“Did you hear about that new Rick Perry ad?” my sister said to my mother and I. We were sitting at a tiny restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I decided to tag along for the trip. They wanted to shop. I was happy just being around the quaint little town.
“No,” my mom said. I had a guess of what it was.
“Its completely homophobic,” Yup. I knew which one she was talking about.
“No, it isn’t,” I blurted out.
“Yeah, it is,” she said and continued. “He’s acting all tough, saying gays are allowed to fight in the war, but I can’t force kids to pray in school.”
“Are allowed to fight in the war? Like its a privlege?”
“No, um,” she searched for a train of thought. “Like, they’re allowed in the military.”
I speak up again. “Its wasn’t like that. He was making a comparison. Gays in the military, but no prayer in schools.”
“Its still homophobic,” my sister said.
“And if I say I like pork and there’s a Muslim behind me, that could be Islamophobic.” I turn to my mother. “Its stupid, of course, running on social issues in the economy won’t matter.”
The talk continued. Eventually, my mother said, “You’re really out there.” That hit a nerve. Out there? I was saying exactly what he said, in the context of which it was said. It wasn’t “gays bad, god good”. It was a black/white comparison that’ll get social conservatives to vote for him. I used to be a hardcore, flamethrowing anarchist. Out there isn’t critical thinking.
Yet, it seems like that, politically. I’ve got a smart family, but they run into the gutter and toss the shit like they were monkeys when the words Bush, Harper, conservative or Christianity get brought up. Things gone wrong in Canada? Blame Harper. Terrorists? Blame Bush. Economy? Blame conservatives. Religion is pure evil? Blame Christians. Its so reflex I’m surprised their noses aren’t bloody from their knee-jerking so much.
I used to be like that. Kill Bush. Round up conservatives. From socialism to communism to anarchism, I was peace except for the fascist libertarian pigs. Just rhetoric on rhetoric. I was smart enough to follow the news, know where the countries they talk about are, name off leaders, etc. Fuck, I once stumped the Minister of Defense when he met my Air Cadet squadron. “Why is Canada bombing Kosovo when Sierra Leone is a worse war?” Made my far left uncle laugh up a storm before giving me a high five when I told him it. But, with all that knowledge, what use is it if I’m going to just stick my hand up my ass and fling poop at anyone who disagrees?
I’m accused of changing side, but my views have, since 2004, always been focused on one thing: shrinking government. When I hooked up with anarchists, I thought that’s what they wanted, but they ended up shoving me out when I was against the Ontario college teacher’s union (CUPE, I think) because 1) they’re a government union. There jobs are cushy enough. 2) they’re a government union. They’re part of the problem. 3) Their strike was timed so that if it lasted more than 2 weeks it would void our term because there wouldn’t be enough days left to finish out the curriculum. When I told my comrades that the people getting hurt in this aren’t the “low-paid” part-time and student teachers, but the students who pay those wages, they said shut up and join up against the system. I lost my love for the anarchist movement that day.
Eventually, I turned to libertarianism due to, ironically, a book by a left-wing libertarian named Kevin Carson. Studies in Mutalist Political Economy laid out the history of “capitalism” (really its fascist economics, but in the industrial age they didn’t have a name for it) and then went on to explain how free market ideas, like pay-as-you-go roads that charge you by the weight of your vehicle, could be more fair than taxes or communal redistribution. But, to the chagrin of Ron Paulite libertarians, I’m kind of a warmonger. I didn’t agree with the Iraq War when it happened since I was a zombie lefty, but after reading it with a clearer mind, I was still against it and I still think it was a horrible idea. But, I also think that bitching about it years after (2007) and even to today, is moronic. We were there. We were staying until it was good to leave. You do anything you can to win, even if its a bad idea. Unless we’re invading Norway to rape women and steal oil and dance on the graves of the kids killed in that terror attack, the enemy is usually bad people. Bad people that are okay to kill, by the tens of thousands, like we did in Iraq. Terrorists that would have been in Afghanistan or Chechnya or in their own countries stirring up civil strife that would make Libya look like a gay pride parade. Do I think they would of come over here if they weren’t fighting in Iraq? No. Most of these terrorists are morons born of retards. The 9/11 attackers were pros. Good, if not better, than most of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations division. The fear mongering about terrorists is one of the reasons I’ve turned away from conservatism and taken a more eclectic political stance. Fear mongering about terrorists is what passed the new Defense Authorization Act, which pretty much sets the stage for a true to life police state. The war hasn’t come home in 10 years, Congress. We’re doing okay, why fuck it up?
The other reason I’ve turned away from conservative circles and just run around naked in my own little revolutionary meadow is how easy it is to co-opt the movement. The Tea Party began as a anti-tax, anti-bailout, anti-government movement. Mix in Obama’s economic moves and Sarah Palin and you’ve got yourself a darn-tootin’, ye ole subverted political base. What was about the basics now can’t decide if it wants government out of our wallets or police cruising gay bars at 2am looking for immorality. Social conservatism has nothing, NOTHING, to do with the economics of this country. If anything, social conservatism ENCOURAGES the same economic ideas that the lefties do because it thinks it can drive big government in the “correct” direction. Wrong. Big government is big government and it goes anywhere it damn well pleases, no matter if you believe in God or jack off to Richard Dawkins.
I like America. I like the land. I met a lot of great people when I lived there, twice, and I plan on going back when the funds are ready. I like the idea of America: free markets, states rights, guns, God, beer, boobs, cars and all the rugged shit they passed off in the pulp novels of the 1950s. I think the US military’s got some of the best fighters in the world and has a great history of true bravery. I also think that big government, big banks and this globalization shit has fucked it all up and sacrificed it for feeling good when you give a few billion dollars in aid to Africa, hoping the corrupt presidents spend it on AIDS care and not their new golden guns. When the only great speeches of the last 20 years have been during the worst moment and the best moment in the last decade, when troops coming home barely get a hello, let alone ticker-tape parades that troops got coming home from the ignoble imperial bloodbath that was World War One. When the rich liberals sneak by making billions and the hard working middle class gets squeezed like a grape, squish! When you can’t make a simple comparison to prove your point, no matter how PC or un-PC it is, without being shamed for thinking wrong. When all that is happening. When all that is normal. Then that isn’t America. That isn’t even freedom. Its Hell. Ghenna. The heathen hole that the old saints used to point to and tell their kids, you piss God off, you go there.
Its part of the Generation Zero zeitgeist to run the road from idealism to nihilism, but even though I personally have been through tough roads on all fronts, I still hold to the idea that one can break free of all this, even if its just on your own. That one can adapt as quickly as the crumbling histories of man can try to knock them down. I’ve flirted with many other ideologies, including fascism, looking for a way to tear myself, and my mind, from the insane political and social world we live in. And, right now, my beliefs have adapted. I’ve taken a little pinch from all my experiences and created a personal political view not beholden to a party, a red book or a circle of meandering wannabes. My personal views fit me, as does my religion, as does my personality.
Compromise went out a long time ago, as you can see with my family and the rest of the world They believe what they want, as blind as they are to the realities of their enemies, or to be more accurate, the little threat their enemies pose to them. Its a first world problem to worry that Rick Perry’s views will ever truly hurt my sister, or my mother, or anyone else. Its a first world problem to scream bloody murder about a deep underground bitch slap against homosexuals, even if that was his intent, when there is no way he could ever truly bring about the gay pogrom apocalypse that GLADD and the other ninnies keep warning the world about. Its a first world problem wondering who to vote for. They’re all the same thing.
So if I want to believe in God or Allah or believe Christopher Hitchens is in purgatory looking for a bartender, I will. If I think social issues are mostly garbage no matter which side spouts it, I will. If I take some anarchy and mix it with fascism, good for me, good for me for thinking on my own. If I want to defend Perry’s context while attacking his message, fuck you for saying I can’t. This is what freedom is, people. This is how change really happens. Not by jackbooted Democrats calling racism or suited up establishment Republicans beating down their more radical elements. It happens because somebody has an idea, a feeling, a passion, and they tell others, and others listen and others believe. You try to stop that, you’re trying to stop the exact thing you’re trying to defend.