Sunday, January 26, 2014

Intellectual Libertarians!

I read a great piece today entitled "Confessions of a former Libertarian: My personal, psychological and intellectual epiphany." And what an epiphany it gave me indeed. Alas if you are hoping for political talk, this one is not for you.

Some of the realizations expressed in this essay gave me some great self insight on the process I've been through the last decade. To me libertarianism was politics, not a lifestyle, or philosophy. My libertarian bent is more along the lines of "the more you let government do, the more wasteful they can be." I'll confess that many things like roads, schools, and police seem like obvious places for the government, and I think almost everyone agrees. But just bring up the environment, or even worse (in the US) HEALTHCARE and people are up in arms (I support the environment deeply, and think basic healthcare is just as obvious)!

I can see now that my 20s were, in retrospect, the time I resolved the conflicts between my head and my heart. My life philosophy when I was younger was heavily driven by my life experience which mostly related around being the best at reading, logic, math, science etc, and being terrible with people.

For me I fell back on what I will now call "Intellectual Libertarianism," but let's be honest, everyone has some skew in there life at a young age, and most people just don't self analyze that much. When the world came to things like sense, logic, or math.... I always won, and still do, so why not fall back on what works? This was probably what affected my ethos the most. Alas, to assume that really anyone thinks just like you, or even close, is a huge fallacy. I had such an amazing disconnect from the real world, and had no idea! You can never hope to comprehend their life experience in any meaningful way via pure logic. I see that a lot of my perspective was based on a truly ignorant notion the author spoke well:

"the truth an ideologue is at pains to accept is that no life can live up to ideology. We are a messy species living messy lives. And we are lucky for this. The intellectual libertarian wants the world to be the kind of ideal world it never can be. He (and it’s often he) is unable to live with ambiguity and compromise. The beautiful (it is a kind of beauty) logical edifice of Libertarianism is built on the faulty premise that this is the kind of world that is built on logical edifices."

Accepting that the world could be so complicated took me MANY years. I still have a world of flaws to conquer, but this one, at least for me has been the most profound process of my last epoch. I expect this realization to guide me in the future to continue to use my values of empathy and compassion to understand rather than judge people. I'll keep my early life skills at work changing the world with cool and innovative tech forever!