I'm afraid whatever little time I've had to post over the last few days was spent responding to comments to an earlier post of mine. There has been a rather interesting dialogue going on there.
My friend Sylvain made the point that blindly following any ideology might not be the best path to anything, least of all, presumably, to any sort of harmonious co-existence with your fellow man. I agree. As a libertarian, I expect very little from others. Mostly, I want to be left alone. I don't want to be told what to do or not to do, or where I can go or with whom I can meet. I want to be able to speak freely. None of this costs anyone anything. None of this means that anyone else has to make any sacrifice on my behalf. No bureaucracy has to be set up to take care of me. No enforcement agencies are needed to keep me in line. In fact, if anything, libertarianism means not spying on your neighbours, not interfering with their lives, and thus not having to send them the bill for these intrusions -- intrusions that exist in some form or another at both the left and the right end of the political spectrum.
Human beings appear to have a knee-jerk gene. How else can one explain that any fairly innocuous position, stated by someone anywhere on the traditional political spectrum, can result in reactions ranging from barely civilized to downright hateful? I am not referring to exchanges taking place here on this blog, where mostly rational people visit, but more to the mudslinging that takes place whenever elections come around. Or when the subject of climate change arises. Or abortion. Or, come to think of it, just about anything under the sun.
It is certainly true that many people can't be bothered to take a position on anything. It's too much work. And they might have to exert themselves even more if their position is challenged, so the easiest tack is simply not to think, not to have an opinion, to float along on the winds of change until they die, never having had an original thought or having taken a firm position on anything along the way. It is just as true that many others glom onto an idea because it feels right. Something must be so, because it comes from the heart. If it seems compassionate, loving, caring, it just has to be true. Zealots who base everything on feelings or emotion can be just as dangerous as the know-nothings. And, they can be much harder to take.
Many misguided notions felt right, even sounded logical, to enough individuals over the centuries, to create the mayhem that we can all read about in our history books. The human race has a troubled past as legacy. And it has a troubled future ahead, and not necessarily for the reasons we might expect. I don't know what lies ahead, specifically, but I would rather keep my future under my control than to delegate decisions I should be making to any group of government officials or anyone else.
I welcome all of the input I get here from individuals who think, who care. I may not always agree with everything, but I will usually avoid ridiculing anyone who I think is making an effort to understand the world around him. We should all try to do just that.