Growing up during the eighties, I survived the existential meltdowns of most teenagers by feasting on a steady diet of hardcore punk and hip hop.
Neither were particularly useful for making friends in an ultra-conservative suburban town where soccer and expensive clothes were the only paths to popularity. And as an anti-social misanthrope who couldn’t get laid to save his life, and had little interest in being indoctrinated by a school run by fascist dictator-types and teachers who rarely even noticed my presence, I never really felt particularly “at home,” in my hometown.
Despite my loathing of this incubator of boredom and intolerance, I managed to persevere by losing myself in the music and the fiercely independent attitudes of the artists who created that music.
Rebellious, angry and tremendously creative, these artists not only soothed my inner monsters, but they inspired me to see beyond the facades of everyday life and, in the absence of a nurturing environment where ingenuity and creativity is rewarded, embrace the spirit of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mentality.
As an adult, I still find myself incredibly motivated by thinking outside the box and “doing it myself.” In fact, I would argue that the DIY mentality really facilitated my interest in libertarianism.
An Exercise in DIY
In the face of hostility from those who think the environment is their own personal toilet, I found respite in the connection between environmental sustainability and the cause of liberty. Both are intertwined, and both are necessary for those who champion free markets and personal sovereignty.
In the face of partisan buffoonery, I have found that those who offer real solutions to social, economic and political problems are not aligned with the right or left, or democrats or republicans. They are aligned with righteousness and reason.
In the face of violence, I have found that those who truly champion peace understand that such a lofty, yet worthwhile goal can be met in the absence of government.
I suspect that most folks in this country have not come to these same conclusions. Yet these conclusions are validated by history. And they are conclusions I have come to after shunning the mainstream media and looking within myself, questioning my own values.
For me, the correlation between libertarian thought and DIY is very real. If you want to accomplish great things, you must be willing to walk away from the masses and do it yourself.
That’s not to say there aren’t others who will share your thoughts or goals. But it is up to the individual to seek those people out. And it is up to the individual to act on his or her own terms in the absence of like-minded individuals.
A DIY Christmas
On Thursday morning, most Americans will gather around Christmas trees, exchange gifts, and spend time with their families. Although I’m not particularly religious, I do find value in Christmas as it serves as an opportunity for families to share and love. The only downside is that once the Christmas holidays are over, many families go back to the status quo: work, eat, watch television, and fall back in line with the day-to-day grind that has a nasty habit of separating us from our loved ones.
So here’s my challenge …
This holiday season, take it upon yourself to embrace your family and friends beyond December 26. And if others aren’t willing to make the effort to help out – do it yourself.
Take that trip to visit your cousin in another town or city. Take the initiative to call your brother or sister, just to talk. Surprise your parents or your children or a good friend with an invite to dinner.
Although I spend a good portion of my time these days opining about the cause for liberty, without our families and friends, I’m not sure there would be much of a point.
So love your family, love your friends, and have a fantastic holiday!