For the past several months, I’ve pretty much tuned out of politics. And it’s been glorious. It made me realize that for all the sound and the fury in the media, politics doesn’t really affect the vast majority of people in any meaningful way on a daily basis, aside from those greedy thieves at the IRS taking money out of my paycheck!
As John Stossel recently said: “after years of reporting, I’ve concluded that most politicians have little to say that’s interesting, and many are craven opportunists, desperate to rule over others. When we have a choice, Americans ignore politicians. That’s usually a good thing.”
I realize though that politics does affect us all in many, unseen, often insidious ways. Indeed, many libertarians are libertarians precisely because they have come to appreciate how the many invisible tentacles of the government can poison so many things. That, however, is less politics than it is government. The politics of an election–the day to day shitshow of politicians spouting lies, nonsense, and empty nothings The People want to hear and find comforting (“Build a wall”, “The 1%!”, etc.)–are entirely stupid, pointless, and worth ignoring, I’ve concluded. Elections are decided by idiots, and politicians pander to the lowest common denominator (something not reflected in the media coverage of elections, yet further reason to ignore the shitshow).
Indeed, if anything, the American people have it backwards: the majority of citizens only pay attention to politics and politicians when the politicians are running in elections, when we should actually pay attention to politicians when they aren’t running for office and are actually in power!
Of course, there is something inherent in my constitution that makes it impossible for me to entirely ignore politics, but ever since Donald Trump secured the GOP nomination–really, ever since I realized his triumph was inevitable–I decided I just didn’t care anymore.
When our “choices” are a lying crook and a con artist who clearly has no idea what he is talking about–and by the way, neither candidate says anything of substance or with a morsel of honesty–why bother? Why bother paying attention to an election that would be a tragedy if it weren’t a farce.
But the other day I had a ‘moment of clarity’. Despite all the doom and gloom–and it is very easy to think that “if my side loses, it’s the end of the world”, or indeed “no matter who wins, it’s the end of the world”–the Republic will endure.
The next 4 years will be a setback for the Liberty Movement–there is no avoiding that now, unless by some miracle Gary Johnson becomes president (and even that is no guarantee of success). In particular, the Supreme Court may be tipped towards the Statist end of the spectrum for a decade or two or three, as well as the judiciary in general.
This is depressing to me, and it will make our future work harder. Nevertheless, our work to advance liberty, preserve the Constitution, and restore freedom will continue, and the Republic will endure.
We will carry on as we always have: agitating for more freedom, protesting those who would deprive us of our liberties, and spreading the Gospel, as it were. This has long been a tiresome crusade bearing little fruit, but just as those who came before us carried on, despite their apparent lack of success, so we will too.
Our efforts are not in vain. Despite the abysmal choice we have before us this November, in the next 4 years good things may still occur. I think there is actually a decent chance marijuana will become fully legal in all 50 states; certainly it will become legal in more and more states as voters get the chance to decide for themselves. We may possibly see a slackening in the “war” on drugs. We may perhaps see a curtailment in America’s involvement in foreign affairs (though I suspect this will not happen, and our foreign policy will continue to be an overextended, incoherent mess, and may very well get worse). We may see an expansion of gun rights at the state level (Missouri just passed Constitutional Carry, overcoming a governor’s veto!). We may perhaps see market reforms in the healthcare sector, or deregulation of other parts of the economy. And we will all continue to reap the benefits of free markets where they exist. Perhaps most notably, energy will continue to be cheap thanks to the shale oil revolution and our transportation will continue to be provided by Uber and Lyft–the result of market competition, innovation, and free individuals making voluntary exchange!
And perhaps, as more and more Americans come to appreciate the benefits of free markets and de-regulation, the Word of Liberty will become more appealing.
Our Republic has withstood a Civil War, insurrections, depressions, two world wars, and plenty of bad presidents. The next 4 years won’t be pretty, and they will retard the cause of Freedom (remember: eternal vigilance), but they will hardly be the deathknell of the Great American Experiment.