"And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps." ~ H.L. Mencken
The World of My Time: Insults and Infighting
Column by Alex R. Knight III
Exclusive to STR
Last time here on STR, I thought I had spoke to all of the reasons why I no longer find active promotion of a free society to be in my own personal best interest, but on subsequent reflection, I find that I neglected to address an area that deserves some attention, if only in brief. Consider this an addendum, if you will.
As voluntaryists, we suffer a lot of mud-slinging at the hands of the statist world we are essentially prisoners in. Government-apologists of every persuasion attack not only our ideas, but we personally, virtually every time we speak our minds. In this, Right, Left, and “moderates” unite – as if against a common enemy – to denounce, often with explosive viciousness and vitriol, any suggestion that removal of government aggression from the realm of human interactions might solve quite a number of problems. Never mind that I get a little tired of playing St. John the Baptist in such scenarios – I have to ask myself if it’s really worth it to be immersed in that kind of negativity . . . all in the interest of attempting to educate those who have consciously chosen to remain ineducable. The answer to that, of course, is a resounding No.
It doesn’t end there, however. Among voluntaryists themselves (ourselves?), there is a sufficient amount of bad blood to rival sparring with the statists. Infighting is rampant in libertarian circles – in social media, on message boards, and in person. Look at the accusations of Disloyalty to the Cause which have been heaped upon Stefan Molyneux of late. Jeffrey Tucker has drawn any amount of criticism for various reasons. And I don’t think I even need to elaborate upon how much hate has been generated around all things Chris Cantwell. The list goes on. Perhaps some of these criticisms have merit, and maybe not. Regardless, they are all indicative of a wider phenomenon – one that eats away at this movement like a cancer.
Just myself alone, in the course of making my way through a typical Facebook session (which mainly consists of trying to market my books – social interaction is very secondary and usually occurs when I’m temporarily “stuck” while writing novels) recently, in addition to all the recriminatory jabs from the myriad of committed statists, I was accused by one “voluntaryist” of being a “collectivist” because I remarked that I found most atheists to have a Newtonian conception of the cosmos. In another instance, I was told that the issue of IP, from a voluntaryist perspective, was “settled,” and that any view which deviated from the negative was not only “stupid” but also unacceptable – even when I proffered the following article which posits a contrary view, written by a man who was a voluntaryist long before the critic (who shall remain nameless) was ever even born . . . which said critic then flatly refused to even read. And there were more incidents like these. As there always are. Again, and again, and again.
Bear in mind as well that the tone of these incessant infighters is insulting, arrogant, condescending, self-righteous, intolerant, abusive, and crass. They behave like snotnosed brats for whom the world shall operate one way, and one way alone. They remind me, in truth, of the rash of leftist college students we’ve heard so much about lately, to whom ideas with which they disagree are intolerable, and must be banished at all costs. That this is grossly unproductive goes without saying. That it is all the more so because it is a complete and utter waste of my time and talents brings me back to my prior STRticle, as aforementioned.
Those who have chosen to waste their own lives and time, engrossing themselves in such conflict, and spreading such discord, are welcome to it. I have a life and I intend to live it as fully as I can. As I stated previously, I do not expect to see a free society in my lifetime, but it is not made as free as it can be, regardless, by paying any attention to, or engaging myself in, diatribes and convoluted, pathetic ego-tripping sessions such as are regularly made manifest by those who seem to have little other purpose or enterprise.
Now back to the world. And what actual freedom there is to find.