(My Clovis News Journal column for September 13, 2013)
Negativity is a real problem in a lot of people's lives. If it's a sunny day they'll complain about sunburn or drought. If it rains, that's no better because it ruins their plans.
But sometimes a person will be blamed for being negative when all they really did was reject someone else's negative outlook. Don't mistake a person's rejection of your doom and gloom for negativity on their part. They may be seeing a better way.
Libertarians face this phenomenon all the time.
Which is more negative: to wallow in imagined victimhood, or to tell people they have the power to run their own lives? The apparent answer, judging by the response you'll get for pointing out the obvious, might surprise you.
For pointing out the negativity of the culture of helplessness and victimhood, and offering an uplifting alternative; for reminding people they don't have to wait for "laws" to change, or for politicians to lead them, but can start being more free right now; for insisting that voluntary choice is better than coercion, libertarians are condemned for being too "negative".
It would be funny if it didn't expose such a serious problem.
Is it "negative" to point out that if you don't eat, you'll eventually starve to death? Not at all. It's reality, and accepting reality can save lives.
Too many people seem to have an emotional attachment to their perceived problems. They don't want a solution; they want sympathy, or company in their misery. Their problems are familiar and comfortable.
If it makes you feel better to wallow in hopelessness and despair, I won't try to stop you. If you want to continue chasing your tail in an endless cycle of doing the same thing and expecting a different result, who am I to try to convince you to do something more constructive, or to even sit down and relax? But I don't want to join you, either.
If you see the futility of propping up the status quo, and would prefer to try something that can actually make life better today and into tomorrow, take a chance and reject coercion, reject theft, and embrace voluntary association and self-responsibility.
On the other hand, if you do make a positive change and refuse to get sucked into other people's negative vortex, you'll be called "Utopian". The truth is somewhere between Utopia and Washington DC, but that isn't dramatic enough, I suppose.