...how much I want to see Mike Vanderboegh return, healthy and free, and having made his point.
Sure, I've got my own points of disagreement with MBV, but I can't help but admire many of the things he does and the reasons he does them. His "in your face" crusade of the last several years is simply inspiring, even when it seems to be pissing up a rope or involving (what seem to me) pointlessly risky actions.
I've said before that I'm torn on the idea of appealing to Leviathan's institutions, in the hope that Leviathan might restrain the excesses of Leviathan. And a part of me sees this February 7th event as just that. But it's not just that, either, and it's somewhere in the "not just that" that Mike works his unique form of magic. He seems to have figured out how to push people's limits right up to the point of crossing over into actual stupidity, without ever going over the line on anything important. He also seems very effective at reaching invested minarchists on something crucially important, that I would think makes the point against minarchism in and of itself. And my word, but he's good at this. He's the firebrand that at once holds back the truly excessive and stupid, and yet scares the polypragmatoi in a way they cannot ignore or marginalize. Both ways!* And I cannot help but perceive that this is effectively galvanizing exactly the demographic that it needs to--bit by bit, day by day, headline by headline, mind by mind. I'm not sure the value of this is really calculable.
Which, of course, makes me anxious for his safe return. (Equally-impressive-in-his-own-role David Codrea probably said it best.) I don't think I doubt the intent of the Washington folks that Mike is going to assist; from what (little) I have seen they seem to be more principled than reckless, and December's "I Will Not Comply" rally seemed to come across as at least a qualified success.
Still. These are not nice people that are getting poked with a stick on Saturday, and even worse, they are people that are widely legitimized to have power over people's lives. (That Leviathan problem again.) So I truly don't know what I think will happen.
But I know what I want to happen. I want Mike around for as long as possible. It's not for me--what he did for me, he did long ago--but because I see his continuing effect on new people, and I think we need as much of that as we can get.
* And how bitter an irony is this? In my book, with my definitions, this makes Mike the ne plus ultra of actual compromise, of actual pragmatism; to the extent that there is any honor left available in either of these words, Mike has been living it. (I'd like to think that he might forgive me by understanding how much of a compliment I actually mean that as.)