I would like to end the Federal Reserve. I would like to clean up the incentives of government. I would like to end political cronyism. But so long as our political institutions exist as we know them, we will continue to occupy them as we have: by regulating things we have no idea how to control, by subsidizing pet projects without solving real problems, by stonewalling one another over party lines. We must not change who occupies the seats of power. We must change the seats themselves.
Change cannot come from within. Einstein said, "No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it." Political forces are too entrenched, their proponents too well-armed with the force of law and the money to bend it to their will. They are more than ready to shut you down, shut you up, shut you in, shut you out, or worse, buy you up and make you a proponent just like them. While we bicker about abortions, firms average a $220 return for every $1 spent on lobbying. While we bicker about gay marriage, advancing regulations allow ever fewer companies to dominate ever more market share. While we bicker about immigration, subsidies drawn from our pockets stifle real innovation by empowering the few against the many. Change cannot come from within.
We don’t need their permission to make real change. As much as they want to hold us down, we can fly all our own. We can create world-changing technologies, or volunteer in life-changing ways, or donate to community-changing initiatives.
But you say, "Not enough will do it! We must use the force of government!" Are you donating money? No? Then do it. Be the change you want to see in the world. Are you volunteering? Do it. Are you chasing your dreams of that project you wish existed, or the job you wish you had, or the community you wish you lived in? Do it, now.
Every opportunity you pass up to advance a changed world is an opportunity you give to entrench the injustices you despise.
Of course change is hard. It doesn’t matter. I could give two shits that change is hard. Do what fulfills you. Nothing else matters. Whether a thing is difficult or simple, if it fulfills you, you won’t care one way or the other. Whether one or a million people see the good you do, you will have left a proud legacy, and died without regret.
Change won’t come with a vote. It won’t come with a rally. Real change won’t come with a bang or a burst. As Gil Scott-Heron said, "The revolution will not be televised." Change is a battle fought in your heart every day, over whether to take that risk and do what you love, or to stay safe in the job you have; over whether to continue submitting resumes in the hope that someone makes you their lapdog, or to get out there and create an opportunity for yourself; over whether to volunteer yourself for what you believe in, or to save that time because you’re too busy with television, video games, Facebook, parties, or whatever other habit you continue to indulge.
We came into this life with nothing. We weren’t even asked if we wanted to be here, but here we are. If you exit this world with nothing, you will have lost nothing. Meanwhile, everything you could ever want — community, opportunity, fulfillment, love — is just waiting for you to stand up and take it. The life you want depends on you choosing not to ask others to give you that life, but to give it to yourself. So what are you waiting for? What have you got to lose?
Let no one stop you.