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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6539/libertarianism-is-a-revolutionary-movement/

Libertarianism is a Revolutionary Movement

April 20, 2007 by

KUSKOWSKI: Your site, LewRockwell.com, is greatly popular and is still growing. The internet has proven to be an invaluable tool in the hands of libertarians. What has your experience shown you to be the most important for a growing movement: individual blogs, professional sites with an abundance of materials, like Mises.org, or something of a collective effort, like LRC?

ROCKWELL: The movement is growing beyond belief, in all sectors of society and in nearly all countries, so far as I can tell. The web has been important, obviously. Libertarians have always believed that getting the ideas out there is the most important step we can take. Any media that get our message out are thrilling, especially the media that are not highly controlled by government. The government made a mistake with the internet, from its own point of view. It controlled radio, television, and much of the print media by default. But the web took off before the government got its hooks in it.

FULL INTERVIEW

{ 24 comments }

rtr April 20, 2007 at 10:18 am

I’m for an unholy alliance in the US dedicated to two constitutional amendments.

1.) The repeal of all “intellectual property” Patent and Copyright protectionism

2.) The repeal of the federal income tax

This bypasses all the local and national power structures. It’s a simple matter of convincing and getting signatures with no need for compromise between government branches or political parties. It can be bankrolled with no freedom of speach limitations. There are massive economies of scale available with the internet. 1.) should be focused on and passed first before 2.) Passing 1.) will enable the movement with the power to pass 2.) Many traditional alliances could be divided and conquered with a focused attack on the State like this.

There are lots of “big names” that could be potentially attracted to 1.), for instance the likes of Richard Epstein. The socialist left might sign on too. It’s a big alternative to “universal health care”, and the cry against outrageous prices, such as those charged by patent protected pharmaceutical companies. There’s tons of egregious software industry cases to rally people. If 1.) were to succeed businesses would be more motivated to press for 2.)

If you succeed with something like that, suddenly you have 50 States in the USA more directly competing for votes that walk with their feet. Such competition will quickly expose many truths.

The Movement should aim for a decisive battle to be won. It would pit freedom against some elite ranks of the State on territory they are not used to defending, such as the power lawyers of Washington DC. This would be akin to the falling of the Berlin Wall without the economic calamity preceding radical change.

David C April 20, 2007 at 11:15 am

@rtr,

One of my theories is that society is going thru the birthing pains of the information age right now, and in order to do that – all things that control information must die. The centralized media, the copyright cartel, and even fiat money, and income tax. (don’t forget, money is information about value stored over time and relative transaction costs – their constant lying to people about the value of their money isn’t going to work any more, their constant trying to control the money system and forcing people into the “voluntary” tax regieme won’t work anymore either)

The truth is, government is a tool of coercion, but you can’t control information with a tank. I don’t think there will be a repeal of copyright or the income tax. I think by time they do, we won’t care because their influence will already be irrelavent in those areas. I do think a collapse of the financial system and the death of the Federal Reserve is getting ready to happen very soon though. That may bring the income tax down with it (fiat money and income taxes are intimately related)

Sadly, I don’t think the physical side of patnets will die for several more decades. Given the physical nature, their death will probably be rather violent too.

T.G.G.P April 20, 2007 at 11:39 am

Rockwell claims the libertarian movement is growing rapidly. I’d like to believe that, but he offers no numbers.

I’m with John T. Kennedy in that area. Most people are not libertarians and are not going to be libertarians within any of our lifetimes.

David C, would you like to give a date by which we’ll see “collapse of the financial system and the death of the Federal Reserve”? I am betting against “very soon”.

Matt April 20, 2007 at 12:49 pm

I wonder, if nanotech manufacturing becomes available, people will even need to patent. While one can reverse engineer an engine or a microchip, for instance, it may prove to be far more difficult to reverse engineer the software that ultimately produced the end product. The knowledge will no longer be recognizeable in the product—it will be the product. The same way that a master carpenter doesn’t need to patent his creation, because his advantage is the knowledge (and hence skill) in his skull.

David White April 20, 2007 at 1:23 pm

TGGP,

“…would you like to give a date by which we’ll see collapse of the financial system and the death of the Federal Reserve?”

I would, at least approximately. The Federal Reserve note will not see its 100th birthday, as its collapse will be papered over by the creation of the equally bogus amero — http://www.amerocurrency.com — amid the creation of this monster — http://www.thought-criminal.org/2007/02/09/the-north-american-union-exposed-a-presentation-on-the-destruction-of-america

David C April 20, 2007 at 9:19 pm

TGGP said: “David C, would you like to give a date by which we’ll see “collapse of the financial system and the death of the Federal Reserve”"

As a matter of fact, I would. It will happen next month!

The dollar has lost it against the Euro, and gold is breaking out against all currencies. The moment that culminates, gold will seize first place as all other investment classes fail. At that point it will remonitize. With currency markets trading 2 trillion per day, and 400 trillion in derivatives contracts, the shift will be fast and brutal. Don’t be supprised if you wake up one morning to find gold well into 4 digits, possibly 5.

TLWP Sam April 20, 2007 at 9:35 pm

I don’t know David C. is that akin to a religious authority saying that Western societies can’t last too long without strict adherence to the Christian faith? Without strong faith every action slowly but surely becomes permissible and soon it a case of ‘anything and everything goes’?

T.G.G.P April 20, 2007 at 10:58 pm

I expect to be giving a hearty laugh next month in your general direction, David White. I guess David C will have to wait six years.

lester April 21, 2007 at 9:16 am

I don’t know that people will elect libertarian candidates, but I think libertarian ideas could effect the positions of major candidates and the debate over election issues. I think Bush2′s presidency has opened up alot of liberals to the concept of government as a bad thing.

no question it has benefitted from the net. america can’t ignore libertarianism for long.

David White April 21, 2007 at 9:17 am

TGGP,

David C could well be right, as any number of events could trigger the financial system’s collapse at virtually any moment. But the odds are very slim, in my opinion, of the system holding together for more than a few years, especially with the petrodollar — upon which the system depends — increasing in peril.

country mouse April 21, 2007 at 11:46 am

libertarianism has been fascinating yet intensely disappointing. With all the focus on eliminating government and enhancing individual freedoms, there seems to be a blind spot with regard to corporations. If you eliminate government, you have to eliminate corporations and develop a mechanism to prevent businesses from growing to a size where they can oppress/cheat/abuse people. As companies grow in size, they seek any mechanism they can to keep growing until they achieve the natural outgrowth of a free-market a.k.a. a monopoly.

another factor to consider about big versus small government is that large government exists because of the growth of corporations. As corporations grow, they can seek market advantage by increasing regulations in the market would have a negative effect on their competitors. A direct effect of regulation increase is the growth of government influence in its corresponding budget. so one could argue that corporations are the primary cause of the growth of government size

I know that some will assert that technology can overcome corporate oppression but our history shows that isn’t the case. I suggest studying the behavior of the various trading companies chartered by the heads of Europe starting in the 1400. then look at the modern-day bandits such as the RIAA and think what they would do without the threat of any government action (and judicial is government).

Another disappointment is the focus on local governments. After all, it was local governance that created Jim Crow laws, poll taxes and other forms of abuse against the disenfranchised. Local governments have also been used to enforce morality laws, deny women property ownership and the right to determine their own medical treatment.

Libertarians have also been silent, as far as I know, on issues of unelected governance such as homeowners associations. While some would claim it’s a voluntary association because you don’t have to sign up, you can just buy a property elsewhere, reality proves otherwise. In many regions of the US, you cannot buy property that isn’t controlled by some form of unelected governments which means it mandatory unelected governance.

when it comes right down to it, an individual is not very powerful. Many individuals banded together are a form of governance and they will in turn seek to influence others and increase their scope of power. This very human desire to influence others it’s another one of the factors behind the growth of government.

T.G.G.P April 21, 2007 at 2:29 pm

lester, I hope you are right. Countless times I have come across liberals/progressives who say “If they denounce government all the time, of course we should expect them to do an awful job running it!” and I try to point out that GWB was a big-government conservative from the beginning, but they don’t usually distinguish between their ideological enemies. They’ll just lump everyone under the label “neo-con” (who I certainly carry no water for) because that’s in the news. Libertarians are often guilty of this same thing, calling everyone a statist or collectivist and not caring what much of their actual beliefs are.

David White, it doesn’t matter what currency is used.

country mouse, why the hell should I give a damn about corporations rather than government if the main threat of corporations is that they’ll get the government to do awful stuff? I don’t attribute the growth in government to corporations either. Karl Marx claimed that when private property was abolished the state would wither away, but when communist countries eliminated capitalism (and corporations with them) we saw the largest and most oppressive states that have ever existed. The state grows because the people are statist and want it to grow. The growth is not caused by shadowy elites that would benefit from it agitating for it, people are idiots and demand policies that they think will be for the general good when in fact they will do anything but.

If you think the “natural outgrowth of a free market” is monopoly, I guess you haven’t read The Myth of Natural Monopoly. Real monopolies are always and everywhere caused by the state restricting entry. The state itself is worse than a monopoly in that I can choose not to purchase a product/service at all from a monopoly if I don’t find it satisfactory, but I must pay the state without having the option of declining its “services”.

The reason libertarians are less concerned with local government is that it’s scope is not as wide as the federal government. If I don’t like the policies of my town, it is relatively easy to switch to a different one. It is much more costly to leave the country. This induces competition for better policies, like lower taxes. People upset with local government often want a larger governmental body to step in. Decentralist libertarians want to avoid giving that body more power because it cannot be relied on to always use that power in ways that libertarians like. Today it is clamping down on your local government, tomorrow it might clamp down on you.

Francisco Torres April 21, 2007 at 7:08 pm

If you eliminate government, you have to eliminate corporations and develop a mechanism to prevent businesses from growing to a size where they can oppress/cheat/abuse people.

The mechanism is already in place, and it is called Competition.

As companies grow in size, they seek any mechanism they can to keep growing until they achieve the natural outgrowth of a free-market a.k.a. a monopoly.

There is no such a thing as a monopoly in a free market. Read Human Action. Or better yet, read Gene Callahan’s Economics for Real People. He explains in easy terms the mechanism.

I know that some will assert that technology can overcome corporate oppression but our history shows that isn’t the case.

Please show where in history has there been an example of “corporate opression” WITHOUT the help of the State. The example of the RIAA is not a case of an unbridled corporation or even a cartel, but of an organization that takes advantage of phony-property law, in the form of IP law. And even so, such organizations are obsolete.

Libertarians have also been silent, as far as I know, on issues of unelected governance such as homeowners associations.

The same as with zoning laws, such organizations can only exist with the help of the coercive powers of the State. There is no way for such organizations to enforce anything if all the members are not first in agreement.

It does not take much time to figure out that all these cases represent intervention by the State.

rtr April 21, 2007 at 9:03 pm

David C: “I don’t think there will be a repeal of copyright or the income tax. I think by time they do, we won’t care because their influence will already be irrelavent in those areas.”

You’re right. It’s already happened. Copyright has been de facto repealed. That’s an *amazing* evolutionary occurrence. You reflect back on things like the invention of the printing press a *mere* few centuries ago. In spite of the obstacles, human progress continues to take a foot for every inch gived.

Remember when it was like a mere half a century before when Mises and the Austrians were predicting the collapse of the Soviet Union? It’s *already* happened.

You can pretty much talk to anyone anywhere at anytime now, for the low low lower than ever nominally adjusted terms. If a movement is to start, it starts through communication. Reciprocal free market exchange. They do it every day.

country mouse: “If you eliminate government, you have to eliminate corporations and develop a mechanism to prevent businesses from growing to a size where they can oppress/cheat/abuse people”

It’s already praxelogically covered proved. Those same [evil] “businesses” have to compete against each other to offer the *best* business deal possible terms to all those free to trade with whomever they want to trade with, “abused” people or not.

TLWP April 21, 2007 at 9:08 pm

Ouch. Has country mouse hit upon a problem with human pychology? To fight fire you must use fire? If a you want to defeat a group you must be in a group? Do many people run in gangs because they realise that it’s going to be more successful that working alone? Safety in numbers??

rtr April 21, 2007 at 9:21 pm

TLWP: “Ouch. Has country mouse hit upon a problem with human pychology? To fight fire you must use fire? If a you want to defeat a group you must be in a group? Do many people run in gangs because they realise that it’s going to be more successful that working alone? Safety in numbers??”

Absolutely. *But* the benefits of free trade are just as true for “gangs” as they are for individuals. Ouch. A “gang” is a reciprocally voluntary collection of individuals. I do believe praxeology has thus answered that question.

TLWP Sam April 22, 2007 at 1:11 am

Yes indeed rtr that what I said isn’t? ;)

David White April 22, 2007 at 1:23 pm

country mouse,

Big Business is just one side of a (increasingly worthless) coin, the other side being Big Government. There’s is a symbiotic relationship, in other words — http://www.cato.org/research/articles/cpr28n4-1.html — meaning that the more you shrink government, the less can business use it for its own purposes, and the more true competition will level the playing field.

TGGP,

I have no idea what you mean about it not mattering which currency is used. Yes, all of today’s currencies are paper nothings masquerading as money. That’s why there’s all in a race to the bottom to prop up exports in a thoroughly corrupt financial system. So in that sense it doesn’t matter.

Even so, that’s the hand we’re dealt, so the smart thing to do is spend whatever “legal tender” you have to, but save in strong currencies and hard assets.

Ryan April 22, 2007 at 11:34 pm

Libertarianism, especially anarcho-capitalism, may never reach a critical mass because at the base of libertarianism lies the one thing that scares the hell out of a lot of people, responsibility.

nick gray April 23, 2007 at 12:55 am

This Libertarian Movement is a pretty broad coalition. Perhaps a new term is needed. Anarcho-Capitalism sounds like someone who sells bombs to anarchists.
I suggest Pan-Secessionism. We would support anyone splitting away from a central state. We would ultimately support any individual declaring her/his property to be a separate state!

David White April 23, 2007 at 7:31 am

nick gray,

Having posted on this subject several times before, let me say again that I find the term anarcho-capitalism repugnant and accordingly counterproductive. I also reject the word anarchy in association with libertarianism, as most people understand it in its modern context, i.e., “absence of any form of governmental authority or law; political disorder and confusion; absence of any cohering principle.”

People think of Katrina, in other words, or Iraq, not governance without a state.

Even the word capitalism is also problematic, having its roots in Marx’s pejorative use of the word in Das Kapital and identified by the left today with corporatism (fascism), not understanding that Big Business and Big Government are but two side of the same coin. Thus do they attack capitalism by calling for more government to rein in the very thing that it brings Big Business into being.

Better to go with free market economics, marketism, or something like that, making it clear that libertarianism is all about the protection of life, liberty, and property upon which a truly free society depends.

Reactionary April 23, 2007 at 10:27 pm

Libertarianism is most definitely an up-ending of the established order. It will a very different world when there’s no First or Fourteenth Amendment for pornographers, abortionists, sexual deviants, and unassimilable ethnic minorities to wave around.

This is why I tell libertarians to be careful what they wish for.

nick gray April 24, 2007 at 12:32 am

Libertarians, the ones i know, are all in favour of free speech, and free markets. I once suggested the word ‘Agorophilism’, to create a greek word meaning ‘market-loving’. Pan-Secessionism is meant to suggest that all people have the right to secede from their state and society, and have their own rules on their own land. ‘Co-monarchism’ had the same idea, that we should all be raised to rank equally with royalty and Monarchy. The added advantage of Agorophilsm is that any opponents would be Agorophobiacs, already recognised as a psychiatric disorder!

Alex February 11, 2009 at 2:42 am

I believe once we all unite there will be no challenge for a fight the eoans nation is here to stay and all of you goverment officials can continue to play. We are here to stay you will see and be on your knees and maybe even beg for mercy. But no there will be none just for the ones that are right minded people that are to off to see because of psychotic site. Narrow mind weak brain you are insane. Come for the dawn sit on you lawn for the fiery view will be the last that you choose.
Sur libertarianism is great it is just another schism though you can’t put a value on true mindedness and fluidity of thought. All the crazies out there will one day realize that there thoughts were above what is comprhendable because it is of the untruth and most of you people have realized the significance of a polar shift or the nuclear bombs that are at stake we are so ignorant as a whole uncollectively speaking that we are unaware of are invisible doom and that is of the mind nothing physical can ever ever ever take that away no matter how you try.
A knowingness is something so out there that the closest thing is the Omnipotent himself and even him has no control over how you think. We are not thinking machines we are here to think but also feel a combination of both so it is of equal value to the high which is the cosmos and the cosmos is essentially a natural occurance of supernatural ability that is here and will always be here whether we are here or not.
Holy books are tainted by thought of things that have no proof and the book itself is holy nonetheless a poetic cryptic substance that can only be revealed if you are in the right mind to reveal it and if you do it is for yourself and no one else and at that point no one can take it away.
So what i believe is necessary is instead of letting a bunch of pink elephants and literal jack-asses run are whole world the sane people should stay and fight this is a universal thing. Not to bring up religion because i am completely against organized religion but some say that we have passed the stage of the Adamic cycle and that we are entering a new stage of existance the American Indians say aswell as the Asian continental Indians on a different scale, say that there wil be a world wide web all around the globe in the end of this world and the begining of another plane of existance but they also said that there has been four worlds not to discredit them of any substance.
We now need to unite combining all reds browns yellows in whites into a pennyless whirl with no physical desires because all money is is that they take nothing and make it into something and anyone can do that. Why we still use the dollar i don’t know but i think we should round up all the morons that spent soon to be close to a quadrillion dollars on wars and other useless things such as the druge war. I am my brothers keeper and i am my sisters keeper my word is my bond my bond is my blood and without my blood i would ceist to be living.
I am over and out hope everyone finds peace of mind before the peace of mind finds you until then have great lives

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