… because I’ve been dismayed by the number of people, even here, who’ve begun substituting hostility, authoritarianism, and non-sequiturs for actual thought and discussion.
There’s no point talking to people who are driven by propaganda, fear, or rage. All you can do — at least all I can do — is wait it out.
This, the Time of Covid, is exactly like the months after 9/11.
As then, some of the fearful and propagandized will be permanently changed and will drift into new philosophical or political realms where they’ll remain. They may give up philosophy or skepticism altogether in favor of safe conformity to the norm of the moment. Others will eventually look back with regret on the way they allowed themselves to be manipulated and the way they chose to behave. But by then it’s too late.
I am not talking about disagreement on issues. Disagreement is healthy. I’m talking about (for example) being asked to provide evidence for your positions and, instead, responding with insults, name calling, bizarre changes of subject, or even threats to physically attack those whose choices or viewpoints you disagree with. Worse, I’m talking about people who know better reacting in these ignoble ways.
The one good thing about times like this is you learn who the real solid people are — the people you can count on to retain their character and their brains no matter how the outside world pushes and tugs at them. Unfortunately, the middle of a crisis (or a “crisis”) is a crappy time to have to figure out who your friends are.
I’ve been trying to come up with a bon mot of sorts based on an old political saying. The original goes, “A conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. A liberal is a conservative who’s gone to prison.”
I want to add, “A libertarian is a libertarian who’s survived a crisis with principles intact.” But the friend I ran that by say’s it’s nowhere near witty enough. So if you’re interested, I leave you to come up with something better.
Meantime, I’ve been living in the real world and it’s been pleasant there.
I’ve been learning more about wines, thanks to a charming friend.
I learned to make a Margarita the real way, sans sickeningly sweet mixes. The friend who taught me even provided the necessary tools and supplies. The glass, of course, came from a thrift store, as so many good things do:
(And no, BTW, I didn’t drink either wine or Margaritas before writing this.)
The Amazing Sedums on the new rock wall — which two months ago were producing brilliant arrays of green, yellow, and deep red — have decided now to spring forth with glorious purples:
I’ve been enjoying good food, even better company, and that part of the outdoors that finally contains some sun and not so many mosquitos.
I’ve been working my arse off on real stuff, going real places, and socializing with real people. I bless all the steadfast friends of freedom, reason, and civility, both real and “imaginary” (i.e. online). I’m proud to know you.
And frankly, I increasingly give absolutely zero effs about everybody else.