I’m getting a lot more criticism for planning to speak at an antiwar rally at which libertarians will speak than I do for sitting around doing nothing. In fact, I get exactly no criticism ever from anyone for sitting around doing nothing, even though that’s far more dangerous.
I realize that sitting around doing nothing, or binge watching videos, is a top priority for millions of people. E’ dolce fare niente, there’s no doubt. I see packed sports arenas and vacation resorts, so clearly people who could go to an antiwar rally have other priorities. It just always seems strange to me, and has for decades, that avoiding going near people you disagree with is a higher priority than opposing war for people who claim they want to oppose war. (Perhaps for others, avoiding the nasty criticism of those people is a higher priority than opposing war.)
But why would I team up with or even be seen with people who oppose war because it costs money? We’re talking about mass murder, massive environmental destruction, the risking of nuclear apocalypse — isn’t it embarrassingly comical to oppose it because it costs money?
I guess, but I’d oppose war with people who opposed it because it starts with a “w.” If a crowd of people who hated war and water and walruses and Wisconsin invited me to speak against war at an event exclusively against war, I’d show up and speak — with perhaps a nice water bottle and my Wisconsin Badgers shirt on, because the very point would be the widespread coalition agreeing on opposing war.
Yes, but opposing war because it costs money isn’t silly or random; it actually means something.
This is true, and one has to engage in some mental contortions to make it mean something decent. The fact is that the diversion of resources into war from human and environmental needs kills more people than the direct violence of war, and will until the wars go nuclear. But another fact is that libertarians oppose funding human and environmental needs too, just exactly as, or very similar to how, they oppose funding war. Perhaps libertarianism is motivated by misguided benevolence or by sadistic cruelty; either way it’s a horribly dangerous ideology.
But nobody is at an antiwar rally to promote libertarianism except for the bit against war. If they were, they’d be promoting what an array of people we have agreeing on opposing war. I’ve had organizers of this event on my radio show and agreed with everything they said. They’ve created a list of demands for the rally, and I’ve agreed with them all. At some point, don’t you have to criticize an event for what it actually says it is about, and not for unstated agendas?
Is there no limit then? If libertarianism were as unacceptable in the general society as racism or sexism or some other evil, as it damn well should be, would I appear beside libertarians?
If nuclear war were becoming more and more likely, and nobody else was lifting a finger, you mean? I think I would. I’ve spoken at rallies against drones with guys wearing NRA hats who didn’t mind drones murdering foreigners but didn’t want to be spied on. I’ve spoken at rallies against wars with people who opposed only one side of a war and supported the other. (In my view that’s slightly more acceptable and useful if done in the country whose side you are opposing.) In fact, I’ve never once spoken at a rally beside a single person I didn’t have some serious disagreement with. (At least, I know this to be true in many cases, and am certain it is in every case.) I’ve spoken at rallies with members of Congress whose actions I mostly opposed. I’ve promoted legislation sponsored by members of Congress whose actions I mostly opposed, whose motivations I entirely opposed, and whose political parties I considered criminal operations. I’ve spoken on media outlets owned by governments I considered criminal operations. I’ve spoken on media outlets whose criminal behavior outstripped that of any government.
What I’ve never done is alter what I have to say to appease any viewpoint I disagree with. Never once, with a speech, an interview, an article, or a book have I allowed another human being to edit or alter what I believed I should say in the slightest, except by convincing me that I was wrong.
Yeah yeah yeah, that’s all very noble and pure, but speaking at a rally with a bunch of nutcases makes you look like one too, which weakens your voice. It’s your choice. Why not speak at a different antiwar rally?
Maybe one of the things we need to work on is not calling people we disagree with nutcases. How do you expect to persuade anyone of anything if you call them names and avoid them? We’ve all believed things we later decided were nutty. And, more importantly: WHERE? What other antiwar rally? Identify it and if I’m invited I will speak. I speak offline and on at every opportunity I’m able, until I’m sick to death of hearing myself say the same simple obvious things over and over and over. But if you haven’t noticed, there are no big antiwar rallies in the United States, and I can’t just go to Italy or Peru every day. You come up with a plan for an ideologically improved antiwar rally, and I’ll do everything I can to help.
In the meantime, please recognize the sin of omission, and that special circle of hell of which it is worthy.