2016-11-08

Election 2016: Some Musings

There is no hope in politics. To the extent that individuals are at all capable of changing the world for the better, that change has to come from within us, not from our interaction with the system. Another way to say this is, "We can make the world a better place by being better people."

It seems every election teaches me something important. When Barack Obama was elected the first time, I was incredulous that people would vote so overwhelmingly in favor of someone with such empty rhetoric. I had to admit that many of my assumptions about people were wrong.

The story this year for me has been how many otherwise-intelligent people are willing to go to bat for Hillary Clinton despite the evidence everywhere, including a massive Wikileaks expose, of her corruption and dedication to war. I expect very foolish people to buy into the Clintonian rhetoric and ignore the evidence. I do not expect outspoken critics of war, corruption, and the shortcomings of politics to double-down for Hillary Clinton. It was an important lesson for me to learn because it showed me that what most people are interested in is not truth or politics, but about maintaining their own self-serving beliefs, no matter how ridiculous they become in the face of evidence.

And no, this is not an endorsement of any other candidate.

So, where does that take me? Over the process of this particular election cycle, I have gradually noticed that the people with the sanest, most stoic, and most consistent viewpoint are the people I had grown most skeptical of: The Jeffrey Tuckers, the Justin Raimondos, the Daniel Sanchez's, and so forth. In short, the 2016 election cycle has pushed me marginally closer to anarcho-capitalism. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an anarchist. But still.

Part of this is due to their consistence. The group of people who are consistently against war and in favor of freedom and trade is the group I want to listen to. The problem with the other groups is not that I disagree with them, but that the reasons we disagree change based on whatever their preferred candidate is saying. That is, they are susceptible to political argumentation, whereas people of principle are not. I don't personally care to debate things with people whose underlying beliefs change on a whim. There's nothing to debate there, no substance behind the opinions, only an ether.

Another part of this is that, over the last couple of years, people like David Henderson, Jeffrey Tucker, Robert Murphy, and Jason Kuznicki have come out unabashedly in favor of common decency. Not just "decency in politics" or being polite, but practicing decency and good behavior as a necessary ethical component of a good, well-rounded personal philosophy. I shouldn't have to waste space contrasting that position against those who live life any other way, so I won't. Decency is the right thing to do. Their decency is winning me over.

Finally, if ever there were an argument for more competition in politics, for a less-powerful government, for more trade and less war, more industry rather than idleness and for freedom rather than compulsion, this election is it. The only people who have been unwaveringly ready to call this out are the an-caps.

No matter what happens at the ballot box today - and I am predicting a Hillary landslide - my opinions have been swayed by the decency and effective, consistent argumentation of the most radical libertarians. That my own, personal electoral outcome this year.