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With apologies to Van Halen

November 10, 2020

Don’t jump.

That means, don’t jump off the ledge (a point Sarah Hoyt makes very well) because you are so despondent about everything going on with the 2020 election. I agree (which, depending on your perspective, is not that big a deal, given that her blog has, like, a bizillion followers and mine has, uh, less). See, if we become truly despondent, even if we don’t jump from a literal ledge, we can become so convinced that it’s all hopeless that we give up. That’s destructive of liberty, which in my book qualifies as Not Good. Good, in this case, means to keep fighting for liberty. For the entirety of our lives. And to pass it on to our kids so they can do the same. Generation after generation. Forever. Because liberty, you see, is never secure. To grossly and incorrectly paraphrase One who was and is far smarter and wiser than I, “authoritarians and busybodies you will always have with you.” I happen to think the struggle is worth it, including “saddling” my descendants with the same struggle for and defense of liberty.

But wait, there’s more.

In all likelihood, you have encountered references to the effort to list* those who have in some way supported Donald Trump. We find references to not allowing such people to participate in “polite society.” And, of course, the idea that how you handle your disappointment re: the election could be of interest to your employer. Please. Every employer I’ve ever had was concerned with, above all, how well I did my job. I dislike threats, veiled or otherwise. This brings us to another kind of “don’t jump.” See, I’m a suspicious guy. If I were at all interested in discrediting those whose ideology was diametrically opposed to mine, and if reasoned discourse wasn’t working (and reasoned discourse from the Left is both rare and horribly ineffective because the Left’s logic is crap), I might try to get them to do a Bad Thing. To that end, I might say and do things which I could deny were ever intended as a threat (because I’m all about peace and tolerance, you know) but which arguably are a threat. Then, when those I hate decide both they and their country face a clear and immediate threat of destruction and decide to go for the preemptive strike, I can label them as reactionaries and radicals and watch cheerfully as the government does for me that which I could not do. So…

If you’re wondering if we need to do The Thing, my answer is “no,” for a number of reasons. First, I don’t think things are that bad. I mean, yes, they are bad, but not The Thing bad. Second, even if if comes to that, and I am not convinced it will, things like practical politics (which must include public perception) virtually demand that conservatives and libertarians not be the ones to kick it off, if we can at all avoid it (and I think we can and quite easily, actually, and without engaging in the same sort of intellectual dishonesty as the Left). Third, and I will harp on this again and again, stop with any sort of thought which suggests the outcome of The Thing is any sort of foregone conclusion. It’s not and only fools and manipulative ideologues will suggest otherwise. Fourth, and this is another part of practical politics, it is important to remember that The Thing is and would be illegal. Bad illegal. Wind up dead or spending the rest of your life in a hole someplace illegal. So stop being so damn eager to kick off something, especially is there is a reasonable suspicion (and I think there is but see “suspicious guy” above) that those who hate us are trying to manipulate at least some of us into doing a Bad Thing. So, don’t jump. Please. Because once you get into one of those, there’s no going back.

All that said, if you feel you must jump, go for the Van Halen version. I was going to link to it, but…I just can’t (meaning I can listen to the song as long as I don’t have to watch the video. Yeah, I’m old…er).

*FWIW, I don’t know that there is any reasonable set of criteria by which I could be said to have supported Donald Trump. That said, I despise the very idea of anything which approximates an “enemies list.” So, if my support of liberty bothers you that much, feel free to add me to any list(s) you like, you authoritarian s***head(s). I was too young to make Nixon’s list. I might as well go for this one.

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