It has been 6 months since I finalized my decision to leave politics and 5.5 months since I made the announcement public and formal. Perhaps there was no need to make the announcement but as I gradually phased politics out in the preceding 6 months, I could see there was some confusion on the part of my audience. People are interested in what I have to say and so some clarity in communication was merited.
What’s the verdict thus far? I have to say, this has been one of the best decisions of my life, for a myriad of reasons. A lot of them are personal and may make it into a book at some point in the distant future.
It was a massive creative drain on me to stand between people and the pain. Society is on rails, since the vast majority of people were willing to relinquish free speech in order maintain some shopping conveniences for a few years more. People didn’t want to upset their family members and their eclectic friend groups. The “pandemic” was a further litmus test on people and most proved to be complete failures. We live in a giant mess and there’s no cleaning it up, on the whole, anymore. Spreading myself thin in order to cover a tediously predictable news cycle and the latest in tribal political warfare brought into focus what a jaded and cynical misuse of my strengths this was compared to what the world of the future requires of me.
I had the majority of my social media success before the free speech ban hammer came down on my accounts when I become “more political” in 2018. When there was still a pure free speech environment, before the tipping point in 2019, a person could succeed based on the merits of their arguments and insights. Since then, the innovation and humor has slowly drained out of our shared digital space. To the hall monitors on either side, everything is scrutinized for its political worth. Is this useful in my tribe’s political struggle? Commerce is slowing down. The lot for children in the West has markedly worsened. Those who boil down social struggles to one single issue are the ones who have gobbled up all the attention. This isn’t my bag.
I have spent the past six months realigning with timeless universals. Philosophy has become as important to me as it was before that first Trump debate when he made the Rosie O’Donnell joke and I was hooked onto a wild ride. I want to spend the remaining daylight in the world working with universals, as opposed to squeezing out whatever last bits of political high ground that can be divined. The world is being consumed by fire and I’d like to work to set the stage for what comes.
The world of the future is a lot more loving and cooperative. It is not a place of bickering, edge lording, and demanding Internet strangers step into the breach for one’s own temporary amusement.
There have been perhaps 10 people who have accused me of “not changing anything”. This is silliness. There have been host of “battles” that I’ve simply sat out on. Even a few where people have said, “Come on, Steve. Signal where you stand!” The majority of my output has been on Locals, via long form videos, and on Telegram – where I am distilling self-knowledge and philosophy concepts down to their essentials. On Twitter I have a small habit of making sidelong comments on current events but largely for my own amusement. Immature people will see these comments as nihilistic or “tame”. There is no organizing effort in anything I’m saying there.
Funny how my idle self-knowledge takes on Telegram are taken more personally and with more ire than the frothing, hateful dipshittery coming out of actual evildoers on their thrones of bones. I take this as evidence that the work I’m doing now is more meaningful than it was before.
I lost some of my audience by shifting into political overdrive. I see now that if I’d adopted a more harmless, toothless message – I’d be much bigger and more “influential”. I see influence as an illusion and I’m glad I went hard, at my own expense, for 2-3 years. In a way, it was a way of shielding myself from the corrupting influence of money and status that was so readily available in the Trump years. I learned a lot, too!
I never sought to increase my audience. I only sought to do the right thing. If I was seeking an audience, there were a few rather rich men who were sending me feelers during the early Trump years. I saw many people “take the deal” but I never did! I am never credited with resisting these lures. I was never tempted, of course. I was grossed out! The least flattering image of me is maintained overtime by any haters who still give a spit to check in on me.
There has been so much marketing, signal boosting, merchandise, and public appearances I have passed up on. I interviewed a person ONE TIME on my YouTube channel simply for the “political appeal” and was so completely grossed out by it that I never did it again!
My knowledge of the “right thing” has changed in the last year. This was the result of dedicated thinking work, as has been every “phase” of mine. I am not a reactive person. Every social death, rebirth, and growth I have moved along in has been the result of self-reflection and to varying degrees, philosophy. I’m not some reactive, conniving person who tries to “follow trends”. Simply because I was in a popular trend for about two years does not mean that I chose it for its popularity. I sincerely believed I was doing the right thing. I’m just as happy to do the right thing when it involves seeing my audience contract and sequestering myself to some hinterland.
Here, 6 months on, it was important for me to set the record straight on some ugly attacks I have faced. People will do anything they can to sully your reputation with others in order to bring a mob down on you. There is so much Tall Poppy Syndrome going on, on all sides of the aisle. So I prefer to dive deep and attend to the world in my self-knowledge/philosophy/artistic way.
In writing this update, I also wanted to point the way to sanity for anyone feeling bored and uninspired with the tribalism and the society-on-rails. Boredom is the signal that you’re not learning anymore and need to try something new. What I am doing is new and ambitious. I would like to be remembered in 500 years for championing a dramatic increase in standards over the current arrangements. There is so much on the backend happening and my true, core audience is happy to cook on their own things while I work it out.