In the world of annoying and meaningless titles, it is hard to beat Obama’s semi-autobiographical book The Audacity of Hope. Hope is well and good, but in a world of social media and moral posturing, audacity has become highly overrated. Where it is not dangerous (thanks to the efforts of others), it is at least still humiliating.
I would like to take a few minutes to highlight and underline the humiliation of a number of these audacious people. Hopefully you are not among them, but if you are, take this as an opportunity to avoid deep, personal humiliation in the future.
For the following list of beliefs, sift through your head and try to honestly gauge whether you once held this belief, or who among your friends held this belief:
- Brexit would not happen
- Brexit would collapse the British economy
- Donald Trump would never get elected
- Donald Trump would never build the wall
The above list is far from exhaustive, but is a baseline of predictions which have been dramatically, unbelievably, audaciously, wrong.
If you hold these beliefs, ask yourself where you got them from. If someone else holds them, where did they get them? Were they influenced by the same people who dismissively, audaciously, asserted the above “truths?”
The below list is less concretely disprovable, as it relies to some degree upon subjective interpretation.
- Donald Trump is a racist/sexist/xenophobe
- Brexit was motivated by racism/xenophobia
- Donald Trump is a rapist
- Russia hacked the U.S. Election
- Black Lives Matter is a religion of peace
Bear in mind that none of these claims has been proven, and none of them are falsifiable. In other words, they carry the two trademark characteristics of conspiracy theories.
I take it as a personal obligation (and I perform it with a smirk) to point out that it is the same people who repeatedly, audaciously, recited the first list of beliefs, who have been yammering on about the second list. Self-righteously. Indignantly. Moronically.
To be clear, it is not wrong of you to have believed any of these things in the past. There were very legitimate reasons to distrust Trump, and there still are (NSA surveillance, disagreements in economic policy, concern about cultural divides, etc). It should be noted that the above two lists do not include those reasons.
What is wrong is to believe these things with such unwarranted conviction, such vicious condescension and dismissal, such audacity, that you would not take seriously someone with a differing opinion. Opinions that would be proven out in time, as all of the items in the first list have been.
This should be an opportunity to reflect upon the sources of your information and political commentary.
Stefan Molyneux is absolutely correct when he says that Trump is a litmus test for how people think about politics. If you go about your ordinary life, largely unconcerned about politics but assuming certain unproven and non-disproveable theories–or worse, overtly disproven theories–you are acting like a moron.
From me, and hopefully from everyone who reads this article, if you act like a moron, you will be treated like one, if you continue. Let me tell you in advance how I will do it:
- I will point out what you said in the past.
- I will point out how you were absolutely wrong, and how your sources are either liars or stupid.
- I will conclude, to your face, that there is no reason I, or anyone else, should take your opinion seriously on any matter relating to politics.
- I will point out that, from Plato to the present, uninformed people audaciously claiming an unearned right to being taken seriously in politics–like you–have been the sole, necessary, and sufficient, groundwork for the rise of a fascistic, totalitarian, or failed state (the kind you claim to bravely oppose).
- I will exhaustively list the history, political theory, and modern examples that prove 4 to be true.
Consider this election cycle as a relatively light lesson in humility, the opposite of the over-praised audacity. Invest some time in learning about the issues–from media sources besides the nightly news. Learn to evaluate sources yourself. Consider which echo chamber you shout your audacity into. Because if you do not learn humility, I will teach you humiliation, and encourage others to do so.
This may sound harsh, vicious, self-righteous even. But my motive is far more serious than any of that. If I wanted to have a good time, I’d simply ignore the idiots spewing their opinions on the internet, or in parties. But all of this matters because of the real-world consequences of political participation. The alternatives to humiliation include things like surveillance states, unchecked immigration from countries full of people who hate you and your culture, civil war, nuclear war with a foreign state, or economic disaster.
The price of audacity in a democracy knows no limit.
Historically speaking, the only way to realistically curb such habits is through preemptive civil-war. In certain circles, there is already gleeful talk about forming right-wing death squads. And if you listen, they are not nearly so excited to kill people as they are terrified of the damage being unwittingly wreaked on their country.
Like Phaethon, the progressives demand what they cannot possibly manage, and are rewarded with death at the hands of unwilling butchers.
I do not believe this is necessary yet, and certainly not desirable. However, to someone who has not studied history, who does not grasp the seriousness of politics, and doesn’t understand the scale of what can go wrong, it is hard to convey that civil war is not the worst thing that can happen. Nor is it easy to show that it is very clearly on the horizon. People who have been very closely following current events, and who have been very accurate in their predictions (unlike the mainstream media, and whoever else was trotting out list one), are increasingly of the opinion that civil war in America is either very likely or inevitable, in the near future. Vox Day, Stefan Molyneux, and Sargon of Akkad, are all on this list. If you haven’t already, I suggest you switch over to following them, and not CNN, MSNBC, or FOX.
If this is shocking to you, I can understand. If you are outraged, that is totally normal. But if you are incredulous, returning to liars and ideologues that play to your own preconceptions will only assuage your incredulity, and leave you wildly unprepared for the war that you yourself have created.
If you find yourself among the people who were incredibly wrong in 2016, you must, like an Alcoholics Anonymous member, admit that you have a problem. You have to admit to yourself that politics is a subject about which you had no particular interest or expertise, and your demonization of others based on their different opinion had no legitimacy. You have to admit, to yourself, how unbelievably and unjustifiably cruel and vicious you were to others, without any knowledge of the relevant subject-matter.
Your sources were wrong. Audaciously wrong. You were wrong. You have no right to be taken seriously, or even respected, if you do not start to apologize to and seriously listen to those who you demonized and mocked, but who were right. And if you follow the lead of others on the left into 2017, then I, and everyone else I can convince to follow me, will be absolutely merciless in humiliating you.
It is, in the totality of time, the most merciful thing we can do.
Consider yourself warned.