I've never made a New Year's Resolution before. I think they're stupid. If you want to make a change in your life, you should make it when you want to make it, not wait for some arbitrary date to come along. But this year I am making one. Why? Because I need an arbitrary date. I want to try something out for an entire year and I figure the first of the year is the easiest time to start that. So what is it I want to try out? Unplugging. Not being fed a constant stream of information about every topic I have an interest in. Focusing instead on just a few things - I would say one thing at a time, but I've got children so that just isn't within the realm of reality for me.
Some of the happiest times in my life have been when I was able to just focus on one thing: Going in to the NYFA offices and editing my film on an old Steenbeck for hours every day for a few months. (I know, it doesn't look like it should have taken that long. But what a great few months!); Taking six ballet classes a week including pointe; writing, planning and shooting a film; etc. etc. Now that I have kids, I look back on those times as luxurious and difficult if not impossible to replicate now. But I also realize that I spend a lot of my time doing things because they can fit in the cracks - in the small bursts of time that my day is often broken into. So I end up doing a lot of surfing, a lot of looking at FaceBook, and a lot of getting into arguments with people who are Wrong on the Internet.
This is not entirely a bad thing. I've had some fruitful discussions with a few people, and I think some of these discussions are worth pursuing - either because I believe that someone is really open to hearing my point of view and then maybe going on to do something like actively oppose the war on drugs or wars of aggression, or because it helps me refine my own ideas and how I present them. In a few instances it's even turned out that I was the one who was Wrong on the Internet. Finding that out is worthwhile, IMO. What is NOT so worthwhile though, is the time that this sucks away from more productive pursuits - from being able to focus on something exclusively. So I am going to stop. For a year. I am going to stop reading the news, stop surfing the Internet, stop spending time on social networks. I will allow myself some time on the weekends to visit FaceBook, etc. to catch up with personal posts, get a glimpse of the outside world and visit my child-related groups. But I won't be doing any political posting or commenting and won't get into any debates. This may not seem like a big deal, but for me it is a challenge because I am the person in the cartoon above. I can't STAND it when people are Wrong on the Internet - and they ALWAYS ARE!!! But arguing with them is generally not fruitful, and even when it is, it is taking valuable time away from projects that are very important to me.
I have also found that exposing myself to a constant stream of media makes me a little bit informed about a lot of things but I don't feel that I am especially well-informed about any one thing going on in the world today. And for the moment, I don't need to be. I'd rather focus on getting my creative projects done. And while it is a little unnerving for me to black out the news, even five days a week, I have to believe that if anything really critical to my family's well being happened somebody would tell me about it. (Right, people?)
This post is really more for myself than for anyone else, but I do want to mention a few people by (first) name and let you know that I haven't forgotten the discussions I've left hanging and I do intend to get back to them at some point in the future. It may not be until next year, or it may be in the form of a dialogue in a video or comic strip - it might even be in verse or dance. I don't know. But for now:
Dave, re: Libertarians/anarchists and suicide. You criticized me for making an exception to my moral position on the use of force, but I don't think you even HAVE a moral position on it. It seems to me that you're willing to use force whenever it can accomplish something you personally think is a good thing. Also, we should talk about the "Taxation as Theft" debate we were/are going to have. It might have to wait another year... Anyway, for now, watch for a short story that addresses some of the issues in our suicide conversation.
Darrin, you know that I think you are completely insane. Yet your good manners and (I think) genuine kindness compel me to respond in good faith to the questions you have raised. I have not yet read the Russell Kirk pieces you posted, so I haven't responded yet, but I am curious to find out if he believes that coersion is needed in order to maintain the fabric of tradition and civilized society he so treasures. I guess I'll find out...
Jeremy, I think Anarcho Soccer Mom may have something to say about the neighbors' tree dispute. Maybe also about healthcare. But about that: If we don't address the underlying causes of the crazy-high costs (which are for the most part regulatory), then we're just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic - only this time in a way that blocks access to the lifeboats. Anyway, I apologize for being so completely lame in getting back to you on these. You really do raise good questions that deserve good responses. Maybe Urban Yogini or Anarcho Soccer Mom will have some.
A couple of housekeeping notes - again, just for myself: I've been working on an article for LewRockwell.com, which I plan to complete in the coming weeks - that will be the last political article I write for 2013 (although some of my other projects obviously have political themes); I may also post something about Sandy Hook in the next few days; and there is one FaceBook conversation that I may respond in by tomorrow. And if not by tomorrow, then it will have to be a year from then.
Thanks for listening to my internal monologue, and have a fantastic, free and peaceful 2013!