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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13993/well-this-about-sums-it-up/

Well, this about sums it up

September 23, 2010 by

Declaration of Independence (1776): “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

A Pledge to America (GOP, 2010): “Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”


DD5 September 23, 2010 at 10:10 am

Not only did they remove the option of abolition, but now the option to “alter” explicitly refers only to an agenda. Government itself is indestructible.

Is there anything in that pledge that a radical lefty could not go along with?

Daniel Kuehn September 23, 2010 at 10:12 am

I’d be careful not to assume that altering an agenda is exhaustive of the options open to a free people. Presumably we can both alter governing agendas AND abolish forms of government.

I would imagine any American would “go along with” both of those things. Mentioning one of them doesn’t mean the other is jettisoned.

Rob Mandel September 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

Sure, I believe the republicans. Look what Castle and Murkowski are doing, and what the republican establishment (statists all) are doing to O’Donnell and look how they treat(ed) Ron Paul and his son. They’re jumping on the bandwagon late, and think we’re going to believe them now after the Bush years? They are as much a part of the problem.

I also am very concerned about the “will of the people” bit. We are Locke’s child, not Rousseau’s. You want the “will of the people”, then you better be willing to tolerate the guillotine, gulag, and gas chamber. Because in all honesty, “the will of the people” has been for more and larger government. The Constitution was intended as a check on that as much as a check on the government itself.

But I’ll give them this much, they’re finally calling this administration (and what they should have called the last) a criminal outfit.

Mr. Printing Press September 23, 2010 at 10:34 am

Republicans are “libertarians” when Democrats are in charge and statists when Republicans are in charge. Democrats are “libertarians” when Republicans are in charge and statists when Democrats are in charge.

J. Murray September 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

Democrats never pretend to be libertarians. They usually complain that Republicans aren’t taxing, spending, or regulating enough.

Phinn September 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

Democrats pretend to be libertarians about everything other than economics, which pretty much boils down to the freedom to write state-approved, state-sponsored tripe in newspapers, and the right to dress in feathers and parade down the street once or twice a year.

There’s not a Democrat out there who wouldn’t stand behind those two rights, brave stalwarts of liberty that they are.

J.D. September 24, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I’ll have to second that point. Democrats aren’t usually duplicitous about their freeloading, scumsucking, leeching, parasitic agenda.
I remember one specific instance after one of Bush’s State of the Union addresses where he introduced his horrible prescription drug bill, Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle gave the Democratic “response”. The basic gist was that it was great that the President is enacting this awful, fascist, welfare-state giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies but he just wasn’t spending enough.

Dennis September 23, 2010 at 10:57 am

I would add that the criminality of this and the last administration also applies, in varying degrees, to virtually all others. According to Franz Oppenheimer, Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorov, and Murray Rothbard, criminality is a defining attribute of the state.

Nancy Jones September 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I clicked on this to say pretty much what you said, Rob. I agree. We are watching. We don’t simply want different members of the Ruling Class. We want out of this quagmire of ineffectual “we know better than you” idiocy done with for good. If I have to hear one more Harvard professor (the intrepid leader of our latest in beaurocratic boondoggle folderol-the Consumer Financial Protection Agency’s author and head, Elizabeth Warren) tell me that it’s time to get to work, i’m going to scream! Oh wait, I already did. If this consumer needs financial protection, i need protection FROM the Federal govenment not BY it. As Reagan said, “Government is not the solution, government is the problem.” Okay GOP–Scene II, Act II. WE ARE WATCHING. Don’t FORGET!

Franklin September 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm

“As Reagan said, ‘Government is not the solution, government is the problem.’ ”

And then he expanded it.

Nancy Jones September 24, 2010 at 8:27 am

Yes, he did. It’s sad that he’s the best we could do.

Ralph Fucetola JD September 24, 2010 at 9:40 pm

We could get Ron Paul.

In fact my fantasy for this November is that neither tax-eater party gets a majority in the House, as the sheeple finally awaken and send a couple dozen independents there. That forces a new majority alignment and Ron Paul is elected Speaker of the House. Well, you “gotta have a dream for your dream to come true…”

Dennis September 23, 2010 at 10:35 am

Unfortunately, unless Ron Paul and his supporters gain control of the GOP, there will be, on balance, little, if any, positive change in the national government of this country.

The vast majority of the members of both major political parties are entirely concerned with increasing their political power and rewarding their supporters at the expense of non-supporters. They have virtually no desire to consistently implement the economic and political principles of Mises or Rothbard.

Franklin September 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

“…there will be, on balance, little, if any, positive change in the national government of this country.”

Agreed. But there hasn’t been in a hundred years anyway.

J. Murray September 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

After they reniged on their contract back in 1994, I won’t trust them this time.

Adam I. September 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

Let’s see how long this lasts when the Republicans get power back. I’m betting on no more than ten seconds.

prettyskin September 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

And the day will come when this mystical “A Pledge to America, 2010″ will come to pass in vanishing smoke.
The will of the people is,really, to be left alone.

Walt D. September 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

Let’s not take our eye off the ball.
“”The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”"

scineram September 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

Well, that is an improvement over that abomination called Declaration.

William P September 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Sure, we can all sit around and complain we’re not living in a Rothbardian fantasy world…

Or, we can put a halt to a very real, imminent, and destructive threat that occupies Congress and the White House – the Democrat Party.

1) Take over Republican Party, return to Jeffersonian ideals.
2) Regain power in Congress, halt agenda, reverse course.
3) Eliminate all Democrat Party leaders (THROUGH THE BALLOT BOX) and force the Party to move Right.
4) Continue to build the movement, accepting that minor compromises must be made now and then.

I’d rather live in a land where it’s Hamilton vs. Jefferson than Marx vs. Keynes. Who’s with me!??!

Franklin September 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Who was the most libertarian-sounding, major party candidate in the last century?
And after he was finished, was government bigger or smaller, more intrusive or less intrusive, taking more of the citizens’ income or less?
How many Republicans are talking about repealing the Obama HealthCare law? No, not reforming, not nipping and tucking edges. I said, “repealing.”
In another year the Presidential candidates will be out and about. Shall be interesting to hear how Republican Romney explains away his Massachusetts Health Care reform. Yes, the one that is bankrupting the state and the one which includes mandatory coverage…..
Tell me how it all goes, William.
When it’s over, there’s one thing that changes. And one thing only.
Whose name should I write on the check?

Nancy Jones September 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

The only thing I can say about Romney’s health care debacle is that it played out where such experiments should–at the state level. Too bad it’s been ignored by the Feds.

Franklin September 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Preferable if the experiment is tried out at the household level and leave me out of it altogether.

Nancy Jones September 24, 2010 at 8:32 am

Absolutely, I agree. But we’re not currently living in that world are we? How do we get to that world? Revolution?

gregw September 26, 2010 at 4:22 pm

“How do we get to that world?”

Beats the crap out of me.

Interesting comment:
Reply from the Daily Bell:
No. This is exactly the point, and one we have been making for years. The truth-telling of the Internet is a process. The frustration with the system is like the ocean. The political structure is like a dike with holes and the water will pour through. If one hole is plugged another will open up. Eventually the dike will burst. It has nothing to do at this point with leaders or with movements or even with their subsidence. The pressure is too great. It is a process and is not finite but ongoing. It is history and it has happened before.”

Russ the Apostate September 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm

“How many Republicans are talking about repealing the Obama HealthCare law? No, not reforming, not nipping and tucking edges. I said, “repealing.””

That’s one thing that makes me really nervous about the Republicans right now, even the ones that claim to be the true fiscal conservatives, as opposed to Romney. They are always talking about “repeal and replace“. Do we really need ObamaCare to be “replaced” by something almost as socialist, intrusive and inane? No, we don’t. We need “repeal and repeal”. By that, I mean that in addition to repealing ObamaCare, we should repeal a lot of the other healthcare laws on the books. I would include getting rid of the tax break that companies get for providing insurance. That way, people can have the option of just getting paid more, and being able to afford their own insurance, which would carry over between jobs. It feels funny to say that I am against a tax break, but in this instance, it distorts the market so much that I think it would be a good thing.

Phinn September 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Exactly. Repeal and repeal and repeal some more.

Don’t feel bad about advocating the repeal of the “tax break” for health “insurance.” It’s not a real tax break anyway. Whatever revenue people save by not paying that tax, the government gets in other ways anyway. And in the process of giving this “tax break, the government gets to provide a back-door subsidy to the insurance industry. That industry is now taking over the economy, so it has lots of cash to buy itself the legislation it wants.

The only thing worse than a tax is a disproportionate “selective” tax. Disproportionate, selective taxation combines two bad features of taxation into one — it takes cash from people, but it also gives the government increased control over how we live our lives.

Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I find this very similar to the dupes who thought Obama would be anti-war. In the Democratic primaries, there was an anti-war candidate, Kucinich (maybe Gravel, but that’s besides my point). Obama wasn’t simply a darker-skinned version of Kucinich, nor were any of other other “front runners” simply variations on Kucinich. They were all distinct from Kucinich in that he was truly anti-war. Kucinich was not nominated. So why would anyone then believe that Obama was now Kucinich and the Democratic party was anti-war? If they were anti-war, the Democrats would have nominated Kucinich. Instead they nominated Obama.

Likewise, if the Republican party wanted to obey the Constitution (whether that’s desirable or not is for a different discussion – I do not support Ron Paul) and stand for Jeffersonian ideals, they would have nominated Ron Paul. Instead, they mocked and rejected him. Now that they’re out of power, the Republicans are using the rhetoric of the Constitution and Jeffersonian ideals (sort of). But its the same people! Have they repented of their mistake and nominated Ron Paul as minority leader or some other pre-eminent position of leadership? No.

Yeah, you’re a dupe Willam P. Either that or an operative.

There is a path to liberty (the abolition of the state through constant effort to de-legitimize it/expose its myth), but your nonsense is not it.

Jeffrey Tucker September 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Umm William P, we’ve been down this road before. Don’t be a dupe.

William P September 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Unlike Mr. Tucker here, I am not too cool for school.

Taking the example of Professor Mises, who was a man of action like Jefferson, Hamilton, Paine, and Hale, I will play in the sandbox if it means kicking some statist ass.

Maybe we’ve been down a similar road, but we’ve never quite been down the road of nationalized healthcare and $13 trillion debt. Would you like to spend the rest of your life existing at the pleasure of the American government? It’s not as if you’re going to join the protected class of their bureaucratic machinery, are you?

Very shortsighted Mr. Tucker, very shortsighted. I’m genuinely disappointed. Others who are not so jaded, I would encourage you to get involved rather than prepare your last meals.

Jeffrey Tucker September 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Anyone who is not “jaded” is not well-read in modern history. Must I draw your attention to the 1992 congressional takeover that paved the way for Bush? We may all rue the day that the Republicans replaced Obama, as incredible as that may sound now. Remember that the National Security Right loathes the merchant class and its libertarian defenders.

DD5 September 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Wholly crap! We haven’t been on the road to National Healthcare before?

Point a gun to my head and If I must decide between Obama and (pick viable Republican candidate), I will validate the Austrian position on indifference and vote for Obama.

J. Murray September 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm

You know, William, make good on the 1992 Contract With America and Reagan’s promises from the late 1970s and I may buy into your bologna. Setting up yet another contract when every prior one was broken isn’t going to win hearts and minds.

Daniel Coleman September 24, 2010 at 7:33 am

A Republican pledge means nothing if it’s not followed through with action. Ignoring for a moment the problems in the pledge itself, and examining only the liberty-minded parts of it, are we really supposed to believe that the Republicans will follow through?

Well, I look at it this way: (i) There’s no single historical example of this scale of reform in the direction of liberty, but lots of examples of promises to do so. (ii) These very same politicians are the ones who masterminded and ran the government during the Bush years, which were the worst this country has seen until now. (iii) The Republicans had several chances to show that they were serious about liberty in the form of supporting Ron Paul, and they have failed to do so every time.

In other words, (i) history warns us, (ii) these guys are clearly being opportunistic, not genuine, and (iii) they themselves have rejected liberty-minded reforms in recent memory.

Excuse me for being a bit “too cool for school” here. I’m calling BS on this pledge, and in five years you can return me the favor by admitting you were terribly mistaken.

William P September 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Can I add one more thing? Re: the bed bug example…

Living in NYC, I’ve experienced bed bug hell. I did not look around my room, at my bitten arms and legs, at my infested bed and closet, and think “Well, they came from my neighbor’s apartment, so it’s not my responsibility.” No – I went to work to eliminate the pests and kill them all and now I’m bed bug free.

Apropos, wouldn’t you say?

Joshua September 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

No, I wouldn’t say. A more accurate allegory would be for you to hire bed bug exterminators only to find that they multiplied the infestation. You hire the same people only to find that once again they have added to the numbers of bed bugs. Then you hire them once again hoping that a stern talking to will convince them to mend their ways. Very apropos, no?

William P September 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I’d say that your flaw comes in not realizing that your government will soon be exterminating YOU unless you stop them now.

Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Yeah, you’re going to stop them by playing by their rules? By voting in their system?

I have such a hard time believing someone could really be such a dupe, that I’m leaning towards operative.

William P September 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Ah, the paranoia…
Look, if you think I’m an “operative,” why don’t you check out the last 2 years of my writing:


Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm

By operative, I meant “shill for the Republicans” and your link to the New York Young Republicans Club only cements that impression. No paranoia. You’re a shill, that doesn’t scare me.

William P September 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Great. Talk is cheap my friend. If you’re not going to get involved at such a critical juncture then have the decency not to throw stones at people who are sticking up for you.

Phinn September 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Great. Talk is cheap my friend. If you’re not going to get involved at such a critical juncture then have the decency not to throw stones at people who are sticking up for you.

“Get involved”? With a criminal organization?

Here’s a thought — try infiltrating the Mafia, and then get to work trying to reform it from within. You know, make it nicer, less violent, more caring. Pick any mafia organization you want — the Traids, Cosa Nostra, the Ukranians … I hear they’re swell guys.

Let us know how that works out for you.

William P September 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm

And you people wonder why there aren’t more libertarians? Now sea-steading makes sense. Disconnect from reality, live alone. I wonder what General Washington would say.

How do you support Ron Paul, anyway?

Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Yes, William, talk is cheap. You claim you’re sticking up for me. Cheap talk. I can just as cheaply claim that this whole time I’ve been shielding you from psychic attacks from interdimensional beings and that not only should you be thankful, but you owe me a part of your income! Won’t you have the decency to be grateful to me and pay what you owe (a rate that I unilaterally decide, btw)?

Yeah, making stuff up is fun, and but I’ve somewhat failed at how to derive a smug sense of self-satisfaction from such nonsense. Perhaps you could teach me how?

Who cares what General Washington would say? You’ll find that authentic libertarians do not worship dead politicians.

Since we’re the dreamers and those disconnected from reality, could you please regale us with all the real world success you’ve had in working within the system to defend liberty? Seriously. What has your pragmatism (a euphemism for abandonment of principle) EVER accomplished? Please make your case for why we should ignore the graveyard of ships at your feet and instead follow your off-key siren’s song.

William P September 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Meh, I don’t look for adulation. Matter of fact, you’d find that living in NYC as a conservative is about as gratifying as a Muslim attending Bob Jones U.

I posted because I thought others might feel some duty to help save their country. I see now they’re rather uninterested.

I gather that an “authentic Libertarian” wants nothing to do with the civil society. That’s fine, that’s fine. I enjoy the website and the resources. The company, well, I can’t say it’s all that welcoming.

Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm

“have the decency not to throw stones at people who are sticking up for you.”

“I don’t look for adulation.”

Then why’d you make such a nonsensical claim? You’re not sticking up for me. You’re working to get your team into power. The exact opposite of sticking up for me.

You’re the one who is not civil. A civil society is one where each person respects the self-ownership of the other. Those who commit and/or advocate aggression are the barbaric among us, and supporting the state in any measure (this includes shilling for the Republican party) is exactly that, uncivil.

“I posted because I thought others might feel some duty to help save their country.”

What empty nonsense. Voting for Republicans is going to “save” “our” country how exactly? Yes, ignore the entire history of the Republican party and believe me, when you give us the power back, we’ll “save the country”, this time, I swear. Just give us that sweet, sweet power.

Sorry, not buying.

William P September 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Mr. Drake,
2 things:
1) Not everybody is out to get you.
2) Some people are out to help you.

And a third, for good measure-
“Things are gonna get better;
The sun is gonna shine again;
You’re gonna smile smile smile”

Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

William P, if you’re still reading, I offer this as a better rebuttal to “I gather that an “authentic Libertarian” wants nothing to do with the civil society” than I’ve written (and let those who would criticize my treatment of William as harsh remember he came here shilling for the Republicans to regain power, not as a truly curious seeker of knowledge. Shills should be shown the door. Those who are honestly seeking truth are handled differently.):

By Larken Rose
People often lament the lack of “civil discourse” when it comes to political matters, and suggest that we should all just “agree to disagree,” and respect each other’s opinions.

For most topics of discussion, I would whole-heartedly agree. For example, people ought to be able to disagree on who the best NFL quarterback is without getting into fist-fights, or debate the zoological classification of the panda bear without having a shootout.

However, there are actually times when “civility” is a BAD thing. For example, if someone said to you, “In my humble opinion, your family should be murdered,” would you merely “agree to disagree”? Perhaps, if he was only opining what he thought SHOULD happen, you could just politely ignore him. But if he actually advocated your family’s extermination, and set about trying to make it happen, should you deal with him “civilly”? Hell, no. When he decided to advocate the initiation of violence, HE ended any hope of civility.

And so it is with almost ALL modern political discussions. For example, almost everyone in the country advocates that I be forcibly robbed to pay for things THEY want. (The Democrats and Republicans differ somewhat on WHICH things they want my stolen money to fund, but they are completely in agreement that I should be coerced into funding things that I don’t want to fund.) While that’s not as bad as advocating the murder of my family, it’s still pretty darn bad. To treat their “opinion” civilly is to give it a level of respect that it doesn’t deserve, which is an indirect way of CONDONING the evil they suggest.

Their “opinion” is not equally valid. It doesn’t deserve respect. Their “opinion” is the advocacy of VIOLENCE, and to treat it as anything else is an affront to justice. I’m constantly amazed how many people suggest that I should be robbed, controlled, extorted, harassed, insulted, and possibly imprisoned or killed, only to then get offended when I call them NAMES (like “fascist”). So I’ll make this offer to everyone: if you don’t advocate the initiation of violence against me (and against lots of other people), I won’t call you a fascist, or a statist, or a collectivist, or a Nazi. (In other words, if you stop BEING those things, I’ll stop CALLING you those things.)

Amazingly, people treat “political” opinions as if they are of no more consequence than a personal preference: whether you prefer chocolate or vanilla, or whether you prefer classic music to rock. But a “political” opinion, by definition, is about what VIOLENCE you believe “government” should use against everyone, including me. Don’t advocate my enslavement or oppression, and then get offended if I call you names as a result.

Again, it would be an insult to justice NOT to react with condemnation and castigation to those who advocate unjustified violence. (Would you tell a Nazi who is advocating mass murder, “Well, your opinion is equally valid”?) I have no intention of letting anyone feel like it’s OKAY for him to hold the “opinion” that innocent people should be terrorized, robbed and harassed. But since pro-tyranny, anti-freedom sentiments are so popular these days, people get shocked when I verbally “attack” them for holding such views.

Well, get used to it. I believe that anyone who actually values freedom OUGHT to condemn evil, no matter how popular or mainstream the evil may be. The only other option is to treat anti-human, unjust, pro-violence, statist tripe as if it’s an okay view to hold. It’s not.

So before you whine about the lack of civility in my messages, check to see if the ones I’m being “uncivil” to are advocating my forced enslavement. If so, I couldn’t care less if I offend them.

Phinn September 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I wonder what General Washington would say.

Well, wonder no more! Here’s what he actually said (translated into modern American English):

A. “Get back to work, slave. That field won’t plant itself.”
B. “I like conscription. Compulsory armies are much more convenient to work with, compared to voluntary militias.”
C. “Pay my organization a cut of your whiskey proceeds, or this army and I are going to kill you.”

Tell me again why I should support the U.S. government?

William P September 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm

And for all these reasons I read the original texts of Mises, Rothbard, et al and do my best to stay far away their too-often rabid supporters. Misanthrope.org, more like it.

Franklin September 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

No, the government will do nothing of the sort.
Government agents and stooges need life-blood. They won’t destroy the gravy train.
They keep it going for their own sustenance, like an old tractor that needs constant tuning and patching to till that field and grow more nourishment. The masters find evermore pithy provocations to convince the slaves that their enslavement is preferable to the apocalyptic chaos that shall ensue without the masters. The enemy du jour, the inner city poor; the poison in the food, the price of the crude; the atmosphere above, the ‘country’ that you love….

Nancy Jones September 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm

All very interesting. What’s the solution?

Joshua September 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

@nancy: Saline!

Franklin September 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

“What’s the solution?”


Mrhuh September 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm

“Government agents and stooges need life-blood. They won’t destroy the gravy train.”

This reminds me of the movie, “Kingpin” where Woody Harrelson’s character is explaining to Randy Quaid’s character that tobacco companies wouldn’t lie about their product since if you died, then they wouldn’t have any more customers.

Phinn September 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

All political movement are based on some principle, even if that principle is unsound, phony, etc.

The Democrats of today are essentially the Progressives, who are essentially the Socialist Party, who are essentially Fabian Marxists.

They succeeded by (a) hiding their true agenda, and (b) focusing on concrete incremental steps that moved in the direction of their secret agenda.

For Rothbardian anarchism to ever see the light of day, there are only two paths: either the state collapses of its own corruption (like many others before it), or we focus on some specific interference by the state and work to remove it, then move onto the next.

Personally, I think the growth of statist violence is an inevitable consequence of admitting there’s any need for a state at all. By entering politics, libertarians and anarchists are doomed to fail. It’s a rigged game, and all the forces point toward more statism, all the time.

Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm


Only two paths? It doesn’t seem like you’re very well versed in “Rothbardian anarchism”, since neither of the paths you mention will result in the abolition of the state.

In the first path, you have a populace that is still indoctrinated to believe in the moral exception “government” has to commit aggression and who will thus quickly support another state to replace the one that collapsed (in fear of the anarchy-boogieman).

The second path redirects the efforts of those who (presumably) oppose the state into actively promoting the legitimacy of the state. Each successful “reformation” of the state (assuming such reformations can actually ever be accomplished) serves only to further strengthen the idea that the state is legitimate and can be improved.

There is a third path, one that Rothbard himself advocated:
“I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.”
-Étienne de La Boétie

The criminal organization known as the state only exists due to the myth of its legitimacy. If a critical mass (a majority? maybe, maybe not) of the population were to finally see that aggression is always wrong, even when committed by those claiming the mantle “government”, then the state would simply lose the ability to operate.

We cannot achieve the necessary spread of this truth (that state aggression is no different than “private” aggression and therefore wrong) by telling people this on one hand, while actively working to “reform” the state.

I differentiate this “third path” from your proposed first one because the state collapsing from its own corruption does not imply an enlightenment of the populace and their subsequent withdrawal of consent, but simply the natural consequence of a parasite that has finally killed its host.

Phinn September 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I agree entirely, Mr. Drake. I should have been more clear — when I said there were two paths toward smaller government, I was referring to the paths that are within the framework of politics.

Within Statism, one has the option of either (a) trying to vote in Statists who can be trusted to act against their interests (a self-defeating proposition), or (b) work toward a kind of Cloward-Piven strategy, where the State is overloaded with all sorts of thing to do, whereupon it breaks, leading to an opportunity for major changes.

I think Option B is what’s going on now. The only problem is that it is being done in order to move humanity toward a one-world mega-state.

The only solution I can see is just as you described — to live your life, and direct your efforts, entirely outside the framework of Statism.

As I see it, the process of “enlightenment” you referred to simply cannot be accomplished in a single generation. Attitudes toward the State are largely an effect of one’s childhood experiences. In particular, the State is usually an extension of one’s beliefs about the family, the nature of power and aggression, etc.

Therefore, the only way to save humanity from the fate of ever-increasing Statism is to focus on raising a generation of non-statists, and more importantly, to teach people how to raise non-statist children. As Max Planck said about science, progress is only made one funeral at a time.

We have to start early. We have to focus on educating young parents, and give them non-statist parenting skills, so they can raise non-statist children, who will grow up to have their own non-statist kids, and so on.

I strongly believe we need to work on building a system of non-statist (free-market) homeschooling or unschooling curricula. But it has to be more than just academics — we need a full-spectrum child-development philosophy and methodology that’s entirely non-statist. Something that’s fully secular and cross-cultural, so it can appeal to the broadest segment of the population.

Right now, that does not exist. There are a few popular non-statist texts, some popular revisionist history books, and that’s about it. The homeschooling movement has made great strides, but it’s not quite there yet.

If we can radically change people’s attitudes about parenting, and save as many kids as we can out of the State’s indoctrination centers, then maybe in 100-150 years, this tiny group will grow to a group large enough to make a real difference.

Brian Drake September 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Well put.

“As I see it, the process of “enlightenment” you referred to simply cannot be accomplished in a single generation.”

You’re probably correct on this, and see rightly that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the few steps we can make in this generation.

newson September 24, 2010 at 12:56 am

excellent and wise comments by both brian drake and phinn.

Jesse Forgione September 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I’m a bit more optimistic. Information technology will be the death of the state. Every day it advances at an accelerating rate, undermining the official propaganda that alone preserves the gangsters in power.

Right now the state is desperately scrambling to gain control of the Internet, and they will probably destroy it, as they destroyed radio. But the market always wins in the end, and there will be some newer, better version of the Internet to destroy them.

Remember, it’s government gangsters vs every brilliant kid with every new piece of technology in the world. The kids might not know much theory, but they do know that they don’t have to submit to stupid rules designed by their inferiors.

We live in an age where ideas spread around the world at the speed of light. 150 years, my foot.

gregw September 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm

“We live in an age where ideas spread around the world at the speed of light. 150 years, my foot.”

It’s true, and the data packet networks may be the only hope.

Trouble is, statist ideas spread at the same speed, and there are a lot more statists than anarchists.

gregw September 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm

“The only solution I can see is just as you described — to live your life, and direct your efforts, entirely outside the framework of Statism.”

Remote cabins in Montana are cheap now, although not really affected by the housing crisis.

Bogart September 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Their Pledge to America should have been one line:
They suck, we PLEDGE to suck less, so vote for us!!!

I find it amusing that they pledge to something. They have not even committed to doing it and need not even try.

Franklin September 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Good observation. And consistent across the board.
Recent establishment media outlets were implying that Obama’s and the Democrats’ message was similar to your assessment about the GOP: “We may be bad but they’re even worse.”

Franklin September 24, 2010 at 9:27 am

And yet again this morning.


Where to even begin….?

The story is within this story.
The underlying issue is not that Repubs are still hated more than Dems (although the AP would hope that’s what you get from this).
No, the hidden story is the implicit recognition that citizens (those polled) expect the government to fix the mess.
Further, Bush is blamed more… Obama is blamed a bit less…. Incredible. That the respondents don’t get the correct answer? No, there is no correct answer; the dichotomy is an absurdity — the nonsense that the so-called economy is the makings of one human being.

Those polled want the government to fix this, and dollars-to-donuts they don’t mean move toward a free market.
What a way to kick off the weekend.

Marc Sheffner September 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

Of some interest to readers, perhaps, is this recent post by Sean Gabb, discussing a practical policy to further his libertarian aims. Thought-provoking, even if (or perhaps particularly if) you disagree, and relevant to this discussion. Though it’s about Britain, not the U.S., it should be understandable as long as you remember that “New Labour” refers to Tony Blair’s party, that New Labour was defeated in a general election this year by a coalition of the Conservatives (leader and Prime Minister David Cameron) and the Liberal-Democrats (LibDems). Personally, I laugh out loud at Gabb’s ability to insult without using any 4-letter words. David Miliband and the Labour Party: A Suicide Pact Made in Heaven?

Perry Mason September 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I thought all of the arguing over actively supporting “libertarian” republicans in the political process was moot by now.

Hoppe’s book exposing the principle cause of our decivilization has been out for 15 years now. Can we stop arguing over political tactics as if this book did not exist?

Tyrone Dell September 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

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