Gender, Race, Political Affiliation, and the Wide-Open Field

Right now, the world I want to live in is being destroyed in front of my eyes by the people who think they’re saving it.

Being different and trying to force people to respect how different you are by agitating for laws to require respect for your difference has become a cause célèbre.

Problem is, we are ALL different.

I don’t mean just a little different. I mean “holy shit, are you kidding me?” different.

Because no matter who you are and no matter what you want and love and think and desire, you are on the polar opposite end of the universe from not just one person you’d consider a freak, but by a whole lot of folks who think YOU’RE the freak.

Everybody is different. Hold on to that, because I’m going to come back to it.

And BECAUSE everybody is different, I think the case needs to be made for Real Individual Freedom, which is obtained by MYODBAKYHTY, otherwise known as the Philosophy of the Wide-Open Field.

And I am an excellent person to make this argument, because I am deeply and weirdly different, and BECAUSE of my own differences, I have been the beneficiary of the Wide-Open Field.

Right now, whole bunches of folks want a special law to protect their little bits of “special and different.”

And the thing about laws is, they create fences, and the more fences there are, the more impossible it becomes to get from who you are to who you want to become.

The very best law legislates as little as possible, with the broad rule that anything not expressly forbidden is permitted.

See all that green in the Wide-Open Field?

What is good and right and honorable in American law started here.

The absolute worst law legislates as much as possible, with the broad rule that anything not compulsory is forbidden.

Chinese Communist law, Russian Communist law, and the laws of all totalitarian countries start here and live here.

There is no Wide-Open field in this picture.

Right now, I see a lot of people trying to create laws legislating how people THINK about gender, and race, and political affiliations.

They want to FORCE respect for their point of view, for their alignment, for who they are.

They want to FORCE people to think that however they are is right, good, normal, okay.

And you can’t. People are going to think whatever they think, and you cannot do a single thing to force them to be better, but by trying to force people to think thoughts YOU approve of, you can make the situation a whole lot worse. And not just for them. For yourself.

You can’t make people like you, you can’t make people respect you, and you can’t make people believe that whatever way you are that’s different than the way they are is good, or okay.

You can create an environment, however, in which everyone has to start demanding their own laws to protect their own tiny bit of turf.

But Law create more fences, not more field.


So you can be part of the problem by locking down pieces of freedom with pieces of “compulsory action” and “compulsory thought.”

Or you can embrace the Philosophy of the Wide-Open Field, which starts with “Everything that is not forbidden is permitted,” and which is protected by the Rule of The Wide-Open Field:


Pronounced Mee-YOD-bak-YHET-ee.


MYODBAKYHTY: Mind Your Own Damn Business, And Keep Your Hands To Yourself.

If you leave the Wide-Open Field wide open, there will be room enough in it for you to be whoever you are.

If you push for laws to try to force respect and obedience from those who don’t respect or like you, realize that the people YOU don’t like or respect can also get lawyers, and they too can push through bad laws that fence off thought and action and lock down parts of the field of individual rights and personal freedom until you cannot speak without doing so illegally, and you cannot think without committing a crime.

Please consider that there are four-hundred-million-ish people in the USA, and maybe as many as eleven of them HAVEN’T said, “There oughtta be a law…”

The Honest English translation of “There oughtta be a law…” is “I wanna shove MY view of the world down YOUR throat.”

When you support more laws, you start forcing people who never gave you a second thought before to hate you, because the law you favored put them in a box, and made them criminals for their thoughts.


Say it with me. Mee-YOD-bak-YHET-ee.
It is the simple rule that grants broad and amazing freedom. When you live by this rule, and this is the rule enforced by the law…

No one else needs to like you.

No one else needs to respect you.

Bastards can fucking HATE you… IF they mind their own business and keep their hands to themselves.

Which you make possible by doing the same thing.

The moment you realize that if you like and respect yourself and are living the life you want to live, or are at least pursuing the path you’ve set out for yourself to get there, you are FREE.

When you’re earned your own respect by living the life that matters to you, what other people think of you doesn’t affect your world.

And being able to walk across the Wide-Open Field that the freedom of broad individual rights creates allows all those narrow-minded bigoted jackasses you detest (the ones who don’t know you’re cool and who hate everything you think and love) to stand in their own place with their own issues and find their OWN path across the Wide-Open Field.

Probably well away from yours.

Maybe you don’t want them to have that freedom – the freedom to hate you from a distance.

Do you want the freedom to hate them from a distance, though?

Take a moment to consider that if the people you can’t stand are NOT forced by restrictive, field-narrowing laws to bow and grovel before what they hate or be criminalized for their THOUGHTS…

…the people who hate you (or at least what you stand for) might meet you in the field and come to like you, even if they discover you’re different, in whatever way you’re different. And no matter who you are, you’re at least different than someone, because odds are pretty high that whoever you are, you’re not like me.

And if those narrow-minded, bigoted, straight-gay-cis-trans-black-white-yellow-brown-red-rightwing-leftwing-middlewing-other-path assholes don’t like you?

Fuck ’em. Ignore them. Enjoy hating them in the privacy of your own unrestricted life.

As long as the rule is MYODBAKYHTY, and they’re following the rule, and you’re following the rule, and the government UPHOLDS the rule, the fact that they’re assholes doesn’t hurt you.

The Wide-Open Field gives freedom to everyone. Having a wide-open field lets you, me, and everyone else find our own way home to who we need to be, without having to fight through any laws, any restrictions, any punishment for being different.

‘Cause here’s the thing you gotta remember.

Everybody is different.

And when the Wide-Open Field is all locked down, EVERYONE gets locked up.

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20 comments… add one
  • Vicki Jun 21, 2017 @ 2:18

    Holly, I hope I haven’t left it too late to reply to you on this discussion.

    You say, “Every time leftists anywhere in the world get power, the result is the same. Horror, slaughter, genocide, the enslavement of the population, and the destruction of the economy and the livelihoods of the people who supported the leftist as well as those who didn’t.”

    I don’t think that this argument holds because the thing which Stalin, Mao and Hitler have in common which they don’t share with other “leftist” ideologies is totalitarianism. They were control freaks.

    But from the point of view of those of living in “leftist” Europe, things do not look as bleak as you might suppose. I know from fairly extensive contact with American sites that many of you class nearly all European societies as “socialist”. I particularly remember one women saying, “You are all socialists, which explains why you are such cowards.” Evidence of cowardice was there none. Here in the UK where are our troops were dying fighting Bush’s war in Afghanistan that remark did not go down well.

    Still, mention the National Health Service, which remains one of the great national achievements which are the pride of Britain, on an open American site and the perceived abuse of personal liberty and the imagined horrors of our Death Panels will get heated – and occasionally abusive, posts galore. And after “socialised medicine”, the words “socialist” and leftie” are usually the most prominent.

    We are not the only ones; across Europe, in different forms and to different degrees, we all regard some degree of universally available healthcare, paid for out of taxation, as a natural part of a civilised society.

    I read, back in the 80s, a post on a Compuserve forum from an SF writer who had gone bankrupt trying to pay for cancer treatment. Amongst his creditors was the hospital which had seized the intellectual property of his most popular series character. They seemed to think that they could find a writer who would write more books about that character. The original writer said, “They would have done much better financially, to let me get on with it – but they didn’t see the argument.”

    Cancer still robs people of earning potential here, but not because they have come to the end of their health insurance. Across Europe (and Australia and New Zealand) this sort of “leftism” has not resulted in, “Horror, slaughter, genocide, the enslavement of the population, and the destruction of the economy.”

    I hope that the mention of cancer is not taken as any form of personal attack. I did think at least twice before including that in my argument, but I am simply reflecting on what seems to me to one of the most prevalent horrors (as seen from this side of the pond) to the American way of healthcare. I have also looked to your personal blogs to seek reassurance that you are still on top of your own cancer nightmare.

    I would like to go further, especially on the matter of free speech (where I probably agree with you to an extent which would make some of your own American university students shun me as a tool of fascism), but I did want to try to refute the quotation I started with. And I must now leave this post to be re-read after dinner.

    • Holly Lisle Jul 6, 2017 @ 6:45

      I’m dealing with cancer now by desperately struggling with finances…BECAUSE we now have mandatory insurance, and the laws of economics state that when you increase the demand but do not increase the supply, the price of everything goes up.

      If I have to have more surgery, I won’t be able to. Not this year, anyway. I’m still paying off the last surgeries. And I have insurance, the price of which has now gone up to $800/month, but for which I have to pay the first $10,000 out of pocket each year, and 20% of all other costs after that first 10K is paid.


      Everyone MUST have insurance (because we’re in the midst of becoming a socialist country, too, when even the fucking spineless Republicans are trying to figure out how to make things “free” by finding someone else to bleed paying for them) Now everyone MUST have health care, including illegal aliens, but there are not more hospitals, and there are not more doctors.

      Increased demand. Massively increased demand. Same supply.

      So the price goes up, and up, and up.

      So no. I’m not on top of the cancer nightmare. I’m holding my breath that if there’s a recurrence, it’s after I’ve had time to put some money back in savings (that first $10,000, you know) and have paid off everything I still owed on the other surgeries.

      Silence does not mean everything’s okay. Silence sometimes means you’re too fucking scared to breathe a word of what you’re thinking.

      Nothing is free. NOTHING. Everything costs SOMEONE, and shoved down in the back and drowning in taxes are the people who are hanging on for dear life, working their asses off (frequently 60-80 hours a week like me) to pay enormous taxes from which we derive the benefits of military protection and infrastructure maintenance, while all the rest goes to the Socialist promise of “we’ll rob them to give things to YOU.”

      Someone always has to pay, somewhere, and the more people have to pay for what other people spend, the more jobs die, the more people need assistance, the fewer people there are to give it, and the grimmer and more horrible the system becomes.

      As an RN, I worked with a young British RN who was in the States on holiday when she had a recurrence of previous breast cancer. She was dying, and was going to be taken off blood the day I went in without being told she was dying. (This was legal back then — families were allowed to request that a dying patient not be informed of his or her condition. Ostensibly to spare his or her feelings. In truth to spare their own.)

      While I took care of her, we talked about the British health care system — about wait times and people not being able to be seen for weeks or months for critical surgery because the system was bogged down by “everyone must be seen for everything, no matter what.”

      I sat beside her and held her hand, and she was talking about what she was going to do when she was well enough to go home. She was thirty-one with a little boy. I was thirty-one with two little kids, and I thought, she’s not even going to get to say goodbye to him, and he’s right here, because she doesn’t know that they’re going to let her die today. She thinks she’s going home.

      So I fought with the doctors to tell her the truth, because I said she had a right to know that they were going to let her die that day, and she had a right to decide for herself that was what she wanted.

      It was a fucking fight, quiet and personal, between me and her doctor and two other doctors who were standing there, in which I told them what she’d said, and what I would want them to do if that were me in there.

      Her attending went in and told her the truth, and I went back in and held her hand while we both cried.

      And then I went out and started raising hell, which I was pretty good at back then, to find a way to get her back home, which was followed by another big fight in which my job was threatened by hospital administrators because I was acting outside of my authority in fighting for her against them.

      But nurses and the doctors (on our side this time) won against the administrators.

      She went home, she lived another week, and she got to say her goodbyes.

      That was almost thirty years ago now.

      What we did for her — that personal fight and that level of hell-raising — probably couldn’t happen now, because the system you’re cheering in Britain for is the system that’s destroying everything that was good in what we had here.

      Pretty soon, our medical care will also have wait times so long that people will die before they’re seen (which actually improves hospital success rates, you know, because if they don’t die in a hospital, they don’t count against the curve).

      Pretty soon, the really smart kids here will be staying away from the medical field because there’s no way to make great money if you’re brilliant, and medical innovation will die, and the folks who end up doing the work will be the ones who want the guaranteed security of a government job. Middle-roaders who don’t want to rock the boat, who just want to work their minimum hours and then go home.

      I’d love to say that I thought England and Europe were headed in the right direction. I’d love to say that I thought we were.

      But sucking on the government tit from birth to death — which was what the majority of Britons voted for in the most recent election, is not that.

      And if the US does what it usually does, and turns 180 from the last election by voting in a bunch of far-left assholes to combat what it perceives as the overreach of far-right assholes, this is just going to speed the direction of the country even farther left, into the wish-believe land of “Everything Is Free.”

    • Holly Lisle Jul 6, 2017 @ 7:20

      You say, “Every time leftists anywhere in the world get power, the result is the same. Horror, slaughter, genocide, the enslavement of the population, and the destruction of the economy and the livelihoods of the people who supported the leftist as well as those who didn’t.”

      I don’t think that this argument holds because the thing which Stalin, Mao and Hitler have in common which they don’t share with other “leftist” ideologies is totalitarianism. They were control freaks.

      Give it time. You’re just not quite far enough down the road yet. We have no room to nudge each other and wink though, because with our masked fucktards causing riots to intimidate those who disagree with them, and the idiots who think what they’re doing is legitimate protest, not terrorism, we’ll be joining you in hell shortly.

  • Sue Jun 20, 2017 @ 6:50

    Well, I liked your ‘rant’ and I agree with it … I never thought you were suggesting lawlessness, just simplify life to “respect me and I shall respect you” – agree to disagree – live and let live. We ought not be afraid of that which is different, it might just be a new spice that will add flavor to your life.

  • Gregg Jun 12, 2017 @ 16:40

    I’m reminded of Christopher Stasheff’s “The Wizard in Spite of Himself” series. The hero was trying to establish democracy, and was opposed by both totalitarian and anarchist forces. I think there’s always going to be a tension between group vs individual rights and responsibilities. I see it even when there are only two people – just watch an episode of “Naked and Afraid”.

    The discussions on “Right” and “Left” annoy me. The definitions depend on time, place, and the person making the claims. Originally it was supporters of French Monarchy [+ Catholic Church] v opponents [democratic equality + secular]. By those standards, wouldn’t the US parties be considered moderate left and mid left?

    Good laws protect the rights of all against abuse. Isn’t that why the US government has 3 separate branches? It’s supposed to prevent any one branch from abusing power. Our right to free speech, bear arms, etc. is designed to protect the individual from the state. Those rights are limited to protect the group from an individual. Aagh. This has taken too much of my time 🙂

    • Holly Lisle Jun 13, 2017 @ 7:04

      I appreciate your perspective, though. Yes, in theory, the three branches of government are supposed to each act for the best interests of the people they serve, but with differing perspectives that oppose each other, thus preventing government overreach and protecting the rights of individual citizens.

      In fact, when Congress voted to make itself no longer subject to the laws it created, it broke the system.

  • Laura Jun 4, 2017 @ 10:02

    Yep, just like in Scandinavia, all those leftists slaughtering each other. Your view of the world is so hopelessly naive, Holly. You think “keep your hands to yourself” will prevent systemic inequality, that people won’t oppress each other? Maybe you don’t, maybe you just don’t care. It’s really not about being “different.” It’s about systems being deeply skewed against some groups and other groups benefitting from that. But, you know, why try to change the systems – fuck it, eh? The ‘people who run the businesses that pay other people, and who create the food that feeds other people, and who build the homes that house other people, and who risk their lives to protect other people” ARE the leftists, often. Are nonleftists useful and everyone else is just a waste of space in your world?
    I wasn’t going to come back here after your stupid rant about a game that portrays white people in a “racist” manner when you have never had anything to say about the whole theatre of racism against non-white people in both our countries. (Searched your blog and the ONLY racism you’ve ever called out is “racism” against whites.) I’ve been on your sites since I was 14. I learned to write from you. I know, I know – you don’t care that I’ll no longer be your reader and fan, I’ve seen how you dismiss the people who disagree with you. I also know there’s no hope of changing your mind. But i’m done listening to nonsense about legislation trying to “control thinking.” I know plenty of people hate me, at least in the abstract. I don’t think laws can be made to change that. But goddammit we can make laws about what people SAY and DO and the racism and other hatreds they ENACT and those who oppose that are just saying they don’t care.

    • Holly Jun 6, 2017 @ 5:58

      I held off on responding to this tirade when you first posted it, because while you managed to make yourself a complete asshat with your comments, I did not wish to respond in kind. I needed a little time to cool down.

      First, I’m not just against the far left. I don’t support the far right, either. The far left and the far right are the exact same people.

      The political extremes don’t sit on to opposite points of a straight line.

      They share the exact same spot on the opposite pole on a circle, with the individualist advocating for individual rights and freedoms (that would be me) on the other side.

      (Yes, the extremists of the Religious Right and the Liberal Left are the same. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. This is about advocating for the use of force against those who disagree with you, or advocating for individual freedom.)

      I made this diagram to explain my position to a friend. I’m reusing it here.
      The Political Extremes
      Actions speak louder than words, and the only two possibilities are to fight to preserve individual rights, or to fight to criminalize all rights when you advocate the use of force against people you don’t approve of.

      No matter how you slice it, the path that demands “special interest” rights and demands the curtailing of rights held by others leads to dictatorship, tyranny, oppression, and the destruction and slaughter of individuals in the name of some fucked-up claim of acting for the “greater good.”

      There is no good greater than the right of the individual to live the life he or she chooses, as long as that individual does not use that freedom to oppress others.

      after your stupid rant about a game that portrays white people in a “racist” manner when you have never had anything to say about the whole theatre of racism against non-white people in both our countries.

      This would suggest that you’re lying your ass off when you claim to be my reader.

      I express my opinions on race vehemently in my work. My main character of my favorite books, the Cadence Drake novels, IS black. She’s a hero — smart, capable, funny, tough. She lives in a widely settled universe where the good guys and the bad guys are of all races. Where the inventors and creators and movers and shakers are of all races. THAT is my beliefs on race, put into a form where they can be held up and viewed for as long as there are readers — that all humans are created equal in the eyes of the law, and deserve equal and just treatment for their actions and achievements.

      I looked at the world as it is, and wondered, “How could I show something better? How could I show a world where race is no longer an issue? Where people are judged not on the color of their skin, but on the quality of their character.” And then I built that world.

      And now people like you are doing their damnedest to destroy any hope we have of taking ourselves to that better world, by making the color of skin a factor of preference again, by trying to push legislation to make saying things like what I’m saying here illegal. You and people like you are trying to slaughter the First Amendment, the very amendment that protects every individual who chooses to speak his own mind against the immense and brutal power of the government.

      But goddammit we can make laws about what people SAY and DO and the racism and other hatreds they ENACT and those who oppose that are just saying they don’t care.

      Laws already exist to protect against “what people DO and the racism and other hatreds they ENACT.”

      You’re trying to bundle laws that already exist with the real atrocity you’re advocating for — and virtue signalling with all your righteous indignation to hide what you’re doing while you do it — but it’s bullshit.

      Here’s the poison you and the folks agitating with you are trying to shove down everyone’s throats with their righteous indignation.

      But goddammit we can make laws about what people SAY…

      THAT’s the one…

      What people say. Which is some version of what they think. That’s what you want to legislate.

      Legislating thought and speech led to the Spanish Inquisition, the gulags of Russia, the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, hundreds of people slaughtered and thousands imprisoned for protesting for more freedom in Tiananmen Square in China.

      You certainly can legislate speech. You’re a fucking fool if you do.

  • Elise M Stone Jun 3, 2017 @ 12:35

    Holly, you and I disagree on a bunch of stuff, but I am 100% with you on this. Or, as we used to say, “Live and let live.”

  • Bryce Jun 1, 2017 @ 8:48

    Nashira, Holly said nothing about taxes, public services, etc. She only covered personal civil liberties. I think the personal protections against unfortunate case you mentioned fit in the “no” box that Holly put in her first graphic.

    And Storm, when you talk about people “denying me the right to live MY life”, the only way they do that is by passing laws and creating more “no” boxes.

    And your entire rant basically says that you believe you are right and other people should be forced to follow the rules you set forth. If it is wrong for others to do to you, it is wrong for you to do it to others.

    • Holly Lisle Jun 1, 2017 @ 9:33

      Nicely said.

  • Nashira Lyons Jun 1, 2017 @ 4:17

    If we all minded our own business would we have schools? Or fire departments? Or roads? I agree, I never understood why anyone would care what adults do in their own homes. Wait, that’s not true. I called the police when I heard a neighbor abusing his wife and I didn’t want to be one of those people you read about who heard screams and did nothing. I would love to live in a world where we could all live and let live, but too many people take that to mean those with power get to do what they want.

    • Holly Lisle Jun 1, 2017 @ 9:12

      Limited government that is in control of the individual citizens who vote is necessary and has absolutely nothing to do with anything I said above.

  • Storm May 30, 2017 @ 19:18

    Here’s the problem that I see with this. It would be great, if people actually DID mind their own business and keep their hands to themselves. But they don’t. And when someone insists on denying me the right to live MY life so that they can have THEIR perfect vision of the future, something has to give. And if I need a law, so that my ability to live the life I choose is protected from the people who make it their business to shut it down, then that’s what I’m going to push for.

    I’ve been active in alternative communities for most of my adult life. I’ve watched as the people in those communities have dealt with everything from actual MURDER for their beliefs and practices to being beaten, abused, and tortured — and to less physical, but more damaging long-term actions like putting laws in place that were designed for nothing more than to deny the people in the groups that I participated in the right to their pursuit of happiness. The right to decide for themselves who to love, where to live, and how to make a living for themselves. I’ve watched people legislate away their right to their children, their right to congregate, their right to love whom they love and get the rights others take for granted (over 1100 laws that benefit married people, for example) for themselves and those they love.

    It is a nice fantasy to say ‘just mind your own business and let people live their own lives’ but it isn’t realistic. Unless you can get people to stop firing me because I’m disabled without laws to enforce it, or get people to agree that if I love someone of the same gender, I should be able to legally marry them just like someone who is marrying someone of the opposite gender, or if my skin is dark, I should be able to live in the same pretty neighborhood as other people who don’t like people with dark skin if there are no laws that say that they -have- to let me in, then it is naïve to say “Don’t make laws, because too many laws are stupid and won’t make people like you anyway.” It isn’t about making people like those of us who are different. It is about making people accept that they have NO choice but to back off from trying to destroy us and our lives — about making people accountable for their bigotry, because if you say ‘just MYOB, nobody will, and people will continue to be abused for the choices that are their own choices (or the things about them that are different and that they have NO choice over) as long as someone else can profit by denying them a future.

    • Holly Lisle Jun 1, 2017 @ 9:27

      Murder is already illegal. Enforcing the laws that exist needs to be the priority, NOT making some murder more important than other murder in the eyes of the law.

      There are already equal opportunity laws. There are already “anyone can live in any neighborhood” laws.

      Enforcing the existing laws equally across all races and creeds and ages must be made a priority. THAT is a fight worth fighting. Demanding new laws for your own special interest is the path to having no rights at all.

      Realize, China is a leftist government. Cuba. Venezuela. Nazi Germany was a liberal left-wing government – socialist was right in the name. Hitler was a vegetarian, non-smoker, non-drinker, animal right activist (I’m not recommending the site, just the article).

      Every time leftists anywhere in the world get power, the result is the same. Horror, slaughter, genocide, the enslavement of the population, and the destruction of the economy and the livelihoods of the people who supported the leftist as well as those who didn’t.

      And the lie they tell to get power is the same every fucking time. “We’re going to protect YOU from THEM.”

      And “them” is ALWAYS the people who run the businesses that pay other people, and who create the food that feeds other people, and who build the homes that house other people, and who risk their lives to protect other people.

      Wake up.

      • Clare Walker Jun 3, 2017 @ 13:37

        Well said. People do tend to forget that Nazism is / was a LEFT wing ideology. Calling a conservative or a Republican or a “right-winger” a “Nazi” or “Hitler” is all sensational emotionalism. Probably has something to do with the fact that education is so badly done in this country all they can count on is that people will at least remember that Hitler was a bad guy. Anyone compared to Hitler is guilty by association, even if the association is spurious.

      • Trixie Jun 5, 2017 @ 13:43

        C.S. Lewis expressed this same sentiment beautifully:

        “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

        • Holly Jun 6, 2017 @ 7:31

          Precisely. Thank you.

        • Clare Walker Jun 6, 2017 @ 7:36

          Ah! Exactly. After I left my comment above, I thought of this quote from CSL and was going to come back and toss it into the discussion. But I see that Trixie has already done it. 😀

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