Friday, December 5, 2008

An Undercover Libertarian on Election Night in NYC

As I polished off the last slice of my Domino’s pizza (enthusiastic Two for Tuesday follower) what paltry hopes I had for a McCain underdog victory were rapidly dissipating. Yes, I know that as a libertarian or heck, even as a “true” conservative I should hate McCain and the warfare/welfare state he represents. Nevertheless, to quote the great Matt Stone of Southpark fame, “I hate conservatives, but I REALLY f------ hate liberals.” Sentiments I must confess to sharing to a t.

The fact of the matter is that after a lifetime of disillusionment with politics the Ron Paul phenomenon had threatened to “cure my apathy” as I found myself actually canvassing, attending Meet-up Groups and going door to door, all phenomena I had previously ascribed to the mentally deranged. But the Lord giveth and He taketh away, and we were left with the prospect of opting betwixt Obama and McCcain. Yes, yes, we can always pull that Third Party lever and feel smugly self-satisfied that we had not played along with pathetic charade that the Two-Party system has become (always has been?). Or maybe take the more principled high road and not vote at all, and thus not have to lament “don’t blame me I voted for Kodos!” as we toil away in our chain gang (income tax) and Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr furiously punch through their tophats.

The reality of the situation though is that either the Fascist or the Socialist was going to win, and that was that. As Rothbard stated in the run-up to the ’92 election, he wouldn’t be VOTING for either candidate, but he could certainly ROOT for one of them as better, or certainly less bad for liberty. Of course, it turned out that within the self-cannibalistic libertarian community, even claiming to root for a candidate has its dangers as Rothbard was quick to discover upon revealing his slight preference (or lesser distaste) for a Bush administration vis a vis a Clinton one.

And I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that McCain could possibly be worse for liberty than Obama. For starters, McCain is old and likely to die… hard to cause much damage from beyond the grave (though DiLorenzo would probably have a thing or two to say to about that regarding Lincoln). Furthermore, an analysis of the issues revealed to me that while Obama is bad at… well, everything, McCain would be marginally better on taxes and judges (or so one can hope). Thirdly, McCain would be facing a Democratic majority in Congress and boy do I love it when the parties bicker and leave me a tiny bit of my paycheck and liberty. And lastly and arguably most importantly, McCain does not make me want to blow my brains out every time he speaks with admiring throngs and crowds beholden to his every last word, weeping as their savior has arrived and earnestly believing that all their woes will be solved by some political candidate like Arthur returned from Avalon to restore the West to its former glory and make sure they won’t have to pay their mortgages, gas bills or anything for that matter as the hard-learned laws of economics will be suspended and because we supported him he will support us and milk and honey will fall from the sky amidst hosannas.

But I digress.

So there I am, with John Daniels (he may be Jack to you, but not when you’ve known him as long as I have) looking increasingly appealing on my bedside table as The One is racking up state after state and exit polls look increasingly dim. Just as the prospect of 8 years of populist demagogic rhetoric and a New Deal Squared sink in and I reach for my bottle and decide to start getting serious about cirrhosis my cellular rings. It’s a young libertarian friend of mine--an NYU student (the poor thing), he’s decided to head over to Times Square to see the madness. I figure, what the heck, with any luck someone will flip over a car onto me and put me out of my misery. My flatmate, knowing my so-called “crazy” conservative/libertarian political views, thinks I’m insane and says he will most definitely NOT be bailing me out of jail if I do get arrested for head-butting some overly enthusiastic Obama supporter. I promise him I will not drink and will use all of my limited restraint to keep my fists and forehead to myself.

Approaching the NYU dorms on Washington Square Park, the madness has begun to take over already. The omnipresent drug dealers in the park are taking a break from their usual hushed whispers of “I got coke” to discuss their candidate's victory as shouts can be heard above from the pathetic rooms of what pains me to call our future. When my friend emerges from the dorms, he decides to join in on the fun, screaming “OBAMA!!!” to every passerby who more often than not join in and hug him. Occasionally he risks a bit of satire, screaming, "Obama! Milk and Honey will Flow!"

There is something contagious about a people spontaneously celebrating anything, whether it be a World Cup victory, a Lakers World Series win or the continued destruction of Western Civilization. Alas, my bitter heart won’t allow me to participate with equal fervor in the madness, but I decide to tag along as a crowd of Hitler Jugend students all head to the subway and thence the belly of the beast: Times Square.

The subway ride proves rather eventful, with some verses of We Shall Overcome. Interestingly enough, an elderly black man is sitting with his wife in the cart and most decidedly not joining in on the festivities with something approximate to a scowl on his face as the students and fellow New Yorkers dance, sing and clap in the cart. I think to myself this man has most likely lived through REAL racism of the water hose and angry dogs variety and to see a bunch of spoiled brats celebrating the election of some politician as anything meaningful in the real world simply due to the color of his skin must strike him as something ironic.

Nevertheless, just as I start wishing something were to happen to the subway train of the explosive variety we arrive at our destination. Right off the bat as we emerge from the stairs onto 42nd Street and 8th Avenue it is evident that we were clearly not the only ones to think of heading towards Times Square, or as I now like to refer to it, the 9th Circle of Hell. Hordes upon hordes are appearing from all sides as we soon find ourselves pressed in like sardines or teeny-boppers at the latest Hannah Montana concert. I start looking around at the people around me, and after extensive polling and analysis break it up into the following demographics: 10% Hispanic, 40% black, 80% young, and 100% insane. A Star Wars quote comes to mind: “this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.”

The Square has a large Fox News screen strategically positioned above the military recruitment center (I see they still haven’t adopted my “more fresh meat for the grinder” motto, but time will tell). I remark to my friend that I have seldom seen a more depressed group of people. I told him Charles Krauthammer looked in a state of shock. He told me Charles Krauthammer is actually paralyzed. I feel a twinge of remorse, but then think about all the thousands of wounded soldiers coming back from the wars Krautboy supported, boys who will never be able to see, or walk, many who will never be able to lead plentiful lives again, and all who will never forget the horrors of war, to say nothing of the thousands dead on “our” side and the hundreds of thousands dead on the “other” side and I summarize my feelings of Chuck with an off-the-cusp “f--- him.” Brit Hume, meanwhile, is holding himself up remarkably well, though his is a more traditional and realistic brand of conservatism that is surely used to disappointments and this “Valley of Tears” that is human existence.

Some punks decide it would be a bright idea to climb onto a nearby phone-booth, though the cops soon start shouting through bullhorns for them to descend. It is all for naught though as a fresh batch of unwarned punks have the same bright idea, and after a to and fro lasting roughly 20 mins the cops give up and yield the phone-booth turf. The terrorists, apparently, have won. One remarkably bright individual, surely a future Rhodes Scholar, climbs a street lamp pole and starts kicking the “Don’t Park” sign to the tune of “YES WE CAN” as the crowd joins in. I try and restrain my self-destructive tendencies and manage not to shout out “RON PAUL 08,” figuring there are better ways to go than being beaten to death up by rabid ACLU members. Let them have their moment.

A hush soon descends upon the crowd though as the Megascreen reveals The Uniter, The One, He of the Eloquent Speech, The Silver Tongue and the Incredible Jump-Shot appearing to a crowd of what seems to be roughly 50 million people in Chicago to deliver God’s new commandments to the worshipful throngs below. The Promise of America! Out of Many One! A Perfected Union! Yes We Can!

Remarkably, just as he started to speak though, He began to weep as rain fell from the sky… and I find this gives me some measure of comfort as I am reminded of the transcendent God to whom we all must eventually answer. My mind soon wanders off to works of fiction, as it is often want to do. I think of myself as Frodo and Sam in orc disguise in Mordor, all hope apparently lost, tired of fighting Galadriel’s “Long Defeat.” Every year seems to bring with it more destruction, more war, more socialism, more regulation, more spending, more taxes, more cultural degradation, more sexual immorality and deviance, more more more more. And I remember an exchange Gandalf and Pippin have as the Forces of Darkness are moving in, apparently unstoppable:

Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… and then you see it.

Pippin: What? Gandalf? See what?

Gandalf: White shores…. And beyond, a far green country, under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: (smiling) Well, that isn’t so bad.

Gandal: (softly) No… it isn’t.

Mises never gave up. He saw far worse than we have and stuck to the motto he had taken from Virgil: Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it. And so, when the madness had ended (for now) and I had arrived at my home remarkably safe and sound having heeded my flatmate’s admonitions, I found myself faced with two choices. The bottle of JD sat at my table, tempting as always, beckoning me to numb the inner pain. My computer though, with an old (and remarkably apropos) Matrix code screensaver running down its screen seemed to me far more tempting. And I decided, in my own small way, to strike a small blow for liberty by sitting down and writing for the first time in as long as I can remember, chronicling my rather surreal experience of the night. And who’s to say if there is not some member of the Remnant out here who can find some degree of solace in the notion that amidst the celebrating Left-Wing crowds he witnessed on TV at Times Square was a lowly, dejected, depressed libertarian who will never give up the fight and will never surrender. And if among THAT crowd there was a libertarian… well, surely there is some hope after all.

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