Why I Won’t Be Watching Tonight’s Debate


“Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.”
“But I don’t think of you.” – The Fountainhead

We’ve reached a pivotal moment in 2016. After eight years of war and upheaval, combined with growth of cancerous government and economic collapse, we were treated to another eight of more of the same, this time under the banner of hope and change. The moment is ripe for real change. And, from the looks of it, the worst is yet to come. Squaring off to debate for the sacred office of US President, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, possibly two of the most corrupt and revolting purported humans to ever closely grasp at running the world’s most powerful nation, are ready for an ugly fight. It will be nasty. It will be ridiculous. And they want you to watch.

Will I be watching the debate tonight? Not a chance. Here’s why:

I refuse to support the political circus with positive market signals

Quick question: how do you measure success in media? Is it the net score of ratings? The degree to which a small and committed fanbase is enthused? Nope. It’s attention. How many people are watching? How many are talking about it? That’s what matters. And that, in part, is why the powers that be have put forth two of the most repulsive candidates in living memory to slug it out: they know that they can’t make us like them, but they can make us watch.

Consumer demand drives the market. The vulgar display on the debate stage has only taken that form because people are watching. Complain though you may, you must realize that, in this world of media circus elections, attention equals approval. If you watch the debates, you endorse the spectacle. Actions speak louder than words, and as long as the American public is willing to line up to watch an increasingly unhinged pair of candidates, said candidates will continue to get worse and worse. I refuse to be complicit in such a scheme.

I embrace positivity as the truth about our present world

Despite what you might hear from the masters of the media narrative, the world is doing great. Global poverty is at an all-time low. People of all beliefs, races, backgrounds, passions, and abilities can forge successful, thriving existences. We have the entire collected knowledge of our species at our fingertips at all times, able to communicate with anyone anywhere for free at the touch of a button. And, best of all, power structures are crumbling, leading to a coming global revolution in human freedom. Meanwhile, these two figures tell us terrible things. They say that the world is rotting, that their opponent is a villain, that there are violent terrorists, ruthless economic competitors, moral and social decay, and overall misery and tragedy around every corner. I reject this viewpoint as simply not true. The world, while far from perfect, is amazing and better than ever, and I will not nurture any system or viewpoint that seeks to crush this wonderful truth.

So watch the clowns. Perpetuate the theater of doom. Contribute to the smothering of the message of hope and freedom around the planet. I won’t. I have much better things on which I could focus my attention. I remain committed to building a future more incredible than anything we could previously have imagined, a new world of endless possibility. Keep watching the old world tear itself down. You know where to find me.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.
  • aleroe

    I haven’t watched a debate in, like, 30 years. But I watched tonight. I was hoping it would be a circus in which Clinton slices Trump into little pieces over his recently revealed tape. Alas, it wasn’t as entertaining as I hoped.

    I noticed, though, that Trump looked very surly while Clinton often had a big, s–t eating grin. I can understand her delight at having this buffoon as an opponent, but she should’ve tried to hide it a little.

    Final thought: although I have been indignant in the past (and will be in the future) over Gary Johnson’s exclusion from the debates, I have to admit it might a blessing in disguise. Gary – though he has my total support – doesn’t seem to do well in debates or under fire.