A Heartfelt “Thank You”

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My friend left us today. I don’t know what to say, or what one is supposed to say, to make any of it better. I’m sure I’d screw it up anyway. What I will do is give him what I owe him: “thank you” from the bottom of my heart for what I witnessed with my own two eyes.

Shem Kellogg was one of the early giants in the New Hampshire liberty movement. I’ve heard he did a lot for the Ron Paul campaign. I know him from the Free State Project. When I was still living in Phoenix and wanted to acquire FSP literature to pass out, he was my point of contact. When I went to a Young Americans for Liberty conference in California in early 2013 to promote the FSP, Andrew Vermiglio, who has since joined us in New Hampshire, was there too, with a bunch of flyers Shem had shipped out to him. When I finally met Shem later that year, it was through going to conferences to promote the FSP. [Read more…]

The Sweetness of Severance

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Loss can become addictive.

Humans do not strive for adversity. Our deepest longings are for love, fulfillment, prosperity, and security, while the pervasive cancer that is our fear is nourished by the prospect of the loss of those things. This fear of loss drives us to success, but can also paralyze us, leaving us unable to embark upon the long and treacherous path of risk. Yet, burning bridges to the treasured aspects of one’s life can become a bit of a drug.

There is a certain air of masochism to the whole affair. For those who have become accustomed to loss, its familiarity can be a source of comfort in uncertain times. It is what we deserve, the only purpose for our wretched existence. Loss is pain, though pain without fear, and fear can be more agonizing than pain itself.

A fatalistic approach to loss can also prove attractive. Cynicism is empowering, as it gives us control over dark circumstances. Predicting with success brings a feeling of pride and accomplishment, and in times of difficulty, the predestination of pain is paradoxically uplifting. Through the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy, even the dullest among us can become wizards. [Read more…]

Men From Boys, Women From Girls

Is a strong character bestowed at birth? Learned through experiences? Or acquired by choice?

To some extent we are born a certain way. And it is true that we can only develop character if we so choose. However, without having lived a certain life, it can be very difficult to develop real mental and emotional strength and maturity. Men are made from boys and women from girls through the fires of pain, the weight of struggle, and the sting of loss.

You aren’t a man until you’ve felt the repeated battery of rejection crash against your sense of self-worth.

You aren’t a woman until you’ve forced yourself through week after exhausting week, trying your best to improve your life, only to feel it worsen instead.

You aren’t a man until you’ve reach the end of your means, have no clue how you’re going to pay the rent next month, and can’t even get to sleep because of it.

You aren’t a woman until you have loved, given your everything, promised your life over to the dream of a life shared with another, only to lose it all in the cruelest way possible.

You aren’t a complete adult with character until you’ve had dreams and lost them, tried everything and nothing worked, loved and lost. You aren’t a man or woman until you’ve hated yourself with all your strength, despaired to the point of losing all hope of even being able to hope again, pushed yourself well past the point of breaking for longer than any human should be able to endure…. and emerged from the ordeal not weaker, but stronger.

Gender differences can be bridged, cultures can be understood, and languages can be learned… but the chasm that separates the owner of a life of privilege and the victorious former denizen of Hell itself cannot be traversed.