As of this moment in time, it’s my intention that this will be my last post or comment or rant or rave or whatnot on the libertarianoblogophere (or whatever it’s called). I should immediately add that I’m not doing a bit silly Old Holbornesque flouncing out or anything, and it’s certainly nothing to do with the guys here at Counting Cats, who are a fabulous bunch, well, except me, I’m a bit of a twat really, but Cats, Nick and Daphne are wonderful guys.
But I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of being angry. I’m always angry, angry from the moment I wake to the moment I managed to get back to sleep; angry at the world, angry at society, angry that the only meaningful description left of western society is “a society predicated on being an endless slippery slope”. I’m furious at the progressivist hegemony and its endless, foaming revolution, at peeping fearfully at the news each day wondering what latest horror they have decided to inflict upon us, and being powerless.
That anger in its various forms has led to me being a little bit known in the liberalishblogosphere as a serial commenter, and some people have even paid me some entirely undeserved compliments for that, but after several billions of words and all the letters worn off my keyboard and my fingerprints replaced by enormous calluses from the endless ferocious typing, I have to accept that not only have I achieved nothing, doing so has no hope of ever achieving anything and all it actually does is make me even more angry and then I go and type another one and so on and so on.
That’s not, I hasten to add, meant to imply that the libertysortofstuffofsphere isn’t achieving anything; quite the contrary, it is a fine example of modern pamphleteering. But I’ve also come to recognise, finally, that I’m an oddball, verging on a crank (perhaps beyond verging, in fact) even among liberally libertarianish liberty types. I am at heart a libertine, and the approved dogma of libertarianism, which is largely an economic creed, is something I see merely as a necessary precondition for social and personal liberty. I recognise and heartily support the requirement for a free market and economic liberty in order to have other liberty, but it’s the “other” that motivates me; for me a free society is one in which somebody can smoke a joint in their local boozer without a licence, then pop into their local shop for some gay hobbit porn and a tin of heroin. Anything short of that isn’t liberty, so far as I am concerned, and the latter- the drugs, booze and gay hobbit porn is, even to most libertarians (at least us British types) sort of tangential to the main issues of getting us back on the gold standard, banning fractional reserve banking and finding a pure platonic proof of the anarcho capitalist system. Or whatever.
Even the people on “my side” of things usually seem to see the gay hobbit porn and other social liberties as kind of “something you’d have to tolerate” rather than as something to actively desire to exist. It’s not uncommon to see a stuffy “there is a difference between liberty and licence” kind of argument, which frankly I think is bollocks, but that’s just me. Literally. I seem to be along way out on the leftfield of libertarianism; in fact somewhere outside the stadium in the car park, so far as I can tell.
So, rather than keep expending energy trying to swim against every tide, including the one I’m supposed to be swimming with, I am attempting, in a possibly vain attempt to maintain my sanity, to withdraw, and concentrate on tending my roses, kind of thing.
The other thing is, I feel I’m at the end of my personal journey. Some years ago, back when I still thought I was some kind of Leftie, I began to realise that something was (from my point of view, at least) going terribly terribly wrong. It seemed that the world was adopting, universally, ideas that were quite clearly (to me) mad, and I wanted to understand why. The pursuit of that understanding took me a lot of interesting places intellectually- not least of all towards libertarianism. I wandered down a lot of blind alleys, searching to understand what had got us to this point. Initially, as I began this quest, I imagined announcing some conclusion on a website, hehe, and at other times have even fantasised about writing a book (which is probably an indication of how delusional the whole thing has made me; the idea that people would want to read The Truth, By Ian B, nobody of no reknown, is ridiculous). But I think I now feel that I have my narrative. I know how we got here, at least to my own satisfaction. Unfortunately, that narrative just isn’t one that anybody is going to want. It doesn’t even fit with the traditional “libertarian narrative” and ultimately suggests that the anglosphere (particularly the USA and UK) is the source of the problem, which is the last thing a bunch of people who deify a narrative based on how We Taught The World About Liberty are going to be interested in. The probability of me somehow turning around the oil tankers of belief is a number which pretty precisely approximates zero, especially as marshalling sufficient evidence to prove this narrative (which I admittedly have patched together from insufficient evidence to convince anybody else) is something I just don’t have the time or resources for. One of the bottom lines is, in a kind of a nutshell, that it now seems evident to me that the Western World always had sown within it the seeds of its own destruction (ho ho!) and in all likelihood is going to have to destroy itself, and then there will be some awful thuggish sort of global fascism, and then at some point after I am long dead somebody else will have another crack at liberty and maybe get it right next time. We are nowhere near the end of history; some future society will lump us in with the Middle Ages as a superstitious, mad society they are glad they don’t have to suffer, and will look upon the tyranny of this age in much the same way as we look at the age of the Spanish Inquisition. We aren’t an advanced society yet. We never were. We’re living a lie.
But that’s just my opinion. I don’t believe I have any means at my disposal to change anybody else’s mind on this, and, since I’m pretty much in a minority of one, the chances are anyway that I am some kind of loony crank and everybody else is right. Or, at least, somebody else is right. The probability of it being me alone, an uneducated electrician turned “adult” cartoonist, who discovered The Truth, is infinitesimal. But whatever, in a sense I do feel strangely sated; I’ve reached the end of that personal journey and have the answers I was looking for and feel a little like somebody who has spent most of their life making a perfect model of Bristol out of matchsticks- finished, done, what’s to do with my spare time now? The discussion I engaged in with the massive amount of blog commenting was a means towards finding My Truth, and now I’ve got that. My truth may be no more objectively true than anybody else’s, but it’s what I was looking for. Job done.
So, I’ve had a couple of relapses and commented once or twice in the past couple of weeks, but I’m trying to do cold turkey, and maybe after that my addiction to the sound of my own voice (er, typing) boorishly lecturing everybody else in comment threads about how wrong they are, will subside. Maybe I can learn to use the internet just as God intended it to be used- for porn and LOLcats.
Actually, I was going to do some of this post about how ICANN have gained “independence” from the US government and have thus become a tranzi quango, and that I said this would happen in various comments somewhere or other over the past couple of years, and how this is another step on the road to ruin. How it will now be in the hands of “stakeholder” lobbies who will use their “governance” to scrub the internet of everything they don’t like. How they are itching for instance to shove everything “adult” onto an .xxx top level domain where it can be ghettoised and strangled, and any non kiddie-safe website will be forced to either declare themselves “porn” or censor themselves, and so on, and this is typical centralised corporatism and you know, I’m sick to fucking death of the puritans, but the reality is we live in a puritan society and they’ve won, so there’s fuck all use ranting on about it to a disinterested world. Sex, drugs, rock’n'roll and all the other hedonistic “license” is the barometer of freedom, and suppressing it is the crowbar the enemy use to control everything else. The multifarious narratives of various sexual abuses are the golden goose for the puritan progressives; in the name of protection they extend their control over all things, and are in particular doing so over this brief flowering of a free speech anarchy called the internet. And they will succeed; fifty or even twenty years from now kids won’t believe what was allowed (i.e. not prevented) in the 1990s and 2000s on the internet. These few years of the Wild West we have lived through will be remembered just as the Wild West is now by the majority; as dangerous, violent, unacceptable, rather than a time of pioneering freedom.
But oh, what’s the use? The future is predictable, and probably inevitable. I’ve no means to prevent it, and thus it is logical to instead bugger off and try somehow to live with it, and maybe not get quite so angry about it. That last part might be quite difficult, I suspect. It’s worth a try, though.
Cheerio then Cats, Nick and Daphne, and many thanks for your kindness in hosting my ramblings, even if I never typed as many posts as you perhaps expected. Also, I recognise that posting this self-obsessed last posting all about myself is something of a conceit, but please excuse this small degree of vanity, and anyway with Nick doing such a fine job of keeping the ship afloat virtually single handed I thought I should say something.
Er, that’s it.