There’s a certain peace in accepting a situation as it is, as I talked aboutyesterday. For many who still believe that camo and rallies are the way to change the status quo, acceptance means, on some level, taking away their purpose. I get that it’s a hard thing to accept; if you’re not ‘working for the cause,’ what else is there? When you’re suddenly not spending insane amounts of time and (often someone else’s) money on the ‘fight for liberty,’ what are you supposed to do with yourself? It can cause some severe psychological effects for those who are engrossed in it.
I get that sentiment. My own thought progression has occurred over several years as well. I’ve done the rally thing, the open activism thing. I’ve given speeches at events and sang the anthem in front of tens of thousands in DC. At each and every action, my heart was 100% in it — I believed in the necessity of fighting, and the hope that we could change things.
Over time, those beliefs were challenged again and again by watching what was going on around me. I can’t tell you how many times I had to find a way to either cease being ignorant, or cease being honest. Little by little, the books I read, the things I saw, the facts I had to accept changed me.
Throughout that time, I’ve approached people I didn’t agree with and asked them to explain their position. I’ve studied the feedback I’ve gotten on various articles and taken the time to study the viewpoints of those who disagreed with me. I’ve tried to take all of that to heart and truly learn from it. I’ve said before — and just said again this morning — I’d rather be factually correct than be ‘right,’ and that means having to be brutally honest with myself when it’s possible I’m wrong.
That process means that some things I’ve done, I won’t do again. It means my involvement with certain communities or groups had to end. It means that I no longer agree with viewpoints I once shouted from the rooftops. Sometimes that knowledge is a bit embarrassing, quite frankly. In most cases, however, I don’t regret it because it was a place on a journey that is ongoing. I don’t want to remain stagnant, I don’t ever want to reach a place in my quest for knowledge where I think I’ve “arrived,” and can now retire to meme-sharing and pontificating in comment threads. I want to continue to learn, and to help others around me learn as well.
There is much more to all of this than we realize, and there’s no way any of us will ever know every single aspect of it all. But I think it’s a noble undertaking to give it every effort to try, to read and study and learn from those who are smarter than we are, or who have much to teach.
It takes a certain humility to do that — and I sometimes struggle with that because I’m human. It requires setting aside feelings and desires and even emotional needs in order to seek facts, objectivity, and analysis. Sometimes it even requires setting aside personal dislike of a messenger in order to truly hear the message. There is something to be learned from everyone — even if they are a cautionary tale. I daresay I’ve learned just as much from watching poor examples set by others (or even myself) than I learn from the solid role models — the numbers of which seem to be dwindling by the day.
What is ‘the answer?’ I’m not a guru. I know what I know, and I’m painfully aware of what I don’t. For me, the answer is to continue to seek truth — not the warm and fuzzy stuff that makes me feel good about ‘fighting for liberty,’ but the cold, hard truths that let me know exactly where I’m at, what needs to be done, and how I can get it accomplished. Right now, that means training on my firearms and associated things, but it also means learning how to breed chickens for positive traits. It means learning how to get the absolute most yield out of a garden plot — and how to preserve that yield in a variety of ways. It means understanding the ins and outs of graywater recycling and networking with neighbors to create avenues of trade. It means learning how to create medicines with the bounties of nature, and how to grow all of those components yourself. It also means a lot of reading — everything from philosophy to history to logic to how-to manuals on a host of things I wouldn’t normally have the faintest idea about how to accomplish.
That sounds like a lot of work — and it is. Oddly enough, however, when I stopped going to rallies and yapping on FB groups and getting on a thousand conference calls and organizing various actions, I suddenly had a lot more time to focus on the things that will help me prepare for a situation I cannot control and cannot stop.
I still believe in liberty. I still agree with privacy and the right to have the government leave me alone. I still believe all of those things. I also, however, believe that our time is best spent working on the things we CAN change, the things we CAN accomplish — and all of the things on that list come under one heading:
local, local, local.