May 252018

This is a follow-up to my last post about Flee, My Pretty One. As might be apparent from some of my writings, I used to be far more leftist. As a younger man, I was ready for the revolution. In large part I think it’s just plain hormonal, I’m quite a bio-determinist when it comes to personality. But in part it was also because I just didn’t have much to lose.  When you’re already at the bottom things can’t really get worse, right? As a kid I had nothing except rage, so what did I care? Burn it all, start over, at least this way there’s a chance things will be better. Now that I have well over a decade of labor stored up in the form of property and savings and obligations from the govt, I’m much less excited about razing the world. Like, hey, some of that stuff that’s gonna be razed is my stuff! Can we implement change without incinerating all my stuff? That stuff is years of my life…

But I still understand the urgency needed, the screams that change cannot wait. How many tens of thousands of lives are we willing to sacrifice while we slowly increment our way to a new system? How many who didn’t have to die? But there’s also the realization now that unless things are carefully planned and go slowly, the result of burning it all down is often worse that the previous status quo.

Or at least, worse for those with something to lose. When you’re being killed by the system, anything is appropriate. Everyone has a right to self-defense.

But I’m not being killed by the system, and neither are most people (I think). So it feels like sacrificing the many to maybe save a few. Not a bright idea. OTOH, are you willing to live in Omelas? And all that results in a lot  of angst and self-hate, and that’s how we get art, right?

My drift greyward has been helped along by the fact that I’ve always had friends across the political spectrum. And for some time I was one of the most-left people in my circles. It did suck leaving that identity behind. I think what sucked most is that the community I have now is more like a group of friends and other real people. As opposed to what I had then, which was an ideology. A movement, full of fire and passion, which provided instant connection and relatability with everyone else within it. We hated the same things, loved the same stuff, had the same outlook. Now everyone I know is a unique and complicated person and I have to go through a lot of work to get to know them and fit them into my life. It was so much easier, and more fun, when things were straightforward and passionate. People sometimes accuse rationalists of being akin to a religion/cult, but this is a well-grounded community, and isn’t even 1/5th as religion-like as the leftist movement was when I was in it. I miss that. :/ But now that I’m no longer a child I must put away childish things, etc etc

It’s harder to be friends with leftists nowadays, because it’s tough to relate when you can see the Crazy. We’re still friends, but there’s a bit more distance, it takes more effort.

I still remember that anger though, and I still identify with it. Sometimes. When no one else is watching.

  2 Responses to “The Drift Away From Revolution”

  1. Late to reply on this one. But I would be interested in you discussing the topic further.

    I can’t really picture a topic where skewing conservative gets you a more rational view? Gun control? Healthcare? Unions?

    • I’m not sure how much we’d have to talk about, because I skew liberal on just about everything. I’ve stepped away from the Leftists, not the liberals. But I’ll do my best to engage on the topics you listed, and maybe we can find where our differences lie?

      Gun Control – People should be held at least partly responsible for any crimes committed with their guns. All guns and gun-owners should be registered. The fear-mongering about assault weapons is mostly lunacy meant to whip the ignorant into a frenzy. You’re as likely to die in a mass shooting as in a terrorist event, most gun homicides are committed with handguns between parties who know each other, and gun laws should be informed by this. Owning a gun reduces your life expectancy. Removing guns from private ownership in the US is currently impossible.

      Healthcare – the US healthcare system is a travesty, and basic healthcare should be provided as a free tax-supported service to all citizens. This would also help the economy, as people wouldn’t be chained to shit jobs (as much). Also, no one ever needs a prescription for anything aside from anti-biotics.

      Unions – I have the least opinion on this topic. People should be free to unionize and collectively bargain. Employers should be free to hire or fire people for business-relevant reasons. People shouldn’t use physical violence as a tool in any of this. But none of these “shoulds” seem to work in practice, so, shit, I don’t know man.

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