Why am I writing this?
I’ve been glancing over some of my old posts, and I can’t escape the sense that – this isn’t me. Oh, they’re my beliefs, yes, absolutely, but – this isn’t my voice. Why does this space exist? These essays haven’t been particularly funny, or interesting. The only reason I can find so far is to provide a kind of affirmation for people who already think the same things I do, and if that’s the case, that’s truly unpleasantly self-congratulatory.
9-11 affected me profoundly. Not just because of the carnage, and the loss of life – although that was terrible – but because in the face of that carnage, I thought I saw something I recognized – that black thing in my own mind that drives me from one self-destructive behavior to another, that nihilism, that entropy, that anger, and in the men who organized such destruction I saw men who had ceased to resist, who had given themselves over to that same force, and I know, I know how easy it would be to surrender myself to that desire to destroy myself and everything around me...
...and I think – although I wasn’t able to articulate this until much later – that it was in that moment that I became viscerally conscious of evil as an external force, rather than as a solely internal one. I can’t condone the actions of suicide bombers. But if, say, somebody murdered my entire family, and then told me that I could lash out at that person at the expense of my own life...
...I’d like to think that I would take the moral high ground. But I wonder how many of us, facing the true terror of sincere self-knowledge, would choose to walk away.
“...we had it all
we could have lived forever
but there was something in us
that we could not help
which just wanted everything to die.”
“...we had it all
So I wonder –ranting and railing in a space like this – is it truly productive? Or is it just one more way of feeding that destructive rage, that blackness in my mind, that blackness in the world?
My last show featured a running gag in which my character would step up onto a soapbox and unleash a series of explosive rants. They were intended to be comic, but frequently not received as such. I recall one performance in particular, in which I paused to take a breath – and become aware of dead silence in the room. For a picosecond, I panicked. As a performer who’s used to playing for laughs, the instinct is to regard silence as deadly. But I quickly realized that, no, they weren’t bored – there were *listening*.
The sensation was an intoxicating one. And I can easily see how it becomes so fatally addictive to political figures.
After all, all bloggers secretly believe that we’re Thomas Paine.
The ultimate figure out libertarian heroism, to me, is not John Galt, but Adrian Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective of the titular television series. (Try saying that ten times fast. Alliteration, my most reliable companion thou art...) Taking to heart the axiom “A weakness is a strength misapplied,” this man, who would be dismissed – and frequently is, much to his enemies’ regret – as a mental cripple by those surrounding him, examined his particular gifts and was able to transform himself into a powerful force for good.
Not in an act of selfishness, as Ayn Rand might claim, but in an act of self-actualization. This, perhaps, is where I differ from many libertarians – in my belief that we exist to serve. Not to serve our governments – but to serve each other, as individuals.I think that the ability to write satire requires not so much cynicism (contrary to popular belief) – but a truly unique idealism – idealism enough to imagine a better world, and rage at the discrepancy between that world and this one. It is perilously easy to lose one’s footing and slip into bitterness and despair. But to maintain our reforming zeal, we must raise our eyes and remain fixated on hope.
I am idealistic enough to believe that – crippled beings though we are – we all have something necessary to contribute, though we spend our lives seeking after what that something is. I haven’t found it yet – I presume if I had, that I would be playing to larger houses.
But I do know that the voice I’ve been using here isn’t it.
I believe in liberty, in liberty to choose, and the moral necessity of taking responsibility for those choices. I believe that we are all constantly re-inventing our selves, that it is within our power to choose who we want to be.
I’m going to continue writing in this space, but maybe putting a little less pressure on myself. I’m not writing speeches, or even for an audience. Hell, that’s my day job. I want this to be a space where I come to struggle with ideas – not a place to give answers, but a place to ask questions.
I believe that the world needs one more sincere libertarian voice. Not another indignant, condescending demagogue.