Tag Archive | cowardice

Suicide is Not For the Coward

So the lead singer of alternative rock band Linkin Park is in the news, because he killed himself by hanging. While I haven’t liked Linkin Park since their first album, and since I was in the 9th grade, a lot of people are coming forward to call Chester a coward for committing suicide, primarily because it means he left six children behind.

Regardless of whether you approve of his choice, it is stupid, and a horrific misrepresentation of the situation, to call someone a coward because they killed themselves.

Suffering is Relative

First, it must be pointed out that suffering is relative, and none of us has any insight into the inner turmoil within anyone else, and so none of us have the authority or information to accurately assess whether the person chose the “easy” route of suicide and was wrong to do so. We simply don’t know–because we can’t know–how a person feels, unless they tell us, and Chester did come pretty close to that, through his lyrics. These lyrics, incidentally, were those that angst-filled teens adored and identified with, because their own internal suffering was reflected back to them. But that isn’t really important.

Courage & Cowardice

I know many people who have “attempted” suicide. I’m among them, and the scars on my wrist bear it out. I was hospitalized in a behavioral ward several years ago because of it. Even after extensive research, I still didn’t cut deeply enough to hit the veins–no, seriously, the veins in your wrist are much deeper than you’re thinking–and I didn’t have any guns at the time. Today, I know a scary amount of information about suicide. Because of this, I’m well aware that the recent old Republican who “killed himself” with helium actually did commit suicide, and that there couldn’t possibly have been any foulplay. I know that, because I once owned a helium tank for exactly that purpose.

But I never did it.

Why not?

Because, as a method of suicide, it’s almost instantaneous. There is no time for second thoughts. Once you exhale and lower that bag over your head, that’s it. You pass out, and about half an hour later, you die, unconscious. I’m simply not struggling with depression badly enough to pursue that en sincera. I don’t want to die.

With very few exceptions, that is the same thing that nearly everyone who “attempts suicide” decides. There’s a reason that successful suicide rates are low. It’s not an easy thing to do. Substantial biological programming and the desire to survive outweigh most forms of depression, and, even when the depression is heavier, the person must face head-on their fear of death.

Anyone who has ever sat there with the barrel of a gun in their mouth, the blade of a razor against their wrists, a noose around their neck, or any other such situation and who still lives faced their fear of death head-on.

And they buckled.

They can make all the excuses they want. They can say that they realized that they were loved. They can say that they realized their problems would pass. They can say any-damned-thing that they want. But I know it, and they know it: the reason they live is that they are cowards. They stood on the precipice of oblivion and feared to jump, and so they backed away from the cliff. Some of these people are now calling Chester a coward because he didn’t back down from the precipice of oblivion.

Are you kidding me?

An Animal’s Instincts of Self-Preservation

There is tremendous resistance to death. Anyone who has seen wild animals chew off their own limbs (or humans saw off their own limbs) to escape from deadly situations knows that there is a powerful Will to Live inside every organism. Humans and non-humans are capable of incredible things in the interest of self-preservation, something that modern “horror” movies love exploiting for shock value. Put two people in a room together and tell them that one of them must kill the other, and then the survivor will be free, and they will almost immediately attempt to kill each other (Fun note: this is what Nietzsche described as Middle Class Morality). Saw off their own leg? No problem, once they have pursued other options.

Here’s a cold, hard fact for you: almost everyone out there–at least 99.999% of people–would cry and beg profusely as someone else lowered a noose around their neck. They would do anything, say anything, and promise anything to be spared. Disgusting amounts of tears and snot would run down their faces as they panicked, prayed to every god they could think of, and begged everyone nearby to “Please, I’ll do anything…” These are the same people calling Chester a coward because he lowered the noose around his own neck.

It would be funny, if it wasn’t true that, evidently, that’s how they see it.

There is an enormous difference between “thinking very hard about suicide” and gathering the means to do it, and actually proceeding with it. Even if the attempt is a failure, there is such an enormous gap between “thinking about suicide” and “legitimately trying to kill oneself” that most people can’t even fathom the divide.

It’s the same divide that exists between people who imagine how brave they would be if they faced down a criminal with a gun, and the people who have been there, and who gladly handed over their wallets and were terrified. Fear, after all, is what keeps people alive. It’s what kept human beings out of the darkness where there were lions, wild dogs, and hippos. That same exact fear keeps people from putting the gun in their mouth and pulling the trigger. It’s easy to say “I could have. I would have. I just changed my mind.”

In fact, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer says he’s going to build “levels” in his apartment, and Jerry bets him that it will never happen. In the end, Kramer renegs on the bet, and says that Jerry didn’t win, because, “I could have done it. I just didn’t want to.” Jerry vainly attempts to remind him, “That’s the bet! The bet is that you wouldn’t do it.” Kramer again reiterates, “But I could have.” Frustrated, Jerry says, “The bet wasn’t that you couldn’t. The bet was that you wouldn’t,” but it’s to no avail.

This is what people are saying when they say that they could have committed suicide, and they would have–if they hadn’t considered the loved ones they were leaving behind. The loved ones that they remembered were the panicked product of innate biological tendencies within an animal to preserve itself because it was afraid. It doesn’t matter what their reason for changing their mind is–why were they considering such things in the first place? By that point, they are already second-guessing whether they want to commit suicide. What propelled that? What caused them to stop and think about anything instead of just taking the gun, putting it in their mouths, and pulling the trigger? Why weren’t they just thinking about that?

Because their brain was desperately afraid and trying to stop to them using the last tool it had at its disposal. Compelling one to stop and think about all the loved ones being left behind is how it does that.

Anyone who ever attempted suicide–or “thought about” attempting suicide–and who still lives is a coward. They stood on the edge of the precipice, and they backed down. They can offer up any excuse they want, but, at the end of the day, what stopped them was fear. There’s no other reason why they’d have stopped to consider loved ones in the first place. That’s the brain’s last defense mechanism against self-destruction.

Consider this: the person who is about to commit suicide and stops because they think of the pain and suffering it will bring the loved ones left behind are aware, at least in some ways, that the fact that they even care about the pain and suffering they’ll leave behind will vanish the moment they’re dead. Sure, “If I commit suicide, I’ll leave behind so much pain and suffering.” Yet, also sure, “But I’ll be dead, so… there won’t be even a single solitary second of my existence where I feel the pain of having left people behind by killing myself, because I’ll have killed myself.” They didn’t think about that, though. I’d bet that thought didn’t occur to the overwhelming majority of people who attempted/thought about suicide. And why not? Because their brain was looking for ways to talk them out of it, not looking for ways to talk them into it.

Thoughts & Control

We tend to think of “our thoughts” as something we control, and our brains as something that is fully at our mercy, and that’s simply not true. Sentience is a curious thing, but your brain absolutely does things to try to convince “you” of things. The human brain is countless parts communicating with one another, not some collective unit that the “I” controls. You’re breathing right now–you are not in control of that. Your heart is beating right now. You can no more make your heart stop beating than (and this is important) you can make yourself stop thinking. You don’t control your thoughts. A thought comes when it wants to, not when “you” want it to. When some part of your brain decides to generate it, that’s when the thought occurs. You can no more create that thought than you can stop it. It’s coming. The only choice you have is how “you” deal with that thought. Whatever you are thinking about when the clock strikes noon after reading this, you won’t have any power to prevent.

The “I” takes these thoughts coming in from various parts of the brain, and assembles them into some form it can process, and then makes a decision. Maybe the “I” can control the decision that it makes, and maybe it can’t, because the decision itself is merely a product of the information sent to it by thoughts that it cannot dictate–it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the “I” doesn’t control what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. Even extensive training by Buddhist monks cannot allow one to indefinitely take control of what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. However focused the Buddhist monk is, and however in control of their thoughts they are, the moment they have to get back to life, they surrender control back to other parts of their brain. What will they think about while they slice potatoes in the monastery? While they till the ground?

You can do it, too. Think about an elephant, and try to keep thinking about an elephant. How long does it take you to realize that you’re not longer thinking about an elephant? Your thoughts will stray–a conga line of random thoughts perhaps not even related, until finally you’re thinking about John McCain’s brain cancer and realize, after forty seconds, “Oh, shit, I was supposed to be thinking about an elephant!” and direct your thoughts back to a pachyderm. Try to keep that elephant in your mind all day, as you go about work, as you eat lunch. You can’t do it. No one can. It requires exhaustive energy and focus to control one’s thoughts, and it simply cannot be done for any substantial period of time. You may think about the elephant several times an hour throughout the day, but through those instances, you’ll think about colleagues, food, friends, family, driving, money, and countless other things that you can’t control.

Those thoughts of loved ones that the person contemplating suicide has… They can’t control those thoughts, either. The question we have to ask is why the brain generated those thoughts. Why did some part of one’s brain conjure up an image of a son or nephew, and say, “But look how sad he’ll be…” and create vivid imaginings of the future of that child, raised without his father or mother? We can find the answer easily, by asking “What did the conjuration of those thoughts achieve?”

Well, it achieved causing the “I” to back out of committing suicide.

Why would a part of the brain want that?

Because it’s afraid of losing existence.

Conclusion

Maybe you don’t approve of what Chester did. Maybe you think it’s screwed up he left his family behind, and maybe you just think that suicide is immoral (I’ll save that for another day). Maybe you’re more like me, and you don’t really care one way or another, but you’d like it if there wasn’t so much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding suicide. Making the statement, though, that Chester was “wrong” to make the choice that he did is saying “He valued release from his pain more highly than he valued the pain he was leaving with others. His values are wrong, and the pain he left others is much greater than whatever pain he felt.”

I hope we can all immediately see what an asinine statement that is.

We don’t know what pain he felt, or what his personal suffering entailed. We can never know what it was like to live within his head and to feel what he felt. We can never know how deeply in That Place he was. Neither can we know how his children and wife/ex-wife will feel about it. We can guess, and we’d be right to some degree when we’d guess “They’ll be really sad,” but we can’t quantify that. We can’t even quantify our own suffering. Ask any person how much hardship and suffering they face and I’d bet wholeheartedly that you’ll see a graph identical to what we’d expect based on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Everyone will rate their personal suffering and past hardships at 7.5, or thereabouts. I’d love to see a scientific survey done on this. In fact, I’m going to do one.

But if we cannot properly assess the value of his suffering and how bad it was, or the suffering of his family and how bad it’s going to be, how can we justify making the arrogant claim that he was wrong to make the choice that he did?

What Happened To LGBT Pride?

As I’ve discussed through the last few days, a lot of people are telling me that I should be afraid because I’m transgender, and Trump and his supporters want to do horrible things to transgender people. Rather than talk about how insane this is, I want to talk about something else, because, apparently, there are a lot of LGBT people who are currently huddling in fear, horrified and terrified, frozen like a deer in the headlights of the Trump Train.

What in the hell happened to LGBT Pride?!

Someone who is proud is not scared. Someone who is proud refuses to be scared, because when they are faced with a threat, they prepare to fight. I continue to insist that there is absolutely no threat toward LGBT people and that, realistically, the only people who need to be worried about a Trump presidency are Muslims, with whom I will stand, armed, ready to fight with them if any of the liberal fears come to pass. However, there is not and has never been any reason for LGBT people to be afraid of a Trump presidency.

And even if there was, is that what a proud person does? Cower in fear? Riot because they didn’t get their way? Pitch a fit?

Does a proud person sit in the corner and weep?

Stand up.

You are a human being.

Does a proud person surrender their voice to the delusional masses who are jumping at shadows, huddling in fear because they have been told there is a boogeyman that wants to hurt them, sheepishly going along because their very own “allies” will turn against them if they don’t?

Do you have any idea how utterly vicious your Allies have been to me in the past few days, simply because I refuse to be afraid, because I am proud, because I will not surrender my voice and let them speak for me, because I will not sheepishly bow and cry in the corner as they want me to?

Here is just one such example.

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No one who tells you that you must surrender your voice to them, because, if you don’t, they will turn against you and wish terrible things upon you is your ally. Such a person is not your friend, your ally, your comrade, or your compatriot. They are an enemy. They are a manipulator seeking to beat you into submission and then hold you up as a resource on their tally page. No one who treats you like you are “all women” or “all LGBT people” is your friend. No one who would deny you your individualism is your ally. No one who would tell you to shut the fuck up and go along with what they say because they’ll viciously turn against you if you don’t is your friend. They are using you.

The Democratic Party has been using you for years.

Have some damned pride.

Stand up and shout, “No! I will not be used! I will not be afraid! I will not let you abuse me!”

Have some pride and self-respect. You do not have to be afraid. You do not have to surrender your voice. You do not have to sheepishly go along with what “everyone else” says out of fear that they will turn and crucify you if you don’t. And if you find yourself a member of a group that would turn its hatred on you so quickly just because you dared speak as an individual, then you know that those people are not your friend. They are not your ally.

It’s time we put the pride back in LGBT Pride. It must mean more than this.

Stand up and say it. Right now, sitting there reading this. Don’t just read this and shrug. Stand up and say it. Post it to Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, wherever you feel like shouting loudest, and tell the world:

No. I have had ENOUGH. I will NOT be afraid. I will NOT be abused. I will NOT cower. I will NOT cry. I will stand tall, and FUCK YOU if you tell me I shouldn’t. FUCK YOU if you would turn against me because I will not blindly accede to everything you say. FUCK YOU if you would turn and hang the jury with the guilty because I demand the right to speak with my own voice. FUCK YOU if you tell me I must sacrifice my individuality and autonomy to you.

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize an abusive relationship, and it’s always difficult to break out of one. But I swear to you on my life, fellow LGBT people, the Democratic Party is abusing you. They are using you, they are abusing you, they are lying to you, they are manipulating you, and they are telling you to be afraid so that they can justify their power grab. They are not your friends, and they are not your allies. Break free of conformity, break free of the abusive relationship and stand tall as an individual, and be proud.

If they cannot accept you for that, then they are not your ally.

 

Libertarian Party, is this it? Are we cowards and apologists now?

Here I go again on my own…
Going down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time
Here I go again…
Here I go again…

Four years ago, I and others were told that we should vote for Mitt Romney, because he was “better than Obama” and that he was the lesser of evils. Myself and many others refuted that statement, pointing out that choosing “the lesser of evils” is still “choosing evil,” and that we would not play along.

Fast forward to today, and we have Gary Johnson supporters telling us that he’s “better than Trump and Clinton” and that he is the “lesser of evils.” One has to wonder if these are the same people who, four years ago, stood alongside me (back when I was called I/E) in rejecting this bullshit for the defeatist, apologist dribble that it is.

Virtually everything I make gets downvoted into oblivion. This neither surprises nor bothers me. I’ve always expected it. What surprises me is that I have, however slowly, been able to put together an audience over the past several months, and that what I’m saying isn’t totally rejected.

apologist1

Is this it?

Is this truly the best argument that the Libertarian Party can put forward?

“He sucks less than the other two!” is not an argument at all. It is a passive resignation to corruption, squalor, and fraud, an admittance of cowardice and a concern not to stand by one’s principles but to minimize damage.

Should I be surprised that a Gary Johnson supporter is so willing to evidently throw his principles aside to vote for the lesser of evils? I suppose not.

better than trump

Oh. Well.

Hm.

So… you’re voting for Hillary, then? She’s “better than trump” too, right? Moreover, she stands a better chance of beating Trump than Gary Johnson does. In fact, Gary Johnson is still polling behind this mess of a person we call the Republican Presidential Candidate (Fuck, at least Libertarians are doing better than Republicans, right? I mean, it’s true…. Johnson is not an orange baboon that appears to have transcribed its bowel movements onto Twitter). So if your argument is “better than Trump,” you must be a Hillary supporter, yes?

I have to agree with John McAfee here. Barring some unforeseen calamity that causes Trump to drop from the race entirely, Gary Johnson’s poll numbers just aren’t going to change very much, and people are being foolish if they think there is a serious chance of Johnson winning the White House.

There is a strong resistance to changing political affiliations, especially from the average voter, and they view it largely as treason to their party to do it. They may reject Donald Trump, but this clearly doesn’t mean they’ll embrace a third party. In fact, evidence suggests that they are more likely to support Hillary than Gary Johnson.

I recently said that if Gary Johnson begins polling around 40%, I will soften my tune on him and will actually vote for him. The opportunity to put a third party candidate into the White House is too great an opportunity to pass up. I would also vote for Jill Stein if she hit 40%, and I disagree with her on basically everything.

It would be a gesture aimed at defeating the two party stranglehold, and nothing more. It would be a vote for “Third Parties,” not a vote for Gary Johnson and his warped brand of liberty-leaning conservatism that has usurped libertarian principles.

It’s funny that the same people who know that the fracturing of a state will not immediately produce a new state now think that the fracturing of a political party will inspire people to flock to a single, united political party. We simply will not put a Libertarian in the oval office this election. At best, Trump succeeds in destroying the GOP. This will NOT cause people to flock to the Libertarian Party.

Many will go to the Constitutionalist Party. I’d wager it will receive a greater bump than the Libertarian Party. The Reform Party will gain ground, as well. The Republican Party is massive and entails a wide ideology, and many parts of the party disagree vehemently with other parts. There are liberty-leaning Republicans like Gary Johnson. There are hardcore religious nuts like Ted Cruz. There are moderates like Kasich. There are loud, obnoxious people like Trump and Christie. There are crooked slimes like Gingrich.

If you seriously believe that people from all of those different shades of the political swathe are going to join the Libertarian Party, then you need a reality check. What would happen is this:

  • Donald Trump’s poll numbers fall to 15-20%.
  • Hillary’s climb to 70%.
  • Gary Johnson’s increase maybe to 10%. Despite his claims, no… he is not polling anywhere near 15%. He’s closer to 5%.
  • Republicans continue jumping ship.
    • Many defect to Hillary for the election, hoping to buy time to regroup and figure things out.
    • Many defect to the Constitutionalist Party, probably led there by Ted Cruz.
    • Many defect to the Reform Party, probably led there by Kasich. I would guess Kasich; I may be mistaken on that.
    • Many defect to the Libertarian Party, led there by Johnson.

The GOP has been fracturing for quite a long time, and I wrote four years ago that their only chance at long-term survival was to adopt libertarian principles. That’s still true. To survive in the modern world, the GOP needs black Americans, LGBT Americans, Hispanic Americans… Yet it has spent the better part of four decades antagonizing those groups. Any sudden reversal in those policies would be perceived as disingenuous.

Libertarianism allows them to continue disliking blacks, gays, and Mexicans without being disingenuous. It was a lifesaver thrown into the ocean for those who were trying to survive the striking of the iceberg by the RMS Trumptanic. Instead, they’ve basically been running around, like a chicken with its head cut off.

There will be severe in-fighting between the three parties I mentioned in the coming decade, and it’s a good thing for the Democrat Party. The GOP will not fracture into a strong, unified party; it will fracture into 3+ smaller parties, all of whom will begin fighting for dominance. It will be like a neverending GOP Primary, and eventually one of those three parties will reign supreme.

It won’t be the Libertarian Party.

It will be the Constitutionalist Party.

Why?

Because the Constitutionalist Party provides the religious people with a way of enforcing their will and morality onto others; libertarianism does not. People are sometimes surprised to learn that “The U.S. was built on Christianity” is a fundamental part of the Constitutional Party’s platform. Yes, it really is. When I first heard that, I argued with the Constitutionalist who told me so.

“There’s no way,” I said. “That’s insane. The First Amendment explicitly rejects that idea. There’s no way the freaking Constitutional Party could think that.”

That evening, I looked it up, and, sure enough, the man was correct.

As I said in the video, the only thing we have are our principles.

Yes, I know. I’m working on remixing the audio. Unfortunately, because I’ve used up two TB of hard drive space, I don’t save WIPs; I only save completed projects. So I have to extract everything from that video, fix the audio, and then put it all back together. It may be a while before I have the chance to do that, so… strain your ears, I suppose. I apologize for the inconvenience.

We’re not about to put Johnson into the White House. It’s time to stop kidding ourselves that any of this matters. It doesn’t–not for that purpose.

The only thing that matters is the image we’re presenting to disaffected Republicans when their party finally shatters, and this image… is not a good one.

Cowards & Apologists

These people are cowards.

coward

Just look at how the apologentsia rush out to defend their own cowardice, their champion of unprincipled rhetoric.

“…a real Libertarian cannot be elected in the US…”

Can you imagine George Washington and Thomas Jefferson saying, “Fuck! I’d love to rebel against Britain and declare independence, but that’s just too extreme for people in the present climate. We should start smaller. Instead of the Declaration of Independence, let’s just write them the Statement of Polite Request For Better Treatment, okay?”

As I addressed in the video–the entire reason I made the video–is that this is not doing a damned thing to help the Libertarian Party. Johnson’s presidential campaign is helping only Gary Johnson, and that is coming at the expense of the Libertarian Party.

Ronald De Regt, however, has admitted to my implied claim in the video: known Republican and classical liberal Ron Paul (whom I greatly admire and respect) is more libertarian than the current Libertarian Presidential candidate. This… This is somehow helping libertarianism?

No.

It’s not.

It’s helping Gary Johnson.

He didn’t want to be a little fish in a big pond, so he moved to a much smaller pond, where he was a much bigger fish.