A few months ago, Chris Cantwell moved to the Keene area. Chris is a talented comedian, a great activist, and an excellent writer. Over the time he’s been here, I’ve shared some of his articles on this blog. There’s a reason though that I only shared his articles rather than inviting him to blog here – Chris doesn’t believe in peaceful evolution. Chris, as he explains in his piece on why he’s leaving Keene, believes in defensive violence against the state. This belief system immediately put him at odds with those of us in Keene who believe that peace is the way.
That pro-violence belief system was the first, most immediately obvious problem. Eventually he was asked to no longer discuss violence while at the Keene Activity Center, a place for peaceful people to discuss peaceful solutions to the problem of “the state”.
I can empathize with Chris. I used to also believe violence was a solution, but I changed my perspective to one of peace after being here a while. I hoped that Chris would also be positively influenced by the peaceful activists in the community here. Sadly, he never got the chance to be here long enough due to other issues he has with cultivating positive relationships. There are two other big factors for why Chris just didn’t work in Keene: 1. He’s a loud, angry drunk. 2. He likes to argue and troll.
Chris has a drinking problem. He frequently drinks too much and then is even more likely to talk about violence and get very loud. At Porcfest he was witnessed driving drunk more than once. He says he stopped driving drunk after Pete Eyre talked to him on Wednesday about it, but I talked to him on Tuesday (since he drove drunk on Monday night) and apparently that didn’t stop him as he was driving drunk Tuesday night as well. A couple of nights he was stumbling drunk and had to be helped back to his campsite so he didn’t hurt himself. He rewarded one of his helpers by calling her some very foul names and throwing a water bottle at her. He has since apologized to her for this behavior, but Chris apologizing is a pretty rare occurrence. That’s partially because he loves to argue and doesn’t care who he upsets:
Arguing is a terrible way to communicate, and it certainly is not a good way to make friends. (Try persuasion instead of argumentation.) Since Chris doesn’t appear to care about what people think, he’ll argue whenever and wherever. The state teaches us how to argue in “debate” class, which is on its own good evidence that arguing is poor communication. Here’s how it works, for those that don’t know: You take your position and dig in deep. Lob verbal attacks at your opponent and refuse to admit you are wrong or that you’ve escalated conflict. Of course, it takes two to argue, so Cantwell’s opponents are partially at fault for allowing him to troll them into those arguments.
The Keene activist community is a good group of people who care about others. Everyone I know is dedicated to peace as the solution to problems. If you think violence in defense against “the state” is a good idea, you probably aren’t right for Keene. If you come here, you should keep that opinion to yourself. Else, please take Cantwell’s experience to heart and don’t make the mistake of moving here. Yours will be a lonely existence as you will probably be ostracized from the liberty community as fewer and fewer people will be willing to put up with you.
I personally find Chris to be a likable guy (when he’s not drunk and loud) and enjoyed doing activism with him. I really hope he gets help for his drinking problem and finds peace. I don’t think moving to another area of NH is going to solve his problems.
UPDATE: Chris has apologized publicly for his drunk driving at Porcfest.