I got discouraged with the whole liberty community thing last fall. So I took an 8-month break. You probably didn’t notice and don’t care. That’s quite alright!
Why did I get discouraged?
- Sometimes I feel like I’m doing my thing all by myself over here. It gets lonely and frustrating.
- I was being ridiculed by fellow libertarians for trying on new ideas that threaten libertarian orthodoxy. I consider this anti-intellectual behavior and incredibly disappointing.
- When a certain person decided to launch baseless, repeated and nasty public attacks on my character, some people that I respected quite a lot chose to defend him. Some criticized me for pointing out the elephant in the room and a few even praised him! This sucked.
- I was still recovering from the Allentown US Marshal attack.
- We Won’t Fly left me feeling burned out and unable to top myself.
- An important project fell through when a fellow libertarian I value failed to deliver something I paid for.
- I felt like crap at PorcFest 2011 (which I spent a lot of money to attend) because (1) a certain craven person got another very nasty person to insult me publicly from the registration table and (2) when I called them on it, I got the thousand-yard stare from an open-carrying Free State Project insider (I was open carrying, too). I got the sense that he was thinking of drawing on me.
What did I do over my “bummer” break?
- I lost 40 pounds.
- I experimented with a vegan diet and loved it. I consider myself a vegetarian now.
- I spent a lot of time with my son.
- I took up Aikido. It rocks.
- I took up Zen meditation. It is incredibly powerful.
- I studied leadership.
- I overcame a lot of fears.
- I took up hiking. I can’t get enough of it.
- I read a ton of books.
- I started a business.
And I realized that I am a leader. I don’t care if you disagree. Oh, and I have a special vocation to bring liberty and goodwill to the world. Go ahead and laugh. It’s corny but it’s true. I’m also 41 years old. I don’t have time to screw around. It’s time for me to get as serious as possible without unduly risking another Allentown.
So that’s why I’m getting back to work on libertarian stuff. It’s my mission. And there are many more people in the liberty community that I really like than those who disappoint me. You guys are really cool!
What did I learn?
- I have to be blind, deaf and dumb to the negative.
- I’m on a mission. This is between me and the universe. It’s not about anyone else. I’m taking this to the wall whether I have someone next to me or not. Think Julian Heicklen.
- A relentless focus on the voluntaryist imperative of self-improvement is the best policy. I’ve got to live it.
- Be ready to die at any time. Expect it. Look forward to the opportunity for a great death. This doesn’t mean I want to die. It just means I have to constantly put myself into challenging situations in order to continue growing and avoid rotting. Otherwise I’ll never be up to the challenge of taking a run at my mission.
What now? Here’s what I’m working on:
- A way overdue pamphlet about the courts and jury nullification. (Sorry Nate!)
- Blogging useful stuff daily here. What should I write about?
- I’m bringing Agora I/O back. The next conference is September 21-23 this year.
- I’m bringing Shield Mutual (mutual aid project) back but with a different twist.
- I’m working on an idea called the Peace League. The League is a group of people, highly trained in satyagraha (Gandhian nonviolence), who freely associate and form groups to go into places of conflict and nonviolently assist the combatants in reaching a sustainable resolution. It would take inspiration from Buddha, Jesus, St Francis of Assisi, Tolstoy, Gandhi, MLK, Rusesabagina and so many others. When people call for the US army to handle a humanitarian disaster or to intervene (think Kony 2012 or Darfur), we go instead. It’s like the opposite of an army.
- I’m working on an environmental and human rights activism project here in Colombia that involves a Spanish-Italian multinational and a small band of campesinos. I’ve got hours of video that I will edit and publish soon. I was even already detained! (See tomorrow’s post for the video and story.)
For my three faithful readers, thanks so much for bearing with me during the break. I promise great things to come!
25 replies on “Why I Got Discouraged and Why I’m Back”
I’m kind of encouraged to see you’ve been meditating. It’s something I’ve found to be invaluable lately.
You’re doing it, too, huh? Sweet! My Aikido sensei is teaching me. It’s challenging. My son really likes it, too.
My spouse works with women who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. She uses ACT http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptance_and_Commitment_Therapy She kind of introduced me to Jon Kabat-Zinn. I’ve also been learning from a lot of Buddhists & Christians who are into mindfulness & meditation.
Welcome back my old friend!
As I just posted on your facebook I’m glad to have you back George. I do have a couple questions though. You mentioned you’re bringing Shield Mutual back, but with a twist….what’s the “twist”? Also IIRC you live in Colombia now….what are the gun rights in Colombia like in comparison to the U.S. as a whole? I’m asking since I’m “considering” becoming an expat. Thanks, have a nice day, and again, welcome back!
Gun rights in Colombia are basically non-existent. I could get a permit and buy a gun (only from the army) at great expense but I couldn’t even carry it back to my house because the mayor of Medellín has issued some special proclamation disallowing even carry permit holders from carrying in Medellín. This has been in effect for over a year now. Of course it does nothing to stop the open gun battles in the poorest neighborhoods.
I’ll write a post soon about Shield Mutual.
Okay thanks for the answer. And I await your post on Shield Mutual. :)
Welcome back good sir. I’m shocked to hear about the “intimidator” at PorcFest. Glad to hear about the Agora I/O Unconference!
If you are interested by satyagraha , then you will also enjoy studying “otpor!” and Gene Sharp’s non-violent resistance. (
Yes, thanks. I have read a couple of Sharp’s books and a little about Otpor. I’m actually looking for fellow sataygraha enthusiasts to study with.
I’m glad you’re “back”, George. You hit on some things that have been discouraging me lately as well. I’ve also started vipassana meditation and have had a strong interest in Zen for a few years, though the two are quite similar.
Sweet! We’ll have to talk about it sometime.
Glad you’re back George!
Was it me?
I have no idea who you are or what you’re asking me about.
At the registration table. The ‘craven’ individual.
I doubt that very much. Is there something I can assist you with?
> Blogging useful stuff daily here. What should I write about?
Well, it may or may not be on topic, but I’d like to see you write about how you go about doing the first thing on your list of ‘lessons’:
> I have to be blind, deaf and dumb to the negative.
I’d love to hear about strategies, successes and failures. Of course, if you’re successful at ignoring something, you can’t very well write about it. :-)
I “learned” this lesson about ignoring the negative a long time ago myself. Meaning, I see that it’s necessary. I’ve been working on the ‘how’ for about twenty years with little success and would appreciate any help!
FWIW, I did notice you were gone, and I’m very glad you’re writing here again!.
Thanks for your comment Trevor. Excellent suggestion. I will definitely write about that! And I can assure you that it remains a daily struggle. Tho I know I have gotten better at it. Have a great day!