don't drink - since 1969
2. I don't watch TV - since 1970
don't vote - since 1971
4. On choices that do not depend on strong principles
There was no NL yesterday
because I did not sleep enough, and I did not
sleep enough because I got woken up by painful eyes - keratoconjunctivitis
sicca - which I probably got because I watched too
many videos while having the disease.
So it's probably mostly my
(I write "probably" because the disease may also have a dynamic of its
own), and in any case my eyes are rather less bad than
they were between May and October 2012.
Today I explain why I don't do
things that most adult men (including women) normally do do, at least
where I live. In case you wonder:
I don't think there is an arguably rationally correct way in either of
the cases, since my choices are mostly a matter of taste, preferences,
priorities, but I will try to give my reasons.
I don't drink -
I spent rather a lot of
time from age 15 till age 18 in a Dutch youth
organization, that was in fact an adjunct of the Dutch CP, that was -
discrimination! - only for youths who went to one of the two classes of
schools that prepared for university .
Most children - youths:
teenagers - in it had my type of background, in
that their parents were members of the CP and most were a few years
older than I was, and from the beginning there was a lot of drinking
going on, which was possible because we were not overseen by adults,
and we could do as we pleased.
I suppose this would have
happened, and in fact did happen, in most
similar situations, and I had no problems with it - except that, as I
soon found out, I really did not like the taste of beer (lager), for
which reason I never got used to it, and I also was not much enamored
with the other staple drinks we could afford, which were cheap wine,
something that was sold as "cognac" but was an imitation of it based on
brandy, and gin.
One reason was, that I
don't like alcohol. Also, it did not do much for
me, in that I did not get drunk or tipsy, as the others did, which was
part of their reason to drink, though I probably would have succeeded
if I had drunk considerably more than I did, which I didn't because I
did not like the alcoholic drinks that were available to me.
Another reason was that I
don't like drunk people, mostly because they
tend to be less rational and less reasonable than they can be, and
should be, in my opinion.
On the other hand, it was
not a matter of strong principle on my part:
I thought that if people want to drink, let them, and I also could see
why people might like it: If not for the taste, then for letting go,
for feeling relaxed, for having a party, or whatever, as I am not at
all against people having a good time. 
This changed when I went to
a party in 1969 where there was a great lot
of drinking going on, and when at its end I went to the toilet I found
three friends in the toilet on the floor, completely drunk, on top of
one another in their own vomit and piss, and then and there concluded
that a rational man did not want this to happen to him, and that I
better not drink, which also should be easy, since I did not like it
Indeed it was easy, and I
never drank much since. Sometimes years went
by in which I did not touch any alcohol at all and sometimes I went to
parties and drank some, though not much, usually to socialize and avoid
discussions, but I never got drunk, never got used to it, and also
never got to like the taste, though I can understand why people like to
drink port, champagne, or good - that is, usually, in Holland:
expensive - wine.
It just is not for me, and
I do not regret this at all. Also, it really
is a matter of taste and natural predisposition, and not a matter of
principle, and I might have drunk a lot more than I have done if it
would have made me feel better, which it never did.
2. I don't watch TV - since 1970
I first saw TV in 1958, and
parents bought a TV in 1963, of which I did see a fair amount until
1970, though not as much as my contemporaries, because I quickly came
to the conclusion that most on view - one or two channels, at that
time in Holland, in black and white also - was boring and stupid, and
that I hardly
ever learned anything I did not already know, and that most that I
watched seemed to
have been a waste of time after the fact.
So when I started to live
in 1970 I did not buy a TV, for which I also had a positive reason: I
wanted to read, especially philosophy and logic, and a lot of science
and literature besides, that almost always seemed a lot more
interesting than what was on offer on TV.
This has remained so ever
again I do not regret this at all. These days, and since decades, there
are a lot more channels available, but also there is a lot more
advertising, which I strongly dislike because people are obviously lied
to and treated like morons, and addressed as if they are idiots.
And again I suppose it is
matter of taste and of priorities, and not of principle, though I can't
really understand why people with an IQ over 130 would want to watch
TV, except from laziness, depression, or great tiredness, given
the existence of many more excellent books than they possibly can read
in a life time, to which nowadays the great possibilities of fast
internet are added.
don't vote - since 1971
Until 1971 Dutchmen age 18
legally were forced to vote in parliamentary and municipal elections,
since when it is
not mandatory anymore.
By 1971 I had decided that
voting was not for me, for three reasons,
First, I did not agree with
programs, plans, ideologies,
or worldviews of any of the political
parties - these seemed all mistaken to me, and often also plain
nonsense or wishful
thinking without practical chances of realization.
Second, I did not see any
politician I found personally credible, reliable, intelligent, and
sincere, and while a few were probably more honest than not, most
seemed to be in
politics for themselves, and I saw no reason to further their personal
careers and incomes, also because they clearly lied, pretended and
postured a lot.
Third, by 1971 I had
modern democracy, where everyone got the vote on the basis of age,
regardless of education or intelligence, was a bad idea, that got
democratic majority support for many clearly corrupt lying political
careerists or for crazy promises, plans or projects that could not
possibly be realized, but that much helped furthering the careers or
those supporting or pretending to support them.
At the time, this was all
due to my
own reasoning and tastes, and it was only much later that I found that
de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill,
like most classical
philosophers, thought and felt likewise, as did George Carlin.
In the end, I just
don't believe it
is a good idea to let a majority of incompetent ignoramuses decide by
ordinary majority which slick careerists get to sit in parliament and
create a government from their kind. It will only produce good
government by accident, much help rabble rousers and populists:
Mussolini and Hitler both could start dictatorships through democratic
much better to restrict the
vote to the best educated, provided everybody with intelligence
the social and financial support to educate their talents - but I do
not see how to bring this about without a revolution, nor do I believe
this by itself would produce much better government, though I do expect
it would considerably lessen the chance on democratically elected
So again this works out, as
not drinking and not watching TV, as a matter of taste and preference
for the most part, where my own preference has the advantages that I
don't feel pressurized into supporting politicians or parties I anyway
don't really trust or believe, and that I don't feel let down or
betrayed by politicians or parties either, because I have voted for
them, and they did other than they promised.
Also, knowing a fair amount
about statistics, I do not have any illusions that my single personal
vote has a fair chance of ever deciding any issue that is subject to
the vote of millions or of hundreds of thousands, nor am I so stupid as
to regard voting as a moral duty or as something that might add to my
personal merit or worth: In actual fact, my own voting or not makes no
social or political difference whatsoever.
On choices that do not depend on strong principles
As I tried to explain, the
reasons for my choices are not due to strong principles:
Sometimes I drink, but rarely, and usually to avoid the problem of
having to explain why I rather would have grape juice; sometimes I
watch TV, e.g. around 9/11/2001, but again this is rarely the case,
since I have to leave my own house to do so; and I have voted at least
once in elections in the university, where my vote had a small chance
of making a difference.
Mostly, these choices were a matter of tastes, preferences or
priorities, and not because I felt morally strongly moved that way.
But there is a moral point, which is this:
I think that more men and women would choose more often as I do if more
men and women had it in themselves to be less conformist
than they are, which mostly is a matter of character and of
individuality, of the courage to be like oneself, like the manner of
man one desires to be: Most men and most women conform to the fashions, views
and behaviors of those who surround them because they are conformist or
because they fear the risk of being sanctioned for appearing to be
different from most.
And that is just sad.