Freedom Methods that Won't Work
[NOTE: This is a very old article, some of which I no longer regard as quite correct. It was recovered from a very old site called, The Autonomist, sometime before 2012. For more about The Autonomist, see the Free Individual Welcome Page.]
In my a previous article I mentioned survivalism, a viewpoint about individualism which is very individualistic, but puts the emphasis in the wrong place. Independent individualism is about living and enjoying a free life now. Disasters and crises are the exception, and for the most part, can be avoided. One's effort, if they are to live free, must be on securing that freedom, not surviving disasters that will probably never happen.
There is another movement for individual freedom, a much bigger one, which also needs to be mentioned in relationship to independent individualism—libertarianism.
libertarianism actually encompasses a diverse number of views, but all those who regard themselves as libertarians hold in common certain principles which any independent individualist would certainly share. In fact, if we list the libertarians fundamental principles, they sound almost like a description of the principles of independent individualism.
In general, those principles are: individual liberty, and therefore, individual responsibility, property rights, free markets, and non-initiation of force, all of which individualists embrace. What could be wrong with that?
Right Principles, Wrong Methods
There is nothing wrong with the principles held by most libertarians, or what their objectives are, because those objectives, if realized, would result in a society in which every individual would be free to live their lives as they chose. That is the libertarian dream; unfortunately it is mostly a pipe dream.
If the objective is individual liberty, the methods used by the libertarians will not achieve the objective. There is nothing wrong with what they are doing, it is in some ways both good and valuable, but as the means of establishing individual liberty, it is not going to work.
The reason libertarianism will not work can be illustrated by looking at what they are doing. I'll examine one examples of what most prominent libertarian individuals and organizations are doing.
The Advocates for Self-Government is one of the most active of libertarian organizations. Their objective is certainly noble. "The Advocates for Self-Government. Helping YOU create a free world!"
I hope we don't have to wait for the whole world to be free before individuals can find personal liberty because it certainly looks like most of the world is coming under greater political oppression all the time.
Their mission statement says: "1. To take the ideas of liberty to the public and to opinion leaders, in an honest, persuasive manner, and by doing so discover and create more libertarians and help bring about a more powerful libertarian movement; 2. To help libertarians become effective and successful communicators of libertarian ideas; 3. To change the dominant political "map" from the old, inaccurate "left-right" model -- which excludes libertarians -- to a more accurate and inclusive map ...."
And this is the program by which they are going to fulfill their mission to make the world free. They provide, "Outstanding communication courses," "Top educational material," "Seminars, workshops, and speeches, and, of course, they have their website and magazine they describes as "the world's largest-circulation libertarian publication," The Liberator Online.
Best of all, they have their super, "Three-Step Plan for Liberty;" and here it is:
- STEP 1: We discover libertarian-leaning folks -- online, off-line, face-to-face -- directly ourselves and by the efforts of grassroots activists using Advocates tools and techniques.
- STEP 2: We provide these new prospects with the information they need to fully understand and embrace the ideas of liberty.
- STEP 3: We then provide these new libertarians with the training, tools, information and encouragement they need to become powerful and effective advocates of the ideas of liberty -- so they can become active in the libertarian movement and, in turn, find new libertarian-leaning folks to bring to Step 1? thus keeping the process going, with ever-larger numbers.
There is a single phrase, repeated twice in this scheme that is the certain reason it will not work. That phrase is, "libertarian-leaning folks."
Trying to Change People
Political opinion is not like an infection that spreads from one person to another. All this scheme will accomplish, if anything, is to encourage those people who already want to be free to be a little more vociferous or radical. But those "folks" are already on the side of liberty. Getting them active and excited will not accomplish anything.
Most libertarians, including the Advocates for Self-Government, are supporting Ron Paul's presidential candidacy, because he is so clearly and outspokenly for the principles of liberty.
For example, "Ron Paul is proposing to eliminate whole departments he considers wasteful, unnecessary and unconstitutional. Among them: the departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, Agriculture, and Homeland Security. He would also end "corporate welfare," or government handouts to business."
My first prediction is that Ron Paul will never be president. If every libertarian in the country voted for him, as well as every member of the Constitution party, the largest third party in America, and all other freedom loving individuals voted for him, he still would not be elected.
No one likes to be wrong, but I would like to be wrong about this prediction. Nothing would make be happier than to admit I was wrong in this case, but I know I won't have to.
My other prediction is that liberty will continue to be lost and government oppression will continue to increase in this country no matter what the libertarians do, because the libertarians' big mistake is the same mistake made by the founders of this country.
Another Political Solution
Government is not the means to freedom. It is from governments, and other, lesser, would be oppressors, that one needs to become free. The unfortunate mistake of libertarians, like that of the founding fathers, is the belief that "governments" are the means of providing and protecting individual liberty. Governments are agencies of oppression, not freedom.
A careful look at all the measures libertarians are taking to "move America back" to freedom are all, essentially, political solutions. There are no political solutions, and government is always the wrong way to solve any problem, social, economic, or individual. As Ronald Reagan said, "government is the problem."
Almost all libertarian programs: training programs, promotional campaigns, op eds, articles, magazines, seminars, workshops, speeches, books, and WEB sites, are attempts to educate
and convince people to understand and embrace libertarianism. The end of all this propagandizing, supposedly, is to sway the masses of the voting public to elect those who will implement libertarian principles in government.
It will never work because the masses of the voting public do not want the kind of freedom Ron Paul, or the libertarians, advocate. It is not that they do not know what it is, they happen to want the government to educate, and baby sit, their children, regulate commerce, provide business and farm subsidies, and would have no qualms about the government disarming its citizens, and would love socialized medicine; because most Americans believe they are on the receiving end of Government largesse—and most of them are. No educational programs, promotional campaigns, literature distributions, books, or WEB sites are going convince them they would be better of if they had to educate themselves, earn their own living, provide for their own retirement, and make it on their own if they messed up their lives.
Good People, Hoping For the Best
libertarians are good people with high ideals and very high hopes. None of this has been meant as a criticism of libertarians, their principles, or their aspirations. It is not meant as a criticism at all.
The independent individualist will have more in common with libertarians than any other individuals except other independent individualists. An independent individualist can certainly support what libertarians promote and do, although there is that little contradiction between "joining" something and "independence."
For the independent individualist, that "little contradiction" is significant. If you are going to be free, no movement, no organization or agency, and no program is going to make you free. If you are going to be free, you'll have to make that journey on your own. Along the way, you'll meet libertarians and find both agreeable companions, and frequently, for a way, traveling similar route; but in the end, you and the libertarians have different destinations. Theirs is a doubtful one, the freedom of an entire society. Yours is a certain one, your own personal independent freedom.