Knowing But Not Doing

what’s even the point of you?

There was a time in my work-life when I would inwardly roll my eyes whenever a particular co-worker — one who held a position of leadership, no less — would say something useful in a team meeting. Clearly this was an issue with me, right?

Well, let me lay-out the situation even further. I worked many shifts “on the floor” with this guy, as we did the job together; rather, me and my co-workers did the job together while he did the bare minimum, and sometimes even less than that.

So while everyone else around the table affirmed this dude in his rightness during these meetings, I had a different response, which was, for better or worse, this: your knowledge is worthless because you’re not actually going to do anything with it.

This has taken me much too long to realize, but while I had this mindset in that particular job, my own political philosophy was way too similar to the work attitude of the guy who knew but didn’t do.

Libertarians are well-known — so much as they’re known at all — for their in-group bickering over what constitutes A Real Libertarian. Correlated with this bickering is a striving for ideological purity, which often manifests into people becoming a living, breathing version of the “well acshually” meme.

One of the many problems here is that being the “well acshually” guy, even when right, is the equivalent of the guy who says the right things during team meetings but then does nothing when it comes doing the actual job.

Many things get in the way: the aforementioned ideological purity which many libertarians read as not being able to wield power; laziness; and even comfort in being able to claim moral superiority while engaging in no praxis whatsoever. And of course it could be a combination of all three.

Realizing this is the first step, and deciding to move on is a subset of the first step. What comes next is where things get tricky, because a lot of people who come to this realization with libertarianism still hold true to parts of the philosophy — it’s that the philosophy needs some technique added to the knowledge.

For example, striving towards becoming financially independent is certainly one next step. But with this, there are again subsets: i.e., getting out of debt and learning a useful skill that can help develop a side hustle — this is not an easy path, and nor is it a quick fix.

There wasn’t much I could do to get out of those eye-rolling team meetings but, fortunately, attempting to engage within the politics of the real world while operating from an ideologically pure framework isn’t mandatory. In fact, it’s probably necessary that you don’t operate from that level, for the sake of your own sanity.

So if it appears as though my political beliefs are becoming more and more impure, that’s because they are. It’s a trade off I’m willing to make as I strive for less impurity in other areas of my life; I’d rather just do the job — sometimes imperfectly — than perfectly theorize why it must be done, but then not even trying.