I’ll cut to the chase – I saw a conversation on Facebook that put me in the comments section for too long, and I decided it would be better to just make this a blog post. So this is part a public exhibition of this idea, and partly a response to a man who I believe to be not only confused, but backward. And since he came out of the gate  with nothing but bait, I tried to make this sharp enough to cut through the hook. So here’s the comment:

Dear “Fuck your feelings” libertarians,
Here’s how much it turns people off: They’d rather live in an unfree world than in a world filled with assholes who value freedom but not empathy. Does that not tell you something about how much this approach won’t work? — Jeremy Cline

 

Let’s get to it.

Nobody gives a shit about assholes – Hillary is a criminal and Trump might as well be a jock on a shitty eighties TV show. Libertarians protest war, brutality, slavery, and all other forms of aggression, and you mean to tell me that people who want to remain under that system care an ounce about people being mean? Seriously?

They’re used to excusing PURE EVIL, and you think that mean words on the internet are the lynchpin in their statism? No. They aren’t. The lynchpin is their comfort with terrible things, and that is what must be crushed if they are to come around to the side of anything against the establishment. You can choose to do that compassionately, and that’s certainly viable, but don’t expect to be taken seriously if the entire wealth of anarchist thought bothers you because some of it isn’t nice.

Jill Stein is nice, and compassionate most places she talks, but people don’t want that. Get very used to that. People run to the government for help because they want someone who can make a strong show of force for their specific desires that have been handcrafted by elite men in suits in boardrooms who are much bigger assholes than any anarchist is here.

People like assholes. It’s why reality TV, where people constantly bitch and snipe and “throw shade” is so fucking popular, why talk radio shows are filled with the most nasty, vile, bigoted blowjob shit out there, and why, after all these years, people haven’t found sympathy from their fellow man in their time of need, but from a “higher power”, whether that be a god, a “vibration”, a government or some other such imaginary entity, calling the proverbial 9-11 every time they break a nail. Nobody gives a shit, so stop pretending that our being less mean will change that.

The only thing that will change it is a global paradigm shift away from collectivized and centralized – essentially, political – thinking, and toward personal responsibility. In the end, nicety can only get you so far, and only if you happen upon the right people who actually care, and won’t kill you, hurt you, or betray you, as soon as they see you. Those people are a minority, and most of them are already libertarians, whether they see it or not, because they are the sort of people that respect your boundaries pretty reasonably.

Those people aren’t your target audience. Those people are the fringe. Like we are. Expecting the majority to do what the fringe does is foolish, and since we fight dangerous people – people who would try to control our speech, and much more – it’s also dangerous. Libertarianism could cut like a knife through established statist dogma were it to become popular, and ideas like yours seem to dull the blade. I’d understand saying that there’s a time and a place for being mean, and that a harsh approach should have an off switch, and be used with discretion, not impunity, but to say simply “don’t” is childish, as is the rest of your comments here. Let me give you an example:

I know you don’t like the way these points Feel to hear.. but you need to process it anyway.

Okay. I’m’a let you finish, but you could’ve just said “fuck your feelings”, and it would’ve been shorter. You just contradicted yourself. Never go full contradiction.

Because the only way that feelings of others don’t matter is if people don’t matter. And if people don’t matter, neither do your rights. People are fragile. If you’re mean to them, they will avoid the unpleasant sensation. No amount of stomping your feet and screaming TOLERATE ME will change that. No amount of ignoring your Effect to focus on your Intent will change that. It’s a reasonable response of someone’s freedom to disassociate to avoid unpleasant behavior. I am not advocating for saccharin falsity and hollow Hallmark nicety. I’m saying when you intentionally make a point of not valuing others, of giving them no reason to believe you’re the kind of people they’d want to associate with in the first place, it is unreasonable to then act shocked that they don’t want to adopt your values and world view and associate with people who act like that.

Here’s your first mistake. People don’t equal feelings. If your argument rests on false equivalency, you’re going to have a bad time. “People are fragile.” Mistake two – some people are fragile. Other people are harder than you are, and others are harder than them still. Don’t make generalizations. You aren’t good at it. “If you’re mean to them, they will avoid the unpleasant sensation.” Like they do when one candidate is mean, so they run to the other, until they’re mean? No – people are used to this. “No amount of stomping your feet and screaming TOLERATE ME will change that.” That’s precisely what you’re doing. You want a movement of tolerant libertarians – tolerant of all forms of statism, so much so that they put feelings above facts because the facts are unpleasant.

And here lies the cruxes of your errors: “It’s a reasonable response of someone’s freedom to disassociate to avoid unpleasant behavior.” Thought policing is unpleasant to me – want to disassociate now? “…people who act like that.” Not All Anarchists Are Like That. The fact that they’ll avoid the ideas anyway because the one person they may have interacted with was mean means precisely that they don’t care about who’s in the movement. And again, people aren’t feelings. Not valuing someone’s feelings doesn’t mean you don’t value them. This conflation could make me look like a real asshole if I disagreed with you though. Almost like that was your intention – to emotionally load your statements. Nah… that’s crazy.

And here’s the thing. I like what you post – it’s almost always a dodge from logic, objectivity, or proof wrapped in emotional appeal, but you mean it. You’re sincere. And heartfelt. Just not very genuine. Because if your response is, as it almost always seems to be, to demand that others look within themselves for the answers, while being unwilling to see that the fault may be in someone else than the person you’re talking to, you won’t look far enough within yourself to find that you may be wrong about feelings entirely.

I have a device I regularly employ in my thinking, and it’s simple… everything I think could be dead wrong, and nothing is absolutely provable. This means that if I feel something, or think it, I will second guess it. And third guess it. And take as many guesses as it takes to be satisfied with it, and admit it immediately if someone proves me wrong. I understand most people won’t do that, and that basing a movement on that is a fool’s errand. But I won’t ignore its usefulness to me. That’s what you really want to do. You want to change people, and instead of meeting them individually where they are, you’d rather classify them all into a “fragile” set, and guard their feelings like china, no matter whether they need it or not, on the likely vain hope that they see things the way you see them.

Well, I don’t. And while I’m generally the kind of person to try to understand where someone is coming from, and not automatically snap at them, I refuse to see anarchism turn into a glorified affirmations group – an ex-statist safe space. People should be challenged, pushed, and provoked, and it’s exactly this kind of emotional approach to dialogue that has people fused in place to the statist paradigm. But if you want to be a marching director, keeping people in lockstep down feels road, don’t be surprised when a horde of irrational people leave your “movement” when the state gives them more free stuff. Oh, and be sure to watch the Presidential debates. It follows an algorithm, see…

The nicest one always comes out on top.

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