You can see anything more clearly after taking a step back from it than you can while you are in the middle of it.
If you want the truth about a cult, you ask someone who was once a part of it, but who got out. You can’t get an accurate version of the truth from someone who still is involved. They are too close to, and too invested in, the issue. I think the same goes for the political process. I was once involved and active, but then I took a breath and stepped back and I saw the futility of everything I had worked for.
I had been acting on a string of false premises that were actually adding to the problem.
If I really believed a rain dance could make it rain here, I’d gladly do one and ignore the sideways glances of my more normal neighbors. In the same way, if I still believed taking political action could bring liberty back to America, I’d be the most politically active man on Earth. However, both beliefs are just that: beliefs. Neither has any basis in objective reality.
When considering politics, too many people ask the wrong questions and make the wrong assumptions. They ask what government can do about an issue instead of asking if government should do anything, and instead of questioning whether previous government actions created the problem in the first place.
The state has a lot of practice at creating a problem, then pretending to be the only possible solution. The economy and crime are two salient examples of this destructive tactic.
If political action is inherently unlikely to produce liberty, what other course of action is available to you? If you value liberty you must start with yourself. Make yourself free, and respect the liberty of all those around you, even those you don’t like. This is much more powerful than electing representatives and expecting them to protect your liberty. You must take responsibility for yourself and for those whom you are consensually bound to be responsible for.
So, step back, re-examine your assumptions, and consider if your time and energy could be better spent changing the one person you truly have the power to change rather than begging someone else to make the changes you want.
Kent McManigal is a freelance writer who sometimes offers commentary under the username of “dullhawk” on our websites. Contact him at: