider moving. Just as we "vote with our feet" when we encounter a retailer we don't like, so too should evil governments be punished by having their most talented subjects take their skills, and their money, elsewhere. Where? Danged if I know! I'm not much enamored of attempts to pack certain pieces of land by group design; rather, I plan to decide where to live on the basis of my own particular preferences. Certainly, the goal of ceasing to support the monster that the U.S. Federal government has become, is high on my list of priorities.
- Don't look to the government for protection. A disarmed populace is a servile populace. Don't be servile. I would especially like to see women armed, as women tend to think that guns are "icky," yet paradoxically stand most to benefit from the self-protection they provide. But of course guns are for both women and men, and the man, if he is present, is rightly expected to step forth and defend his family when it is necessary to do so.
- Don't join the armed services. By all means defend your country, but not by becoming a puppet to miserable excuses for human beings who dream of empire-building abroad, while they cower behind multiple layers of high-tech barriers at home.
- Don't tell the bastards anything. If government goons get you in their grip, tell them NOTHING. Refuse to give consent to any search, if asked. If you have encrypted files, don't unlock them. Neither confirm nor deny involvement in things they don't appreciate. Many people get into terrible trouble by talking to govgoons. Look at what recently happened to Martha Stewart: She was charged with, and convicted of, not the "crime" of insider trading, but the "crime" of lying about what she had or had not done. Don't help them screw you!
- Speaking of encryption, use PGP to keep your private files private, and to send confidential e-mails. Use Skype to have private conversations with friends and associates over the Internet. What's that, you have nothing to hide? All the better! It makes them crazy wondering, and they deserve to go crazy with anxiety, just as we deserve to speak with friends and lovers without government sickos listening in.
- Don't be afraid to cry; there is much in life to grieve about, and grief is better released than bottled up. Don't be afraid to laugh, for laughter can heal sorrow even as it casts derision upon those who so richly deserve it.
- Keep your good spirit about you. As we shine upon the world, so shall it shine back upon us.