Friday, August 24, 2007

Scary Ride

Besides the raw workload, one thing has been on my mind that has made it hard to get too worked up about much of anything political.

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving on I-74, back home from Champaign, Illinois. It had been a good road trip- I finished earlier than expected, so I was going to be home earlier, which is a major plus. But it was raining, and being that I was early, I decided to take it easy. I normally drive about 75-78mph on the interstate. I knocked it down to 65, set the cruise control, and eased on down the road.

I learned something about cruise control and rain. They don't mix. Moving in the passing lane ahead of a slower semi, I noticed that I was going backwards. It happened so smoothly that I didn't really grasp that I was hydroplaning until I was facing the semi. This was bad. It was behind me.

It was astonishing that I remained completely calm. I had the thought that I was going to be hurt badly, and yet, everything seemed to be suddenly a lot slower, and I was really calm.

I grew up driving in Cleveland, so I know how to drive on ice at speed. I thought it through. I let off the gas (no brakes) and turned the wheel to right the car. As I did this, I was sliding from the passing lane to the thru lane. About 1,000 feet later, the car was reasonably pointed forward, so I began tapping the brakes. I saw that the drainage ditch off-road was pretty deep. This still didn't cause me any alarm. Then, I felt the rumble strips in the berm, so I hit the brakes hard.

Sure enough, the tires grabbed on the strips and I stopped. I had one tire over the edge of the ditch. I hit nobody and nothing.

Well! My heart was pounding through my chest, and with the realization that I was safe, I actually felt some panic. I looked in all my mirrors to see what lay behind me. I was sure that someone else would have wrecked or run off the road in reaction to my movements. But, no! The semi was up the road, as were other cars, moving along as though my spin-out never happened. Nobody had run off behind me.

I sat there for a minute to collect my wits. It really took that long for it to sink in that all was well. It was just a scary moment, but with no harm done.

I was pretty spooked about continuing on the highway, so I got off at the next exit for a slow road home. Luckily, that was SR 32, which I could take home by way of Noblesville.

So, if anyone wonders if the political fire is out of my belly, the answer is that much of the time right now, it is. I did get riled about an anti-capitalism post on Bilerico recently, so it's not gone. It's just that perspective comes easy to me right now, and perspective is very dangerous to the pen of the idealist.

5 comments:

Endiana.com said...

Mike,

I don't understand why you continue to throw your lot with the bilerico project.

We all support human rights (though I'm weary of the gay agenda being imposed on us). But bilerico has consistently postured itself with the big-government, nanny left.

They have been consistently anti-Christian and are outspoken in their support of anti-free speech efforts such as HR 1592 and S 1105 that would effectively make criticizing gays a hate crime.

If you feel compelled to express your support for gay activists, throw your lot with Gary Welsh. No, that's not an endorsement of Advance Indiana. But at least Gary spares us (most) of the visceral hatred and big government positions so common on bilerico.

&btw - Please keep in mind there is a difference between supporting human rights and endorsing a lifestyle.

Mike Kole said...

Kenn-

I've thrown my lot with the cause of liberty. I interact with bilerico for a variety of reasons.

I think that anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that my deepest concerns for liberty are economic. However, there are some injustices and oppressed minorities that are impossible for me to not see.

For instance, I'm sure that if I had been my present age in the late 1950's or in the 60's, I would have had at least some involvement with the civil rights movement that centered around black America, as the most obviously oppressed group of people at that time. I see a serious parallel between the struggle to preserve segregation in education to the modern push to ban gay marriage. Mainly, government is used as a tool of a majority to deny a minority some large form of participation in routine civic life.

Frankly, I don't care what the gay lifestyle is. Gay people have the right to live it. You know full well that I fought long and hard against smoking bans. It wasn't because I endorse smoking. It is because I believe in the right of smokers to smoke within the four walls of a business establishment where the owner says its okay. Similarly, I believe in the right of gay people to do what they want within their four walls.

I imagine that in supporting black America around the time of the civil rights movement, I would have found plenty of black people I disagreed with, whether philosophically or in terms of the way they lived their lives. That doesn't matter to me. I'm interested in their LIBERTY. I work for the liberty of those who may even seem to have no use for or understanding of liberty. For that matter, I've watched a lot of libertarians, who have ostensibly read some Hayek or Friedman, go and run up phenomenal credit card debt and otherwise live financially unhealthy lives. So what? It's their money. I'm not about to go about on a henpecking crusade against my fellow libertarians. I'm going to WORK WITH THEM where there is common ground.

I don't disagree that the majority of bilerico's contributors associate with the big government left. Sure, for many, big government is a commitment of the mind, and there is probably no reaching them. For others, I am convinced that the outlook is merely one of 'big government is how the game is played', so in order to essentially get the majority off their backs because they simply want to live their life their way (a core libertarian belief, you know), they are willing to use government to that end. I think they can be won over. This is a constitutency that should be fully within the Libertarian Party's tent. The Democrats have NOTHING to say that is as clear and unapologetic as the LP platform position on sexuality. My position is that the Democrats have this constituency because they earned it with just enough pandering and occasional rhetoric. Libertarians have the real deal for them, if they can simply come to know it.

Am I the kind of person who believes the ends justify the means? Rarely. I will not support any measure that uses government in the way you describe HR 1592. However, I will continue to give the gay community generally, and bilerico specifically, my support in that I do stand by their right to live freely.

You might consider that perhaps the contributors to bilerico have gotten to where they are because it is the big government right, specifically so many evangelical Christian groups, that have tried to use government as a tool to prevent them from living life their way.

I know that this puts you in a nearly impossible place with both of these camps, but that's not my problem.

Bottom line: If I didn't work with anyone I had some level of disagreement with, I wouldn't work with anyone. I have never met a single soul with whom I have agreed on everything with. And that goodness. How boring that would be.

Endiana.com said...

• I think you're confusing the right to be wrong with the wrong itself.

Supporting the right to be wrong is libertarian.

Supporting the wrong is not libertarian.

• I take no issue with defending human rights. Carte blanche support of any special rights movement, however, risks compromising our views on over-reaching government.

• To oppose the oppression of gays does not require we support oppression by gays.

• I don't mean to hen peck. I just question the wisdom of supporting the wrongness of an anti-libertarian organization.

• Evangelicals are angry with me for defending the rights of gays to be wrong. Gays are angry with me for saying they are wrong.

• Militant gay activists have long been one of the most anti-libertarian movements in existence.

Mike Kole said...

Kenn, I don't find 'being gay' the same as 'being wrong'. I don't blame gay people for being angry with you for telling them they are wrong.

Endiana.com said...

Sorry. I should have been more clear.

Being wrong = being big government.