I was looking through some old scans the other day, and came across the picture shown above. Other than the fact that I almost didn't recognize myself as the young lad I was back in 1974, when the photograph was taken, I also came to the realization that in many ways nothing had changed since then.
The picture shown is of the top panel of a brochure I used when I was running for election as a Libertarian Party of Canada candidate in the federal election of 1974, in London East, Ontario, Canada.
How did I do in the election? I got, I think, 71 votes. Maybe it was my earnest gaze that turned people off. No one told me that I should have taken off my jacket, loosened my tie, rolled up my sleeves, kissed babies, lied through my teeth, and smiled. I'm not sure I could have managed a smile at that point anyway. That was during a period when I was broke, hungry, frustrated, generally pissed off. My brother, who was my business partner at that time, never smiled either. Perhaps that's why one of our customers christened us: "The Brothers Grim."
But that's another story. The point is that I was frustrated with the political state of affairs in 1974 and didn't like the way things were heading. In fact, my election slogan was: "1984 is only ten years away." I thought things were going to hell in a hand-basket and would have been amazed, at that time, to be told by someone who had traveled back in time, that some thirty years later we would have no real rights left, that most of the population cheered their demise, and that virtually no-one placed any value on the rights to privacy, independence, freedom of association and, of course, property.
What the hell is the matter with us? Where is this all going to end? And have all of the efforts by Libertarians and other freedom seekers, then and since, been for naught?
Certainly, Libertarians have never done well at the polls. I never expected to get elected and was surprised that anyone at all voted for me. People then had never heard of Libertarianism and knew nothing about it. People today still know very little about it. Still, Libertarian rhetoric at least, is alive and well. Many, many individuals profess to love liberty. Usually, their most vocal protestations about how determined they are to protect our liberties is when they are taking them away.
Are you on Facebook? Look at all your friends. What have they listed as their political affiliation? How many Libertarians are there among your friends? Lots? A few? When I first ran as a candidate, hardly anyone was a Libertarian. Now, many people claim to be. Are they truly as they advertise themselves to be? Who knows.
Who were the foolish souls who voted for me way back in 1974? I'm pretty sure that a goodly percentage of those votes came from strippers. An ex-employee of mine worked for a while as a manager of a strip club on Dundas Street. There was no nudity allowed in Ontario bars at that time, so girls who disrobed for a living did so at clubs where everyone would sit in a chair facing the stage where the girls performed. No booze was served. The fellow invited me to speak to the girls as a group. He thought they might like the pro-freedom message I would bring. I wonder how many of those young ladies placed their little 'X' next to my name at election time.
I was asked to run as a candidate for another party during the recent Ontario election. I declined. I'm sure I would have gotten many more votes than the 71 I got in 1974. The problem is that I have long since lost hope in ever electing rational, reasonable, consistent, individuals to any meaningful political office. Most politicians are fools, buffoons, and charlatans. The rest are thieves and extortionists operating under the protection of our governments. The fact that they may be stealing and extorting our money for 'the greater good,' doesn't make them any less dishonest and repugnant.
I know what you're thinking: "Sieg, why don't you stop beating around the bush and tell us what you really think?"
OK, I will. We're doomed. We're ruled by idiots and we line up meekly for whatever indignity they will force on us next. Goody.
So, what am I going to do about it? The same as usual. I love life, whatever it brings, and I laugh at the idiocy I see around me and I laugh at the idiocy in me for caring enough to lose my composure on occasion. Things are supposed to work in cycles, aren't they? If that's true, when are we going to be headed towards that part of the cycle where we become self-reliant, objective and honourable? Soon?
I doubt it.