Years ago I had this repetitive theme in my life: I’d make a Livejournal, blog or website, I’d design it carefully, update it religiously for a period of time, get distracted, stop updating it regularly, and then I wouldn’t feel like I could just keep going with it, I needed to scrap the whole thing and start over, with a new theme, with a new blog name, website address, account, or whatever. I was convinced that not continuing was some sort of deficiency of the medium - that this just wasn’t the right website design or blog name to instill in me some sort of loyalty to writing regularly, and since I dropped off, I clearly needed to not just restart where I left off, but completely start the whole thing over, fresh, new, reset.
I’m over that now.
So I unintentionally just took over a month off from writing. I didn’t have the headspace, and I’m still nervous that I’ll miss deadlines (I have 5 half-written essays in my drafts section right now). However I’ve learned from years of experience that I don’t need to start over - I just need to pick up where I left off. It’s okay.
Previously I posted my “link list”/ICYMI list on Tuesdays and my essays on Thursdays. I may do the same except Wednesday/Friday. We’ll see. The important thing is to do - the details less so. I hope to see you again in a few days, and in the meantime, here’s some stuff I want to tell you about!
I put this first because I think this essay is so worthwhile and I wish it got more reads/shares. Please please please go read Scott Alexander’s piece on the FDA. I don’t even know which quote to pull from it, it’s just an excellent analysis on the problems of the FDA including but not limited to the recent pandemic. Read. It. Please.
Afghanistan is Breaking My Heart
I could go into a longer essay about this, but I’ll admit that my ultra-Libertarian political inclinations really kicked in as I watched two planes hit the World Trade Center in 2001 a month before my 14th birthday.
I talk about growing up Libertarian, and that’s true and I did, but my personal activism really started that year. I started posting on forums online about foreign policy immediately following 9/11, and I was begging my mother to drive me around to anti-war protests in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and on.
I’m glad we’re leaving Afghanistan, finally, but the plight of the people there breaks my heart - and the fact that the US government didn’t immediately take in any Afghan who ever so much as helped them in ANY capacity just blows my mind. I mean, it doesn’t, knowing what I know of the US government, but it does, in the sheer incomprehensibility of the action from a moral perspective. They risked everything to help the US government, as translators and more, and the government did nothing for them in return.
In these moments I still remember the bravest political act I’d ever witnessed, when Congresswoman Barbara Lee was the SINGLE vote against the Authorization of Military Force. Three days after 9/11. I listen to this speech on the House floor and I can hear the raw emotion in her voice. I send her thank you cards every year for this. If you haven’t watched it, please do.
“…some of us must urge the use of restraint. Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let's step back for a moment. Let's just pause, just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today…”
First, I’d like to point out that Matthew Yglesias has had some iffy/terrible/meh/disagreeable takes in the past (especially on foreign policy), but I stumbled on this article he wrote about the current social/news/public dynamic and so much of it rang true I want to share it for others to read. Please read it. Seriously. It very much taps into some of my strongest feelings about the constant state of panic and everything-is-the-end-of-the-world-important I’ve been so turned off by in public discourse.
Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever
I’ve been joyfully listening to the new album by Billie Eilish lately. Her first album was fantastic (if you haven’t heard it, click here) and her second album is a strong follow-up (my favorite sophomore album by an artist was Ceremonials by Florence & the Machine, but Billie did pretty well here). She’s 19 and kicking ass. I’m a fan.
Here’s the title track off the album. I can’t stop humming it.
Freedom Fest 2021 & more events
I had a great time at Freedom Fest this year, and the panel I was on about feminism was fantastic. I had a few lines I’m very proud of, and I will recap more about it. I’ll be posting an album in a couple of weeks, I took 4300 photos so it’ll take a while. Next weekend I’m headed to the Libertarian Party’s 50th Anniversary on the 27th and 28th. Come join us in Denver if you’re so inclined.
In Case You Missed It
Each week I get a handful of new signups for this newsletter, and I’m tremendously grateful for them (you!). I often do not know if they went through the archives to check out my previous essays, and I’d rather not bother them (and some of you since the beginning might miss an essay here or there!), so this subsection each week will be at the end of my Tuesday post, so you can skip it if you’ve already seen it or read them all, but will present the long-form essays with a single sentence description in case you missed something and wanted to check it out.
Lead With Gratitude- I explain the game plan with this blog, and thank you for your support.
Choose The Better Story - My life philosophy about building your personal story and making choices.
Judge & Prepare To Be Judged - How “Judgement” does not equal condemnation, and being a discerning person isn’t actually a bad thing, but you should also know who you’re judging for.
Look Beyond Representation - Talking about “representation” as a woman - how its purpose is to eventually render itself irrelevant - let there be so much representation that nobody represents us, because we’re individuals.
Count It All Joy - Remembering a long lost friend, and how she taught me to love by letting go.
Appreciate the Mothers In Your Life - A collection of stories of my own mother.
Ask Yourself What You’d Kill For - Expanding on two concepts that explain my perspective on government & politics.
Lemon Tek Your Mushrooms - An essay about mushroom trips, and how to make them the very best.
Be Kind - An essay about how 30 minutes of my day saved someone’s life, and how I learned about it 2 years later.
Follow Your Heart - The story of me & the boy who convinced me to move to Los Angeles, and how he changed my life forever.
Appreciate the Fathers In Your Life - A bit about my own father and the kind of man he is.
Be A Crazy One - Reflections on my friendship and experiences with John McAfee.
I’ve got thoughts on lots of things coming up, from my friend Steve Horwitz’s passing, to my anniversary (9 years on the 22nd), to my love’s birthday last month. I have contemplations on career, on Harry Potter and childhood influences, on drugs and forgiveness and optimism and “free thinking circles” being bubbles of their own, and so much more. I’m sorry I’ve been so unproductive getting them out. I’m desperate to get them all out soon.
In the meantime, to continue my random recommendations around media: I’ve also been enjoying the Netflix show Dark with Judd - it’s in German - there are English dubs but don’t do it, watch it with subtitles. I hate time travel as a plot device but this is so complex and interesting and decidedly not supernatural but science-y that I’m not really mad about it. It’s beautifully done. It’s like a grown-up, German, Stranger Things.
See you later this week, I hope. Be well.