Being Right When the Status Quo is Wrong

Ampersand Daily2

I suppose most people would label me with titles like Libertarian, Anarchist, Independent, or even simply a lunatic. However, I’ve come to discover that there has never been or ever will there be a single word anyone could use to describe me. So when reading the title of this post, please do not assume things about me without first considering the content of the entire article and message I am attempting to convey to the world in this little corner of the internet.

I want to take you back on a journey of about 50 years. For those of you who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s may recall standing up to the government on many many issues. Civil Rights, The Vietnam War, Watergate, JFK, MLK, Kent State, and other people and events that helped shape this period in American History all happened because of one centrally planned and organized cartel of men and women who apparently, we have granted the authority to write rules down on pieces of paper, and enforce those rules through a fully armed and trained military/police forces. I often wonder, what was it that caused all of these people to stand up to the government? What sparked the notion that no one has the right to use force against others to get them to behave a certain way? Perhaps a more relevant question pertaining to this is, what happened to that spark? Why did millions of people lock arms in protest and defeat authoritarians hand over fist back then? Yet today, even suggesting you should do such a thing ensures you to be compartmentalized into a box with a label on it that says “Conspiracy Theorist Nut Job”. Curious question is it not?

Even myself, an individual who is happy to question the reality around me, finds myself speechless when I should be speaking up. I know there is no good justification for this and that it is morally wrong, yet, more often than not I simply stand there, knowing things aren’t right and feel trapped by my own fear and insecurity. I think this largely has to do with the majority of people who simply want to live their life oblivious to the ill’s of the world and vicariously through the portrayals of heroes in Hollywood movies. While I too live in a blissful manner and watch movies and enjoy the tales being told, I think I at least do manage to provide some thought-provoking and challenging ideas to those around me. I at least attempt to help push along this idea that humanity should be free of force and coercion and that some day, this kind of revolution will take place.

The thrust of this article is to point out the few human beings through history who have taken a much stronger stance against authoritarian ideologies and made great and even the ultimate sacrifices in doing so. I find that whether or not I agree with all of these people politically, I can at least understand them, and even appreciate their bravery in taking a stand for what they feel was right. I am going to refrain from providing specific examples to avoid making you think I believe in one thing or another and also because if you’re reading this, you probably have a really good idea of the people I am referring to. Instead, this is just to point out that when you take a stand against an aggressive authoritarian, often, you will have to give up much of your life or even be killed for doing so.

When the entire world bows down to a single ideology and believes that forcing everyone else to adhere to that idea is justified, it is considered a rebellious and dangerous act. While that may be true, I think it’s important to point out that the danger is not coming from the protester, the violence isn’t being forced upon the authoritarian, but rather the authoritarian is using force to ensure 100% loyalty and adherence to his or her rules. Rebelling against this dangerous ideology is not an act of terror as the majority of society will probably tell you, it is an action made once one realizes the only way to really be free is to challenge that forced unity and collective blind support. History is riddled with these figures that rise up against the authority of the time and end up in horrible situations just because they had a different idea of how human beings should live among one another. Ask yourselves, how highly can you really think about any political ideology that must force those who disagree into compliance? If it’s that great of an idea, shouldn’t persuasion be enough? I understand that when it actually is a good idea and a rebel uses violence to get their way that defensive violence is necessary. That however, is not what I’m attempting to convey to you.

I think a good example is Marijuana users. If they inhale the smoke from Marijuana when it’s illegal they will be thrown into a cage, violently. Yet, there hasn’t ever been a significant case where someone has over dosed due to the use of the drug nor has the simple act of indulging in the smoking of Marijuana ever produced a victim. Have people made poor decisions as result of Marijuana, probably, but that shouldn’t muddle the entire culture and market place surrounding the drug. Yet, if you dare even try it once and get caught, you and all your friends will end up in jail and with a horrible drug charge on your records. The government may even kill you if the police who are used to enforce the laws upon you are trigger happy psychopaths as we all to often see in the news any more.

When you know you are right about something that contradicts the status quo of government, your life becomes a danger to any authority who thrives of the laws you are breaking, even if those laws are totally unjustified. People have been beaten, jailed, or even killed for doing things that produced no theft, violence against others, or property damage. There are laws, it seems, simply for the sake of having laws at times and I find this to be a tragic situation where the powerful and wealthy benefit from their dominance over the rest of humanity, almost as if they simply enjoy controlling others with their police forces. Almost as if they get a sense of joy from it. This should be alarming to people out there, but I fear apathy greatly outweighs any justifiable concern people may have as most people simply want to be left alone.

There is a song by Rush that I believe outlines what I’m on about here called Closer to the Heart. Give it a listen and read the lyrics while you listen to it. It may do a better job trying to convey the message I’m trying to type out here for you and if so, then great. I hope to help others come to this message in any way I can other than force and coercion. I want to be the opposite of that and I think most people actually feel this way deep down. Seeing the way people are treated for actually acting on this practically though, it is understandable why people’s apathy mostly outweighs any desire to make a real positive change in the world. This however needs to erode as time pushes forward and the next generation comes up. Ask yourself, when will this world of ours stop bombing the crap out of each other? When will this world of ours see a superior level of peace and prosperity that the world has never enjoyed before? I have this belief that this is inevitable but also that if we don’t approach it with the proper line of sight, the cost of this happening will almost be far to great to consider. The choice is yours.

Thank you for the read!

Scott D. Vogler

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Egomania

Ampersand Daily2I have been asked many times, “If there was one thing in the world that you could get rid of what would it be?” For me, it’s not a physical object that you can have destroyed. It’s something intangible that branches out into so many areas of our lives and affects everything we do as individuals. That is of course, the human ego. Popular responses to that question are typically war, poverty, disease, and bigotry. Perhaps other than disease, the other three can be removed from the world by crucifying the ego. If people were not so desperate to please this part of themselves instead of focusing on what they truly want and who they truly are, perhaps we would not be so misunderstood with one another and violent reactions to debates and political discourse wouldn’t evolve into war. Perhaps if we were more willing to take care of ourselves and share with one another freely, no one would ever live in shortage. Maybe, if we realized there is no excuse to imagine ourselves being superior simply by proclamation no one would ever feel singled out for being different. Human beings who are given power to rule over others must be insane with ego. Who would actually want to force others to their views and tell others how to live? Does war simply come from the ego being threatened? Does the suggestion of letting go of your greed and arrogance cause you to have a violent reaction towards me? How many wars could have been averted simply by admitting to our flaws as individuals and sharing that experience with our supposed enemies by offering peace instead of war? I believe it is our ego which causes fear in our minds. Fear of the unknown and misunderstood leads to arguments and those arguments eventually lead to physical violence from domestic disputes at home to large-scale wars funded by tax dollars. I hear people making the excuse all the time for war, that is us versus them and it might as well be us who wins. Doesn’t that seem peculiar that people can acknowledge that war is wrong but at the same time be unwilling to put that into practical use in real life? To me, this is a mass scale delusional arrogance caused by the ego.   People cling to false identity all the time don’t they? They are Americans, they are black people, they are Mexicans  they are hippies, they are conservatives, atheist, Christians, white people, and any other label one can put on themselves in order to avoid being who they really are. Perhaps one might identify with some of the attributes of a particular label, but to me, no one label can define me for the simple fact that no one label is perfectly in tune with reality and good nature in human behavior. For years now, I have identified myself as a “libertarian” because I agree so whole heartily with the idea that human beings are best left to their own devices and should never use force or coercion when dealing with others around them.  I thought to myself, finally, a group of people who understand me and with whom I can identify with. I felt that strong sense of belonging and it was very dear to me. That sense is still dear to me, however it comes now to me with a greater sense of awareness. I do not agree with every last drop of what my libertarian friends have to say. Once again, I am met with this idea of collectivism and realize that it cannot define me as a complete person. Instead, I’ve learned to control my emotions and identify those emotions for what they really are, my true self trying to break through to the surface. The image below illustrates various degrees of similar emotions. When you look at it, try to think about the last discussion you had where you became agitated, where do you think your emotions land on the chart? In my opinion the closer to the middle you get, the closer to your ego’s desires you get. I believe the more intense emotions we feel in life spawn from an unhealthy amount of ego. It’s after you take a step back and identify how you would rather feel about things that you can begin to shed your ego.  Instead of feeling rage, why not take a step back and think about how that will affect not just yourself, but the people around you. The idea I’m attempting to get across is that as an individual, one can learn to control their emotions and identify when their ego is attempting to over take our true selves. I’m starting to realize that no matter how much I try to persuade, the almighty middle finger will endlessly trump any kind of polite and respectable discourse I had planned. I am so very close to forgetting about politics in general. All I see anymore is “I believe this!” “But I believe that!” and two middle fingers and two angry sour faces and further division of humanity into two completely compartmentalized groups of thought. We are being reduced to the lowest common denominator. The ego is being fed all the best parts of who and what we are as individuals and I am deeply saddened by this as I have to admit I am along for the ride as well. After 1000 death threats, personal attacks, and flat-out ignorant ravings towards me I’ve come to the conclusion that neither the left or the right has any validity what so ever if the best they can come up with in the end is forcing the other side to live how they see fit with violence and coercion. You deserve each other. I was called a coward earlier today for saying this and it really had me thinking about if I really am just afraid and yes, part of me really is afraid, afraid of losing myself in the chaos that is politics. Afraid of losing my identity as an individual because of labels. Afraid of losing my sanity because no one will listen to me….sure I am afraid, but how afraid will you be once you can’t remember who you were before? How afraid will you be once you realize your ego has finished taking you over? How brave will you be when trying to scratch and claw your way back into who you used to be? I have painted my own Mona Lisa folks, she is beautiful and puts a smile on my face and humbles me and would have me be myself and share the best parts of myself with others…not rant and rave like a lunatic and flip everyone off who disagrees with me. Instead, I’m going to focus on my self, how to control my emotions, improving myself, and leaving my ego behind when I can afford to do so.   Thank you for reading!   Scott D. Vogler