It’s true. We’re most free when we can just take our freedom for granted.
But you see the problem there, of course. Our not thinking about freedom leaves control freaks free to pursue our enslavement. Then by the time we’re aware of what they’re doing, it may be too late.
In theory, it’s possible to set up bulwarks that operate more-or-less automatically against government-gone-mad (constitutions, decentralized political structures), but in practice few of them work very well or very long.
Now, living an age of despotism whose manic growth we’re compelled to witness during 24/7 news cycles, we have to be on constant watch, right down to a fight-or-flight biological level. Because even if we’ve chosen the course of maximum freedom we still need to know, and move in response to, what’s coming at us.
HOW we move in response is up to our discretion, and I think most of us realize that political action — other than on the most local levels — is just playing the game Our Glorious Rulers want us to play.
Later this year, barring some more dramatic form of manipulation, we’ll cheer as the R-party broom sweeps the D-party dust out of office. Pundits will pund. Hands will be virally wrung. The End of Democracy will come ’round once more. On the winning side, cheers will be cheered. Promises will be promoted. Freedom will be rung. Swamps will be threatened with draining.
And not a damn thing will change. Except a few cosmetics, which the next power turnover will being back.
Still, we will watch the coming turnover and want desperately to be happy about it. Because the alternative is …
Well, the alternative is for us to get, or stay, free of course. We’ve talked about that how many times? But damn, it gets harder by the day.
Ours can’t be the blissful Anarcho-Edenic freedom of never having to think about tyranny, of course. It beats the other alternatives, but we still have to watch the March of Despotism. And war. And economic collapse. And the deadly whipping-up of mobs.
Or perhaps I should say not the march, but the drunken staggering of despotism.
While all despotisms descend from tragedy into absurdity, our despotism has already descended into absurdity on a level never before attempted in the history of humanity.
It’s the CRAZY, people. The Crazy is the latest (and possibly most dangerous) form of despotism we have to watch and work our way around.
You know The Crazy I’m talking about. It takes many forms, but it’s all anti-rational, anti-REAL.
Men can have babies!
Paper masks can withstand viruses!
It’s GOOD and necessary for hired adults secretly to twist the sexual attitudes of five-year-olds!
A government can print money to create prosperity forever!
The president is in full possession of his mental faculties!
Women can have a penis!
Epstein and Maxwell trafficked underage girls … to nobody!
Because some vaccines are useful, this untested vaccine is therefore useful!
Your infant is an oppressor and must bear the guilt forever!
Children not old enough to make decisions about drinking, smoking, piercings, or tattoos are competent to demand that that their bodies be permanently altered!
If I’m vaccinated and you’re not, it’s YOUR fault if I get sick!
Vladimir Putin caused inflation that began a year before he did the thing that supposedly caused the inflation!
A body built with massive quantities of testosterone is exactly equal to a female body!
Patriarchy is the problem! But we want to turn your daughters into men!
Racism is anti-racism!
Be-LEEEEEVE The Holy Science! Without question!
I could go on. But whatever Crazy I write down today will be supplanted by some crazier Crazy tomorrow (until and unless major forces of reality impose sanity). Yep, these are The Crazy Years Heinlein predicted. And they’ve even arrived during his projected time frame.
Maladaptive behaviors are tolerable in individual humans. But when a society and virtually all its institutions, church, state, and private, go nuts … different story.
The thing — as always — is what we, personally, do about it.
We can’t ignore it. But nor can we fling our entire lives at combating it and still consider ourselves free. Voltaire was right about the purposes and effects of this.
I’m going to solicit your views on what we, as individuals and small groups, do about it. But here are a few ideas for starters.
- First, any children that we can get away from the Crazitude, we should get away from it. The worst of the Crazy is aimed at twisting their brains — and will violate their bodies when it gets the chance. Get them out of schools that program, rather than educate. Homeschool. Unschool. Whatever.
- Do your best to limit the kinds of entertainment available to the very youngest.
- Mock. Always mock. Remember that rational argument can’t work on crazy people — but boy, does this particular variety of crazy people hate not being taken seriously.
- Refuse compliance. Don’t go along to get along, whether it be vaccines or office politics or pronouns. The Crazy is their game; you can’t win it by obeying their rules.
- If you have to quit your job to get away from The Crazy, consider that this might just be a hill worth dying on — OR an opportunity to create a new sanity-based career.
- As much as possible, quit buying from corporations that indulge in the Crazy. (Yeah, not always doable, but definitely “do our bestable.”)
- If you must go for political solutions, keep them local. You can overthrow a school board more reliably than you can abolish all government schooling, even though the latter is a worthy goal.
- Start your own school? (Some locals where I live did it, and after 20 years, they’re doing great.) Teach reading, writing, math, basic economics, hands-on work, art, the scientific method, and logic, then let the kids explore.
- Find, form, or acknowledge your own tribe and increasingly move more of your life within it.
- No matter how thick The Crazy gets, keep your head above it. Whether your best tools are intellectual, literary, logical, religious, or other, keep your focus on what makes sense. Eternal verities exist — and can pull the world back together one day.
- Collect and preserve classic movies, art, and literature.
- Keep on mocking. (Yes, this is a duplicate, but it matters.) Laughter and contempt are powerful weapons, especially against those whose entire identity and life purpose depends on having their nutty ideas taken seriously.
The Crazy — and the Crazies — will not win. In the long run, they can’t win because the world operates on realities, and realities always reassert themselves. Kipling knew. Everybody with a grasp of how reality operates knows.
The Crazies can do — and are doing and will do — a whale of a lot of damage in the short run. And the short run could last a painfully long time. They’ll blight a society and perhaps even bring it down. They’ll provoke a backlash that could lead to a Nehemiah Scudder or worse.
Havoc they will create. Suffering they will impose. Confusion they will sew. A million individual tragedies they will have to answer for. Tyranny they are already grimly advancing. But win? No, they will not. Because reality always triumphs in the end. And in that battle the Crazies are by definition on the losing side.
But now … let’s hear your ideas for accelerating their loss while keeping our own (and our children’s) sanity and freedom.