Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Check out the purity on that one!

Yesterday Claire wrote a piece called More Pure Than Thou, in which she introduces us to the impassioned writing of some lady named ... well, I'll let her tell it.
Kitty Antonik Wakfer whacks all of us who say we support WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, but who haven’t cancelled our Amazon and PayPal accounts or cut up our MasterCards and Visas.

She does one very good thing, which is to provide a list of possible payment alternatives — even if many of them haven’t reached the point of sustainability (and may never) and others aren’t really applicable.

But the whole piece also does one very bad thing. It implies that because she has chosen the course of boycotting businesses on behalf of WikiLeaks, others who haven’t are wrongheaded at best, and hypocrites and defeatists at worst. She rips into Lew Rockwell, Wendy McElroy, the Center for a Stateless Society, Rational Review News, and a bunch of others. Never gets around to me. But I felt the barb, anyhow.
Now it seems Ms. Wakfer is all butthurt because more online people aren't doing more to support Wikileaks and less to support ... a whole bunch of things she doesn't like. I guess I'd be on her list of not-pure-enoughs, because I've barely said anything here about Wikileaks and nothing at all about all that other stuff - nor do I plan to start just to please her. And I'm pretty sure nothing I could do would be enough anyway, because as far as I can tell she considers the most damnable sentence in the English language to be
"[W]e can't afford to do that."
Now, let's look at ideological purity, shall we? There are a million ways to compromise it. No matter how strongly you feel about the forces that sap the freedom from your life, you're allowing some of those compromises and so am I. So, I'd venture to guess, is Ms. Wakfer. Rather than reinvent the invective, here's Claire on the topic:
I would ask all the “more pure than thou” freedomistas of the world: Have you walked a few years in my shoes?

Say you’re a libertarian or a free-market anarchist. Surely, you object to paying taxes — especially for wars of aggression or government handouts. Surely you object to having a government ID number. Drivers license? Auto registration? You know darned well those are clear violations of your right to travel freely.

So tell me: Do you care enough about your principles to live without all those things? Do you refuse to file your 1040? Refuse to use an SSN or get government ID? Refuse to make your vehicle “legal” with the government? Refuse to send your kids to public school or to comply with your state’s homeschool curricula requirements? Of course, if you live by your principles on that level, it also means you can’t open a bank account, can’t travel internationally (unless you sneak), can’t hold a regular job. It means every time you drive you’ll be watching for cops and taking alternate routes in an attempt to avoid them. It means the state might come and take your kids away from you. It means you’ll be a refusnik in your own society.

But heck — You believe in living according to principles, right? So what’s the problem? If you can pat yourself on the back for closing your Amazon account and imply that everybody who didn’t follow your lead is a hypocrite, surely you’ll be willing to take your principles all the way, wherever they might lead — to prison or penury … or freedom. Or all of the above.
We used to get similar conversations in gun forums about CCW permits. The upright, law-abiding citizens among us consider it a mark of pride to possess a CCW. The pure-of-heart freedomistas love to pull strips off those people and publicly consume them, because "The second amendment ..." you know the routine. While actually agreeing with the view that a freedom-loving person might object to the requirement of having a CCW (for reasons having nothing to do with the 2A), I would often ask those people if they had a driver's license in their wallets. On the rare occasion that I got a response, the answer was, "Well, of course. You can't drive without one." Actually you can drive without a DL; the car starts right up and works just fine. But you spend your life studying your rear-view mirror, and it's no fun at all. Take it from me. So most people, even the ones who despise the CCW, don't think twice about keeping that DL up to date. Funny, that.

The bottom line is that ideologically-pure people who love to dump on those less righteous than themselves are a major, boring pain in the ass. Every one of'em's got his own Shibboleth - this lady's is Paypal, credit cards and Amazon because of their less than sterling connection with Wikileaks. But does she say a single word about the connection between income tax and imperialistic war? She does not. So maybe she's the one who isn't pure enough for me. Or maybe I think she should just go her own way, suggesting but not demanding that people take a look at the issue and make their own decisions.

Or maybe she should just shut the hell up.


The Grey Lady said...

Heh,....I've seen this sin-drone at church before. Folks looking over their pew neighbour shoulder's checking to see the status of their "Christianhood" based on their very own sliding scale. Makes them feel better about their faults if they can mentally point out someone else's more egregious failings.

I always dismiss these folks as irrelevant. They only love ya when they can pity or feel more powerful/better/ (insert self appointed superior wordage here) then you and quickly despise, resent you if you happen to do better in any area then they do.

Doesn't matter what side of the scale you fall on, these judgemental people are essentially rotten to the core and to be avoided like the plague they are.

The Grey Lady said...

The irony of dismissing these toxic types because of their judgemental unforgiving nature is not altogether lost on me. What can I say? Not always nice and..still human.

Ken Hagler said...

I don't really hold the actions of Paypal, Amazon, etc. with regards to Wikileaks against them. These are US companies, and their executives either live or have to frequently visit the US. It seems rather unreasonable to demand that someone else be a martyr.

Anonymous said...

Let her have her opinions.
Take or leave them, as needed.
As long as she doesn't put a gun in my face I'm ok with her.