Billy Beck touches on a very sore point of mine:
It’s pretty goddamned easy to sit around and dismiss the crimes committed by government against others as “minor injustices”.
Although plenty of folks do it, all the damned time. I’ll tell you what though: there’s nothing like getting an up close and personal look at the business end of “law enforcement” for peacefully going about your own affairs to radicalize the hell out of you. “Minor injustices” – to whom?
Get this: you don’t get to tell me how much freedom I can bloody well do without.
…then collective politics might work.
In “The case for studying military history” Martin McPhillips writes:
In other words, if Americans knew more about how warfare works, they would be less susceptible to the hysteria of bloviating nitwits like Ted Kennedy and Michael Moore.
My first full-scale experience with military history was Victor Davis Hanson’s Carnage and Culture, and it effected a complete change in the way I view all of history.
That might be a case for wishing Americans studied history more, but how is it a case for the individual American to study more history?
Q: Who gets a better government – the credulous fan of Michael Moore or the serious student of Victor Davis Hanson?
A: They both get the same government.
McPhillips can study history till the cows come home and his senators will still be Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. So where is the political return on effort invested by the individual?
Beck cites George Santayana:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
To which I add:
“Those who can remember the past are just as condemned, in collective politics, to repeat it.”
Moore, Hanson and the perfect political philosopher are all condemned to the same collective political results regardless of who is wiser. Collective politics decisively favors vice over virtue. It offers negligible returns on individual investments of virtue, but lucrative returns on vice.
I’m certainly not saying that the individual ought not pursue truth. I’m saying that a proper case for pursuing truth cannot be based on collective political consequences.
Today’s inauguration seems a bit superfluous, doesn’t it? It’s all over the news, people are blogging about it, talking about it around me here at work, having parties and protests about it, and it just seems plain silly. I mean, nothing’s really changing. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the same person is ultimately responsible for deciding how I will plan financially for my future, educate my children, defend my home, earn a decent living, and help family, friends, and neighbors in need. Luckily, the most qualified candidate has the job.
That would be me.
In watching The Edge today, I was struck by a crystal clear lesson in values the film delivers. The Edge centers on the interplay between two characters. Anthony Hopkins plays Charles, a man who lives by producing value through the application of reason. Alex Baldwin plays Bob, a human predator. The plot is simple. Bob plans to kill Charles and take his wife and his wealth, but before he can kill Charles a plane crash leaves them stranded in the wilderness together.
It quickly becomes clear that Charles’s rational judgment is the only thing keeping the two of them alive. Bob can’t even consider killing Charles in the wilderness because Bob can’t imagine how to survive on his own.
The lesson I’m pointing out comes at the end of the film. It has been clearly demonstrated that Charles’s judgment can keep Bob alive while Bob’s own judgment (such as it is) won’t. Yet given the choice Bob would still prefer Charles’s money and his plane and his wife over Charles’s judgment. Bob would rather just have the plane than improve his own judgment.
And that’s Bob’s horrifying mistake. He can and does prefer the rich man’s plane to better judgment, but his experiences have plainly demonstrated that better judgment would be better for him than the plane. He fails to recognize that there are higher values than the ones he can steal.
Park illegally. Smoke a joint. Drain a swamp. Sell something for cash. Buy something for cash. Don’t report income. Submit false census data. Buy an unregistered gun. Sell an unregistered gun. Don’t license your dog or cat. Piss on your own front lawn. Praise Jesus in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic. Praise free speech on any campus. Ice a terminally-ill relative who begs to die. Marry the person you love without getting a marriage certificate. Blow up a cactus. Chainsaw a really old tree on your property. Encrypt anything. Tune your car so that it sucks gas and kicks ass. Find a Saturday Night Special Assault Rifle and load it with Cop Killer Bullets, then use it to pop an endangered bunny twixt his soft, fuzzy ears. Fuck somebody who wants to fuck you in a nasty, illegal way. Peel out at a red light. Bet on something with someone. Write an email using the terms “auto sear” and “detonator”. Burn something without a permit. Drive uninsured while talking on your cellphone. Hoard bullets and good pornography. Light a Marlboro in the mall.
God damn it, stop reading and moaning, go out and fucking do something outside the cattle car-shaped box.