It’s not easy to explain exactly why I am leaving… the easiest answer (which is also mostly true) is that I don’t like to stay in one place very long. I get pretty antsy and desire a new place to call home. That’s true, but that alone would not be enough to really push me out of a decent city.
I find this city to be toxic to me. The politics of it all is so negative and it seems to drive even great people to compromise and a level of negativity that I have never experienced before. As a recent article pointed out, politics literally turns people into psychopaths. This was not nearly as prevalant in the libertarian circles I ran in, but I think that is because libertarians are used to operating out of the simplistic and inaccurate two-party political system.
While I certainly do love and like many of the people I have met here I would be lying if I said the people didn’t have something to do with me leaving. It isn’t the people exactly, but more like the lives that many of them live. The talk of living peacefully and free is great but most of them resist any actions that would actually challenge the status quo. They operate in the political beltway system and enjoy it.
Good for them… I value them as friends… I love them dearly… but that isn’t the life for me.
I want to live freely instead of only talking about freedom. The most peer pressure I ever received in my life was from libertarians when I decided not to drink alcohol for about 90 days before Burning Man. I had more peer pressure about drinking from people who preach “your body, your choice” than I ever had in high school, the military, or college. I even waited until I was 21 while in the military to drink alcohol and soldiers did not judge me. They still invited me out and did not pressure me, but libertarians did and they stopped inviting me out to things.
Believing that you can use what you want for your body means respecting those who choose not to also, even when social norms dictate otherwise. Similar pressure and ostracism occurs when I talk about drug use, something libertarians think should be legalized but discuss in hushed tones much of the time. I guess the gist of it is that I never really felt accepted here by most people. This isn’t true of all people, I have made many wonderful friends that love and accept me, but the city (and movement) hasn’t.
I don’t know if LA will be much different as a whole. We shall see. I do know that the people who I will surround myself with will be more in line with the lifestyles that I want to live. I am not expecting (or desiring) some sort of social utopia but I believe I will be happier in a place where wearing a suit is not the norm, the beach is near, and people embrace a “live and let live” mentality.