When All Else Fails

When All Else Fails

“In life, you can choose to cry about the b——- that happens to you or you can choose to laugh about it. I choose laughter.”
– Kevin Hart –

Libertarians can be a funny bunch, literally. Perhaps humour is embedded within every contrarian spirit. If true, there are likely very good reasons. Marginalized groups routinely encounter overwhelming odds when working to impact the world around them. Often, individuals expend tireless energy with little return which can be extremely frustrating. When deeply emotional human beings experience the onset of disillusionment, those emotions can manifest through anger, sadness or greater yet, depression. But for many libertarians, that energy often gets converted into humour. 

Grab a spoon and a tub of ice cream for this first bit. We’re going to review some numbers, and no – they were not pulled from Wikipedia. The Libertarian Party of Canada currently holds zero seats in both the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate. Given, Canadian Senators are appointed rather than elected and no Libertarian Party members are currently sitting in the House, the latter is no surprise. Big zero. In the United States, the Libertarian Party holds one seat in the House of Representatives (due to a change in party affiliation) and zero in the Senate. Looking only at elected positions, the political wing of libertarianism at the federal level in North America is batting 1 for 873. So what are we to do with this reality? Do we become disgruntled, or disenchanted, with our worldview and give up? Not likely. To borrow a line from Jeopardy, “I’ll take ‘Laugh’ for a thousand, Alex!”

Past studies have shown benefits of laughter include: improvements in physical health, mental relaxation, lowered blood pressure and pain relief. I’ve even read somewhere that laughter may have positive effects on boosting immunity (though I’m too lazy to find the link). Maybe instead of COVID lockdowns, we should just laugh it off – it wouldn’t cost much. But I digress. Others speak to the positive effects of laughter within relationships. Hara Marano from “Psychology Today” explains:

“levity can defuse anger and anxiety, and in so doing it can pave the path to intimacy.”

Humans relate intimately with the greater world around them. It is important to find satisfaction with regards to our place in the world. How then do libertarians learn to stay positive while working to advance a cause so slow in coming? Simple. They use irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. If you found that to read like a definition, give yourself a pat on the back. That is the definition of satire. Satirists often criticize personalities and viewpoints they believe to be flawed.

A further delve into this style of comedy could prove useful but I usually aim for a thousand words when writing so I’ll keep this brief. One form of satire is hyperbole, an exaggerated statement not intended to be taken literally. Sadly many struggle with this recognition. It’s not clear if the struggle is due to declining IQs, hyper-sensitivity, or both but the struggle is real. Please pray for those individuals. If you don’t know where to find them, they’re usually out trying to cancel parts of culture. The other form of satire is irony, the backbone of what most refer to as sarcasm. Irony is expressing oneself using language which signals the opposite of what you’re thinking. If you have never employed either, you’re definitely not a real libertarian. 

These satirical techniques can be expressed using several different methods. One common expression is through the use of memes. Any libertarian with a Twitter or Facebook account will tell you the social media communities rely heavily on the use of memes to convey opinions or even just to let off steam. I thoroughly enjoy the creative process of coming up with new “Memes of the Week” which I post to my site regularly! Libertarians in America have even vowed to “Meme Jo Jorgensen into the White House” (LP presidential candidate) due to near mainstream media blackout. 

Parody, another commonly used form of comedy, uses imitation while deliberately exaggerating the subject for comedic effect. A well-known program exemplifying this method is “Saturday Night Live.” It debuted in 1975 and, for many years, delivered premier parodistic skits. Microsoft Word argues with me that “parodistic” isn’t a word. But what does Billy G. know anyhow? We’ve briefly covered several commonly used forms of humour often employed without giving a second thought. Imagine if we weren’t free to express ourselves in this way. Sadly, in some parts of the world, no such imagining is required.

So let us be grateful for the freedoms we still enjoy, especially the freedom to criticize both our officials and their policies when we believe those in authority to be misguided. Let us continue to fight for a freer future while encouraging one another to act as mouthpieces for liberty. And, although at times we may turn on one another (withholding all apparent mercies) let us remember the commonalities of those wanting to dramatically reduce government with those wishing to abolish it altogether. I may have just lost the anarchists. But, yes – libertarians, anarchists and contrarians at large are indeed a funny bunch. Let’s keep it that way. Without the healing effects of laughter, many are left with nothing more than hurt, disappointment, and disillusionment. As for me the choice is clear. Turning to laughter can’t really be avoided as it’s in my nature – I am Canadian after all.

Towards liberty (and jocularity),

OA

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