Of Overton Windows, Consciousness Shifts, and Voting While Chewing Gum
Recommending a piece doesn’t qualify as the typical Thursday Thought, but this piece by Demi Pietchell (Starfire Codes) is absolutely must-read. It is somewhat long, but worth every moment. If you recall my piece on the concept of the #freepill, you will see some dovetailing, but Pietchell has gone into tremendous depth and covered a lot more ground.
I especially appreciate her conclusion:
We need to bring back the true marketplace of ideas and allow solutions to emerge among us organically. The way through is to actively smash the Overton Window with a brick and keep the conversation moving by allowing true uncensored civil discourse back into our lives instead of algorithmically-stoked infighting and manufactured point/counterpoint paradigms. The transcendence of artificial boundaries is the only path to full awakening.
My views on the evils of leftism as an ideological phenomenon have not changed at all. However, I do now recognize that a lot of the binary partisan wrangling is serving as a distraction from the main event.
I also really appreciate how she demonstrates the counterproductive nature of the Overton Window itself. Not that the concept of the Window is not real, but that by accepting it is as an iron law, we miss opportunities to take the conversation where it needs to go.
One might say that the Overton Window is one window we should definitely jump out of!
Read it and tell me what you think.
#2 Walking and Chewing Gum
I have made quite a few categorical statements over the last eight months, leading to some categorical conclusions.
ALL involuntary governance is morally impermissible.
Democracy absolutely does not solve this problem.
The Founders of America had the correct principles, but the Constitution fails to actuate those principles.
And so on.
The reaction—which I have come to recognize as common and thus natural—is something like,
Okay then, Cook, so what are you going to do? Not vote? Not pay your taxes? Get arrested for your principles?
There are, as far as I can tell, two main justifications for this reaction.
It is better to do something to improve things in the here-and-now than to sit back and bask in ideological purity while accomplishing nothing, and
You cannot fight City Hall. Involuntary governance is a reality, so deal with things as they are, not as you think they ought to be.
My response is also twofold.
First, we must change our consciousness on this subject. There is value in knowing the truth, even if you cannot actuate political manifestations of that knowledge right away. If you keep telling yourself, and others, that we cannot fight city hall—that involuntary governance isn’t going anywhere—then you make it true. You lock yourself not only into that belief, but into that reality. Yes, that is generally the reality now, but if you do not begin by changing your consciousness, it will ALWAYS BE THE REALITY. There are steps to take beyond changing one’s consciousness, but changing one’s consciousness is a necessary Step 1. (I will write more about this in future.)
Second, changing one’s consciousness does not mean that one must simultaneously shoot oneself in the foot. Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time? As I noted to a founding subscriber this morning,
“I do not believe voting makes a government consensual, but I am aware that it matters who gets elected, so I can still vote for the lesser of two evils.
“I believe that my title to my land is, by right, allodial, and ought to be so by law. But I will still pay my property taxes because I am not a fool.
“If someone comes along with a proposed amendment that I believe would improve the Constitution, I can still recognize that an improved Constitution will be better than an unimproved one.”
This leads straight into a third, related thought…
#3 Should we still vote? What actually does the damage?
It is argued (both by anarchists and its detractors) that the act of voting violates the principles that led one to become an anarchist in the first place.
The act of voting is not the problem. The problem is acting and speaking as if…
Voting makes a government “consensual,”
Voting fixes any fundamental problems, and
Systems that use voting are the only possible choice available to humankind.
All three of those are false, and pretending they are true is what does the damage. In the short term, and to a marginal degree, who gets elected does make a difference. Casting one’s vote for the lesser of two evils does not harm the long-term goals of setting humanity free. Falling for the democracy mystique, spreading democracy mythology—those are what do the damage.
Nothing is “perfect,” but for lack of a better word…It is possible to nurture the perfect in your consciousness without having it become the enemy of the good.
(Update: In the ensuing months since writing this, I do become more convinced of the moral arguments against voting: selecting one’s own master is bad enough, but actively taking part in selecting the masters of others has real moral implications. Work in progress…)