There are three subject matters that have consumed most of my time. The matters are, in order of interest, woo-woo, religion and politics. What they have in common is that they are the greatest fields of inquiry where you get to see human beings acting short of reason for the sake of the magical. They’re the only fields of human activity that operate more on wishes and wants than actualities. And for that reason, I can’t see spending my days doing anything else but being fascinated by these topics.
Woo-woo and religion remain my favorite topics. I’m really surprised when I hear someone isn’t interested in UFOs or ghosts or gods or cryptids or Atlantis claims or ancient Egypt and the nonsense that’s gone into that long gone civilization. What else have you been doing with your time? This is so much fun. Even though everyone starts (where I did) with awe and wonder of these mysteries, many of us end up at a point of realizing there simply are no ghosts, no bigfeets, no gods, no Atlantis, and no silly pyramid powers. (There are, however, UFOs. If something crosses the sky and you don’t know what it is, by definition, it’s a UFO. Flying saucers, however, well, that’s different story. Spoiler: No proof they exist either). Despite this, claims of such things don’t go away. People continue to “ghost hunt”, people continue to mistake settling homes for spirits, people continue to chalk up coincidence with being saved by an angel, people continue to make claims of alien abduction, and people still fill the pews in churches every Sunday. Some of us remain in the game and investigate cases because while we no longer expect to find ghosts and goblins, every case is a chance to teach a bit of science and logical reasoning. It’s a payoff even if the extraordinary is never found. And so I never expect to not be interested in these things.
Mr. Smith with his assorted henchmen was always behind every case Scooby Doo and the gang investigated but they kept at it. People needed mysteries solved and those pesky kids and their dog did the job. And somehow Fred was able to keep that shirt sparkling white despite how dirty the job is.
The third subject consuming matter of my time has given me less of a payoff. That is politics. While it is rather easy to show someone the ghost in the room is really the wind through a wall crack behind the curtain, it’s not always easy to show the Wizard of Oz behind the functions of government. But before I start to think there is no hope, I remind myself that I’m using the same tool kit I use when examining the latest psychic prediction: Skepticism, reason, science, and facts. Every government program that fails to deliver is a chance for us Libertarians to examine and point it out. Like skeptics in the ghost hunting business, if it’s all just wind through cracks in the walls moving the curtains, we get to say so. It’s just air, people.
But let’s be just as honest about our ability to make headway. We won’t make any more progress than ghost skeptics convincing people ghosts don’t exist as long as people want to believe ghosts exist.
Right now, I’m convinced the American public are somewhat institutionalized into thinking we need a cradle to grave government in place to make the world go around. Every election that I’ve been a part of has been the Most Important Election of My Lifetime. Every. One. It’s because we put so much faith into the myth of needing someone else to get things right for us. Going to the voting booth is akin to sitting in church every Sunday. Intercessory prayer doesn’t work. And neither does an appeal to a higher power of human run government. But it persists. People keep voting for saviors to fix healthcare, to fix the roads, to fix the scary immigrants sitch-ee-a-shun.
Nothing better demonstrates this than our current president, what he’s gotten away with and how his most ardent apologists respond.
Donald Trump has said so many false things it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them. These past seventy-two hours consumed more of my time than I’d like regarding the real reason he fired FBI Director, James Comey. And this is one issue out of the uncountable. The man has even lied about the number of floors in Trump Towers. It’s something that can easily be checked with your own eyes and he says differently. This president lives in a world he manufactures and wants everyone to put on the same glasses. And there are a lot of supporters who have invested so much into him, it’s turning into They Live out there.
So people will, if they’ve invested deeply into something, whether it is ghosts, goblins or a political figure, stick to it and let cognitive dissonance do its magic. That really makes it harder for skeptics to pull back the curtains. But nevertheless, we persist.
So why do I consider politics less of a pay off? Well because unlike the fun of flying saucers and ghosts, the failure to recognize poor government programming and everything that comes with it has real world consequences. * Every day it runs amuck is another day of excessive taxation. Another day Obamacare or its mutation remains in place is another day of skyrocketing medical costs. Every day of foreign meddling and failing government schools is another day I have to pick up the pieces. Every day the president lies and makes false claims is another day weeding through the false information in my caseload of false information that’s already too big for the briefcase I already carry.
Discouragement is always around the corner because nonsense is a Hydra of never ending heads. But I’m reminded that Batman still suits up and tries his damnedest to get those jokers back in the Arkham Insane Asylum even though every villain seems to escape so easily.
Each case of bullshit is a lesson to pass on to a waiting audience on how to dispel bullshit. I suppose it’s why I continue to dispel ghosts even though I know the next ghost story is minutes away. Likewise, every person I reach to show that government actors and programming are facades, the more people I give the tools to so they don’t fall for the next failed government program. And with each new field agent for liberty, we’re that much closer to the goal of pulling off the disguise for the big reveal that behind the mask, why it’s just old Mr. Smith and his henchmen again.
And again. It’s always Mr. Smith and yet, the Mystery Van continues its mission.
* Woo-woo does have real world consequences like the demise of the cult of Heaven’s Gate and other people being taken financially on a daily basis by psychic frauds. But nothing on the scale of harm a government program can do which affects all the people, not just those who voluntarily participate in woo-woo subjects.