“Love It or Leave It”

America: Love it or leave it

~ Walter Winchell


Walter Winchell was an American newspaper and radio gossip commentator credited with the expression I’ve heard thousands of times: “Love it or leave it.” For nearly three decades I chose the honorable third way: I tried to improve the culture in the country of my birth, the United States. I realized more than a decade ago the hopelessness of improving an irredeemably, irreversibly corrupt culture. I planned my escape.

The escape didn’t pan out. Compromise led me to the wilds in a financially poor state. It was the best I could do, for several years. And I gave it my best, for several years. I gave it my all, and I lost it all, at least all that mattered to me.

Astute observers know I moved in July 2016 from the homestead in New Mexico, which I call the Mud Hut, to the Central American country of Belize. I live on a 57-acre property I sometimes refer to as Homestead 2.0. In short, I moved from a rock-pile in the desert to a rock outcrop in the jungle. I moved from a location likely to lose habitat for humans very soon to an area likely to lose habitat for humans even sooner.

According to uninformed trolls posting online under various aliases, I moved for a combination of three reasons: (1) to extend my life, (2) money, and (3) pussy. No, really. People actually write these things. There might be other stories. I’m not sufficiently interested to keep track. But I will address each of the three primary reasons for misconceptions about my departure after a bit of an introduction.

None of this is anybody’s business but my own, although I’ve always treated my life as an open book. Now that I’m a minor public figure — with an emphasis on minor — I feel compelled to respond to the insanity I attract. Apparently I’m flypaper for freaks who seek any opportunity to shoot the messenger (figuratively, so far).

Particularly uninteresting are the people who are unwilling to differentiate the person from his or her work. I’ve opined on this topic previously. The culture of celebrity continues to hold sway over an audience largely incapable of critical thought. For an entire career I tried to overcome an insurmountable wall of human stupidity. Clearly, I failed.

Back to the three points from above. During previous Mass Extinction events associated with rises in global-average temperature, the poles harbored life longest. Were I interested in maximizing the length of my time on Earth, I’d move south. Way south, to Tasmania, New Zealand, southern South America, or South Africa. I’ve had offers from each location, along with every continent on Earth except Antarctica. No, thanks. I’m interested in maximizing the life in my years, not the number of years in my life.

So much for living a long time. What about material riches, the driving force behind many lives, perhaps most of them, in this culture?

The women with whom I spend most of my time these days are not wealthy. My beloved former long-time partner and spouse has access to more cash than all of them. She also has a job for which she receives a decent salary. I’m not strongly motivated by money, as is clear from my opting out of a high-pay, no-work tenured faculty position at the apex of American Empire several years ago. Were I driven to accumulate material possessions, I would have made different choices about how and with whom I live.

As nearly as I can tell, and strictly as an unrelated tangent, marriage is a product of civilization. Like many such products, marriage produces great financial wealth for a few at the expense of many. I’m not suggesting it will happen, but if marriage were outlawed, only outlaws would have in-laws.

Finally, let’s turn to the most tawdry topic, one of many subjects rarely discussed within this culture: sex. I’m a huge fan. But sex doesn’t have the same appeal it did when I was in my twenties, and I’m a professional. Furthermore, it’s just sex. We’ve been doing it a while. Look where it got us.

As indicated above, I’m a professional, even though I don’t get paid. I strive to achieve high professional standards, including continued motivation by evidence rather than pleasures of the flesh.

Finally, with little time remaining in my life, I took action in response to the disparaging advice I’ve received since I wrote my initial piece of social criticism. I left the USA, as I suspect Walter Winchell would have recommended. After all, he was notorious for trying to destroy the lives of the people he disliked. Among his favorite tactics were allegations of having ties to Communist organizations and accusations of sexual impropriety. In other words, he preferred smear tactics to evidence, much like my detractors.

So here I am, focused on living fully in the overheated jungle of Central America. I’ll continue my misadventures and I’ll continue to shine a light on them. If I’m unable to leave my readers laughing in self-defense, as I suspect, then I’ll try to play Court Jester.