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2014: A Year of Conflict and Convulsions

December 29, 2014

by J. Andrew Zalucky

northern-lights-iceland

“It has become a common jest in history to let great effects arise from small causes.” – Hegel, The Science of Logic

The year is a funny concept. Centered around the shifting seasons and their respective periods of growth, harvest and decline, it serves an undeniably practical purpose. But then again, it really is just a unit of time human beings made up, as even our dating system of BC and AD (oh, sorry I meant BCE and CE- I’ll send the apology in the mail) is always a matter of dispute. Still, as a unit of time, 2014 deserves from some serious thought, and perhaps more importantly, a deep breath and a slow count to 10.

The year has seen a wealth of insurrections and conflicts, from the revolution and insurgency in Ukraine, the military coup in Thailand, protests in Hong Kong, to the racially-charged violence here in the United States. At this website, we’ve steered clear of most of these and kept our attention focused on subjects close to our hearts. I spent a lot of time writing about Ukraine, including the backdrop of the uprising and the possibility that it might be better off without albatross of the Crimea strewn to its back.

Andrew and I continued our discussions about Syria, ones which enjoyed renewed relevance with the rise of ISIS and the subsequent atrocities and civil wars that have resulted from it.

But we also had some fun talking about domestic issues as well: marijuana policy, regulations and the concept of a guaranteed minimum income.

The year saw fewer articles than 2013, as my attention was diverted to both my day job and my other duties over at Metal Injection. However, I’d contend the year was a good one for For the Sake of Argument, as we’ve begun to hone our writing into a more critical voice, consistently skeptical of state power both domestically and among international institutions. And with this came our most successful article of the year: No, Somalia is not a “Libertarian Paradise.”

Published in February, the article has since garnered over 2,000 views on its own and generated lively conversation here and on the several forums I promote this website. Clearly there is a feeling in the zeitgeist that infantile attacks against the idea of restrained state power no longer hold water. If you’re going to argue against the idea of limited government, the harm principle and individual liberty- you’ll need to do better than stamp your feet comparing our ideas to failed states that were wrecked by decades of central planning and military dictatorship.

What’s to come in 2015? Here’s a few things we have planned.

Our resident old-school leftist, PJK, has some ideas for hackivists to better choose their targets, along with some more thoughts about Cuba to complement those I wrote last week.

Andrew will continue to examine the issues surrounding the conflict with ISIS and may turn his eye to issues of policing as well.

Other contributors will hopefully lend their voice to site as well, anyone interested may reach us at ftsastaff@gmail.com.

As for myself, there are several topics I plan to address in the coming year. For a long time, I’ve been constructing an argument around “political correctness” and the renewed culture wars in the media and on college campuses. With the convulsions around trigger warnings, identity politics and the oh-so-offensive shirt a scientist wore on television (think of the chiiiildren!)- the topics bears some serious thought. But so does the reaction to it, which in some quarters bears careful attention. I italicize that word for a reason, those aware of a certain special corner of internet commentary will know what I’m alluding to. But that will have to wait for the article!

I also plan on addressing cultural topics, such as the problems inherent in the use of collective language (e.g. appeals to “society” and “the community”), along with continued discussions on history and perhaps a few articles about writing itself. But I’ll continue to write about libertarianism, economics, the destructive cult of the presidency and foreign policy as well.

And as various events occur in the new year, I’m sure all of us here will be inspired to lend our arguments.

Anyway, thank you to all of our readers, those who’ve stuck with us since 2011, and those random Dutch readers who discovered my Somalia article on some forum I couldn’t read (Bedankt!). If there’s anything I’d like to leave you with, it’s to keep your head up. A lot of awful things happened in 2014, but the same could be said for any year. While cable news channels try to push their ratings by pushing the message of the world’s descent into madness, the facts actually bear out the opposite. Across the world, infant mortality is the lowest it’s ever been, hunger is at an all time low, and global poverty has reached lows once thought unimaginable. And though you wouldn’t think it with all the high-profile conflicts this year, war is actually becoming less common.

So take heart, and have a happy new year!

(Oh, and you can read about my favorite metal albums of 2014, that works too)

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