Slander is illegal, but hard to prove. And if you lose your case in court, it can be super-expensive. You’ll end up paying your own court fees and those of your opponent. In other words, the government can’t help you if someone slanders you in public. You’re sort of on your own.
So when publications such as Huffington Post, Salon, or Gawker come after me with out-of-context claims of outragism – as they have – I can fight back as a citizen, within the laws of the land, but that’s all I have going for me.
In my case, I do what I can do (persuasion) to destroy those publications out of a sense of both revenge and making the world a better place. Those two incentives work together great. And given time, I could have taken out Gawker on my own. You never would have seen where the bullet came from. All you would know is that fewer people went to the site, for some reason.
But apparently I won’t need to work so hard to take down Gawker. We just learned that billionaire Peter Thiel is secretly – until now – bankrolling various lawsuits against Gawker, including the famous Hulk Hogan case that will probably break them. And it should.
Thiel’s play – assuming it is true – is totally legal. Thiel just makes sure the lawyers get paid whether they win or lose. Like me, I assume he is acting out of a combination of revenge and a desire to make the world a better place.
This is another example in which I think citizens are taking a more active role in fixing the world when government isn’t the right tool for the job. There’s something in the air now – maybe because of Trump – that feels intensely American. And by that I mean not waiting around for someone (such as the government) to fix your problem. We’re a nation of problem-solvers. I would argue that problem-solving is the most basic American character trait.
You need something invented? We’re on it.
You need a dictator removed? Can do.
You need economic stability in the world? Working on it!
Don’t like having a king? We can design a better system.
At the moment, citizens see our government as defective and they see Donald Trump as a wrecking ball. Step one: Demolition.
Step two is the scary part. What happens when you break the government? Do we devolve into chaos, anarchy, or dictatorship? Well, that might happen to some countries. In America, when stuff is broken, we fix it. And if it ain’t broken, we’ll break it anyway, just to fix it better. That’s sort of our thing. And we’re good at it.
I predict we’re going to see a wave of citizen involvement that is unprecedented. People everywhere (especially billionaires) are seeing that government can’t do everything. So they are stepping in. Gates is fixing Africa and whatnot. Thiel is planning floating cities to solve some types of immigration issues and more. And Mark Cuban probably has some good work ahead of him.
On a far smaller scale, I’ll be on CNN today (5/25/16 4-5 PM EST unless I get bumped) with Jake Tapper talking about Trump, and about Jake drawing Dilbert this week as my guest artist. Jake suggested we auction off the art to help Homes for Our Troops, a group that provides housing for the most injured vets. Jake and I are doing what we can with the tools we have. I hope some of you join in and bid on the framed art.
Let’s solve some problems. It’s what we do.