You Can’t Do Things Halfway

I have been doing lots of reflecting on my years of publishing political commentary and the bit of peaceful activism I did. I did not focus on politics until 2016. If I had to put a ratio on my years involved with politics, I’d break it down like this:
2016: 25% politics, 75% philosophy
2017: 40% politics, 60% philosophy
2018: 40% politics, 60% philosophy
2019: 60% politics, 40% philosophy
2020: 90% politics, 10% philosophy
2021: 15% politics, 20% philosophy, 65% other
2022: 75% politics, 15% philosophy, 10% other
2023: 5% politics, 95% philosophy
now: 100% percent philosophy

The “other” category could best be characterized by resting, reading for pleasure, resetting, and focusing on personal health, at the expense of the time I’d formerly reserved for philosophy and politics. You could even say this is a fancy way of just saying “philosophy”.

My interested in politics in 2015 and before could best be described as marginal. You can see a large increase, year-after-year, of political involvement from 2016 to 2020. In 2021, I hit the reset button. In 2022, I gave politics another go but loathed it. In 2023, I have spent most of the year retraining myself in philosophy through a lot of private study and crucial conversations. I have also extricated myself from politics gradually and as gracefully as possible. This is out of respect for the courage of those who remain in the fight.

My interest and involvement in philosophy hampered my success in politics and vice versa. Funny how that works. Of course, I have chosen philosophy as the true path and because the rewards are so much more meaningful and lasting.

2022 in particular was an interesting year because I hadn’t adjusted to the will-to-power world we live in since free speech fell. I was trying to bring arguments to an increasingly crazy world. Now I am on-strike and have no plans to return to politics.

The years I spent most heavily involved in philosophy (2008 to 2015) gave me a great foundation to “return to” when I came out of philosophy fully, earlier this year and publicly in the last month. And of course, I have always kept the fires active in philosophy behind the scenes. There’s just no more dissonance anymore. I am fully committed to philosophy.
I think I stayed in politics too long. I had an overabundance of hope and an unwillingness to recognize the lack of purchase for rational arguments.

Conceptually, the biggest motivating reason for leaving politics has been the recognition that you can’t do things halfway. In 2020, when I was the most committed to politics, I had the most success, the illusion of influence, and perks that I didn’t have with philosophy. But I was the furthest away from philosophy and the distance stung terribly. It wasn’t for me!

I am now making up for lost time with philosophy and the road is long. Insights that were so easy to generate before politics and even a way into my political existence are now more elusive. It’s a process of rewiring.
My heart was never fully in to politics and a lot of that has to do with the foundation in philosophy I laid for a decade before. It’s a relief to be all the way out! The respect I owe to philosophy means I can never do it halfway from here out. I learned my lesson. The dissatisfaction I feel, seeing my philosophy skills have atrophied some, fills me with ambition and a yearning burning I only felt when I was fully committed to wisdom, self-mastery, and the argument.

There are competent people I pushed away who rejected politics before me. If you’ve made it this far and are one of those people, hello!