Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
It’s time for me to shape up (both figuratively and literally). It’s time to respond to hate the right way and not the wrong way. It’s time to stand up for freedom…relentlessly.
When I was six, I rode my bike over to the YMCA to play basketball. After I finished playing, I had to walk through a big high-grass field to get back to the street to ride home. There was a group of teenage boys hanging around in the field and they started harassing me. One of them pulled out something which I thought was a cigarette and he said, “Kid, come here and smoke this.” I said, “No thanks.” At that point all the teenagers started moving to close a circle around me. At that point, I jumped on my bike, rode as fast and hard as I could through the grass, jumped off the curb, and rode home, while the gang of teenagers ran after me throwing rocks and sticks. I was scared and on high alert. It was an experience I remember vividly today and I even remember the emotional feeling of it.
On Sunday evening, I had dinner with a group of my favorite people and closest friends. We met to discuss one particular issue. During the meeting, I used some profanity several times. Some of the profanity was very harsh. One of my closest friends, whom I greatly respect, became very offended. He politely rebuked me a couple of times. Eventually, he and his wife left without joining us for dinner.
My behavior was terrible.
The reason it was terrible, however, in my opinion, is a bit different from the reason my friend didn’t like it. The reason it was terrible is profanity represents a failure of speech and ideas. It represents a lack of analysis and reasoning. It represents a “jump” which is precisely the opposite of all of the logical tenets of objectivist epistemology.
I later apologized to my friends and to the group. Quite frankly, my apology doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t meet the requirement of how I should deal with that circumstance. It didn’t go nearly far enough.
Several friends have asked me why I spoke that way. I didn’t seem particularly upset. They also noticed that I had an alcoholic drink. Some of those same friends had seen me do the same one week earlier.
The trite explanation is that I was “tired,” “stressed,” or “just acting stupid.” Those explanations are wrong.
Earlier today, I had a good conversation with a friend whom many of you know. He said he’s seen something going on with me over the last several days as well.
I’ve had a few occasions just recently where I’ve experienced the same feeling I got when I was 6 and scared of the teenage gang.
What’s going on
The truth is that there’s nothing wrong in my personal life (any more than usual). In fact, personal stuff feels like it’s going well (thank you). There’s nothing wrong with my health (in fact less than usual.)
Here’s what I’ve observed, however:
- Some people believe that each of us has a duty to integrate into the collective whole. As CISD substitute teacher Lucy Woodhead explained, if we are forced to give our “time, care, and money” then we’ll “integrate” into the common group of society. That’s the rationale for raising taxes and increasing government spending. That’s the rationale for stealing freedom from individuals.
- When I see those people express their views, my reaction is to respond with logical arguments why freedom is the true and best mechanism by which to raise society as a whole. I try to explain that logically.
- In response to my attempt to provide logic, the people who argue for compassion, love, and integration into common society, castigate me or anyone who would dare disagree with them. The extent of the vitriol has no limit. They become so hateful in their quest for collective compassion that they cannot act other than through extreme hate, profanity, and threats.
- I have strived to reply to such actions with the methodology of Xenophon’s Memorabilia in which he portrayed the appropriate response to prosecutorial and persecutorial attacks as placidity. In fact, in Matthew’s version of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus urged similar behavior.
I’m not even close to Xenophon, Socrates, or Jesus. I’m about as flawed as a person can be. I can strive, however.
In the past few days, I’ve allowed some things to bother me:
- A friend made some comments which showed he didn’t care much about the context of where he sits in the world of politics. His comments reflected an elderly person when he is anything but elderly. I responded with a philosophical torrent dumped on his head in a fairly rude and discourteous manner.
- I’ve observed teachers and administrators of Conroe Independent School District (CISD) openly espouse philosophies akin to Leninism in order to urge support for taxpayers to pay them more money.
- I’ve directly observed the Chief Financial Officer of CISD make open misrepresentations to everyone around him about financial and legal matters. When I looked more deeply into those matters, I saw he has followed those practices of making misrepresentations for many years.
- I sat through a Commissioners Court meeting during which I observed a group of people who wanted the government to pay them money but couched their threats in the name of “compassion” and “care for the elderly and disabled.” Those “compassionate” people sat through the Commissioners Court meeting for over an hour in a group whispering some of the worst profanities, lengthy streams of hatred towards two members of the Commissioners Court and towards me, and expressing their disdain towards anyone who would dare to disagree with their emotionalism. There are aspects of Gandhi’s sarvodaya which I genuinely believe. Those people are closer to British Imperialists than they are to anything with Gandhi’s sarvodaya conception.
While I strived towards Xenophon’s response, I let my guard down. First, at times, I allowed those completely selfish and genuinely hateful people to break through. Second, I sought some outlets, which are entirely inappropriate: emotional speech to the point of profanity, alcohol use for relaxation and even for intentional mental dulling. My response was terrible. I am stupid. I’m a genuinely bad person.
What is so terrible about those people, however, are their ideas. They believe that collectivism is better than individual freedom. They’re threatened by anyone who challenges them logically. They’re threatened by anyone who doesn’t join with them in the hate.
Now, I see that the profanity and the alcohol were my succumbing to their methods of hate. They reflect nothing other than what a jerk I am.
The appropriate response
Life is wonderful. I still haven’t met one person in all of Montgomery County who I don’t genuinely and wholeheartedly love. There is no one with whom I wouldn’t happily sit down to break bread and have a robust discussion.
One of the attributes of life, which makes it wonderful, is freedom. Freedom consists of the right to spend my time, my care, and my money how I want to spend them. If I don’t want to spend the day with Darren Rice, Kelli Cook, Wally Wilkerson, or John Wertz, I don’t have to spend the day with them. If I don’t want to send my money to Curtis Null, because he has failed ever to show even the slightest ounce of financial self-discipline, I shouldn’t have to send him that money, or at least I should have every right to fight against it when he points a gun at me and tells me to pay him large sums of cash.
The people who today demanded that the Commissioners Court pay them tax dollars for their favored charities, which the speakers made clear were primarily themselves, are the people who have lost, even though they won a vote of three morally weak Commissioners, who are willing to spend other people’s money to buy love, over two others who voted with true morality. The political charity people lost, because they destroyed their own freedom as well as everyone else’s.
The people who today are demanding that the taxpayers give them hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars for more school taxes and to support an outrageous bond program, which voters already rejected once, are the people who have already lost, even though they clearly have more votes on the CISD Board of Trustees, which most certainly will inflict the citizens with a bond referendum and with a huge tax increase in the CISD Budget. The CISD money-spenders lost, because they destroyed their own freedom as well as everyone else’s.
They are losing their freedom along with all of us. There are differences between those people and us. Those people hate freedom, because they’re afraid of it. We’re not afraid of it and really shouldn’t even fear the gang of teenagers. Or at least we shouldn’t be afraid.
We must continue to respond only with logic and with a firm undying belief in the value of freedom.
Profanity and alcohol are the anti-freedom reaction. (Hopefully) Never more.