I’ve recently been learning about a myriad of different things. One of them is libertarianism. It’s an interesting way to live, that basically boils down to “Let me live the life I want to live, so long as I’m not hurting anyone”. I’ve watching lots of videos about it and overall it seems like a cool idea.
Of course, like most schools of thought – it has it’s hardliners. People who believe tax is theft and that kind of thing. I actually don’t mind paying taxes that pay for schools, hospitals and arts programs. I loathe the idea of paying politician’s salaries, but who doesn’t. I guess as I’ve aged, I’ve become very anti-authoritarian – especially as it looks as corporate culture seeps into every aspect of everyday life.
We’re seeing a generation of young people who are heavily constrained by Social Media behaviours, which at the end of the day are basically corporate behaviours. The controversial writer Bret Easton Ellis explored this in his piece “Living in the Cult of Likeability”. Ellis talks about how we connect with a corporation when we join Social Media platforms, and how they influence both our thought processes and our social spheres.
Which brings me back to my point: it seems like it’s crazy if you want to decide for yourself about things in this day and age. I don’t mean in the sense of “I’m succeeding from the country” or “chem-trails are government experiments” or that kind of thing. I just mean in the sense that you really don’t have to join a team on everything. Funnily, when it comes to important issues, being independent from Team Red or Team Blue is seen as the worst crime of all.
The game designer Ken Levine said it best (and I’m paraphrasing):
“You don’t have to join a team. You can choose to be on your own team.”
That notion has stuck with me for a long time, because it’s both positive and fulfilling. The statement in and of itself isn’t an attack on anyone else, it’s just a comment saying “It’s okay if I want to do this on my own terms”. As a theme and a viewpoint, this is severely lacking in the cultural discussion today. You’re either this or that. Red or Blue. Us or them. It’s boring and devoid of nuance and complexity.
So, I’m trying to think more independently on things. I spend more time discerning the information given to me on specific issues, and I’m always wondering how I can learn more.
That’s why I believe thinking for yourself is the best way to live.
Wade K. Savage