This is me looking back on looking back on a Labor Day a long time ago. The first extract was written on Labor Day, 2005, as the City of New Orleans was demonstrating for all of us that dependence on government is a fatal error. The second extract was written a year or two before that. And the Labor Day I am talking about there must have been eleven or twelve years ago. Even so, every bit of this is perfectly apposite to the world we live in now — more is the pity.
This is me from elsewhen. I think about this every year at Labor Day. I spent much of the weekend working on business planning issues, macro, micro and meta. I remember from the days when I had a job how much I relished long weekends, because I could build so much on vast tracts of uninterrupted time. I did a bunch of money work last week, but my weekend was virtually my own — to fill with the work that too often takes a back seat to money work. Off and on we had Fox News on in the office, and the whining, pissing and moaning was an effective counterpoint to my entire way of life. My world is where the Splendor is, no alternatives, no substitutions, no adulterations, no crybaby excuses:
The time of your life is your sole capital. If you trade that time in such a way that you get in exchange less than you really want, less than you might actually have achieved, you have deliberately cheated yourself. You have acted to your own destruction by failing to use your time to construct of your life what you want most and need most and deserve most. You have let your obsession or anger — over what amounts to a trivial evil in a world where people are shredded alive — deprive you of all of the rest of your values. This is anegoic, acting contrary to the true needs of the self.
One of my favorite memories is of a Labor Day years ago. My son and I were out riding our bikes and we rode to a CompUSA to see all the latest software. The store was packed. Middle managers poring over the PERT packages, programmers pawing through hefty manuals, yuppie couples testing eduware with their little yuppiekinder. Labor Day is a holiday established by people who hate human productivity, who hate the human mind. It is a day set aside on the calendar to celebrate and sanctify indolence — and violence. And there in the CompUSA were the men and women of values. The people who know that to be more and have more, you must learn more and do more.
Those are my people. I love them better than any other people I meet. I work with them, laugh with them on the phone, transact business with them. I love to write about them. There are no villains, none more significant than bugs. But there are heroes. For the most part, they can’t defend their beliefs the way I can. But they live those beliefs, every day.
I think it is hypocrisy to say, “I will cooperate with the state when I shower, when I drive, when I don’t want a landfill behind my house, but I will pretend to rebel with respect to this one of the hundreds of taxes, all the rest of which I will pay without batting any eye.” But that notwithstanding, to deliberately frustrate your own self-adoration, to deliberately circumscribe your own self-actualization, to deliberately forbid yourself to live to the fullest of your capacity — that is a tax that could only be self-inflicted. No tyrant could be that diabolical. Behaving this way is anegoic, acting contrary to the true needs of the self.
The time from the birth of human awareness, age four or so, to its death, closely correspondent to your corporeal demise, is all the life you have as a human being. To deny yourself all you can have, because it is not all you otherwise might have had, is anegoic, acting contrary to the true needs of the self. The people in the West who are most free of the bonds of other people are not the tax scofflaws or the libertarians or the imaginary prudent predators. They’re the people crowding every cultural equivalent of CompUSA, working assiduously to figure out how to achieve the most and the best of all of their values, from first to last.
I think this is where true human freedom starts.