"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
I am known, if I am known at all, for my intermittent and opinionated rants on various liberty-themed websites around the internet. I have of late been writing fewer of my patented ranting essays in favor of the less strenuous frivolity of engaging in internet posting board discussions.
In fact, I seem to have become somewhat detrimentally addicted to this incredibly time consuming activity and have recently grown alarmingly accustomed to reading and/or posting on no less than six or more of these various discussion forums (it all starts with the first little drink, people, and escalates from there! I began by innocently posting occasionally at a single local news group).
This morning I mercifully resolved to wrest myself away from my often-times narcissistic and masturbatory participation and amusement on these boards, to address some of the viewpoints held by those who fancy calling themselves and their philosophies by some of the following names: atheists, anarchists, anarcho-socialists, libertarians, Libertarians, republicans, democrats, constitutionalists, rationalists, utilitarians, paleo-conservatives, Randians, Hoppeans, etc., etc., etc..
I would be decried as utterly hypocritical to deny or disparage any of these various people or factions the right to exercise and hold their own opinions, and rightly so. To the point that any group or individual practices and holds their own beliefs in such a fashion as to afford me the same rights to hold and practice my own, I heartily say, "You go, people!" Whatever floats your boat!
In the interest of clarity, and perhaps, even to speak for the many folks out there like me, non-academicians, most of whom might not have the luxury of spending hour after hour in the largely self-gratifying pursuit of philosophical reflection and exposition, I thank my gracious editor for affording me space to make yet another position statement.
I care not one whit if your beliefs are sane and benevolent, or insane and self-destructive. I care not whether you eat or don't eat certain foodstuffs or substances. If you think you need to consume or avoid consuming tobacco, alcohol, federally approved drugs, or federally prohibited drugs, it's your call.
If you choose to engage or not engage in quirky or unusual recreational and/or sexual activities with one or several consenting partners, you go for it! Should you choose to immolate yourself in the local town square, wrapped in one or more symbolic flags or banners, or climb the nearest mountain and proclaim yourself the next coming of the Holy Christ, I say, "Good on ya, brother!" If you are an avowed racist wishing to shun any other human being of a color you find abhorrent or inferior, or the angelic maximum leader of an all inclusive multi-cultural, multi-racial commune, not a problem.
If you wish to support or give financial aid to any church, charity, or organization which you find meritorious and amenable with your ideals, or if you never even give your own mother one damned red cent, it's strictly your own business.
The list could obviously go on and on, but I hope you see by now where this is all leading. That's right, . . . if you feel the overpowering need to run through the streets in purple polka dots, or maybe buck naked, tripping your ever-loving little balls off and howling at the moon, . . . well, I guess that's just alright with me.
You see, I believe you have to run your own life, and I can't be bothered to do it for you. I'm not trying to be mean here, but I've got my own life to run! The only thing I must remember while I do it is to respect other folks while they're busy running their lives. Simple, really--no scary science or advanced math involved.
Every person must run their own life. It's their job! This used to be called responsibility, and not too awfully long ago, either. It was also generally understood in those times that the exercise of personal responsibility, essentially running your own life, required a modicum of courteous civility when intersecting with the will of other self governing people. Such civility in dealings with other individuals or a larger community of self-governors was a necessary component of reaching some mutually beneficial result in that interaction.
What's the catch? Honesty and integrity were once tacitly acknowledged as the ideal cornerstones of human interaction, and any thing less than a scrupulous adherence to that standard would result in proportionally less satisfactory results. Depending upon the degree to which some less than scrupulous self-governors held to the standards in their interactions with others, they might run the risk of suffering the displeasure of being at best shunned, and at worst, shot. What's to debate?
In conclusion, and to dispel any ill impressions that I may have imbued internet boards with, they certainly have their value. I can state unequivocally and without exaggeration that the boards have saved me hundreds of hours of titillating, but ultimately unsatisfying, hedonistic porn surfing. Also, and equally to internet boards' credit, there is the occasional and fortuitous discovery of other like-minded self-governors, at once inspirational and affirming, as the often isolated modern day self-governor seeks the difficult and dangerous path of self-preservation with integrity in the dizzying swirl of today's collectivist purgatory.
Have a free day!