I took a few weeks here to think about what I’ve been doing and sounding like.
It’s imperative to always hold yourself accountable for the mistakes that you have made, I think. It’s something I work very hard at. It’s extremely difficult to write, be critical about things, and ask questions if you never take any good, hard looks at yourself and be honest about what you see.
I have been, during a lot of the course of this writing, a symptom of a failing system.
I’ve been preachy, angry, and obtuse. My writing has been obscure, esoteric, and totally out-to-lunch. I might be a strong writer with a powerful voice, but those things mean absolutely nothing if it’s writing in a language that nobody can read—or wants to.
Dogmatically clinging to any particular side in an argument is an admission of a lack of critical thought—I think anyone can dig that. I’ve been brutal about this about pretty much everybody on the left, without recognising that as I did that, I was slowly drifting toward the right whether I wanted to or not.
The system is failing. Why do I think that? What is the system? How is it failing?
The system is talk. That’s the system, here in the West. We talk about things with each other, and because we define issues in particular ways, and exist in our particular situations, we vote for people or organisations that we think can help those situations.
Talk is failing.
The other day, we had a play in New York City, Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Julius Caesar. It was disrupted by Laura Loomer, who rushed the stage. Rushing the stage isn’t talk. It’s not discourse. It doesn’t convince anyone of anything.
She rushed the stage because she did not feel that the left was listening to the right. This is because the left does not listen to the right, but that’s mostly because the right does not listen to the left.
As someone who drifted hard to the right myself (which is not necessarily wrong) without realising it (which is also not egregiously wrong) but then turned his platform, his speech, and his message into a vocal, over-the-top ad-hominem not-piece-but-entire-website (which is unforgivable but I hope you’ll let me explain) I can understand why people think like this.
Every argument has become toxic and weaponized. The gun debate? There are no facts. Each side screams, mouth frothing, drool spattering, and volume as high as it goes. The left argues that the presence of guns is all you need for violence (when people are driving cars into crowds do we ban cars?) where the right argues that only certain types of people commit those crimes (how can you tell before they do? Without the ability to screen for definite indicators of future violence, how useful is that information?).
Both of them cast the other as being paranoiac, and absolute. The left will call the right racist, homophobic and fascist, where the right will call the left communistic mass-murderers desperate to sell the world up the river for the delusion of multiculturalism.
The system is failing not because this is true. The system is failing because the two sides appear to have reached the point where they can no longer meaningfully communicate.
Physical and verbal violence are exploding across the globe. Hard-left ANTIFA operatives are running raids against the right. Right-wing groups, small, fractional, less illegal but also more militarised are running raids against ANTIFA. Both sides have problems with law enforcement.
When the sides begin to militarise, it’s gone badly. No matter where you look in history, it’s already over by then.
All you can do is not be part of the failing system, and that is something that I have quite ironically failed at.
Can’t say what we’re going to be doing in this space in the future, but my suspicion is that we’re going to focus a lot on more neutral, global issues, or smaller, more personal relations issues.
Might even write about myself every now and then for a change—my views and how they work with the larger pictures I’m trying to paint for you. It’s important, this introspection stuff.
Or maybe we’re done.