I think there are two types of people involved in passionate movements, more or less. There are people who are more concerned with being absolutely “right” in their ideological purity, and there are people who are more concerned with effectual change. Both types of people have some sort of concern for the other thing, but the notation of priority is key here. You see, holding ideological purity as one’s highest priority gets you a lot of things. It makes you feel right. It can make you feel downright indignant, and it can also make you feel smug.
I am often reminded of a time when I was younger and less mature and felt satisfaction in getting a rise out of people. As I matured, I realized that I was more interested in actual communication and friendship with people, a sort of togetherness based on mutual understanding, and more importantly I became more concerned with effectiveness, as opposed to shock value. Many anarchists still act like punk-ass school kids eager to catch a glimpse of an open mouth and widening eyes at the sound of their voice. No one cares if you hate the state or aggression if you act like an asshole.
Of course, none of this would be an issue if for not for this one fact: In order to have a voluntary society, you must garner the support and goodwill from the people around you. Extend this to a national level and this explains pretty well why I support Ron Paul in what he is doing.
Ron Paul acts as the proverbial slow boiling water in that old adage about the frog in the pot. If you consider that state supporters and authority endorsers are the frog, throwing them in a boiling pot of water, akin to let’s say, shouting at them about how they are horrible people for supporting government roads, is only going to serve to alienate them.
I truly believe that most people do not have malicious intent. In my many discussions with people who think things like public schools, social programs and even the wars overseas are a good idea, their basis for these beliefs more commonly can be attributed to lack of education in these areas, concern for others, and more importantly, fear.
Consider for a moment: Did you always have the same philosophical beliefs as you have now? The answer is almost certainly a resounding “no”.
We’re all human, and that’s the point. Like it or not, we need others to survive. We can’t live completely isolated. And so therefore, we need to grow as a movement, which can only be done through compassion, empathy and education.
Liberty is not some obscure indie band to use to make yourself feel cooler and above it all.
The way I see it, we have two choices: Focus on the positives and what we all, as humans can agree on and reach out to others with understanding and love, or sit smugly upon the gilded saddle of our high horses spouting indignantly about the evil ways of citizens who don’t agree with you. You may be technically right in the latter choice, but being “right” won’t make you free.