The “Losing Right”

As an introduction to this article, I would like to state outright that within this article, I use the words conservative and conservatism a lot. I mean no direct offense to those who call themselves conservative as it should be noted that I am speaking about the average consensus within a political movement and trying to take an objective stance for analytic purposes. This is but another in a string of experimental articles, and will be edited further in the coming days.

I have always found conservatism – in the most modern sense of the word – to be a sort of reaction to the perceived infringements of a number of (primarily) economic, and (occasionally) ethical structures. Though I may address the difference at some point, it is again important to point out that the meaning of reaction should not conflated with, or muddled by the (often Marxian) concept of the reactionary. Modern-day conservatism is a constant, yet ever-changing force of reaction to the most extreme and hyper-modern social conventions that are slowly, yet deliberately nudged into the public consciousness; this primarily from far-left institutions, universities, or any other place which might incubate the production of those leftist social theories born from “analysis of power relations and hierarchy,” or some other foolishness designed to corrode the very roots of our society. These social theories like “racism, misogyny, homophobia, white privilege, transphobia, Islamophobia, bigotry,” and on and on it goes.

We find that conservatism has no offensive push for anything to the contrary, that is besides some highfalutin abstractions about how people have lost religion or the family structure is gone, along with a few other idiosyncratic phrases and mannerisms about your bootstraps. While these may actually and honestly be true, conservatism is, generally speaking, impotent in disseminating these solutions to the point by which one might actually take action, i.e. go to church, rebuild my own family, start my own business, etc. It is quite possible and indeed probable that the libertarian social element present in (particularly American) conservatism prevents these very actions. The above-mentioned obstacles, along with the cowering and grovelling at the proverbial feet of leftism to repent for transgressions, and the constant reset of the terms of victory – or acceptability for that matter – have congealed into a weak, deferent, and cowardly bastardization of a once revered movement.

For you reading who might call yourself a conservative, fret not – as I know many in my personal life, and when I define conservatism as weak and cowardly, I speak of the movement itself, not any one individual person. I would also contend that many who would dub themselves conservatives are much closer to what we would now consider a paleoconservative or perhaps a right-winger generally speaking. For example, when the term neocon or neoconservative comes up, it is received as a pejorative under almost any circumstances. Yet the distinction between a neoconservative and a conservative becomes smaller and smaller as time wears on. Lastly, this is not to say that right-wingers, generally speaking, are weak and cowardly – rather the contrary; much of the right wing is a principled and serious group. Perhaps it would be easier to explain some of these things if we’re to take them one by one, as opposed to rambling on in large blocks of text.

Socially Liberal – Fiscally Conservative

Although this claim may be the most contentious, it seems as good place to start as any. I know that many, including myself, had once referred to ourselves as socially liberal – fiscally conservative – expressed more often than not when in the public eye, or under the scrutiny of a “political enemy,” as it were. For the conservative, I would ask only this:

Are you really “socially liberal?”

For example, I know that I am most certainly not “socially liberal.” Sure, I care very little about what happens hundreds of miles away within groups that I have no relation to, but that does not mean that I find such things conducive to a properly functional society. You know the kinds of things I’m talking about – the kinds of things that a social conservative would reject; I won’t be spelling this part out. I want to be employable in the future. Being socially conservative does not make you an authoritarian. It does not make you a Fascist, or a Nazi, or any other silly label that has been given to such people by their own enemies. The goings on in other societies, in other nations, in other cultures, is not my problem – that does not mean that I will tolerate it in my own. There is not much use in continuing to delve into this question, as I have two other articles about the strangeness of the “socially liberal – fiscally conservative.”

How ‘Reaction’ as a Primary Source of Unity Sets the Terms of One’s Defeat

Dear reader, I apologize that I must be so vague.

Conservatism in the 21st century is marked by reaction after reaction after reaction. All of which have failed. The leftward trend of society begins by carefully and gradually introducing a concept into public consciousness. Such a concept is usually put forth as only a humble suggestion – just something we should think about. From there, it is picked up and dragged through the media and universities, from which it trickles down to the everyman. We can observe this in a string of related examples. In the 2000s and 2010s, one hot cultural topic of many revolved around the issue of the right for homosexuals to marry. Imagine this idea was put to a purely democratic vote in the 1960s. Would it have passed? Of course not. This is why these most deliberate suggestions for more ‘equality’ or other egalitarian measures must be, at first, voiced by the vocal few, and spoken of sparingly and in whispers. Was it solely an issue of cultural wrongdoing or other unnecessary societal violations that homosexuals were eventually allowed to marry? No. Up until only a few short decades ago, the American society was largely Christian, and generally would not accept this not for any reason of blind hatred, but for the fact that their religion – the bedrock upon which almost their whole worldview is based – did not allow it. This religion, which had been passed down specifically to them by their ancestors for millennia, made another concession. The concession is made, and one feels better; the weight imposed by reading the newspaper articles and watching the television series about how incredibly difficult it was for homosexuals to cope without a Christian marriage – the weight is gone. You are no longer held emotionally hostage for some proposition for equality that would end after your concession.

Now, you dare not refuse to bake the cake, lest you be tied up in the court system for the next seven years.

Here is where things get interesting, and the parameters of victory change. As a conservative, you say okay, things are fine here. We’re far enough. No need to go further. This is until we find yet another radically egalitarian concept to have somehow miraculously appeared – white people are inherently privileged. As a conservative, one’s natural position is to go on the defensive – to say look at all we’ve done and all the concessions we’ve made. There is no need to continue. The conservative has no outlet to express his truest opinions. He cannot be genuine, for being genuine as a STRAIGHT WHITE MALE OPPRESSOR is to be absconded for your beliefs in tradition. Let’s say, for example, a homosexual man (otherwise white and male) appears, and he says look, I’m white, I’m a man, I have no privilege that is not afforded to everyone else – this man is king. Let’s use Milo Yiannopoulos as the example here. Though short lived, he became one of the behemoths of the “slightly right of conservative,” perhaps alt-lite movement. Why was Yiannopoulos so successful at expressing his moderately right-wing (albeit not exactly ‘conservative’) views? He was successful because he is a homosexual. He is a member of a victim class that was heralded by the left just a decade earlier, and as such, he is a weapon to use against the left, as if to say do you see? This man is on your side, yet you deny him everything you deny me. He is as good a candidate as any to tell you what it is that I really want to say. And so, it is in this manner that the conservative believes the left’s own “weapon” can be used against them. Furthermore, this cycle becomes a competition to decide who is more liberal. The competition whereby a conservative might find himself defending a transgender person in a debate against a radical communist because the transgender is more conservative.

Kneel Before the Altar of Your Enemy

Following the previous section, this is what seems to be the most frustrating thing for the average conservative to see from a public figure or office holder. It begins with a statement that is, given the climate, perhaps a bit too spicy – a little bit too provocative. Leftist institutions immediately excoriate the subject in question for his racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/islamophobic/bigoted statement and relentlessly pursue an apology. This is where the mistakes are made. I would assert that when it so happens that one of these ultimatums are given, the average conservative sincerely hopes that no quarter is given to the mob of hysterical journalists and self-righteous professors commanding an apology. This is, of course, because this average conservative has seen this movie before, and knows quite well the outcome of a concession to the standards of the enemy, for as sincere such a concession may be, we all know there is no forgiveness. Nothing is forgiven, and nothing is gained. Of course, one could understand the pressure bearing down upon an individual to bend the knee, acknowledge his wrongdoing, and repent for it, as traditionally the entire point of an apology is to seek forgiveness so that one might be relieved from the constant castigation of the enemy. Yet the consequences of bending the proverbial knee are far, far worse than standing one’s ground.

Before I begin with the next section, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I do not advocate that you say things that ruin your life. I would implore you, dear reader, to speak the truth at all times*, and defend what you know to be true. That being said, I will contradict myself to express what we all inherently know – sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut. There is no point in ruining your livelihood by saying something, out of the blue, that will get you fired and lose you family and friends. I’m 26 years old, which is why my articles are not adorned by graphs of what different groups do on average, and how often they do it. I don’t want to lose everything before I have anything, and I’m sure you don’t either (unless you’re retired, in which case you should be going all in).

Bending the Knee: “Please, Just Make This Go Away.”

We can begin by analyzing the process and aftermath of the plea for forgiveness. Firstly, to make an apology in the public space is (quite obviously) an admission of guilt. To make confession before your enemies is to admit not only that you are wrong, but to admit that they are, at least partially, right. Even an apology on the grounds that it could have been phrased better or my favorite, this was taken out of context is to give an inch, and we know quite well what happens when you give an inch to the mob.

So let’s say you said something and happened to offend a whole bunch of people.

niggerguysouthpark

Is it something you truly believe? Is it provocative for the sake of being provocative? If it is, who cares? Did you say anything illegal? Unless you called for violence, you probably didn’t. Did you say something defensible? Most likely.

Note – this all goes out the window if you are a European, but you guys can’t get fired for saying things on the internet unless its illegal, so I don’t want to hear it.

You can’t turn on any technology, lest you be bombarded by thousands of threats to yourself, your family, and generally anyone around you. You will be publicly doxed. Your employer will be harassed, and you will most likely be terminated. People will show up to your home, and so on and so forth.

You obviously don’t want this, so even though you said something defensible – something you believe to be true – you will back off and admit that somehow, you were wrong. What happens then? Anyone who supported you (in plentiful numbers, no doubt) in your defense against the mob will drop you like a rock. They’ll tell you that you suck, and that you should’ve defended yourself from saying what’s on everyone else’s minds. But that’s okay because the harassment will stop now. It won’t; if anything, it will only become worse. Now you have admitted yourself that you were wrong, thus accepting the premises of their worldview and as such, you must atone forever. One apology is never enough.

Defending Yourself: “**** You, I’ll Say What I Want.”

Conversely, if one refuses to make a single concession under the same circumstances, an entirely different game emerges. Of course, the barrage of attacks and threats on your person and livelihood will remain the same, at least in the beginning. But you know what you said is both true and justifiable. Upon your defense of your statement, those who supported you will rally to the cause; they will identify with you and push you to continue standing your ground. As for the harassment, it won’t stop, but it will decrease by many orders of magnitude as it is seen that you are not a pushover and do not accept the premises by which you are “the bad guy.” You will most likely be labelled as a racist/sexist/homophobe, etc. and perhaps relegated to certain corners of the internet, but you will continue to have a loyal following of those for whom you spoke.

What Does This Have To Do With Conservatism? A Whole Lot.

This is, more or less, a sort of microcosm of the modern conservative. He does not say what he means, and he speaks euphemistically. While the modern left writes articles encouraging others to reconsider allowing their children to be friends with whites, the modern conservative wouldn’t dare ask the opposite question, let alone ponder if diversity is actually our greatest strength.

It shows weakness and ineptitude to refuse to pursue the interests of one’s constituency as a public figure. This is what you were elected to do, and you can’t (or perhaps won’t) even recognize this simple fact; and you will certainly not actively pursue lawmaking in the interest of said constituency, and we all know why that is – you’re scared of being called mean words.

Putting aside the question of collusion between the parties and large donors, the “right wing” if you could even call it that, is too afraid because they operate within the premises of the enemy because looking like Randy from South Park on an episode of Jeopardy would “ruin their careers.”

Do Not Operate Within the Parameters Your Enemy Has Set for You

This is the crucial take away from everything I’ve said above. I’m not claiming to know everything, but as someone who is ostensibly right wing, I cannot express the absolute state of my disappointment in those who are elected by people just like myself all over this country. Even assuming the question of collusion between the parties and the trustworthiness of career politicians have been answered (as we believe they might be) it is difficult for me to fathom that there are virtually zero representatives who truly and staunchly go on the offensive for anything other than economics. Small government economics are great and all, but when your constituents are becoming hopelessly nihilistic suicidal heroin addicts, replaced by machines and low skilled and underpaid immigrants, something has to be done. You can’t lose your base and expect to remain in power.

That tangent aside, we mustn’t get bogged down in our fear of social ostracism. When we play board games, we don’t play by all the rules that the other guy makes up, contradicts, and addends on the fly. We play by a consistent set of rules that both parties have agreed upon before the game has begun – otherwise we would always lose.

Let’s take on the big one and make an example. Let’s say Person A is a conservative, and Person B is a leftist.

Also note that I use the word ‘leftist’ often and the word ‘liberal’ quite sparingly, as traditional liberalism, though it might be different from conservatism, maintains the same goals as conservatism, generally speaking, and there are a good many honest liberals who are good, consistent, and open minded people.

Person A believes that racism is prejudice and prejudice alone, while Person B believes that racism can only be a consequence of both prejudice and power – i.e. without power, a group cannot be racist – this does not apply to individuals. Furthermore, Person A and Person B have wildly different conceptions of what “power” is, and while Person A may believe that power can be rightly obtained through meritocratic methods (thus spread out precisely as it should be according to ability and competence), Person B believes that power is something of an inheritance that only the majority group and/or descendants of settlers can wield.

So let’s say that Person A holds a rally. The vast majority of the people at said rally are of a certain, unnameable racial group. Person B sees the overwhelming homogeneity in Person A’s rally and decides that it is more proof that Person A is indeed, a “racist.” There are a few options Person A can take to redress such a statement.

  1. Entirely ignore or deflect the claim.

This is what I believe should be done under the circumstances. Why must one defend an accusation based on a foundation that is not universally accepted? By universally accepted, it is not meant that such a thing does not exist, rather that the definition of such a thing and the requirements for violating the terms of such a thing do not exist.

2. Attempt to defend and explain yourself.

Responding in turn to a claim made by Person B, Person A might say “I’m not a racist, and here’s why…” But does this make Person A any more favorable in the eyes of Person B and Person B’s constituents? No, it does not. Person A and Person B have never agreed on a definition of what “racism” even is, and therefore Person A can try all he likes to defend himself, but he has institutional power, and because he is a member of a racial group, he is inherently privileged and is always a racist.

Perhaps the worst response, similar to #2, is for Person A to level the accusation back towards Person B, perhaps claiming “your constituency is made up of almost all of one group, therefore it is you and your constituency that are racist.” In other words: I’m more liberal than you. or perhaps: I can play your game better than you can! Person B sets the rules for his game, and he’ll change them whenever he likes. You can’t beat him at his own game.

This is all to say that pejoratives such as “racist,” are nothing more than tools of political power and leverage. These words and phrases are (almost) never deployed for the betterment of society or the righting of actual wrongs. They are but metal rings, thrown around one’s neck one after another for the sole intention of drowning you faster.

Advertisements

Are You Free?

Anarchy – “a state of society without government or law,” “political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control,” “lack of obedience to an authority; insubordination.”

Oligarchy – “a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.”

In addition to those words defined above I had originally conceived of also illustrating the definition of power. Yet it appears to me – as of the time I write this – that there are multiple problems therein:

  1. There are a good many breeds of power.
  2. The interpretation thereof will vary wildly from reader to reader, depending on one’s present circumstances, political persuasion, or loosely-defined social/cultural explanations of power; as well as the processes by which it is secured and exerted.
  3. There should be no ambiguity regarding the purpose for which it is defined, as Marxian criticisms of power, power relations, and hierarchy – i.e. “power” in relation to the labor theory of value, for example – are not respected in the following commentary.

However, we can attempt to refine power as strictly and objectively as possible, without having to endure a lesson in philosophy. Henceforth, and for the purposes of this commentary, we can define and refer to “power” in more precise synonyms in no particular order:

  • Authority – “the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.”
  • Influence – “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.”
  • Prestige (adj) – “having or showing success, rank, wealth, etc.”
  • Hegemony – “leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.”
  • License – “permission to do or not to do something.”

The definitions above, along with many others might coalesce into a sort of temporary definition, at the very least, for the sake of commentary. With that out of the way, we can observe some modes in which power is exerted, the pros and cons of those modes, and the processes by which they are exercised.

Until this point, the purpose of defining anarchy and oligarchy may have been of some confusion. This is because the objective of this analysis is to study the way by which anarchy and oligarchy may work in concert in order to express a highly particular, uniquely modern, and exceptionally Western form of rule; which, as unpleasant as may be, might provide some insight into the way that the system seeks to control.

By the system I mean the current organization and arrangement of (mainly) Western government and any other institution, private or public, existing within and to any extent intertwined with said government. At the risk of resembling a Boomer hippie or a first-semester-of-college millennial, I will continue to call the system precisely what it is. There is no need to call this configuration anything other than “the system.” We know what it means.

As another caveat, let us not pretend that the system has no desire to influence your thoughts and actions. By its very definition, there is no system in the world that does not seek to change the behavior of its subjects. This is not to say that every system wishes ill upon those under its governance and administration, as the ruling elite of each system influences its subjects for a purpose that (often) does not involve the complete annihilation of its own.
The Exertion of Power

Insofar as the question of how power and control are made use of, there are two main “modes” which I believe accurately encapsulate the manner by which a population is controlled – yet these modes are not mutually exclusive. A given system can dominate its subordinates in exclusively one mode and one mode only, or a combination of the two modes can be utilized. The latter often existing in the case of multiple factions within the system’s upper echelons that may conspire, or may not.

HPS

To cut to the chase, I’ll pose a question. If I mention the word tyranny, what is the first nation-state that comes to mind?

Do you think of the monarchies of old? Do you think of the British Empire? Do you think of U.S. imperialism? What else? Does North Korea come to mind? Or perhaps The Democratic People’s Republic of China? Maybe even the Russian Soviet Union?

These systems are typically the immediate response to certain keywords such as tyranny, autocracy, authoritarianism, despotism, and so on. I would argue that this response is somewhat conditioned, which is not to say that each and every one of the aforementioned systems were not tyrannical, autocratic, authoritarian, despotic, etc. It is to say that as Westerners, we have conceived of this type of power – the raw, unabashed, in-your-face power – as the ultimate expression of a distinct and uniquely evil desire for domination, oppression, brutality, and subjugation. Whether those descriptions of evil are true as they relate to any individual regime is for one to decide himself.

These sorts of systems which openly subjugate, control, and otherwise exert power over their denizens are merely one of the operational modes – one side of the coin, if you will. This sort of system we can call the Hard Power System (henceforth HPS). Though the HPS will arrest, torture, and generally make life miserable for some (such as, but not limited to political dissidents, historical “revisionists,” and religious figures) it does so in an overt and conspicuous manner. If you are arrested in The Democratic People’s Republic of China, you will be told why you were arrested.

“You are under arrest for conspiracy to commit treasonous acts against the Chinese Communist Party,” they might say. Otherwise “你因串谋对中国共产党采取叛国行为而被捕.”

The overarching system of mainland China, as an example, is not afraid to show you that they are capable of and will use force against detractors and dissidents in relation to the party. It is authority. It is – dare I say – authoritarian. However, I would regret having this go without mention:

Authoritarianism is not inherently an evil thing.

As Westerners, we tend to conceptualize authoritarianism as the most evil thing in the world. There are two reasons why the worst thing you could ever call any other citizen of a Western country a “Fascist,” a “Nazi,” or “literally Hitler,” and the denotation of such slurs is certainly one of those reasons: ‘you are a fanatic who seeks to control others and kill them if you continue believing what you believe.’

Yet I would challenge one to think about how the citizens of HPS might truly feel about their situation. Is it as bad as we think it is? While living and teaching in The Democratic People’s Republic of China, I came to know many Chinese people, most of whom were coworkers. One could imagine that in downtime, many conversations were had about the differences, both subtle and overt, negative and positive, between the respective systems under which we were born. Of course, I knew about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which resulted in the slaughter of hundreds upon hundreds. I knew about Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, both which claimed casualties in the tens of millions. But the Chinese don’t know. They might know that the incidents exist, but they certainly don’t know the raw havoc that sent millions upon millions to an early grave. I knew of these things, yet I also knew (for the most part) almost exactly what you can and cannot say. There is a certain comfort in knowing where the boundaries lie.

Nevertheless, aside from using certain parts of the internet and speaking openly in defiance of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, I was not in danger. Conversely, I remember the expression of complete disgust and disdain returned to me when I mentioned that doctors prescribe Adderall to children, or when I mentioned that there are places where you will be fined if you do not call a man in a wig a woman, or perhaps when I mentioned that a teacher can’t give their student a pat on the head without fearing a lawsuit. The more I spoke with them, the more I realized that I am not as free in America as I would’ve had them believe. I did not understand that there was a sort of freedom in walking down an alleyway in the dead of night with the only fear that perhaps some kind Chinese person will try to strike up a friendly conversation.

This leads into the reverse side in the exertion of power.

SPS

I am sure that many will guess by the acronym alone that the reverse of HPS is SPS. Whereas Hard Power Systems rely on the overt usage of control and forced compliance by the excessively ordered implementation of rules and regulations, the Soft Power System (henceforth SPS) does nearly the opposite. Soft power is that power that is set principally by non-state actors, which can make things a bit more complicated.

The SPS is just as dominant as the HPS, but it dominates by way of culture. It has no need for excessive displays of force as it is the one that sets the cultural narrative. SPS is an inherently cosmopolitan system. These rules and regulations flow outwards from primary school to university education; coming from the elite of large metropolitan areas, political parties, the media, and large corporations.

Though I feel that many will disagree with whether SPS is good or not, I think most might be able to agree that whatever the content, rules, mores, or regulations that arise from Soft Power Systems, there are Soft Power Systems, and they are extraordinarily effective.

In an HPS, we might see the system actively placating those in rural areas, people with backgrounds in the military – religious people.

On the other hand, the SPS targets the exact opposite population for placation. This is because metropolitan areas, with their abundance of human resources (pun intended), are wildly successful in quickly and memetically spreading ideology to the whole of the system’s population.

One very important note here is that those who work to actively promote the guidelines which make up the SPS are not involved in a conspiracy to change the culture. Much of what an SPS does revolves around social control – established via a loose societal consensus regarding what is acceptable and what is not. This consensus doesn’t come with a design, but is based on a solid foundation of philosophy and epistemology. The primary mechanism by which the SPS maintains its control is social pressure and ostracism. As an example, though we might think of a monarch as expressing hard power and hard power only, there was quite a lot of soft power involved in monarchy. Over generations, the population was conditioned to believe that the king was the rightful heir of the throne because it was inherited from God. These days we might find this notion ridiculous, but the SPS largely came from the Church. Go against the king, and you have made an affront towards God himself, and who among the kingdom does not believe in God? Further still, who among the kingdom will not punish you for the heretical act of defying the king, and by direct association, attacking the Holy Church itself?

Though 99% of the world does not live in a kingdom – at least a functional one – there is an overarching force of soft power which permeates all of the West. It is inescapable. In my previous article, I described the function by which society marches ever further leftward and this is enforced precisely through the SPS under which we live. Think about this:

There is a twenty-eight year old woman who harbors racial prejudice. Racial prejudice is one of the most taboo subjects within all of the West. While having a private conversation with a friend, she says a racial slur. Her friend proceeds to provoke her, and records it on video. Her friend posts the video to twitter. The prime movers of the SPS spread the video like wildfire. The woman is fired. She is not afforded social media accounts. Her family disowns her as a result of social pressure to do so. Private corporations – a large part of soft power – disallow her to fund raise on all crowd-funded websites where those who might be sympathetic could offer her money. She has effectively lost everything.

Now, let’s think about this:

There is a twenty-eight year old woman who harbors anti-Christian beliefs – or lack thereof, I suppose. Sacrilege is one of the most taboo subjects within all of the West. While having a private conversation with a friend, she states that she would kill Christ herself had he not already died. Her friend proceeds to provoke her, and remembers everything the woman said. Her friend tells the priest. The Church liturgy spread the message about her like wildfire. The woman loses all working prospects. She cannot speak in public. Her family disowns her as a result of social pressure to do so. The man who sold her potatoes and bread once a week spits on her when she tries to approach him. Her husband leaves her and removes her from the house. She has effectively lost everything.

What is the difference other than four or five hundred years?

The woman in both of the above situations was never oppressed by the state itself, but to claim the soft power expressed in the scenarios above has less effect on her than hard power could would be a mistake. This is not to say that SPS is better than HPS or that HPS is better than SPS; rather, it is a description, but I digress.

All definitions sourced from – https://www.dictionary.com/

Image sourced from – https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjMhe6Gt6vkAhWRsZ4KHd6UC58QjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sott.net%2Farticle%2F392839-Rule-of-the-few-A-brief-history-of-Oligarchy&psig=AOvVaw2pWN2sJbB8bJp2Cglwogw-&ust=1567283183918571

The Libertarian Dilemma

In years past I often described myself as a libertarian, accompanied by the now burned out expression of “socially liberal, fiscally conservative.” However, after some critical thought on libertarianism and the core philosophies beneath it, I have changed my mind, particularly within the last year or so. When reading this, please bear in mind that I am not attacking any individuals who would describe themselves as having libertarian-oriented beliefs, nor am I attacking individuals who would describe themselves as sticking to beliefs of any other political or philosophical persuasion. Much of this is an exercise, as I still hold many (albeit less) libertarian views.

A Fiscal Structure for Addressing Social Issues

Libertarianism is a system that is composed entirely of negative positions and doctrines. In this context, negative doctrines are those which do not promote doing, but instead advocate for avoiding behavior which would be detrimental to the proper functioning and execution of the system of which the doctrines comprise. In other words, negative doctrines, ideologies, systems, promote inaction as opposed to action that would aid in facilitating the end goal of the philosophy as a whole. Two good examples of negative doctrines in libertarianism include voluntarism (not forcing exchanges on others against their will – i.e. taxation), and the non-aggression principle (do not use coercion or violence on others unless in self defense).

My concerns with libertarianism have very little to do with fiscal proposals, as I mostly agree with economic conservatism; my concerns lie in the application of the aforementioned negative doctrines in relation to social issues. One of my largest concerns here is that these negative doctrines promote the idea of a moral standing where one is good enough, and as long as he abides by these negative doctrines, he is a morally good person. This is opposed to positive-oriented philosophies, which serve to help one to constantly attempt to be better than being good enough.

Within the libertarian framework of inaction regarding social issues, one should have no qualms with doing antisocial, immoral, and unnatural things, as long as he does not violate the liberty of others – this is not the way to produce and uphold a healthy and functional society. This is not to say that libertarians themselves are necessarily immoral or antisocial people, as many of them are quite the opposite. It is to say, however, that the libertarian structure itself does not discriminate between decent and indecent ways of life, and to follow and promote the social wing of libertarianism is to urge others to follow the doctrine of happiness.

One thing to note here: I do understand that for many, libertarianism is not the be-all-end-all to one’s entire philosophical worldview. Libertarianism can be an effective modifier when combined with other ideologies that do seek to explain and provide solutions to social and cultural issues, but quite often libertarianism is not accompanied by or blended with other viewpoints. As such, he who subscribes to libertarianism and little else is decidedly susceptible to nihilism, hedonism, and the orientation of one’s values such that the pursuit of pleasure is the primary goal of being.

The 1931 novel A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley provides an example of the negative doctrine taken to an absurd and dystopian extreme, where the pleasures of life become so universally acceptable that they are nearly no longer pleasurable. For example, A Brave New World shows us a society in which sexual promiscuity is rampant, so much so that it is nearly enforced, and any intention of procreation is completely removed from sexual intercourse. The novel also references the characters’ constant consumption of a happiness producing drug called soma, which is taken whenever a character experiences even the slightest bit of discomfort.

The Inevitability of the State

One of the most important pillars of libertarianism is the notion of a highly limited state government, however there seems to be a spectrum within libertarianism whereupon advocates sit regarding size and scope of government. On one end of the spectrum sit those who I would consider classical liberals (in an American context), and generally accept a larger government than other libertarians, but who still support the limiting of government to its basic functionality. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who I would consider anarcho-capitalists, and generally advocate for the abolition of government in its entirety. Anarcho-capitalists propose the replacement of essential government roles (i.e. police, firefighters, etc.) by privately owned organizations.

It seems the anarcho-capitalist form of libertarianism is not particularly viable, given the inevitability that not every person will necessarily adhere to the principles of the AnCap. However, the primary reason for its impossibility is the eternal presence of government. This may be a tragic notion to both libertarians and anarchists of all stripes, but systems of government will always arise in any society once such society becomes large enough. The State will always exist primarily because it is a highly effective way for those who fiercely desire power to be able to work their way into positions of authority. Acquiring power within a capitalist system requires work, strategy, and intelligent investment into one’s organization – not necessarily through charisma and bribery (though there are exceptions, especially in the system of faux capitalism in the U.S.). Yet, acquiring positions of authority in government is often reducible to charisma and bribery. That being said, not all people who are elected to government office have malicious intent, but most systems of government reward deceitfulness.

To add to the inevitability of the presence of government, there is also an inevitable growth of government.

The Issue of Tolerance

The pure libertarian worldview allows for (and in many respects requires) tolerance of the actions of others, so long as those actions do not infringe upon one’s own rights, or violate the non-aggression principle. A common refrain one may hear from libertarians is something to the effect of “I want gay couples guarding their marijuana crops with rifles.” Phrases like these show the libertarian’s dedication to advocate for the rights of others to do as they please, and advocate for their own rights by proxy. Leaving the question of morality or social acceptability aside, excessive tolerance will inevitably lead to the decay and weakening of a social or political movement. Seeing as libertarians and anarchists are perhaps the most tolerant of all social or political movements, it is easy to understand why they have never been a force to be contended with on the national level, and are often disregarded completely in discussions about the political future.

For a movement to become a force to be contended with, it must have some degree of intolerance toward its opponents. Bear in mind that “intolerance” does not necessarily mean prejudice towards others regarding immutable characteristics as the connotation of the word often suggests. It is important that any group, or individual for that matter, retain some sort of intolerance if such a group or individual wishes to not become easily intimidated and in a perpetual state of apology. To try and shed the connotation from the concept of intolerance, I’ll provide some examples here from both the “left” and the “right” in the United States. Note that these examples are not indictments of either political alignment, and only serve to outline the concept.

Left Wing Intolerance:

Though many would consider the left wing the epitome of tolerance, they are quite intolerant when it suits their interests, and this has proved to be invaluably effective for their cause. More specifically, take the generic left wing’s advocacy for the approval and acceptance of the homosexual community, or perhaps its support for radical egalitarianism. Those who make disparaging comments about homosexuals or perhaps make stereotypical jokes about people of other races will be swiftly and severely punished. The left’s ability to deplatform, socially isolate, and pressure employers to terminate those who make such disparaging comments or jokes showcases the effectiveness of their intolerance. Again, I am not casting judgment on the morality of this intolerance, I am simply calling it as I see it. It is my understanding that many of those on the left who practice this intolerance do so because they will not tolerate those who are intolerant of their agenda.

Right Wing Intolerance:

Though the generic right wing was once (up until the early 2000s) highly effective in asserting their intolerance of dissent, they are now almost completely ineffective at doing so, most likely because of the highly liberal climate in the West. This is not to say that there is no intolerance within the right wing – it is to say that, in the court of public opinion, nobody cares what the right wing will and will not tolerate. Yet, there have been a few occasions of right wing intolerance that have been somewhat successful in recent years. For example, it’s easy to see that the National Rifle Association believes that there is a slippery slope regarding the regulation of firearms and firearm modifications/accessories. The NRA has been (mostly) successful at pushing back against the regulation of firearms, even regulations that seem very inconsequential and minor in nature. However, their intolerance of what they believe to be infringements on the constitutional rights of their members has been effective in swaying public opinion.

The Point

There are some ideas and behaviors which (taken at face value) seem harmless and innocuous, but when tolerated for long enough, they pick up steam and become aggressive to the point of infringing on one’s personal liberties. The most obvious and most relevant example of excessive tolerance leading to the infringement of liberties is the issue of internet censorship. There are a great deal of political figures on the internet – many of whom used platforms such as YouTube as their means of income – who have recently been banned from using these platforms because of their ideologies. The libertarian might contend that social media corporations are private entities, and have the right to censor and deplatform as they wish. The libertarian might also assert that if the banned user had used a given platform as their means of income and intend to continue to rely on internet activity as their means of income in the future, that they should “build their own” platform. Personally, I would usually be inclined to agree with the sentiment, but the circumstances regarding censorship are far different than they were in the past.

The user bases of platforms such as YouTube or Twitter, as well as the public at large (including libertarians for the reasons listed above), generally tolerated the banning and deplatforming of many internet figures. Some did decide to build their own platforms, and websites such as Gab.ai, BitChute, and Hatreon were created. But it did not take long before access to online payment processing through PayPal and Stripe (together having overwhelming dominance of the payment processing market) had been revoked. The market dominance of PayPal and Stripe (which frequently operate in lock-step, nearly cornering the payment processing market) is what is important here. Though it is obviously difficult, one can create an alternative platform where they can host content for themselves and others like them; however, to ask for one to create an alternative media platform as well as a payment processing system within a market where practically no competition to the dominant companies is able to go anywhere is an absolutely absurd proposition. Tolerating the deplatforming of any person who was (within their constitutional rights) operating on platforms which are now the de facto public square is the cause of a new wave of censorship that has now targeted libertarians themselves for banning and removal from these platforms.

I understand that the above example of internet censorship is somewhat long-winded and complicated, however, I personally find it preferable to taking the heat over explaining an example like the baking of wedding cakes for homosexual marriages, or the legal requirement to refer to people by using their “preferred pronouns.”

In summation, I don’t believe that libertarianism is something that is deeply flawed, nor do I think that it is a system of political and social thinking that is without value or merit. But there is a reason why the peak success of libertarianism and ideas like it took place long ago during a time of exploration, pioneering, and occasional lawlessness. In a low density population the idea is quite good, yet with the way things are now, it is increasingly obvious that not everyone can be convinced of free market principles and the value of the individual through simple logical explanation, and those people who cannot be convinced will inevitably band together into a collective and utilize the power of the state in one way or another to infringe upon your liberties.

An Essay on Charlottesville

Note

Since the event in question – UTR – took place, I have radically changed my mind about the contents of the article below. After learning of the political prisoners abused, de-personed, and imprisoned by the Virginian governance and forced compliance by law enforcement (such as R.A.M. and the Proud Boys) my mind has drastically changed on this subject – however I will leave this article as it was as a sort of time capsule.


Since Saturday the 12th, it has been greatly discouraging to see many of my friends openly engaging in discussions with one another about issues regarding American politics and race relations – yet denying me a word on the subject. So, I’m going to try and explain exactly what the hell is happening as succinctly and as logically as I can. I suspect that we have the same opinion.

Why am I doing this?

As a person who is typically very open with strangers and friends alike, I often voice my opinion on any and all American political matters. As many of you know, I tend to lean somewhat “to the right” on issues regarding society, ethics, history, and economics. It has been made apparent to me – through the unwavering disregard for political dialogue, and perhaps a fear that my friends will wish to disavow me from their circles – that some would believe that I am a Neo-Nazi, Fascist, Eugenicist, White Supremacist, or any other ideologue who would force his opinions on others. All of these charges are false.

The Charlottesville Problem:

What happened in Charlottesville is no more than a product and representation of the categorization and collectivism that has festered within the lowest rungs of American society since the Second World War. The vast majority of us interact with hundreds if not thousands of other people on a day-to-day, momentary basis. Everything one sees, everything one hears, every tool that has been given to us to supposedly formulate our own opinions has been greatly compromised. The simplest thing to do, and what most of us are guilty of, is steadily and enduringly following narratives. Hold on, I hope I am as clear as can be in reinforcing this fact – I have never, nor have I ever had the resolution to follow my own narrative, to create my own agenda, or to cut out the influence of others entirely. You and I have an established relationship here, and I want you to know that I haven’t, for one second, believed you to be beneath me, or above me. These things are for you to decide. Your position in society is where you, yourself, end up compared to where you envision. I say all of this because it seems there is no longer an emphasis on The Individual.

The way I see things, we now have the competing ideologies:

Collectivism and Individualism.

Collectivism in Society:

A society which puts an emphasis on the Collective, and only the Collective, will fail. Every (institutionalized) Collectivist society on planet earth has failed, and every society that continues to follow this agenda in the future will fail. Collectivist ideologies have resulted in the fall of the Roman Empire, the collapse of the U.S.S.R., the destruction of the Third Reich, the slow sink of the Scandinavian economy, and ultimately – the deaths of hundreds of millions.

It is absolutely crucial to note that I am not talking about this whole notion of “left vs. right”. That notion is absurd. Ideologies exist on both X and Y axes. The X axis is most often considered to be the degree to which an ideology is socially Liberal, and the Y axis the degree to which an ideology favors State power, economic control, and Authoritarianism.

Why This Matters in Regard to Charlottesville:

Let’s try to (roughly) define a few things.

The “Alt-Right” – A crude and hateful ideology which favors Americans with a European ancestry above all else. This is Collectivism.

The New Left (AntiFa, and associated movements) – A crude and hateful ideology which assumes that the other is the reason for differences between ethnic backgrounds, economic status, and over/under-representation in the workforce. This is Collectivism.

The Belligerents and Their Backgrounds:

Competing Collectivist ideologies have existed throughout human existence. Humans, after all, are a Tribal species, and a scapegoat is absolutely crucial in upholding a Collectivist viewpoint. Having someone to blame for your problems and creating a victim narrative that suits the Collective is what keeps the Collective afloat. Early in human history, other tribes, races, or even Gods were blamed. The scapegoat, however, flows with the Zeitgeist. Without blaming Jews and “subhumans”, would Hitler have been able to maintain his “racially pure” society? Without the Aristocracy, bourgeoisie, or the middle-class to blame for the poverty of the proletariat, would Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have been able to successfully revolt? No and no; both of these organizations were reactionary. Once one can convince any categorical population that they share a common “enemy”, such a population will use violence as a means to punish such an enemy. The Collective does not exist without a common enemy.

You may not agree with me, but I find that the “Alt-Right” and “AntiFa” are quite easy to compare in this regard. Sure, there are plenty of differences, just as there were between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, but they follow the exact same guidelines. Here is the essential difference between National Socialist Germany and The Soviet Union: Nazi Germany used race as a means of separation, and The Soviet Union used economic class as a means of separation. They’re no different! Both of these ideologies were, by their very design, constructed to separate and categorize the population to the point in which debate, reason, and Individualism are nearly impossible. Once the populous can no longer tolerate the other, violence becomes the only option.

The Alt-Right is entirely convinced that there is “an anti-white climate” in The West, which doesn’t make a morsel of sense considering that the philosophy of The West is based entirely on Individualism. While I do believe that our universities, our biased information, and media outlets often foster cultural Marxism, you cannot defeat cultural Marxism by using cultural Marxism. The Alt-Right is nothing but a shadow of “AntiFa”. Nothing institutional has changed in regards to racism recently, so if the Alt-Right would like to combat this ridiculous notion of “anti-white climate”, they should go have children and raise them like a halfway decent person. Lastly, the idea that National Socialism could function in any way in the United States, or would be welcomed by anybody except for the couple thousand of White Nationalists is laughable.

On the other hand, we have “AntiFa” which has declared that its focus is to fight Fascism and state-sponsored racism. To assume that present-day America is Fascist, or to assume that there is somehow institutionalized racism is completely and utterly absurd. America has been at the forefront of social liberties since its founding. For those who believe that there is institutionalized racism or bigotry, I urge you to search for as long as humanly possible for any law, code, or current Supreme Court ruling in which one race is not allowed the liberties of another. This also goes for the Alt-Right – you are not being discriminated against. Regardless of how you feel about it, whether you want it to be true, or not, in America we have equality before the law. I won’t go into detail about how the U.S. is not Fascist because I don’t need to; a Fascist America is so ridiculous it’s incomprehensible.

All of that being said, I see an enormous problem. How do the members of these groups turn around? Can they?

The Only Way to Fix This:

As Americans, we must emphasize a return to Individualism. We must step back from the ledge of State enforced ideologies. We must treat each other as Individuals, and not the other. We must let people speak, even if their ideas are repugnant. We must allow ideas to rise and die without interference. We must always be vigilant of National Socialism, of Fascism, of Communism, of Socialism, all of which aim to squelch human rights, but we can not use violence as a means to an end; you will not achieve that end. I am just as offended by the Hammer and Sickle as I am the Swastika, but if some degenerate wants to wear a shirt, wave a flag, or flail a sign, let them do it – better yet, make sure others are aware of what the symbol means, why it is wrong, and respect the other person’s right to make a fool of themselves in public. Once you take away their right to speak, you have set an extremely dangerous precedent, and your constitutional rights might be next; so if someone is wrong, for God’s sake, let them speak! Once we stop talking, we start killing. We need to question all beliefs, and not be blinded by preference. People’s minds can be changed.

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

– Mark Twain

Thank You All!

I haven’t had the WordPress app installed for some reason, so I’m just now seeing how many people are liking my work. It’s not hundreds, but it’s a hell of a lot better than 2 or 3. Thanks so much to all of you who have read my work. Also, if anybody has a request for a certain topic which might also mean something to me, I can try my best with a poem or short story. I’m always down for new experiences. Thanks again for your support! You’re my inspiration to write more often!

Don’t Take This the Wrong Way.

My demons have caved and gone home.

The ghosts who pervaded my conscience

have crawled back below the starless horizon.

 

They’re tired of waiting on me.

 

How I wish there was something;

please tell me there’s something better.

Something more than this.

 

Slow bass shivers;

carnival organs and their foul accents poke me;

they make me bleed.

Once, they stopped to play a slower, sorry psalm.

 

Is the sun lonely? How could I know.

 

How I wish there was something;

please tell me there’s something better.

Why isn’t there something more than this?
This saturated solitude.

Afterwards

             After the last song, we started down a dark street. There was a sound like the shock of a dropped eight-string, and it clouded our territory with distressed and anxious gnats, burrowing into our ears with a visceral scratching, the kind of scratching that may prompt one to beat himself for no reason other than to clear its echoes. A quick, sharp wail and an interrupted gasp followed the shock. Silk woven bags of sand spun and met their surroundings with the force of riot pellets against hard metal. But this was around the corner in an alley that always smelled of blood and burning heroin. That wasn’t our alley, ours was a block north. I felt the tingle in the back of my head again. The spiders were stepping ever so slowly up and down the inside of my skull, their sharp weaving feet tapping back and forth. I would soon breathe it again. Smell it, taste it, know it. The drip like old vitamins mother fed me twenty years ago. My primal instincts would best me soon, forcing me to crawl into my shadow beneath the grid once again.

Who? (Poem)

He doesn’t get out much,

Only when he alters his state.

He spends his days alone,

But he doesn’t mind.

In the past, he wanted to die.

Now he’s too tired.

There’s so much to say!

But no way to share,

And often no one to care.

Music and medication keep him alive,

Which isn’t a bad thing.

He’s always thirsty,

And only breathes through his nose.

And that’s fine with him.

After all, he’s just a nervous mess.

He’s not helpless.

Just a little off.

– E.L.

White Walls – A Memoir

In order of importance, they lined us up like animals for our daily feeding. Neptune went first, as always, then Brittany, Gabby, Kristen, Justin, myself, and the few that followed me. The fluorescent lights fastened to the ceiling burned my skin. They lead us towards the bolted wooden door, behind which, a hideous woman stood. She called our names through the veil of her intimidating white scrubs. We were given tiny paper cups filled with cocktails of various medications, after which our mouths were forced open with our tongues out. She would follow every inspection with “Good boy,” or “good girl”. I stared at the floor until she called me.
“Mr. Eric?” she said.
I stared at the floor. My name was not “Mr. Eric”. She could’ve called me “Eric”, “Mr. Lundgren”, “Lundgren”, I didn’t care; however, my name was not Mr. fucking Eric. I didn’t look up until she said it.
“Eric Lundgren,” she said, a little louder this time. “Its time for your medication.”
“Yeah,” I responded. I chased the four pills with another tiny paper cup lazily filled with water. In that cup was 20mg of Zoloft, 30mg of Effexor, 1mg of Klonopin, and the base amount of Trazodone. She grabbed my mouth to check under my tongue, and all was clear.
“Good boy,” she said, before calling another patient.
“I’m not a dog,” I responded. “I’m a sixteen-year-old person.” She looked at me, smiled, and looked away. She didn’t care. She was just waiting until ten when she’d go home and snort OxyContin with her sorry excuse for a boyfriend. I sighed and walked away, returning to the community room to contemplate suicide once more.
In the spring of 2011, after three years of habitual Marijuana, Alcohol, Cocaine, and prescription pill abuse, as well as multiple suicide attempts, I was admitted to the Riverside Behavioral Health Center in Hampton, Virginia. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Substance Dependance Disorder when I was fourteen. After going through two psychiatrists and five therapists, the idea of the behavioral hospital was brought to our attention. My mother and I had contemplated admitting me since September 2010, but it didn’t happen until more than a year later, after I had attempted to hang myself once, overdose on pills twice, and drown myself in carbon monoxide. The evening after the carbon monoxide incident, I decided to show my mother the cuts covering my arms and legs. I’ll never forget how she cried. I know that she cried for me, but also for herself, which was just as painful. I often find myself wishing I would’ve gone about that some other way. I didn’t handle it well, and neither did she. After that evening, I decided it was time to go.
I went to school the next day. Mid-lecture I told my teacher I was going to the restroom, but I packed my things and left the school. I drove home, debating speeding up to around sixty miles per hour, rolling the windows down, aiming in the right direction, closing my eyes, and hitting a tree, a transformer, or a guardrail perhaps. I was comfortable with dying. After a few moments of peace, I decided against this and instead called my mother.
“I’m ready to go to the hospital now,” I said.
“Okay,” she said. “I’ll be home soon. Your father will be there too.”
“Shit. Dad’s going to be there?”
I asked because my parents were divorced. They split up in 2005, and my dad was still not doing well, especially because mom was still seeing the guy that supposedly tore our family apart, and because I told him of my drug abuse a year prior. Well, only the pot. We were far from friends then, as were my mother and I.
“Yes, we will be there shortly. Everything’s going to be fine, I promise,” she answered.
“Okay,” I replied, and hung up.
I got home and my parents drove me to the hospital, telling me all the while how everything would be fine, and not to worry about anything. “Alright,” and “Okay,” was all I had to say. We entered the hospital and they signed me in. They both hugged me, we did the whole “I love you” thing, and they left me.
The staff stripped me of my belt, sweatshirt, and shoes, and instead gave me sandals to wear. The nurse giving me the tour of the Behavioral Health ward was surprisingly kind, and upon her departure, I was sent into a room with other kids between twelve and seventeen, arranged in a circle. The room was dark, except for an obnoxious movie playing from a small television in the front of the room near another nurse. The smell of that place is something I will never forget. The odor was a stale thin air that felt nearly poisonous. I sat down in the circle with the other kids and looked down at my knees. I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t know any of those people, and I remembered what I had been told about places like those. I stopped an anxiety attack by slowly breathing the stagnant dust into my paper lungs.
Why didn’t I just fucking do it. Look at where you are, Eric.
The lights turned on. All eyes were on me.
“Okay guys, it looks like we have a new visitor!” the nurse said. I scanned the room. The walls were white; they all were. Every wall in the whole damned place was white. I felt trapped in an origami prison. I briefly glanced into the corner of the room. I believe in the weakest time of my life, the girl I saw in that moment was genuinely the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She, too, looked down at her knees, occasionally looking up at me and then looking away. She had straight black hair that neatly rested on her shoulders, lots of cute little freckles about her face, and such sincere eyes. I felt like I was in love with this girl and I hadn’t been inside the place for more than ten minutes.
Maybe it won’t be so bad.
“You must be Eric,” the nurse said, looking at me. I quickly snapped out of my confusion and looked up at her.
“Yep, that’s me.” I said.
“Why are you here?” another patient asked.
“Hold on, we’ll save that for later.” the nurse said, stopping me from continuing a horrible conversation with that rude prick. “Eric, we’re watching a movie. Is that okay with you?”
“Yes, that’s fine,” I answered.
After finishing the movie, it was around three o’clock in the afternoon and the nurse ushered the group of people – including myself – into another room slightly larger than the last littered with couches and other mildly comfortable chairs. We sat in a circle. Since there was a new person in the ward, we all took turns stating exactly what put us in the hospital. The majority of us were there for suicide attempts and a few for psychopathic and/or homicidal behavior. It was my turn, and I spoke up:
“Hi, my name’s Eric. I’m here for a few suicide attempts. Obviously, none of them were successful-“
“Suicide attempts are never successful,” the nurse cut me off. “Some individuals complete the act of suicide, but there is no success there.” she finished and then looked back at me. I was speechless. I thought of a hundred things I could’ve said to that woman then, but I knew that the more I acted out, the longer I would be in there.
“I understand.” I said, sitting down.
“Do you have anything else to-“ she began.
“No, I don’t.” I said, cutting her off and looking away. I looked over at the freckled girl with the black hair. She was looking at me again, and looked away when I caught her eye. The rest of the kids said their piece before we moved on.
“Okay,” the nurse started. She removed an iPod and a small stereo set from a large bag beside her. While setting the stereo up, she said: “Have any of you ever heard the song ‘Perfect’ by Pink?” she smiled and looked around the room. “It’s really a great song. You guys would love it. It’s about people who are feeling like some of you feel sometimes. Do you guys want to hear it?” A few of the girls and younger kids nodded or said “yes” lazily.
She played the song.
Fuck me. What is this bullshit?
One kid said something about the song actually being called “Fucking Perfect” instead of “Perfect” and of course, the nurse was playing the clean version.
“Yes, they do use the F word in this song,” the nurse said, giggling. “But that’s not what we need to focus on here. Isn’t this song wonderful?” That stupid song played over in my head under buzzing fluorescent lighting that felt as if it were burning my skin. I looked around for a bit, trying to escape the music and noticed that there were no windows in the room. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t seen a window since I was admitted. I wasn’t sure when I’d see sunlight again. I noticed then that the nurse had been trying to get my attention.
“Yes?” I answered her. That horrible song played in the background.
“Eric, this is the only place in the center where patients are allowed to swear. Anywhere other than this room over my watch, you guys cannot use curse words. Understood?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“Great.” she said. The song was finally ending. It was at this point that she decided to go around the circle of patients, each with their own song request for the iPod. Most of them chose the worst type of rap music, and about half of them sang along. I hated that more than anything. I contemplating holding a palm out to them. Stop. Please. Do you have any idea how stupid you look? A guy named Justin, whom I briefly befriended in the hospital asked to listen to Disturbed, and he sang with the music. My God, his voice was awful. He would later call his parents and tell them about how great it was to sing in front of everybody, and how well it went. The freckled girl with the black hair, Kristen, asked for a Papa Roach song, and her friend Gabby asked for a My Chemical Romance song. So, naturally, those were the people I gravitated towards.
By the time it was my turn, I asked the nurse to play “Wake Up” by Suicide Silence – a well known Deathcore band. Not only did I love the song, I knew it would be unsettling to lots of the other people there, which would be hilarious. As she played, I soaked it in. Gabby and Kristen laughed and smiled at the music. That made me a little bit more comfortable. The nurse asked me questions, but I would answer very quickly.
“Why do you like this song?”
“It’s fucking awesome.”
“Doesn’t it make you angry?”
“Nah.”
“Well, right now we’re listening to songs that make us angry,” she said. I had missed that part of the conversation.
“Well… I suppose sometimes it does.”
“Why?”
“I have no idea.”
“What is he saying?”
“Wake up, wake up… Do I still exist… I can’t see my face…”
“What is it about?”
“Acid.”
I wanted to tell her to shut the hell up. They took our iPods, cell phones, and anything else that could possibly bring pleasure into one’s life upon admission. I was enjoying my music, but a few continued to look at me, surprised that anyone could listen to my favorite genre. I spoke up. “Oh come on, you can’t tell me that this isn’t the kind of shit you guys think about with a razor in your hand or a noose around your neck.” Nobody had an answer. I shrugged and continued to soak up the screams until it ended, far too soon I might add. We listened to the rest of the kids’ awful music until it was time to eat.
We were fed a vile mixture of meats and vegetables. I could never have known exactly what it was. It didn’t smell too bad, but the taste was far from pleasant. While picking at my food, I found myself alone. Kristen and Gabby decided they would introduce themselves to me. I formally met them both, but I couldn’t help but feel attracted to Kristen. She really was one of the most gorgeous things I had ever seen. Maybe it was because we were completely shut out from the rest of the world. It was as if everything had died, leaving the two of us alone. I dreamt that would happen. I begged my imagination to set us alone. She was slightly flirty, but I didn’t pick up on it. It wasn’t until a few days into my imprisonment that I could see that she was just as attracted to me as I was to her. She told me the dreams she had of me, and I did the same. I hadn’t had a girlfriend in a while, and I figured a girl with problems almost exactly like mine would make us both happy, and it did. I didn’t find her until October of 2013. She loved me from the end of 2013 until December of 2014.
I found the others to be quite strange, and I did not speak to them much. Justin was a horrible compulsive liar and Gabby was a horribly rude person.
After we ate, they fed us our pills, and those of us who had behaved well were able to go to sleep earlier than the others. As much as I wanted to sleep, I figured I would stay up and enjoy the slight buzz that I was getting from the Trazodone. After it wore off, I went to my room. There were no sharp objects, medications, or outlets in the room, so these were not options. I looked for a place to hang myself with a towel, but the shower curtain was held up by a PVC pipe and the bed posts were a coned shape, as were the door handles. I tried to sleep, but could not, partly because the staff would open the door every other hour for a “check up”. I cried myself to sleep and was woken up at nine in the morning by the staff, who told me it was time for food.
Before they fed me, I had to speak with a nurse every morning from then on, who asked me vague questions about how I was feeling.
“Do you feel suicidal today?”
“Nope.”
“Good! How happy are you on a scale of one to ten?”
“About a six.”
“Great! We’re going to do some blood work on you now before you eat and check your vitals just to make sure you’re doing well.”
“Alright.” I said.
Of course I had to lie. How else would have I gotten out of that miserable place?
Two young nurses entered the room and tried to take my blood. She ended up missing my vein four times, which left a large bruise over my left forearm. That day was much darker than the one before. I knew I would not be able to commit suicide inside the hospital, and I knew I would be there for at least four more days. I prayed that my parents would remove me before the weekend, but I knew that they wouldn’t.
After we ate, we painted. I scribbled all over the page. The nurse asked me what it meant to me. I said that I had no idea.
I really didn’t.
After two days of art, awful movies, and talking in circles, I found myself sitting at a table alone, waiting for staff to tell me I could sleep. The nurse called me to the desk in the front of the ward, where I was handed the phone.
“It’s your father,” the nurse said. “He would like to speak with you.” she smiled and walked away.
“Thanks,” I said. I placed the phone to my ear.
“Hello?” he said. Just hearing his voice made me dreadfully sad.
“Hey dad,” I said.
“How are you?”
“I’m horrible,” I whispered into the phone. I covered my mouth with my hand.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“You gotta get me the hell out of here, dad. You have to. I can’t do this anymore.” I said, beginning to cry.
“Eric, I’m sorry. I don’t know what to tell you. Your mother wouldn’t like that very much, and its for the best, anyways. Just hang in there.” I hit my fist on the table.
“Dad, please. You’ve got to help me.”
“Eric-“ he began, before the nurse took the phone from me.
“One moment, Mr. Lundgren,” she said, placing the phone back on the counter. “Eric, you need to be calm,” the nurse said. “I don’t want to see you go to the cloud room.”
Oh Fuck.
The cloud room was a room off to the side of the ward, where they would put you if you did anything violent. In the process, staff would hold you down, shoot you in the ass with a needle full of Ativan, and lock you beneath restraints onto a table in a room that was painted to look as if there were clouds on the walls, because somehow that helped.
“No I’m fine, I’m fine. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” I said back to her.
“Okay. I’m just making sure everything is well,” she said. She picked up the phone and returned it to me.
“Dad,” I said, breathing heavily into the phone.
“I’m sorry. I just can’t do that right now. You know I love you and I would do anything to help you, but this is for the best.”
“I love you too, dad.” I said, and hung up. I quietly cried to myself on the table until it was time to be drugged and put to bed.
The next day, a short muscular kid with a shaved head was pushed through the doors of the ward. I was eating at the time. After a few moments of speaking with the nurse, he sat down next to me. We sat in silence for three or four minutes before I awkwardly looked in his direction. “Hey,” I said. “My name’s Eric.” I reached for a handshake, but his hands gripped his knees and showed no signs of movement. He stared at the white wall before us with the kind of blank stare that one might find on a dead man. He had not touched his food; he just continued to stare. “What’s your name?” I asked. He didn’t reply. I looked back at my food, shaking my head. After more prolonged silence, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t know what the fuck was wrong with that kid, but I needed a god damned friend. “I think I’ll just call you Neptune, dude,” I said. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why I chose the name Neptune out of all names for this guy, but he didn’t seem to mind.
“Neptune. I like that.” he said, still staring blankly forwards.
Maybe he won’t kill me now.
“Sweet, dude.” I said. I finished eating, and moved to the community room where I sat alone once again. About an hour afterwards, the rest of the patients moved into the room and gathered in a circle. We had to watch a video about drug abuse and how it ruins your life. I protested a few times during the video in order to bring up the fact that drugs are an excellent coping mechanism, especially for when you lose something.
The following day, Kristen and Gabby were released, and I was released two days after they were. I never realized how much I needed my parents until my mother picked me up from the hospital. I wanted to cry, but I figured I was done with that for the time being. The sunlight and the warm grass cradled me in those moments of bliss. My mother laughed, but I didn’t find it funny. I rolled around in the grass, itching all over, until mother picked me up from the heated green blades. I still didn’t understand why I was in the ward for so long, and mother couldn’t give me an answer, but it didn’t matter.