This story however underscores a lot of the frustration I have been feeling towards political acceptance in this country, again not so much from application, but from a philosophical desire to communicate with those that are of like mind. Before you cringe at my perceived desire for conformity I must say that a propensity for acceptance is quintessentially human. We want to be accepted by our friends, co-workers and family and be accepted based on who we are and what we believe. I would argue it is an established fact that those who do not wish to accept you for being 'you' are the ones to blame and not the other way around, often this measurement stick is used to judge the quality of friendship and other meaningful relationships.
As I wrote a few weeks ago I feel alone in the American political wilderness. Of course the conclusion was a bit hyperbolic as I personally know several people who happen to share my exact feelings, frustrations and ideas. However t in terms of belonging to any particular denomination the proposition is dicey at best. Everyone can be grouped by certain principles and ideas, despite the many who claim unadulterated independence the vast majority simply belong. In fact unless you are developing the next Praxeology or Objectivist philosophy you have taken your ideas from someone before you, and there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever. I digress, this is not about the merits of independence, but rather a story about the inability of conformity. Myself, I am economically Austrian, politically Jeffersonian and morally Randian. That combination does not make me unique, just a giant pain in the ass. In fact, I had no idea about my Randian morality whatsoever and always believed that my agnostic beliefs and value systems were uniquely mine, but in fact they were not. Others I learned, they made the most logical sense to me and are now shaping my ideas, thoughts and actions.
In my quest to become better informed, more knowledgeable and understand the world around me my group membership evolved, not officially, but noticeably. My early years were best described as moderate, although I remember being very proud to sit at the "Dukakis table" in elementary school. Moderates and moderation as I found out was just a secret word for ignorant. It is a cowardly position assumed by anyone who is not knowledgeable enough to take a stance and defend their position regardless of how popular or unpopular it may be in certain circles. Nothing shields one better from scrutiny as the word 'moderate' and after carrying that moniker with me for years it finally began to come off. Because our society does not like people with opinions, strong positions or a working thought process I became radicalized. It should be humorous to anyone reading this that the thought of becoming more educated is the equivalent of becoming radical. To me, Islamists willing to kill themselves for religion is radical. Believing that our Government is incapable of running a complicated "retirement" policy that is no more than a glorified Ponzi Scheme is neither radical nor moderate, but simply an embrace of reality. One man's reality, another man's extremist war on their beliefs, right? Not exactly. While certainly true that fellow Islamists see it a noble cause to die in the name of Allah - it requires little convincing that suicide and murder hardly resembles rational behavior. Where on the other hand criticizing Social System as it fails basic mathematical principles should be digestible even to the simplest of humans, regardless of how one handles the "old person problem".
So my journey has taken me through my affiliation with the Republican party, Reagonomics, supply-side economics, Chicago school of economics, conservatism and finally onto the most logical place in the journey - strict Constitutionalism and the Austrian school, most often subscribed to by Libertarians. I am convinced that anyone who truly wants to understand how some parts of how society works and functions, then the answers lie in the great advancements put forth by people like Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, Bastiat, Hazlitt, Sowell and Friedman. All have built on each other and have reached certain undeniable and fundamental truths, truths that cannot be argued with and cannot be disputed. Just like you cannot argue that a stone sinks in water, that the sun provides energy or that gravity makes an apple fall from the tree. These are the truths on which our human action must be based on, these are the truths that recognize without a shadow of a doubt the absolutely necessity of private property, trade, pacifism and a sound medium of exchange. Without these truths all other theories, ideas and approaches crumble like a skyscraper built on a fault line.
The truth shall set you free and regardless of political affiliation one always claims to be the messenger of truth. Socialists believe their truth lies in a collective, conservatives in a government that enforces morality and libertarians in the Constitution and sound economic policy. Each group is convinced that they know the truth and if only their message is heard then the world can finally come together and begin to heal. Because my own truth overlaps with that of the libertarian group, it is only logical that I affiliate with them and stand proud when this variety of truth is disseminated. I recognize the fallacy of my own idealism, but the maximum capacity of my logical ability suggests that based on the information I have gathered the "truth" that I preach is correct. I also recognize that not each preacher of their "truth" is acting in their own maximum logical capacity and so it is a justifiable action on my behalf to attempt to influence their reasoning and their maximum capacity. This involvement and interference is selfish, for nobody wants their mind to be influenced by outside forces - especially forces that they recognize as preaching a "truth" alternate to their own. However it would be equally irresponsible for me to have discovered what I find to be the fundamental truth and not attempt to spread it in the attempt to better my own self. For I am convinced that if a society embraced the principles of private property, trade, pacifism and sound medium of exchange then we would all prosper, including myself.
My political involvement reached a feverish peach around 2009 during a highly profiled US Senate run between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley. I remember feeling very frustrated with Brown's positions and voting history and wrote about it frequently. What increased my involvement was a third party candidate by the name of Joe Kennedy who spoke my brand of truth. The very first piece on the subject I penned was a combination of political impracticality with my philosophy on voting as a function of the free market. That impracticality got me banned from FreeRepublic permanently and mountains of vitriolic hate directed at me through all media formats. I created comparison pages like this table here, that Joe Kennedy used on his website and published an interview with the candidate himself. As I promoted the material I got banned from several Tea Party forums and as it turned out much later, because a persona non grata at RedMassGroup. This was all perfectly fine to me as the Republican party showed itself to be utterly incapable of thought and had the moral, logical and economic foundation of a porta potty. I am most proud of analyzing a potential Brown victory and concluding through logic that his victory would fail to prevent ObamaCare.
The end result was predictable, but I walked away with some new friends and believed that if I converted some votes to Joe Kennedy that it was worth the effort. Although I did not keep in touch with Joe, I followed some of his posts on FaceBook. This is where our story concludes. You see, despite my affinity for the libertarian group there has been a particular brand of libertarianism that never quite appealed to me, this group can be best described as the Paulbots - but their existence predates him most likely. My thoughts on the matter can be found in the post: Ron Paul supporters: a blessing or a curse? Needless to say, that did not win me many friends in the very group that I believed to belong to. Unfortunately just like I cannot in good conscience allow socialists and conservatives to preach their flawed brand of the truth, neither can I allow the libertarians to do the same if they have steered away from the fundamentals. The most puzzling paradox of the entire situation is the manner in which these folks spread their message, it is under the guise of truth. As in, that is precisely the rhetoric employed and so one would naturally assume that those constantly talking about the truth will generally possess it. Yet reality suggests otherwise. Instead of truth; theories shrouded in speculation, rumors and beliefs are cultivated and spread through the community like wildfire. Incidentally the truth is always the dissenting position of the accepted conventional wisdom, as if the mere position against the majority immediately qualifies as the truth. If it made political sense this group would argue that the sun is not the center of the universe, just by the very virtue of it being the minority position.
This way they delude themselves into believing that their truth is righteous as they belong to a minority and that their thinking is correct for it rejects convention. In the process they discard all accepted principles, approaches and even logic in order to justify their position.
And so it was this very action of truth that brings us to my story. Joe uses his Facebook as his primary soapbox, a perfectly fine tool for spreading one's opinion. He often complains how difficult it is to argue and discuss with Obama/Romney supporters and how they react to him rudely and brashly, often unfriending or blocking him in the process. My own experience confirms this as I have been unfriended and blocked by liberals, conservatives and libertarians usually in a flurry of mockery, insults and general nonsense. A few days ago some of the posters Joe was posting smacked of Trutherism, a most ridiculous and intellectually dishonest movement. Of course one knows better than to argue with a cultist acolyte, particularly because they have just enough reasonable doubt to make arguing a futility in exercise. This "evidence" is the equivalent of a believer in God asking "where did space come from" to prove the existence of God. You cannot disprove it and so they remain convinced of their truth. However two days later, Joe posted a popular picture of JFK with the quote:
"“There’s a plot in this country to enslave every man, woman, and child. Before I leave this high and noble office, I intend to expose this plot.” -President John F. Kennedy 7 days before his assassination"
This is a favorite of those who believe in the international banking cabal and insist that this quote proves JFK was murdered by the bankers. A nice story, except for two problems. First, JFK never said that, in fact he never even came close to saying that. Whenever JFK did mention the word conspiracy in his speeches, it always referenced Communism a threat that made perfect sense if one knows anything about JFK and his struggles. Second, even if the JFK assassination is shrouded in mystery the evidence to suggest a banking cartel as the mastermind behind the murder is entirely missing. To take this fake quote and use that as evidence of a secret banking organization is an insult to every thinking human being. Yet there it was, prominently displayed on the FaceBook page of a former candidate to the US Senate. However being caught up propaganda is easy and everyone makes mistakes, so I was forced to point out to Joe that his quest for truth was entirely incompatible with the dissemination of baseless propaganda that basic research can debunk in all of ten minutes. After ignoring me for two days, the conversation ensued and since I have seen this play out several times before decided to capture it. Here it is (some of it got cut off):
Within a span of several minutes, the candidate for whom I fought and voted for and then was banned, criticized and ridiculed for - deleted the conversation and unfriended me. This is the end of story.