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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/15115/frank-chodorov-nonvoter/

Frank Chodorov, Nonvoter

December 24, 2010 by

If we don’t seek to use the vote to steer American society away from the direction in which it has been moving for all these many decades, what do we do instead? For Chodorov, that was a question very easily answered: we put our efforts into education. FULL ARTICLE by Jeff Riggenbach


Lee December 24, 2010 at 9:44 am

Amen, Frank Chodorov. I have never voted and never intend to do so.

Wildberry December 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm


Please rush your payments of taxes that were voted to be confiscated from you. And thank you for making it easy to ignore everything about you but your income.

Uncle Sam.

billwald December 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Don’t vote in national elections. In small town local elections voting is useful.

John B December 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Yes. I could agree with Mr Chodorov. The state could be a system of control and enrichment operated by (very smooth and classy) robber barons rather than simply being attempts at good management.
But in practical terms there is a problem.
If I manage to invalidate and reduce the influence of the state that controls my area (by various means including bringing about a non-voting public), and an alternative, totalitarian system comes to dominate where I live, what do I do about that? Not vote for them, as well (if I’m still functioning – alive)? They might not care about my vote.
It also leads me to think:
Chodorov was against the World Wars, and they have indeed given rise to the controlled situation and systems we now live in. As he said they would.
Are we saying these wars were set up by the robber barons to engineer the control of society?
Now that would have been a very deep, obscure and obscene conspiracy!

Ted Lindbeck December 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I am a little surprised that he DOESN’T make that very charge; because that is the very thing that has taken place, (if my studies have validity)…because behind all this manipulation lie the Central Banks of the World who get grossly rich and powerful from the offices of War. The enemy is not Government per se, but Government controlled by the ones who purchase the souls and bodies of the ones who will misuse Government (and media and education and culture) the way They misuse currencies and finance….

Lee December 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm

As famous as Stanley Millgram’s classic experiment is, it deserves more fame: A world full of people blindly following orders, never stopping to ask “By what right?”

newson December 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm

there’s no government that isn’t subject to capture by special-interest groups.

John B December 26, 2010 at 10:10 am

The Revolution Was – Garet Garrett


Richard M December 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I don’t know how one can expect any organization that, by definition, forces everyone to support it whether or not they wish to use its ‘services’ not to fall into the hands of people who will use it to expropriate the property of others. Frankly, I think governments are formed by such people for that very purpose.

Chas Perry December 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm


Kudos! to Fishel Chodorowsky, and to Jeff Riggenbach for his succinct presentation. We ask: would a vote for Ron Paul in 2012 be “the exception that proves the rule”?

If the reality concerning TweedleDum & TweedleDee was not apparent to most in ’62 when Out of Step was published, it certainly now is; and it will be a threatening reality 60 years later in 2012. Seventy-five percent of American adults do not now vote. Were 20% of them to make THAT EXCEPTION, vote against the state, and then proceed with the “continuing education” of their neighbors and workmates….would that scenario not be copacetic?

As a non-voter, I will be making that “exception”. Were 21% of us to do so, our TOTAL would be more than the 55% (of ‘regular voters’) that is ordinarily claimed as “a landslide” by TweedleDee either/or TweedleDum. Would not such a victory ~OUR victory~ be a MANDATE for a rapid shrinking of THE STATE, as well as a mandate to dissolve central banking, its ‘evil twin’?

Is it not true that such a revolution (in the Paulian sense) would be one of the objects of that education Frank Chodorov so wisely recommends? Would such ‘exceptional’ action not be an excellent example of how we might proceed ever more boldly against evil?

We think so.

Matthew Swaringen December 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm

I’d join with you in voting for Paul, and he’s about the only one for which I’d bother to do so.

Wildberry December 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm

“If a man cannot enjoy the fruits of his labor, without let or hindrance, he is enslaved to the one who appropriates his property; a slave has no property rights.”

In terms of general property rights, this is similar to what Mises says in Human Action regarding producing for external markets. If a policy advocates the separation of property rights and production, output and income, then it is, in both a figurative and literal sense, advocating slavery. This seems to hold true for any production by means of private ownership, whether bagels or IP.

“If we don’t seek to use the vote to steer American society away from the direction in which it has been moving for all these many decades, what do we do instead? For Chodorov, that was a question very easily answered: we put our efforts into education.”

Second, what is wrong with doing both? For those who intend to put their efforts into education, is that inconsistent with an objective to also demonstrate one’s state of educational achievement by casting a simple vote in favor of what he has come to believe, or better yet, collecting votes for policies that education has served to illuminate as superior?

Protest by non-involvement is ineffective protest. Education by doing is superior to education by saying. As reportedly spoken by Mark Twain, “‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.”

What would be the purpose in a pursuit of an education if its application is merely silent consent? Those so eductated aim to accomplish exactly what? How?

It seems we have the tools waiting and at the ready. We simply seem to lack the proper eduction that directs us to pick them up and make the world our knowledge informs us is superior, generally manifest.

Lee December 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm

That “superior knowledge” sounds good. I’m compelled to admit I once bought into it myself. But eventually I realized it was people with “superior knowledge” who brought the world to the sorry state it’s in today. When it’s all said and done the “superior knowledge” is nothing but the self-serving, self-over-rated opinion of someone who wishes to impose his will on others.

Linda December 26, 2010 at 6:50 am

One can have all of the knowledge there is to have, but alas, unless one is moved into action (when done for the whole/all life forms) then wisdom can’t happen. There will always be another crisis. Right beside crisis is opportunity. To recognize opportunity and exert energy into the situation – that’s where Liberty hinges. We can’t get to ‘peace of mind’, without knowledge to wisdom to Liberty. The people you refer to as having ‘superior knowledge’, surely didn’t. I suppose its in the definition of the word, ‘knowledge.’

Wildberry December 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm


I presume based on this philosophy you strive to keep yourself as ignorant as possible?

People should write books, but no one should read them? People should read them, but not speak of them? People can speak of them but only if motives of persuasion are purged from their intentions? People can seek to persuade others, but only if there is no purpose?

This kind of reasoning is hard to follow.

Peter December 24, 2010 at 9:50 pm

As reportedly spoken by Mark Twain

Mark Twain is credited with just about every saying under the sun, whether he said it or not…this one predates him by a few thousand years. And ISTM to be saying the exact opposite of what you’re saying, if anything.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

It is easier to remain silent and uncounted, than to be vocal and counted. People may think you a fool but are unablet to prove it. That, IMHO, is a shallow victory.

guard December 26, 2010 at 6:02 am

What’s wrong with doing both is that we are given an artificial choice. That is part of what Chodorov was arguing against. We are told the choice is between the lesser of two evils, when there are always many other superior options. The propaganda we hear is always based on the assumption there are no other choices.
A simple example regarding voting. A letter to a political candidate is calculated to be worth at least ten votes to him. The letter is educational and involves no coercion. Votes are force. If I succeed in voting in a law, the police will cram it down my neighbor’s throat. The more effective method is also the moral one.
In every area of political discussion you will always run into the same propaganda: “doing something” always means political power, and “doing nothing” is used to describe methods that are moral and do not use force.
Any area of life is like this. I’m doing nothing for the local school district because I am busy home-schooling my children. I’m doing nothing about abortion because I’m busy raising the children I haven’t aborted. I’m doing nothing for the poor because I’m giving them money instead of voting for welfare programs.
Always, I’m supposed to neglect my responsibilities so I can be politically effective. The choice was never between the lesser of two evils, it has always been between evil and good.

W C McPherson December 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Instead of not voting in the way Chodorov recommended we might try implementing a “None of the Above” option with real teeth for every office on the ballot. In such a process a win by NOTA would disqualify NOTA’s opponents from running for or being appointed to any public office for a period of 2 years. It would also require new elections for the impacted office(s) with a new slate of candidates within 60 days and provide for that office to remain vacant until a candidate other than NOTA wins. This form of not voting might give us a chance of seeing some worth while candidates for a change.
BTW, interesting article.

Peter December 24, 2010 at 9:52 pm

So you keep running new people until someone wins? Most voters would simply stop voting after the first or second round. If you’re going to have a “NOTA” option, make it mean something: if “NOTA” wins, abolish the office!

Glynne Sutcliffe December 24, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I am very sympathetic to the entire libertarian project, but think Chas Perry’s question is the best so far. Ron Paul does seem to offer at least a partial way out of the logical quandaries posed by a need for some kind of limited government, the need to use the institutions we already have as a base to work from, and the need for an educated citizenry if we are to avoid living in Huxley’s brave new world while climate change destroys everything else.

My issue is how to begin to act to get things moving in the right direction. I have all the right credentials, a lifetime in teaching (university, high school and ‘the early years’) and a plan (or should I use ‘roadmap’ here as a better descriptor).

On the negative side, I am isolated in Adelaide, South Australia, where I live on my thirty acre property (30 minuted from the CBD) without any readily available cash with which to do anything. All suggestions considered. Check me out on FB. Contact me through FB (listed as Glynne Sutcliffe Huilgol).

newson December 25, 2010 at 1:29 am

climate change is part of the brave new world.

Glynne Sutcliffe December 24, 2010 at 9:58 pm

PS – and I forgot to include the question with which I began reading Frank Chodorov’s bio, namely – is he Nancy’s father? It is not a usual name, and Nancy is not only a brilliant psycho-social theorist, but also the fountain source for my own analytic categories for understanding the way things work in social and political domains.

c.harrison kugel December 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Mr. Chodorov, has an exact philosophy of how to manage a free economic caveat emptor society.
Unfortunately, we have no leaders who can impliment it. If Mr. Ron Paul were to be president of the United States, he would not help improve our government. What we need is a Winston Churchill, or a Adolph Hitler. They may have had two different ideological concepts, but they both were succesfull in achieving thier goals. We have no one in America who can impliment what Mr. Chodorove would have liked to accomplish during his life time. HIs concept of Education is the key to achieving his goals.

DixieFlatline December 25, 2010 at 9:21 am

Ron Paul doesn’t run to win, or to achieve the power to achieve liberty (think about that one). He doesn’t want to be President. He knows that things will change when culture changes, and cultural changes occur with knowledge. The political means are violence, and voting is just participating in the ridiculous puppet show of hope and change, whether it is Obama or Ron Paul, real hope and change lies in you, not in the ballot box.

Barry M December 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

A lot of problems would be resolved or would never arise if govt’s and their constituents understood and applied the law of subsidiarity, that no task should be done by a large unit that can effectively be done by a smaller unit. That means starting with the basic unit of society, the family. Providing the family with all the means to fulfill its functions of nurture, sustenance, education and self reliance should be the foundational principle of any worthy society. From that principle follows the logical progression of tasks and responibility for them as close as possible to those affected by them. If strictly applied its easy to see that central gov’t finishes up with a few major responsibilties, the first being defence and a few others such as uniform transport regulations, maritime responsibilites and similar.

Gil December 25, 2010 at 10:16 am

Then again it could be a lot of problems could be solved if the tree of liberty was refreshened by the blood of federal politicians.

Richard Harris December 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm

The amusing thing about Libertarians is that their minds are as firmly rooted in the concept of a utopia as left-wingers are. The most basic element of freedom is the sanctity of private property. The essential element in safeguarding the sanctity of private property is the concept of the sheriff. If there were no sheriff, it would be a certainty that if you were walking down the street someone would jump out of a tree and cave your head in with a large rock, in order to steal your money. Without the sheriff you have to spend an inordinate amount of time undertaking activities to ensure your personal and property safety. You also have to spend time seeking revenge on the evil doers who have murdered your family members. Thus you have almost no time left to make a living. Thus you are unable to acquire any kind of wealth.

This concept of a sheriff is true in a macro sense as well as a micro sense. Without a military force to preserve the nation’s freedom the pathway is wide open for the Adolf Hitlers and the Genghis Khans to freely roam the planet murdering people by the tens of millions.

The fact that Libertarians seem to cling to the concept that the world is free of evildoers is testament to their detachment from reality. If you are going to live on a planet that has 7 billion occupants you must realize that you are living in a very evil place and those evil doers are coming after you. Government is the means by which private property and personal safety are provided for.

Government is essential. Certainly it is desirable to limit government to performing only its essential functions. But never forget that the most essential function of government is to provide personal safety and property rights on both a macro and micro scale.

Libertarians need to realize that Shangri La only existed in a novel.

Lee December 25, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Government is essential to no one but those who want to live off the labor of others. When government is taking 50% or more of working peoples income how can you possibly say it’s necessary to defend private property?

Clearly you’re only looking at things from the perspective of the situation government has created, and not a very realistic one at that considering the threat the government poses to the average citizen. Without government to interfere people don’t long usually tolerate the things like theft and murder; they take care of business; without the expense and drawn-out, hap-hazard methods of government.

Critic December 25, 2010 at 4:32 pm

How is a sheriff, funded by tax money that he must extract by threats and ultimately force, the “essential element” of private property, as opposed to the property owner’s own interest in protecting his own property that he shares with other property owners?

How can a sheriff exist in all places at all times as to prevent crime in the manner you describe?

Why would a libertarian live in a place crawling with evildoers? How would a place where evildoers are prevalent elect a non-evil sheriff? From which population exactly would the sheriff be selected?

As to the rest of your Hobbesian fantasy of titans clashing forevermore, explain the existence and persistence of peace in Switzerland, a tiny country smack dab in the middle of an otherwise blood-soaked continent. Could it be that the very interests of a property-owning class are aligned with the goal of forming a militia in common defense of that property — that is, if their available resources to raise such a militia are not confiscated beforehand by the central state?

No, despite the evidence, we must have a centrally-planned and tax-funded military, forever aching for a mission to be doled out by armchair generals in electoral hock to the military-industrial complex. Things just cannot be any other way, because America has not done things any other way for more than 100 years. We have always been at war with an inexplicably envious and ungrateful world.

Wildberry December 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Could it be that Switzerland never had anything worth plundering? That would explain things…

integral December 27, 2010 at 3:05 am

You mean beside all their fabulous wealth?

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm


guard December 26, 2010 at 6:05 am

I have a rock too.

Linda December 26, 2010 at 7:23 am

I totally disagree. Government, the word, govern -means control in Latin. Mente, the word, ment -means mind in Latin. Government is doing exactly what it is supposed to do – control your mind so that you ‘believe’ (not knowledge) that we are separate. You and me, us and them, borders, terrorists, enemies. Such crap! Physics anyone? The us and them, since we’re still of the 5 sense, 3-D eternal beings projecting ourselves into this physical experience, would be—the World Management Team and us. The planned dumbing-down of the people in the united states. We’re the ‘third world’. Toxic to the max., still pretending federal reserve notes have value and that we’re the best. Albeit, no track record. No evidence for the claim. No one is bringing anything to the table – dirty electricity, when free (clean) radiant energy has been silenced for decades. Hemp – as you no doubt know, is THE way to salvation. No, we have nylon, cotton (chemicalized), poly etc. The radio is still blah blahing about “come get your vaccines”, with N O T H I N G to show for proof! The ‘war on drugs’ is getting a huge $$ Obama boost – with N O T H I N G to show for proof – Not ONE government scam has brought about a ‘good’ for the people. NOT ONE! No one is more enslaved than the person who ‘believes’ he is free. Government expands, genocides, taxes, transfers wealth and imprisons. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO. The word ‘democracy’ is not in the Declaration of Independence, The Constituion or the Bill of Rights. Because the Founders knew it to be the worst form of ‘mind control.’

Dave Albin December 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm

It’s a little far to say that the government hasn’t done anything that has ever benefited someone else. Vaccines, for example (as you mention), have benefited a lot of people, and were funded by taxes, from research to distribution. Most people on here will admit that the government will stumble upon something positive for the “people” from time to time. The problem is that we can’t see how much better things might have been had the government not gotten involved. One good example is fertility treatment – the USA banned funding for it, the original people involved in IVF research in the UK were volunteers who got funding from other sources (people who could not have their own children and expected results). The result has been tremendous progress – the government restraints were not in the way. A lot of people can be parents now because of this.

Back to vaccines – federal funding of other vaccines, such as one for HIV, have been dismal failures. A ton of taxpayer money was thrown at research, and, flush with money and no strings attached, a lot of research got done – just no vaccine that worked. Some people still wonder if targeting HIV is even correct – they may have overlooked the obvious – what causes AIDS? But, of course, none of this matters because the federal scientists were not going broke with no effective vaccine.

Wildberry December 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Don’t confuse libertarians with anarchists. Big difference!

DixieFlatline December 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Any libertarian who rejects self rule, isn’t really a libertarian. Big difference between someone who supports unconditional individual liberty, and someone who maintains that coercion is necessary for social interaction.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Dixie almost a flatline…

Can you given any illumination to your idea of what “unconditional individual liberty” actually is. No limits? Unconditional? Glad you’re not my neighbor, sounds dangerous.

If you believe in rights of any kind, then you believe in coercion. Rights that cannot be enforced are no rights at all. Make sense?

Michael A. Clem December 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm

If you know anything about libertarianism, and I can’t believe you don’t if you’re at this site, you must know of the non-aggression principle. It doesn’t say that coercion is bad–it says that the initiation of force is bad–defensive force and properly-justified retaliatory force are okay by libertarian standards. Rights need to be protected by force, granted, but the initiation of force is a violation of rights, not a protection of rights. If you fail to recognize this distinction, you attack a strawman. Since government exists by initiating force, government is not the most appropriate agency for the protection of rights–it is fundamentally flawed; not merely corruptible, but corrupt at its source.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Michael,I’m just curious. Do you think anything I said above contradicts what you said, or are you agreeing with me?

Retaliation for the violation of one’s rights is coercion. Under those circumstances, it is not an initiation of force. Right?

Oh, I see now. It is the anarchist/minarchist issue. You think protection of individual rights by a neutral third party that operates wtihin a uniform set of laws and rules, like evidence, procedure, presumption of innocence, and jury trials, can ONLY be carried out by a non-governmental agency?

I disagree.

DixieFlatline December 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

What part of unconditional liberty do you not understand?

I don’t believe in rights. I believe I was born free, and that anyone who claims to have authority over me, needs to prove how he gained that authority. If he gained it through threats and violence, than that is proof his authority is not legitimate.

Richard Harris December 27, 2010 at 3:40 am

Please tell me which ones here are anarchists, and which ones are Libertarians. I can’t tell which ones are which.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Just ask, they will be happy to tell you. It’s a source of pride.

Michael A. Clem December 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

This is a flawed view of libertarianism. It doesn’t require believing human nature is something that it is not. If anything, libertarianism is a recognition of human nature that most other political views choose to ignore: the corrupting influence of power. Criminals, those who would initiate force may always exist, but even criminal gangs have less power to do evil than a large, powerful, and, to too many people, legitimate government. Saying that we need government to fight evil is much like saying we need a protection racket to keep from being ruined.
You also overlook the immense diversification and options made possible by a marketplace in justice and protective services. If the division of labor has worked wonders in almost all other products and services, why should it not work in this area, as well? There’s no real reason to suppose that an inordinate amount of time or wealth is required for the average individual to have security or justice (not revenge).

Joe December 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I don’t know why you would lump all libertarians in the same pot. If you read the posts on this site you will see there are a lot of libertarians that believe in small government controlled by the constitution. We have Randian’ and Rothbardian’s and other free thinkers. Please puruse this site and you will see the battles between the groups.

Chu-hua Zhu December 25, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Very good article, nice selection of Chodorov quotations. Frank is one of my favorites, it’s too bad Nock couldn’t put Buckley on the right track.

Jared December 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Let me get this straight. Rather than voting we should educate people. So we end up with more and more enlightened nonvoters ruled by a a shrinking minority of the ignorant, the envious and the jealous, the larcenous and the thugish. And you thought things couldn’t get worse. This is stupidity to the nth degree. Being contrary for its own sake is utter foolishness.

Wildberry December 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm


Some, like you, have a talent for summing it all up in a few words.

It astounds that otherwise educated and intelligent people can endulge in such utter foolishness, while claiming in it a source of pride.

Go figure!

Lee December 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Thank you for your description of voters, Jared. When that minority is small enough that it has no power perhaps then we can live on our own terms, not for the profit of someone else.

Wildberry December 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm


Whose terms are you living on now? You are waiting for something or someone to give you permission to do what you want?

Isn’t it a little inaccurate to think that because you have certain limitations in your freedom to act, that you therefore have NO freedom at all?

It’s just taxes; don’t be such a whiner. Be a homeless bum with no money and you can join the 45% of Americans who pay negative taxes. That is your freedom, if you have the courage to choose it.

In the meantime, just sit in your beanbag chair and feel sorry for yourself! Heroic!!

Chu-hua Zhu December 26, 2010 at 10:42 pm

It’s “just” taxes? You just failed the libertarian litmus test.
It’s ‘just’ armed robbery and the systemic, forcible perversion of culture, media and money. It’s just the brutal mass murder of strangers and the mass kidnapping involved in locking drug dealers, inside traders and prostitutes away.

Wildberry, I think you might have come to the wrong place to spew this sort of nonsense.

DixieFlatline December 26, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Wildberry, taxes are theft.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 11:43 am

Fine, boys. Taxes are theft. What are you going to do about it? Waiting for salvation?

When you ask that question, it illuminates the problems with your approach; abstension. That tactic merely lets others decide for you. How is that a meaningful exercise of liberty?

As I said, heroic. (thick sarcasim)

DixieFlatline December 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Thank you for agreeing with me. However, I never indicated I had an approach.

Before making claims based on assumptions, you might be wise to verify those assumptions first.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

OK Dixie, what should I assume?

I thought we were discussing an approach. The theme here is “don’t vote, educate”.Like I said, you can’t enjoy the goodies and then complain they aren’t sweet enough.

I am advocating “vote and educate”. I’m proding you to explain yourself.
Think of it as me trying to create a “teachable moment”.The reality is that taxes are not theft.

They are the product of exploitation; exploitation by the organizized and well-connected of the disorganized and disconnected.In which category would you place yourself? Is that becasue you are oppressed the by the State?

Let me ask you this: If you were organized and well-connected, and managed to use this potition to expliot others, what attitude would you want your subject to have?

Seems to me that most of the people responding with such support of Chodorov’s position are doing their best to be cooperative.

That is my humble opinion.

panika2008 December 26, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I’m with Jared. No liberty is ever wished up, it must always be hard won, through a struggle. And all power is always just an extension of the barrel of the gun, just as Mao said.

Joe December 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Just by the comments on this thread it would seem impossible to have a orderly and non violent society of libertarians without minimal government. As Rodney King once famously said, “can’t we all just get along?” I can imagine DixieFlatline fighting with Richard Harris. I wonder who would win that one?

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 5:55 pm

It’s hard for me to understand sometimes just what the people posting here DO want.

It all just seems so lala unrealistic that I can’t keep myself from poking at the attitude.

If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would be hilarious.

Oh-Noes December 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Only running continously toward the light at the end of the tunnel hoping for a balanced-”good” govt. is pathetic, Wildberry! It just makes ya feel good, and you might have some fellowship in this crusade, but mostly its pointless. You’re telling me the other conservative sites are making a difference? Really?What’s wrong with Legitimate Anarcho Capitalists such as Hoppe for a well-thought out solution to replace the current government monopolized system? Rothbard is thrown in there too, as well as a few others.Thats where most seasoned mises.org members adhere too, at least one’s in the anarcho-cap persuasion.You won’t be able to discuss the countless objections in the Blog Comments section here.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 6:58 pm


When you talk of making a difference, what is your frame of reference?

Are you denying that the “tea party” phenomena, whatever it is, is making some kind of difference?

And if so, is it pointing in the right or wrong direction? If right, are you pulling for it, or do you insist all is futile?

Yes Hoppe and Rothbard are interesting, and they have cleverly, in my view, attempted to put a square peg in a round hole. If their ideas were so “right”, what is your explanation for why we are not all Hoppe/Rothbardians?

If your answer is because people are just too stupid to understand, then how do you count yourself in that statement?

You require a theory of superiority to explain how you can be so smart to have recognized the “truth”, while the rest of us misinformed, ignorant sloths engaged in futile windmill-tilting remain in the majority compared to the dismal numbers of “enlightened” libertarians. That is a shame, but factual nonetheless.

I don’t buy the whole menu, but I don’t mind breaking bread with someone over a little patch of common ground.

Bob December 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm

No, you hope by education (non-governmental), that you will have a majority of the population that doesn’t rely on the political, and rightfully so to change to world. It’s a crap shoot against a the seductive nature of the State, but it’s all you have.

So go back to the delusional “Voting for the Right Fella” mentality, because one day way out there in the 3rd millenia we will “Get the Balance Right”!

Wildberry December 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm

If we live that long.

Lee December 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm

No, I’m not waiting on permissions, Wildberry; I’m waiting until I no longer need them; until the threats against my doing or not doing are only what natural law decrees, not the decrees of individuals I may hold in great contempt.

If one looks at the history of the last hundred years there has been a tremendous infringement on nearly all our freedoms; little is left not taxed, licensed, regulated or permitted. An infringed freedom is no freedom at all.

It’s not primarily about money but about creating your own level of prosperity, without being robbed at gunpoint for money to promote things which one may be adamantly opposed to; may in fact be severely detrimental to ones own interests.

As far as superior knowledge is concerned I doubt that most results of superior knowledge can stand up to critical appraisal. Do I propose that we all be as ignorant as possible? Of course not. But we need to learn to judge our knowledge critically and with a great deal of humility_enough so we don’t try to force our opinions on other people. Persuasion? Sure. But from reason, not force.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm


With all due respect, you remind me of the greedy child at Christmas after opening all the presents, and crying about the one thing you DIDN’T get.

You have, I am venturing to guess, quite a bit more freedom that you actually exercise. Yet all you are doing is whining about something that you don’t have. For example, when was the last time you were robbed at gunpoint?

If you don’t want to pay taxes, be poor. If you want to pay less, elect peope who are comitted to that agenda. If you don’t like it here, go somewhere else where there is more “unconditional freedom”. What’s stopping you? You like it here, right? You enjoy the goodies but whine about how much more you deserve. Well, earn it!

Do you feel that I’m infringing on your freedom to think whatever you wish? I hope so.

DixieFlatline December 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Wildberry, the problem with your argument, is the love it or leave it nature of your position. Why should anyone have to surrender any liberty to anyone at any time?

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 6:03 pm


I didn’t say “love it or leave it”, but it’s intersting how you bring it back to that slogan from the 60′s.

But let’s think about this. You could leave it if you wanted, right? Why don’t you?

When you use words like “any liberty to anyone”, I am wondering if you literally believe that is wrong? I mean, do you consider yourself a member of any type of society? Or are you more like Crusoe, whose membership in society seems voluntary?

Let me be serious with you. I’ll give you a serious answser:

“Why should anyone have to surrender any liberty to anyone at any time?”

Well, because freedom is by definition limited by the rights of others. There no such thing as absolute freedom. Even on a desert island, you must submit to the laws of nature or perish. When living cooperatively with other humans, you must agree to curb your impulses for mahem in order to cooperate in peace. That is the bargain.

If you don’t like that bargain, then choose anywhere on earth that you think you would have a bettter leg up on the life you want and deserve. See? That is taking responsibility. That is courage. That is realism.

If you dont’ want to relocate, then adjust. You don’t have to pay taxes. 45% of Americans don’t. Join the dark side. Renounce material possessions. You have choices. Exercise them.

Gil December 28, 2010 at 12:25 am

So if people are constantly erodng your freedoms then what are you doing about it? Grudgingly submitting, packing up to leave, getting ready to literally go to war with the marauders? Some how I suspect those who are talking tough are really like everyone else and accept the first option.

Joe December 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

@Lee, You have the fire of liberty burning within you but you need to take that energy and apply it where it will do some good. Your being robbed because your fellow citizens are voting to take you money and property. How do we turn that around? A big question and education is one answer. We need to understand that those white guys that created the Republic and constitution did have brains. They were’nt just in it for the money and to keep their slaves. So either follow the anarchists on this site and work towards no government or look back to what Madison had to say about liberty and freedom. P.S. Keep the fire we need it.

Oh-Noes December 27, 2010 at 2:59 pm

What party is getting that done Wildberry? Did you not read Mikkelsen last week?

It’s a bit more complicated than a party anyhow! You know that.
Sorry, but with Democracy or Representation, you are using a gun with blanks to see any real change from the onslaught of Statism.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 6:16 pm


Who said the answer is party politics?

I’m saying we have the freedom, literally, to change things. To do that, we would have to become aligned with a popular force of numbers. If you just take a survey of the posters on this thread, how would that ever be possible?

That is disappointing, but it also explains why libertarians, much less anarchists, (which many here believe is the only form of “consistent libertarianism”) are such a pathetic minority.

Righteous? Maybe. Effective in any real or measurable sense of the word? Hardly. I am just giving my opinion as to why that is. Joining with others of like mind and establishing common ground is way too impure to contemplate by many here. To describe this as a “movement” is an astounding misnomer.

All you need is a daily article espousing the glory of education over actual participation and involvement, and the passive complainers come out of the woodwork.

I don’t mean to be inflammatory, I’m just saying…

Mark Luedtke December 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm

For decades or more, half of Americans have been following this advice. How’s that worked out for us? Not voting just makes it easier for the government-lovers to oppress us.

Suppose half of Americans voted Libertarian instead. That would be a peaceful revolution. Sure, we’d have to vote them out in a couple of years as they got corrupted, but that’s OK.

Richard M December 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Or, the 50% of the Americans who would vote ‘Libertarian’ could just stop paying paying their taxes and disobey laws that outlaw actions between consenting adults. No ‘voting’ required to do that.

How’s that for a ‘peaceful’ revolution?

Mark Luedtke December 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I like that idea a lot. I would love to see massive nullification of laws at the personal level. But massive failure to vote has led to nothing but greater oppression.

Matthew Swaringen December 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm

If only that half of Americans were actually libertarian, but they are not.

Lee December 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Until shown otherwise, I always assume that anyone who makes the effort to post here has a sincere interest in making the world a better place. In the heat of debate it is easy to forget the purpose and get lost in irrelevant issues.

It has also often been noted that people who argue from weak positions frequently resort to shallow and thoughtless personal attacks rather than dealing with facts. Whether any human is capable of being truly objective is an argument for another day. But we should try, when so much is at stake.

Matthew Swaringen December 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I’m not sure I understand your response in the context of my statement. I am not attacking Mark at all. I do think that his statement implies that half of Americans aren’t voting because of being like Frank Chodorov and I don’t think that is accurate at all. I wish that it were true.

Lee December 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Sorry, Mathew, that wasn’t aimed at your post, only as a general statement of how things sometimes go here, which I wish we could avoid because it’s counter-productive.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm


Yes, and why is that? Why is there no effective “libertarian” political party? They aren’t “joiners”, so they sort of sit on the sidelines and snipe at everyone else about how bad things are and how it has to all fall down around our ears before they can be “really free”. Cheeezzz!

It is one thing to have clear principles, and quite another to do anything effective with them.


This is not ad hominem. This is direct criticism of an attitude of withdrawal. You are going to be sitting on the sidelines, watching the rest of us circle the drain, and just as you get sucked under you will be heard saying, “See? I told you so!”

Yippee. (yawn). It just seems like such a pathetic attitude to me. I can’t think of a poetic analogy, but try this: A guy with no legs is watching you run around on yours, while hearing you complain about how you don’t have better tennis shoes. Something like that.

I can agree that some things are very, very bad. But I refuse to give up all hope, even in the face of non-joiners like you. Not because I have delusions about how easy it should be, but because to live without hope, to stop looking for alternatives, to not feel any empowerment from common ground, is no way to treat liberty.

Put the source of the problem where it really belongs; those who ignore their responsibilities to be a factor of change deserve what they get. If we are willing to be stupid, what should we expect?

Joe December 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Right on brother.

Lee December 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Truthfully Wildberry, I suspect both our approaches are futile. While I know of no time when voting accomplished anything, neither can I point to not voting having much effect. The world changes in ways which are largely both unpredictable and beyond the control of individuals; it seems to me that is one of the lessons of history.

Nevertheless, even if it’s a lost cause, I’m compelled to point out there is no infallibly right answer for everyone; ultimately every answer, every result, is a value judgement about what is good. Therefore what could be better than everyone making his own decisions?

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm


Honestly, I don’t understand your attitude. Futile? You seem to want it all or nothing.

I’m not saying it was a revolution, but the last election was something. The message of smaller government, less intervention, less taxes, etc. is having an impact. That combined with a surge of interested in Austrian economics and the widespread discredit for Keynesian remedies seem like a positive sign to me.

Why wouldn’t people who visit this site, of all people, want to jump on this bandwagon with both feet? I don’t get it. We should be leading the way, and we sit on the sidelines like the pretty little girls who is waiting for someone to ask her to dance just so she can say no.

You are waiting for the “infallibly right answer for everyone”??? Yes, everyone should make their own decisions, but you and too many more wear your decision to sit things out as a badge of courage.

I, for one, don’t see it that way. Sorry.

Lee December 27, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Smaller government, less intervention, less taxes? Surely you’re being facetious. I can’t think of a better example of the futility of voting than the election of Bush followed by the election of O’bama. You must be referring to his promises rather than his actions.

But we all have our own judgement of things, don’t we.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Of course you are entitled to your own point of view.

But just for clarity, I hope you don’t think I was merely referring to the presidential elections. Certainly I consider Obama the worst president perhaps we’ve ever had.

But I think the midterms, if you want to focus on the national picture, will have a significant impact. It is a minor but significant step in the right direction. That’s all. On the other hand, that is something. Do you really think electing the right president will solve all our problems?

I certainly don’t. But I am paying very careful attention. If someone can emerge from this mess and show some real leadership, which I think could happen, I will not stay on the sidelines. You will, I suppose.

Joe December 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm

@Lee, here is what Mises has to say: “Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping toward destruction. Therefore, everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interest of everyone hangs on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.” — Ludwig Von Mises Wildberry and others have thrust themselves into this historical struggle. We need you to shake it off and help.

Wildberry December 30, 2010 at 8:06 pm


Thank you for bringing Mises into this. I love it when the folks here run pall mall for the cliff, and someone points out that Mises has written exactly on point, with wisdom and eloquence, and settles the matter with such clarity.

There is nothing more to be said.


Mark Luedtke December 27, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I don’t know about that. Many if not most Americans really are the progeny of a self-selected group of pioneers from all over the world. In my personal experience, I can find the libertarian roots in about anybody I talk to. Unfortunately, none of them have any confidence that the rest of Americans will vote Libertarian, so none of them do.

It’s kind of like the tragedy of the commons. They don’t want anybody else to take advantage of the fertile ground of confiscation, so they vote for confiscation too.

Joe December 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Why don’t you just lay down and die? You sound like you are whipped and don’t know what to do. Listen to Wildberry, he is trying to give you some reality. I know that the odds are aganist us now but in anything you have to start somewhere. If you fall on your face at least you are going forward. Take your libertarian ideas and change peoples mines. Your not going to have a major change overnight. It is always a long and hard battle. What if George Washington gave up at Valley Forge? Fight the good fight and quit whining. Life isn’t perfect so get into the trenches with us and don’t hand over the argument to the socialists.

Lee December 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Mind giving me an example of where freedom, in your reality, won?

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I am mostly free. I won.

Richie December 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I do not waste my time voting for promises that never materialize. I am proud of that. I withdrew my consent years ago.

Wildberry December 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm


Do you seriously believe you “withdrew our consent”? I’m pretty sure that if you don’t vote, the election happens anyway and somebody wins. Like it or not, you are effected, right?

What exactly are you proud of again?

Gil December 28, 2010 at 12:18 am

Well put, Wildberry!

Dagnytg December 28, 2010 at 2:23 am


When I hear your words, I think about myself some many, many years ago when I wanted to believe (like you do) that I could effect a change in government and help the cause of liberty.

But I noticed, election after election, nothing really changed. Most of the things I voted for didn’t pass and on the rare occasion someone I voted for won…they soon did the opposite of what they said during the campaign. Needless to say, the experience left me disillusioned. It is one of many reasons I evolved from a minarchist to an anarcho-libertarian.

When my thought process was similar to yours, there were three things that constantly nagged at me:

a) My voting experience (which always resulted in more government)

b) My study of history (could not find any historical precedent of a larger gov. becoming
smaller…they all get larger and larger-then implode)

c) But the most nagging was the non-aggression principle (how can I support a gov.
without violating property rights?)

It is my belief that minarchists (like yourself) are just unevolved or evolving libertarians and all (thinking) libertarians eventually become anarcho-libertarians.

You don’t have to change today (or stop voting) but you should not be so disparaging toward your anarcho-libertarian brethren.

If it makes you feel better, I still vote from time to time (for vastly different reasons) but the process always makes me feel horrible. I guess I’m a masochist…of course, being a libertarian is masochistic, and being a libertarian who votes in California…need I say more.

Oh-Noes December 27, 2010 at 11:00 pm

“When you talk of making a difference, what is your frame of reference?”
Thats a loaded question. Oh lets just say the run-of-the-mill conservative/neo-con agenda, that has generally been for the large subsized/well-connected corporations, the Fed, the Military Industrial Complex, Police State, as long a Repubs or Conservatives have been at the helm. Let’s say a 30 year period for your question’s sake.

Are you denying that the “tea party” phenomena, whatever it is, is making some kind of difference? We’ll see if the mandate works, at least at the State Level. Hopefully, but the reality is pretty grim, at least from a vested state of the masses. How many will be willing to walk away from all govt. jobs, or a private business that rely’s on govt. lagarsee?

“And if so, is it pointing in the right or wrong direction? If right, are you pulling for it, or do you insist all is futile?”

It’s a mixed bag, with a few principles, but most not founded in true liberty. Meaning the blind trust in foreign policy, and the military industrial complex. Who really benefits from this? You can’t split this up away from the current GM’s, AGI’s, Brown & Root, Haliburton, that benefit greatly from State privilege. Stand on your own or fall. Don’t fall for the Socialistic “American Interest” gambit thats been rally cry and the foundation of justification for State Monopolized War.

“Yes Hoppe and Rothbard are interesting, and they have cleverly, in my view, attempted to put a square peg in a round hole. If their ideas were so “right”, what is your explanation for why we are not all Hoppe/Rothbardians?”

Why are we all, at least in your camp, all Jeffersonians, Washingtons, Paynes, Madisons, etc. ? How did this happen? What makes them and their vision of limited/contained govt. the only road for liberty? As far as Hoppe/Rothbard. Their work is realitively new (yes, I know its builit on folks before them)? Plus, what venue could you really get a hold of their work, say 30 years ago? I don’t know all of these answers, but much of this philosophy isn’t exactly being sold at conventional re-education camps, which much is State Run. It takes time. How many people would it take to make a difference Wildberry? At least to have a majority lock-step opinion towards liberty? I don’t know Wildbery.

“If your answer is because people are just too stupid to understand, then how do you count yourself in that statement?”

No, I don’t think they are too stupid, but trained or indoctrinated by State Run schools to accept or tolerate the encrochment of the State, with no real logic analysis to counter the BS. Hell, I was in this camp. You gotta grow and hope to attain a closer look at truth. Conservative philosophy, at least the Fox version is generally crap, with a few points of light, but its rare.

“You require a theory of superiority to explain how you can be so smart to have recognized the “truth”, while the rest of us misinformed, ignorant sloths engaged in futile windmill-tilting remain in the majority compared to the dismal numbers of “enlightened” libertarians. That is a shame, but factual nonetheless.”

If you have a problem with An-Cap philosophy Wildberry, debate the issues, convince me “Limited Govt.” Conservatism is still worth while, and prove An-Caps wrong. I’m just a grasshopper, still learning.

“I don’t buy the whole menu, but I don’t mind breaking bread with someone over a little patch of common ground.” Forgive me if my tone was condecending!

Don’t forget the butter Wildberry!

Joe December 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

@Oh-Noes, First of all if I can speak for Wildberry, he is not a conservative. I would call him a libertarian that wants minimal government. The type of government Madison had envisioned. The big question is will an anarchist system work? Based on history and human nature it is very hard to conceive that this will work. It has never worked with a large populaton. The giving to government the monopoly on force is the only way to really protect the freedoms of a large society of free individuals. This Republic is not perfect and has slowly been headed towards socialism. It will be a lot easier to reverse the socialism and get back on track than to wish and want a anarchist world. I have heard the arguments from the anarchists and it has more of a “faith” based system then reality. In their world human nature would have to change dramatically for it to be successful. It is not reality and never would come to pass.

Oh-Noes December 28, 2010 at 9:17 am

We don’t have to get an “Anarchist World”, on 1st try Joe! Lets try for a smaller geographical area, that resists government tyranny entirely 1st.

Giving a Massive Federal Power, Monopoly force in the 20th century for the most part, has not resulted in more freedom for individuals, but less as a whole. It’s giving us two major bloody wars, and the resulting chaos of those conflicts have led to much more strife.

How do you know that a Private Security/Military would be worse than a State Run version that we currently have. Exactly whose interests does their actions serve. When you say National Interest, that doesn’t cut it. If home based international corp. want protection let them pay for it. Otherwise deal with it.

And you have to ask yourself, will the post WWII Lording Policy of the West to keep an equilibrium in their eyes, be more detrimental in the long run? Is it really a mechanism only serving those currently in power, and keeping competition to a minimum, going back to the Neo-Mercantillism of past Europe.

You are trusting those who you believe you can identify with as by some geographic default, believing they won’t turn on you.

It’s complicated stuff, and way more deep than I can articulate or put down on paper.

I wish you well on your quest to put the genie back in the bag, Joe. But you must know this, if you want to do this, and be successful at it, you will be stepping on very big toes, and unfortuneatly they bite back. I don’t think you want to realize the amount of vestment in the current system by folks you would call decent in a public gathering, they aren’t some terrorist that is much more easy to villafy. Thats easy.

Good luck!

Joe December 28, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Oh-Noes, Don’t be afraid to step on toes. That is the whole idea. We need to start the change to take this country back to what it was 200 years ago. Actually this time we would have already defeated slavery and women can help with the vote. What you describe I already know, but knowing that It makes me stronger to turn it around. My only problem with Anarchists is that they never explain how they plan to get from point A (now, the present) to point B (no government). I have been waiting for that one for a long time. Your question, “how do you know that a private security/military would be worse than a state run version that we currently have.” First of all I do not condone the current state run version. It is very different than the one established by the founders. The best answer I can give you is an answer given by Robert Bidinotto. He says it way better than me and is concise.www.mol.redbarn.org/objectivism/writing/robertbidinotto/contradictioninanarchism.html Good Luck

Joe December 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I don’t think that web address is going to work. Try this one: http://mol.redbarn.org/objectivism/writing/RobertBidinotto/ContradictionInAnarchism.html
Sorry about the problem above. This address will work.

Oh-Noes December 29, 2010 at 1:24 am

I think I’ve seen that before when I was digging in Ayn Rand’s philosophy several years ago. i never could swallow her religion. Not to say she didn’t contribute anything toward individul liberty, but her objectivist spell didn’t do it for me.

I just don’t see how you would do it different with a “Contained Govt.” Philosophy, that the fore-fathers started out with. What mechanism would stop the onslaught of Total State, in all its forms? Vigilence?. ….That many times means Revolt, IMHO. Who’s gonna be the 1st there?
Hobbesean philosophy of a State seems to me at this point, a bit lacking….?

This is off the cuff, as far as countering/meeting objections to the link you gave me, but it will do.
https://mises.org/etexts/longanarchism.pdf Of course it is not all ironed-out, but it hasn’t been allowed to either. This grasshopper is still learning. I’m not at any Zenith of knowledge, by a long shot, not even close!

Have you read “For a New Liberty” by Rothbard, (I haven’t personally), but I’m believe he goes into some of this philosophy?

I guess we will have to agree to disagree Joe. Your skepticism, of Market Sourced Law/Defense Agencies, and my openess to something besides a government monopolized, yet controlled, current system.

Thanks for the link.

Wildberry March 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

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