As Otto von Bismarck famously once said, “Politics is the art of the possible – the art of the next best”. This goes hand in hand, in my opinion, with the oft-disputed quote by Winston Churchill which states approximately that “Democracy is the worst type of government – except for every other kind.”
We are living in a world made up of 7 billion human beings. A world where, for better or for worse, we have the ability to travel as far and as wide as our will may take us. The idea of globalism – the notion that we can have not only free trade of goods and money, but free movement of people – is derided by most on the right-wing of politics (myself included on both counts) as a failed experiment.
Whether or not we move away from globalist policies and move towards nationalist policies, we have opened Pandora’s box over thousands of years, and such things are not so easily undone. The world itself, and the population of human beings, has become “too big to fail”, if you will, and we must live in this reality we have created.
As intellectuals (the haughty elitism doesn’t escape me, but I don’t have a better word for myself in this context, so tough), we have joined a conversation about politics and society – and the ethics and morals and mores which underpin it all – which has been continuing since man first gained the intelligence to govern himself.
I find it funny when people say politics is boring. How could being part of such an incredible thing, even in my small way, ever be boring? Not only is it not boring, it is one of the great joys of my life. It sends chills down my spine to consider the fact that thousands of people read what I have to say. That thousands of people give me the gift of not only their precious time, and their energy, but their minds. Readers, even those who may disagree with me and even hate me or my views, have given me a gift beyond all measure – they let me in. They allow me to shape them (even if I only serve to cement their previous views more firmly). They allow my thoughts to mingle with theirs on a personal level – and, through their patronage, they allow me to grow my audience so that I may participate in the discourse on a larger scale.
I carry the weight of this reality with me every day.
Like many an introspective nerd, I feel the crushing reality of my place in the dialogue. I get lost in the questions, questions I will seek answers for, for the rest of my life, knowing that I will never know everything. That I will never have my own ideas pinned down consistently – and the more broadly my mind seeks to find understanding, the more I will guarantee just how little I will know.
I feel the power of my words. It’s the same power I feel as a mother – that I do not just exist to exist, but I exist to continue this strange pilgrimage we all take, from birth to death, to make the world better, or to make the world worse.
I am part of humanity. I am bigger than myself. You are, too. And our words, our conversations, our place in this thousands-of-years-long dialogue of politics and sociopolitics, are leviathan.
Pretty crazy to think about when I realize half of what I do is joke around or argue with people on Twitter. And yet, those words, even those silly words of a lesser quality, still represent a joining in (the question of whether or not a person can ever be truly apolitical springs to mind… hmm) with that eternal human question: what is the best way to govern ourselves?
(This, of course, presents approximately 8,000 tertiary questions, such as “who decides” “by which metrics” “how do we discern said metrics” and etcetera ad infinitum. But allow me to work within the understanding that I cannot write a novel today, nor am I a philosopher)
Firstly, I believe, we must eliminate the simplest form of “governance” which is the idea that human beings are purely animal, and should exist the same way any other animal does – to fulfill their needs, survive, and reproduce, with no concept of morality necessary. I discount this worldview quite easily – to me, the fact that we have the collective cognizance to rationally reject such a way of living makes it clear that we could never as a human race live as animals even if we wanted to.
Secondly, I believe, we must eliminate most other forms based on immorality, impracticality, etcetera. Mostly because I said so, seeing as I don’t have the time to break down why I believe each one is a failure or would be a failure if applied, but also because I am speaking from the context of the West in general and America specifically – and we are probably not considering an Islamic Sultanate. Here’s a very interesting yet simple list of forms of government – most of these suck.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about the current forms (and yes, I’m including sub-forms and social governance lumped right in with Types Of Government™ because this isn’t a college essay, damnit, and I break rules more often than I keep them) that are seriously debated in the United States. As we all know, I find the current American leftist-communist version of Democracy to be a terrible idea for many, many reasons. Obviously, communism and socialism is garbage, Trump-As-Dictator wouldn’t be great, and I don’t think libertarianism will ever move out of the weeds enough (let alone overcome human nature enough) to really work.
Gun to my head, I guess, if I had to choose a way to run America, “small government conservatism” is likely the closest thing – with a strong patriotism, Judeo-Christian, and civic nationalist component necessary, in my opinion, to ward off the natural return to identity politics.
I want to talk about libertarianism for a moment – or, rather, I want to talk about a libertarian I know in particular.
I’m surrounded by libertarians (Or maybe conservatarians? Not sure what all of my friends call themselves, sorry if I misgender you.) here at Halsey News, and they’re some of my favorite people to debate with, because they share my dorky introspectiveness and lack just enough of my cynical, politically-expedient pragmatic streak.
My realization that finding where I stand politically – and what I advocate for politically – does not have to be about the perfect thing, but the best thing we have, happened quite suddenly, several months back, in a conversation with one of our talented contributors (and a very intelligent man I am proud to call my friend) Tom Luongo.
Tom is an anarcho-capitalist and Austrian economist. You can read his articles he’s written for Halsey News here – and I strongly suggest you do.
And he is the first person I’ve found who made the case for libertarianism (I apologize if there’s nuance between the terms) based not on some sort of Perfect Principles That Will Work Perfectly, but as a system which, he believes, will be the best for the largest number of people.
I disagree with this, and still do. I believe that small government conservatism is the best for the largest number of people as I said above, but that’s not the point.
The point is this: if we seek to continue the political discussion human beings have been having for thousands of years with the intention of finding the perfect system, we are utterly and completely screwed. We are in a unique period in history where we have the gift of speech and dialogue, rather than violence, as the primary way by which these decisions are made for our societies. We must set a course now, while we have the chance. Before we lose control and fall to violence.
Realizing that, for me, was pivotal. I believe in what I believe because I think it’s the best it’s going to get. I believe that mid-20th-century America was the best America is going to get.
It’s not going to be better as a white ethnostate.
It’s certainly not going to be better as a communist paradise.
I don’t care about perfection. Frankly, at this point, I don’t even care about better or progress.
I still believe in Making America Great Again. It’s just that in my opinion, we have to go back to “what made America great”, and find some way to stay there.
Politics is the art of the possible – and perhaps, too, it is the art of balancing an impossible scale, knowing that at our best, human beings will always be doing no more, and no less, than correcting our course.