I Am What I ThinkThursday, February 24, 2011
This post is the result of a conversation that was carried out on a Google Group I belong to that is for paleos (paleo-primal lifestylers) who are philosophically libertarian. The posts discussed writing style, and why some of us write the way we do. That is, why are the writings of some folks sanitized (softened to appease to the sensitive) while others, like me, write in a style that is more blunt?
The reaction I have received for the last 12+ years online: Some hate my very direct style, many love it. Those who hate it really loathe it. The loathers tend to be soft, and they are the types who think you can still change the tide of totalitarianism by writing your congressman emails and snail mails. Those who like my direct style are sick and tired of the soft-peddling and fluff from others. I’d say that a very large majority (% in the high 90s) of my readers not only like my style and read me because of it, but they make consistent comments across the board such as “thanks for being a breath of fresh air” or “I love your writing style” type comments.
In my earlier years of publishing (early 90s), I received much more vituperation and hate mail than I do now. And I kept on keeping on, in spite of that. Almost everyone else who was attacking me way back when (certain writers, websites, bloggers) is long gone (except for a couple of Reason magazine folks), but I am still here. Still here and still kicking. Back in 2003, or thereabouts, WorldNetDaily, which was at the top of the world at that time, took a huge swing at me ….. and missed. The Editor who did that has no more presence. The lack of reception I once had – among a small group of pc libertarians – has flipped immensely as we’ve seen a shift in peoples’ views of what they think we need to do in order to clean out the totalitarian house.
My style is a direct result of how I think. I make no effort to be of any particular temperament, or otherwise. It just is what it is. My writing is me, my passion, and my desire for the truth, no matter what the consequences. I could easily kiss ass (like many of my libertarian colleagues) and moderate my ideas, and the result would be that I would get more “mainstream” libertarian jobs. And you all know some of these folks who have sold out to soft-peddling in order to make the appropriate friends and alliances. But I can’t sell out like they do.
My greatest asset is this: I don’t get paid to be a libertarian full-time. I have no one to please, no one to beg, no one for whom I have to “conform” in some sense. I throw my ideas and talent to the market and it either sells or it doesn’t sell. I am completely independent. I let my occupation fund my passion. I have a great, solid occupation with good pay/benefits, and I have a formidable resume that will never leave me without a job in my profession. That allows me the flexibility to do what I think I need to do to be true to myself and my passion for libertarian ideas – that is, being forthright, with little or no Oprah dust sprinkled on top. I can make some nice $$$ writing (that is, $$$ per hour spent writing), and I do that when I choose to take on something that is of interest. I have more (libertarian) work offers thrown my way than I can possibly accept, due to Job #1 and too many damn hobbies. All in all, it’s a hell of a fun ride.
But I am also a proponent of “know your audience.” People at work call me a “people person.” (I am not kidding.) I joke with them: No I’m not! I’m a misanthrope! (Just kidding.) Really, that comes from the fact that I know how to judge my audience and understand their level of sophistication. So you’d never see my hardassness on the job (unless someone tries to steamroller me), and that’s because I understand what they need that motivates them, and how they need to be embraced and/or steered.
However, in the libertarian world of ideas, where theft and aggression is sport and I am deemed to be some Fisher-Price plastic person for the central planners to move about as they please, I have no way to combat the control of my mind, property, and life other than putting on the 12 oz’ers and coming out swinging. I keep my libertarian world and my work world separate. Be independent and let no one own you.
More than anything, I value not being owned or controlled by some external force(s) that has a larger, less impassioned motive. People who have known me forever know that this trait is just burned into me.