“Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.”
Letters to a Young Contrarian
This is the second article regarding the upcoming ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club in Marfa, TX, June 16-18.
Updates and speakers can be found in the first article, here:
I think it is important to begin with the following excerpt from another article, Nobody is Ready, Willing, or Able to Ask and/or Answer Questions of Substance.
In observing politicians, the media, and American citizens, one thing is clear to me about the presidential, congressional, and local campaigns. Nobody is ready, willing, or able to ask and/or answer questions of substance.
Quite some time ago, my family and I ran across one of our elected representatives, our United States Congressman, campaigning at the town square. We observed more than 100 of our fellow Texans shaking hands with him, and offering their support, which he was grateful to accept. Not one person asked a question about his party's platform, or his voting record. The congressman did not make a single statement of substance about any issue. Sure. There were a few comments and jokes exchanged about the personalities of other candidates, but nothing at all about policy.
Finally, our family approached him, introduced ourselves, told him where we live (in his district) and exchanged warm greetings. I asked, "Considering that you voted for both TARP bills in 2008, the most recent of many tax-payer bailouts of bank shareholders, and considering that you reported owning more than $100,000 of JPMorgan Chase Common Stock and Employee Stock in 2007, Congressman Brady, what is your position on the Federal Reserve Banks being responsible for regulating and supervising the very same banks that own them, such as JPMorgan Chase?
Immediately, a twenty-something woman stepped around from behind our elected representative, and in between him and us. Our congressman stepped backwards several steps. She said to us, without even a hint of the Texas twang used by Brady, "The congressman believes strongly in protecting our nation's financial system for the benefit of every American."
I said, "Well, like the vast majority of Americans, I did not, and do not, own any bank stocks or receive any bank dividends, especially New York banks. I am, however, paid my salary in the US dollars that continue to lose value, and I use them to purchase the ever more expensive necessities of life. Back to my question, please. Doesn't self-regulation and bailouts put the fox in charge of guarding the tax payer's hen house? And hasn't our congressman shown himself to be one of the foxes?"
Congressman Brady was smiling, waving, and making his escape to a waiting vehicle. One of our children shouted, "Dad! He's getting away!"
I laughed and nodded.
The un-elected twenty-something woman simultaneously smiled and glared at me. She said, "America has the strongest banking system in the world, and the most stringent regulation. Your congressman has worked hard to ensure that. Thank you." Then she also left the town square.
I love the United States of America. But as a parent, I have learned that two very important parts of love is not accepting wrong behavior and holding our loved ones accountable. If we do not, then we are enabling wrong behavior, and that is not loving.
Many years ago, in high school journalism class, I was taught that journalists held politicians accountable. In fact, the media used to be known as The Fourth Estate. However, today, I see no evidence of this. I only see the media as tools of propagandists and sellers of advertising and advertisers' products and services. Nobody in the mass media appears ready, willing, or able to ask our politicians any questions of substance. When they do, rarely, and the politician is not responsive, usually, journalists are totally incapable of holding the politician accountable for an answer.
I believe that if Americans want to protect and defend what liberty we still have, it is now clearly up to us, We The People! We cannot rely on The Fourth Estate.
We must disintermediate The Fourth Estate.
We must hold our government accountable. We must be active, not passive. Fortunately, the internet might just be the tool that enables us to do this. But the establishment's mainstream media and television propagandists are not going down without a fight. Just look around. So, like I say in my Revolutionary Call to Arms , we have to train for the fight. We The People have to gain knowledge to overcome fear, False Evidence Appearing Real, and we have to train for the fight that we know in our hearts has arrived. Only then can we find the courage and ability to begin to even practice disintermediating The Fourth Estate. This is what I see many of us doing, here, now, in the ZeroHedge comments section. Even when we are not convincing others, or being convinced, then we are at least increasing our own knowledge (and often others) and honing our own intellect and debate skills.
There is much work to be done. Just take 5 minutes to learn exactly how the American educational establishment is teaching us to debate with each other:
This is how the establishment prefers We The People think and behave.
“I think in our desire to create a better America, we have to have civilized debate in this country, and not just yelling.”
- Craig Ferguson
So, why should we get together in person, in Marfa, when we can all debate with each other on the internet? There are many reasons, but I will give two. First, it is an exercise in courage to come out from behind the keyboard, look other humans in the eye, and hold an intelligent discussion when our opinions are not in alignment. We need to get more comfortable with being courageous.
Second, most of us on ZeroHedge are human beings, and have a deep and ancient need for community and the mutual love and respect that humans tend to naturally have with other members of our community. Sadly, community is missing from many of our lives, today, and I believe this sometimes has a very negative effect on the way we interact here, on Zerohedge, which may be easily remedied simply by us getting together in the high desert for a few days of listening, talking, eating, drinking, dancing, star gazing, and possibly even sleeping together (although my bed is already booked).
In communications with some of you that are coming to Marfa, and several of the speakers, we seem to have come up with two general aspects that will make this very different from other events. First, if you want to remain anonymous, then we aren't going to stop you. Anyone will be welcome to simply walk in to all events, free of charge. There will be nobody at the doors to check identification and there will be no registration or badges. Second, all speakers are going to be ready, willing, and able to take a lot of questions from the audience at the end of each presentation, and everyone that asks a question will get the opportunity to ask at least one follow-up question. Debate will be encouraged.
If you have spent enough time reading ZeroHedge and engaged in the comment section discussions, then you probably have come to agree with Hitchens' quote posted at the top of this article, "Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted."
Here is to argument, courage, and community!
I sincerely hope to see you in Marfa.