Last week and this week, I was a guest on the Liberty Radio Network show “The Call to Freedom” hosted by former Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Will Coley and Thom Gray, who doesn’t get an awesome title before his name but doesn’t need one, because that’s how awesome he is. Due to it not having a podcast form, I wasn’t aware the show existed (without a permanent form, it doesn’t get picked up at the RRND, which is where I learn about such things). While I tried to get a recording of last week’s, I got the time wrong and forgot about it, but did get this one.
It was a great show, and, personally, I think the aftershow was even better, primarily because I was looser and more relaxed. By that point, I was beginning to get comfortable and fall into a groove, so any future appearances (crossing my fingers) won’t have me quite so silent. If you’re interested in liberty, be sure to check out these links.
I did edit the Aftershow. For one, all of my input was lost due to how I recorded it. Because of this, I had to record today’s encore airing, and then re-record and re-impose what I’d said during the aftershow discussion back into the audio. I think I achieved about a 99% accuracy, though I knowingly added one remark (and made note that it was an added remark not said during the conversation). Much of the aftershow discussion, about the possibility of me attending Somalia Fest and PorcFest with Will Coley and his family, was personal in nature, and so I removed it. Additionally, there is some beeping, because a few things were said that wouldn’t have been said if it was on the air. In consideration of all involved, I’ve beeped out some names, and removed one brief section about someone.
I cannot say that I will record and upload every episode of “Call to Freedom,” but it is something that I would like to do, and I’m generally available on Sunday nights. I know that I’ll record and upload any future episodes that I’m in, but I think it would be a little narcissistic to do only episodes that have me as a guest (even though it is a bit of work to do all this–removing commercials, tweaking audio, normalizing, compressing, adjusting EQ bands…).
Sunday night I was invited again to be on “The Call to Freedom” hosted by Thom Grey and former libertarian Vice Presidential candidate (and possible future presidential candidate!) to discuss the neverending Libertarian Drama and the current status of the Libertarian Party, with two other guests: James Babbs and Larry Sharpe. It was a really good episode, though most of it was (frustratingly, honestly, as I had a lot I wanted to say, but I don’t get into shouting matches, and I try very hard not to interrupt people unless my point is very critical, like when I interrupted Jim at one point to say that if he wanted the LP to be a “safe place” for people to learn about libertarianism, than we can’t call people “murderers”), but it calmed down for about the last half hour and I got some words in.
Funnily, Thom messaged me through the episode and jokingly said something like, “When the cis men keep talking over the trans woman.” I lol’d, and I know he was joking, but my silence was 100% on me, and no one else. It’s true that Jim and Larry weren’t perhaps as considerate of the fact that they were co-guests were two other people, but my silence was totally on me for making the choice to sit out the shouting match, and for being extremely reluctant to interrupt anyone. I’m not knocking them–that’s often how these things go, and I don’t blame them for that. It’s just not how I prefer to do things. And it doesn’t seem to be how Will and Thom prefer to do things, either, as they were mostly silent through it all, too.
It made for a pretty good show, though.
It also brought a few things to my attention. First, I am extremely out of practice with having to think on my feet and formulate replies on the fly. Through the last two years, I’ve more or less avoided all “live” discussions of politics and religion (and, honestly, I just about don’t discuss religion at all any longer). When clients start talking about it, I simply listen, because they’re wrong on so many levels, and I know better than to try to point that out to them. When friends dive into it, I know I’m the only anarchist present, and trying to explain to someone why the entire tax system enslaves the American people is a bit too much for a light political discussion over a few glasses of wine when other people are interested in talking about a tax increase or decrease. Being an anarchist is like being the quantum mechanics physicist in the room full of people who are all discussing gravity, and each and every other person is wrong about something in spectacular ways. Does the physicist jump in to correct everyone? Almost certainly not. He instead quietly shakes his head and listens, lamenting all the way that they have failed themselves. Even with my family, I’m extremely unlikely to jump into a conversation, because trying to explain what libertarianism is and why I’m a libertarian is a fifteen minute ordeal, at best, and no one–absolutely no one–is going to sit and listen to you for 15 minutes. You might get thirty seconds before you’re interrupted, but even through those 30 seconds they won’t be listening–they’ll be thinking about what they’re going to say as soon as you finish talking.
During high school, I was an amazing debater. I don’t mean to brag, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. I have a knack for analyzing things and picking them apart until nothing is left. I’d even call it my best skill. But once you start picking apart people’s assumptions, they always reply in a few predictable ways. They’ll either say that you’ve brought it to the level of reductio ad absurdum by asking them to demonstrate why it’s better that humans should survive instead of go extinct, when the reality is that it’s a completely fair question: there is much argument to be made that Earth and the universe would be much better off if humans suddenly ceased existing. Some other animal species would probably rise up at some point, and maybe they wouldn’t be as consumed by their egos as we are. Who knows? Regardless, it’s not an absurd question; it’s a totally fair question, and one that they can’t answer. That it’s better for humans to survive is an assumption, and the assumption is based on their value system, primarily the idea that “life is good.”
Anyway… So I’ve been very out-of-practice when it comes to arguing on my feet, though, luckily, stage fright has never been a problem for me. I intend to resolve this by going back to doing one “on-the-fly” response video on Youtube, where I record myself watching and replying to a video that I’m likely to disagree with. That’s essentially the same thing, and doing it allows me to go back to creating content, and has the added benefit of getting me back into practice, since it’s a skill like any other–use it or lose it. Anyway, so tonight’s podcast…
The other day while reading the news, I stumbled across a particularly revealing peace on USA Today that was shared through the Rational Review News Digest, wherein the author discussed that Democrats could not rely on “preventing the government from getting anything done” as a tactic, because the core of the liberal philosophy is that the government should be doing stuff.
The author obviously has a point. Stalling the government, and even shutting down the government, is a tactic that works for conservatives and Republicans because, at least in the uninformed public eye, Republicans are the party that doesn’t want the government doing stuff in the first place. Republicans want a small government that doesn’t do much, so being a wrench in the gears that prevents anything from getting accomplished is a means to that end. As for what Republicans really want, I’ll put it briefly by saying that if Republicans actually wanted small government, then I’d be a Republicans. Republicans are totally fine with a big government that enforces socially conservative policies, such as giving the state the authority to tell people what gender they are.
It’s almost perplexing that we could even reach this point in the United States of America, a nation founded by people who said things like:
“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.” — Thomas Paine
“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” — Thomas Jefferson
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America [the government] cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. ” — Noah Webster [Not really about evil government, but critically important nonetheless]
“[T]he general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” — James Madison [also only tangentially related, as the Federal Government was not designed to be the all-powerful Hindu god with a thousand omnipotent arms]
“I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” — Thomas Jefferson
There’s no point in continuing to source quotes from the American Founders; we all know that they founded the Federal Government under the principles of classical liberalism–the government should exist to protect the lives, liberties, and right to pursue happiness of its people. It was founded on the idea that we would not be subjects of the government but that it would be our subject–a tool to be used not to oppress with an energetic government but to protect the liberty and property of the people:
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
Yet this flies in the face of modern liberalism, an ideology that embraces social welfare in extreme ways, up to and including the notion that health care–the product of the labors of doctors, pharmacists, and biochemists–is a human right. It is an appalling idea. To suggest that health care is a human right is to suggest that doctors, pharmacists, and biochemists are slaves, and that we have the right to take the fruit of their labors and force them to labor for us. We may or may not be willing to reimburse them, but this is hardly of relevance considering that even American slaves were “reimbursed” with food and shelter. Reimbursing someone is of no consequence to the discussion, whether you pay the slave $1 an hour or $100 an hour. It is not the wage that denotes slavery but that one is forced to do it and has choice removed.
This is where the liberal uses the term “wage slaves.” In most senses, this is as asinine as it sounds. No one is forcing anyone to get a job and work for a wage. Someone is not forcing a person to get a job and earn money; something is, and that “something” is universal attrition itself, that an organism starves and dies if it does not secure for itself something to eat. Taking issue with being “forced” to get a job in order to buy food and have a place to live is to take issue with existence for creating hunger in the first place. If one did not “have” to get a job, then one could go out and hunt for food, or start a farm. In this case, the person is not a “wage slave,” but becomes a “food slave.” Their apparent master is no longer a corporation but nature itself.
“It isn’t fair, though!”
No, it isn’t. This is a characteristic of the universe and existence, however, and is not a characteristic of human society. As such, it is not something that human society can fix, no matter how much energetic government oppression it uses. Equality means that one is allowed the opportunity to succeed; it does not mean that one is guaranteed to succeed.
All that said, it’s obvious how we ended up in this position. First, we were sold a series of promises that turned out to be horrifically inaccurate and, more often than not, total lies. Take the United States Post Office as an example, because it’s a great example. Indeed, excluding the military, every single federal institution to which we can point serves as a beautiful example of something that started with the highest of hopes aiming to fulfill wonderful promises and failed spectacularly. The military, of course, is the government’s sole success. This is not a coincidence.
Anyway, there are two types of buildings that always stand out, no matter where in the country you go. Here in Mississippi, we have a lot of churches. I mean… We have a lot of churches. More than you’d think from that statement alone. Between my house and the nearest town of 10,000, there are at least six churches that I can see easily during the commute, and that’s a distance of five miles. This trend holds true in every direction, though rural areas tend to drop to about two churches every five miles. There are churches everywhere, and they are almost always the nicest buildings in the vicinity.
The second type of building is the government building, and how interesting is it that they are so similar in appearance? Rather than crosses on its side, the government buildings have large, brass government seals and other official symbols. In any part of town, the nicest buildings are almost guaranteed to be the churches and the government buildings.
For churches, this makes total sense. The whole concept of the church originated with the cathedral, a place of worship specifically designed to be an engineering marvel, a place to which a person could go to feel awe and majesty. Despite what many of my fellow atheists want to believe, religion and Christianity aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and, whether religious people are right or wrong, the churches provide crucial roles to both individuals and societies, and certainly have played a role in shaping human morality. Something else churches have, in addition to believers, is money. Lots and lots of money. It is common for atheists to object to the grandiose buildings as wastes, but the majesty of the buildings is a key part of the entire concept, and it isn’t a waste unless a church does something stupid like Mt. Zion Baptist did when they built a new, “more modern” church for their congregation that consists mostly of elderly people and where their place of worship is literally a basketball court, even though they had a perfectly good, and substantially nicer, building a quarter of a mile away.
My grandmother and father attend that church, and that whole thing was a boondoggle that someone has kept very well-hidden. The main worship area–I forget what it’s called–literally is half a basketball court, with a basketball goal that retracts upward toward the ceiling. As far as I know, no one has ever played basketball there. It has the distinct impression of being a second-hand building, something the church bought for cheap and repurposed, where it once had been some sort of athlete thing. There’s no carpet; it’s a gym floor. Yet this building was custom-built by the church for the church…? It’s also a mostly steel building, while they have a very nice–it’s probably the nicest church in the county, honestly–brick building within viewing distance of the new one. Something really weird happened with a lot of money, and someone scrambled to cover it up. No doubt.
Banks could be added to this list, as well, as certain banks are designed the same way. The bank is a place where you put your money. People want their banks to be big, wealthy, secure, and nice. No one wants to deposit their money into the Bank of Falling Apart Hovel. Churches use the same general tactic–people don’t really want to worship at Church of Falling Apart Hovel, unless it’s a community church, but then it’s more a community thing anyway… Either way, a random visitor wouldn’t attend Church of Falling Apart Hovel. And then we have government buildings, surreptitiously playing the same psychological tricks.
Like the churches and the banks, these are buildings that want you to believe in them. They fly their obscenely large flags and emblazon their walls with enormous brass seals, while oddly large dedication plates are placed near the door. The building is designed to make one feel awe, to stir up feelings of patriotism and loyalty, which we are allowed to identify with personally by claiming its successes as our own. “Yeah! That’s my government! That’s my building!” This misplaced sense of pride mixes with the intentionally conjured awe, something we become accustomed to and stop noticing, but which we can readily see children doing. Those feelings don’t go away just because we grow up. Deep down inside, we’re still impressed and proud of our majestic government building.
Behind the lustrous veil of the church and the bank, there is something substantiating those feelings. A bank with lots of customers and lots of money, and a church with lots of members and lots of money. The bank is backed by its clients while the church is backed by its believers–to say nothing of the belief itself and whether the church is backed by something even greater. Yet behind the shiny mask of the government building is horror.
Bankruptcy, inefficiency, waste, disgruntled employees, an absolute lack of accountability, and a maze of red tape and bureaucratic nonsense. When FDR ratcheted up the fascism several notches with the New Deal, we were sold an empty box that was elegantly wrapped in the most beautiful of Christmas wrapping papers. Strangely, this is something that even liberals are aware of, as this Guardian article clearly alludes to.
This era ushered in a series of sweeping changes that redefined the American Government, taking us out of the world of liberty where individuals solved problems and into the world of fascism where the government solves problems. The difference is night and day.
I will never tire of calling attention to IEEE, an independent body of technology experts who have prescribed standards and specific protocols for all manner of electronic technologies. The 802.11 set of protocols is the reason that you can connect any model of phone by any manufacturer using any carrier to any wireless access point running any firmware made by any manufacturer that is connected to any modem made by any manufacturer through any ISP and have Internet access. This is something that today we take for granted, but it actually represents one of the most astounding achievements in humanity’s history. It would be impossible to convey all the variables, but if you’ve ever tried getting two electronic devices that weren’t designed for each other to actually function together, then you might be able to appreciate the magnitude of this accomplishment. And yet IEEE is completely voluntary. It is not a government, and no one is required to follow its standards and protocols.
Compare the marvel of email–something else we take for granted–to the mess of the United States Post Office, and ask yourself this simple question: Why didn’t the Post Office invent email? This question is absolutely critical, and it’s one that every person who believes that “Government action can improve people’s lives” needs to seriously consider. The United States Post Office’s entire existence is about communicating messages from one person to another. Here is an interesting article about the USPS’s relationship with email, and it’s worth a read. Liberals should particularly note that the USPS initially tried to implement an email system they called E-Com. Yet the USPS didn’t innovate and create this marvelous, instantaneous, and efficient message delivery system; furthermore, when they went “Me, too!” their system sucked and isn’t known to anyone today.
Now look over this stupidly long list of Post Offices that were built under FDR. This should come as no surprise, of course. The same promises by the same man with the same administration and same “noble intentions*” gave us the Social Security Administration, a mess that quickly proved to have been an outright lie. Today people recoil at the very idea of abolishing Social Security, as though we would let our elderly starve, despite the fact that humanity managed to get along pretty well without the Social Security Administration for hundreds of thousands of years.
We were sold snake oil, and it’s a myth that many people continue believing today. The question we must ask, then, is… How? How did this happen? How did a nation founded by people who expressly stated as the core of their philosophy that government is freaking evil twist into this nation of people who genuinely believe that “government action can improve people’s lives?”**
* Debatable. Autocracy and Fascism did not rise only in Italy, Germany, and Japan. It rose worldwide, including in the United States, and it manifested here as the New Deal. It’s worth nothing that, for all practical purposes, Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini also offered their citizens a New Deal. The Soviet Union called theirs the Five Year Plan. We called ours the New Deal. Hitler called his the Neuordnung–translated to “New Order.”
Despite how it breaks so many rules of writing, the above point is crucial enough that I’m going to continue the article here, rather than above.
It should come as absolutely no shock that 1953 saw the true rise of the Department of Education, not long after the many schemes of FDR began falling apart. It would take many, many years for the full breakdown of the systems to occur, requiring ever increasing amounts of money to keep them going. People are resistant to huge changes and will put up with a lot of bullshit before they do anything about it. A woman might not leave her abusive, alcoholic boyfriend until the third time he’s broken one of her bones and put her in the hospital. The list of grievances the colonies had with the British Empire fills several pages of the Declaration of Independence, and many of them are pretty serious. In 2016 the American Government dropped more than twenty-six thousand bombs in seven countries. We tolerate a lot of shit that we shouldn’t tolerate, and so we were always going to give the many New Deal programs plenty of time and opportunity to straighten themselves out.
That all became unnecessary with the rise of the Department of Education and state control of virtually all school systems. I’ve written a little bit about the school system here in the United States. Unfortunately, there’s no better way to be written off as looney than to say that we’ve all been brainwashed to worship the state, but… we’ve all been brainwashed to worship the state. However they did it, they planted these ideas there. I certainly don’t ever remember being taught in school that the government protects us from rape gangs, murderers, constant civil wars, faction wars, and “OMG, Mad Max!”
But that idea certainly came from somewhere, and it’s ubiquitous throughout the country. I doubt you were ever straight up told this, either. But compare it to the actual founding principles of our nation–that government is evil and, by its very nature, oppressive and tyrannical. Yet you will find very, very few Americans who don’t believe that government is generally a force for good. Go to any random Q&A site–or Quora–and look for questions about whether government is necessary or good. For every one person pointing out, for reasons identical to those given three centuries ago, that the state is an institution of evil, there will be five or ten who allege that the government is a force for good.
No one bats an eye at this guy’s certifiably wacky statement that “government action can improve people’s lives.” It’s just taken as a given, by nearly every American–Republican and Democrat. Republicans hover in a state of denial about it, but they, too, share the conceit. The only thing that almost all these Americans have in common is that they were brought up and educated by the government, with government-approved textbooks, by government employees, according to government standards, and thereby given government-approved information.
Oh, sure, we learned that the Founders said that government is evil, and that liberty is good. That’s where things get so weird. Because it’s not our government that is evil, is it? No, the founders in their infinite wisdom managed to create the only government that wasn’t evil, and it’s “all those other governments” that are evil. It’s like the rock band that says “All record labels are evil… except the one that signed us!” Believe it or not, that’s a common attitude among up-and-coming rock bands. “Our label is totally not evil,” they say. “We got lucky and found the one good one in this huge sea of evil ones.”
And that’s how we came to this mess today–decades of this idea that because the founders knew the government was evil, they took steps to create a government that wasn’t evil–all because, in their writings, it doesn’t seem any of them bothered to point out, “Hey, yeah, that whole ‘government is evil’ thing…? It applies to this government we just created, too. Yeah, it’s evil, too.”
Sure, the early Americans needed arms, but that was to protect themselves from the evil British Imperial government! We don’t need guns, tanks, landmines, grenades, assault rifles, jets, and SAMs to protect ourselves from our government, because ours isn’t one of the evil ones. Ours is the one good one floating in the huge sea of evil ones. “Government” doesn’t stop being evil just because it’s our government. It’s still evil.
I’m an anarchist, and I would never make the case that the government is a necessary evil. But that is the bare minimum that any rational adult should be willing to accept. This nonsense that the government can improve people’s lives? It flies in the face of the very essence of what government even is: oppression. Government is evil. Republics are evil. Federalists are evil. Democracy is evil. Saying “We can tolerate this little evil to stave off this even greater evil” is precisely the reason that we’ll be saying “President Trump” in eight more days. It is precisely the reason we allowed our lesser evil fascism to rise, so that we could fight off the greater evil fascism that Hitler and Mussolini, and then Stalin, represented.
It is time we returned to the simple fact that was first noticed more than three hundred years ago, and it is something we need to apparently etch into stone so that we never, ever forget it and never, ever again give rise to generations of people who think that, despite all evidence and logic to the contrary, government can somehow be a force for good…
One year ago today, I connected all the dots and realized that I am transgender, an act I symbolized with the creation of my email address. It’s been a hell of a year. For the time being, please ignore this picture on the left; it’s just there to make it the default picture when this posts to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
That is pretty much how I looked prior to this realization, and prior to accepting that I am transgender.
This abominable pic is how I looked then. I know. This pic is awful. Everything about this picture is awful. It’s not just an ugly female; it is an ugly male.
And that is how I look today. Yes, it has been a hell of a year.
It’s also been a fantastic day. Truly. There is a feral kitten outside that finally allowed me to pet her. But even better than that, I happened to have a supporter share something on Twitter that I just happened to see–someone rebutted some anarcho-capitalist claims. Well, you know me… I’m the Anarchist Shemale. To my knowledge, no one has yet rebutted anarcho-capitalism. So I looked at the video, and fifteen seconds in, I knew I had to do a reply, not because Tyler Preston was wrong, but because the anarchists with whom he was discussing it… clearly had no idea what they were talking about. I set out to do a reply, not to dispute Tyler, but to clear the air on anarcho-capitalism.
In fact, I was tremendously impressed with Tyler’s intellect and, above all, his intellectual honesty.
That is his initial video.
There is my reply. It’s worth mentioning that I realized how belligerent I sounded only after I’d uploaded it, and found it better to simply offer the disclaimer than re-recording my arguments. I had no desire to sound hostile, and I did… I sounded far more hostile and belligerent than I really am. I’m only hostile toward people who make fallacious and ridiculous claims, and Tyler Preston certainly did not.
My Youtube Playlist of response videos is called “Responding to Ignorance.” You’ll notice that my reply to Tyler is not in that playlist. That’s because I was not responding to ignorance. Or, at least, if I was, then it was not Tyler’s ignorance but the ignorance of the people that he was also replying to. As such, I added it to the Anarcho-Capitalism playlist, because he’s certainly not ignorant.
To my surprise, rather than just ignoring my tiny channel, Tyler not only watched the video, but liked it, and then did his own response to my response:
Although I’m sure to mention it in the video I’m doing later where I address Tyler’s last question about how many people would voluntarily pay taxes, I have to say: Tyler, I’m stunned and awed by your intellectual honesty. I can’t count the number of people who have heard my statements and then said, “Yeah, well, you’re still wrong.” To be met with someone who goes, “You know what? That’s actually a good point.” is refreshing in a way that I can’t even describe, and I’m a fiction writer.
I will edit this and post my own video later, but mine isn’t really a response video–it’s just answering a question about voluntaryism/anarcho-capitalism.
Here is the first of my three replies–most of my replies deal with “less than intelligent” comments. I say “less than intelligent,” because they’re things I addressed in the initial video, but… that’s statism for you.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I strongly dislike Gary Johnson and strongly disapprove of the “Libertarian” Party’s choice to nominate him (again) for President, just as I strongly disapprove of the direction that the libertarian party has taken in recent years. It is increasingly the party of classical liberals and liberty-leaning Republicans, and I know a lot of “libertarians” who support Rand Paul and wanted him to be Gary Johnson’s Vice President.
I mean… What do you even say? What do you even say to people who claim to be libertarians without knowing the first thing about libertarianism?
Libertarianism: What is it?
Libertarianism is the political ideology that liberty is the best method of solving almost all problems, and that force, violence, and coercion are only acceptable to defend liberty and as a response to force, violence, and coercion. Force, violence, and coercion are the only way that rights can be violated; in fact, force, violence, and coercion instantly and by definition violate the rights of the person who is a victim of force, violence, and coercion. Libertarianism is the ideology that the state should exist only to protect liberty, and should only use force, violence, and coercion to protect liberty. I go one step further and am an anarchist, because I don’t believe that the state can protect liberty, and I hold that its very existence is counter to liberty. Anarchism aside, there is no ambiguity in this platform, and a libertarian’s position on any given matter should be easy to guess.
Does the issue utilize force, violence, and/or coercion?
If yes, then the libertarian rejects it. If no, then the libertarian doesn’t give a shit about it.
It’s really that simple.
There’s no room for disagreement on this matter or that issue, because force, violence, and coercion (collectively: aggression) can always be demonstrated, and must always be rejected. In fact, to even join the Libertarian Party, one is required to sign what is basically the Non-Aggression Pact:
I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.
Recent years have seen an influx of disaffected Republicans and liberty-leaning conservatives who do not understand that the Libertarian Party is built from principles, not ideas, and there is a difference. The Republican Party is a party of ideas, a party where issues and solutions can be discussed, suggested, picked apart, accepted, and rejected. The Democrat Party is a party of ideas, where issues and solutions can be discussed, suggested, picked apart, accepted, and rejected. But the Libertarian Party is a party of principles, and those principles are set in stone. They are not up for discussion, and they cannot be put up for discussion without violating the very core of the libertarian party: that force, violence, and coercion are not acceptable.
Take the question of marijuana, for example. Should it be illegal, should it be legal? Some people within the Libertarian Party would discuss this and have a debate about it, and that’s nonsense, because the question has already failed at the first hurdle. Does possession or usage of marijuana entail force, violence, and coercion? No. Everything else is completely irrelevant, and the government has no right to weigh in on the subject. Prostitution is another area that “libertarians” are debating. Should it be legal? Should it be illegal? Should it be legal, but regulated? Again, this is a discussion that is not warranted under libertarian principles, as prostitution (when taken out of the black market, obviously) does not involve force, violence, or coercion, and the state therefore has no right to weigh in on it.
Gary Johnson is against the notion of religious freedom and wholly rejects the idea that businesses should be allowed to discriminate on religious grounds. Gary Johnson fails to realize that saying “I don’t want to do business with you or people like you” in no way, shape, or form involves aggression, and thus the government has no right to weigh in on the matter. This is just one of many areas where Gary Johnson abides libertarian principles until they’re no longer convenient and easy, at which point he rejects them in favor of his own ideas. Because he thinks discrimination is really, really, really wrong, he is okay with the government legislating against it, even though it involves no violation of anyone’s rights, and thus he has his own morality that guides him in deciding when to apply libertarian principles and when not to.
In effect, Gary Johnson wants to legislate his morality. Unless he doesn’t care about the behavior, in which case, “No, he’s a libertarian.” But if he dislikes the behavior, then he’s every bit as authoritarian as the people who banned sodomy.
Johnson’s pledge would be:
I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals… as long as the goal isn’t “to end discrimination.”
I have to blame Ron Paul for all the “new” libertarians who don’t know the first thing about libertarianism, though that isn’t Ron Paul’s fault. These people were brought into the folds of liberty by Ron Paul (as was I), but they stopped with Ron Paul and assumed that he was Mr. Libertarian. They may not have ever even read any of Ron’s books. They certainly never read Mises, Rothbard, Nock, or Hayek. Their understanding of libertarianism comes from Ron Paul, and so that’s what they think a libertarian is.
Ron himself would tell you that he’s a classical liberal, though, and he explicitly wrote that in Liberty Defined. There’s a reason that Ron Paul only ran for President as a Libertarian once, and that was nearly three decades ago. I’m not knocking the guy–no one loves Ron Paul as much as I do. He was the guy who introduced me to liberty, after all. I’d also vote for Ron Paul in a heartbeat, even though I disagree with him on a few things just as much as I agree with Johnson. There are more areas where I disagree with Johnson, and…
That should be a pretty big indicator of how bad Gary Johnson is. Republican Ron Paul is more libertarian than the current Libertarian Party Presidential candidate. Worse still, Gary Johnson is only marginally more of a libertarian than Rand Paul. Rand Paul. The guy who slightly leans toward liberty but is otherwise a Republican to the core. Does anyone out there really think that Rand Paul is a libertarian? Does anyone out there who knows what libertarianism is really think that Rand Paul is a libertarian?
I just answered my own question, didn’t I?
The more people understand liberty and libertarianism, the more glaringly obvious it is that neither Rand Paul nor Gary Johnson deserve the label. Ron Paul deserves the label far more than either of these two, and Ron Paul refused to accept the label. Granted, he has become more libertarian since his retirement, and he has always been a champion of liberty and libertarianism. The same cannot be said of Johnson and Rand.
But Johnson is Bringing In New People!
Yeah, and I addressed that in my podcast.
The problem is that these “new people” brought in by Johnson who think that libertarian means “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” not only outnumber us (obviously) but also pick the presidential nominee. Do you see the problem? Johnson brings in people like him who have no idea what a libertarian even is, and they nominate more people like Johnson. When people like me point out that there’s nothing libertarian about any of these people, we’re told to shut up, that we don’t know what we’re talking about, that we just don’t want the party to be successful, that we need to fall in line, and that they are what a “true libertarian” looks like, while we’re just spiteful.
Johnson literally stole the Libertarian Party right out from under us, and these endorsements he is getting by big-name Republicans is not going to help matters, and neither is the influx of more disaffected Republicans who hate Donald Trump. I think it’s great that the party is growing. But as it grows, the education must also grow, or the LP will just become the GOP. It’s already happening, after all. Look at our presidential nominee and the endorsements he is getting. With libertarian principles slain on the altar of mass appeal, what, exactly, distinguishes the Libertarian Party from a party of unhappy liberty-leaning Republicans?
These people must be made to understand that they have no idea what they’re talking about, and that Gary Johnson is not Mr. Libertarian. They don’t have time to read Anatomy of the State, End the Fed, Human Action, The Road to Serfdom, On Intellectual Property, and whatever else? Fine. That means it’s our job to educate them. And I don’t think any of us mind that.
The problem is that they aren’t willing to listen, because they think they know what libertarian means, and it means “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.” They think it means “Basically like Ron Paul” and “Basically like Gary Johnson” and our bemused head-shaking does nothing to reach them.
So what, in a sentence, is my issue with Gary Johnson?
Gary Johnson has made me a heretic to my own party.
And let’s not even get into the fact that he claims to be a champion of the Fourth Amendment, and wants to let in Syrian refugees–except that he wants to spy on them and monitor them based on their religious beliefs and their nation of origin, even though he has no probable cause or justification or warrant! How can this guy claim to be a defender of the Fourth Amendment?
“I defend the Fourth Amendment sometimes,” is what you mean to say, Johnson. “As long as you’re not a Muslim from Syria.”
That’s the exact mentality that gave us the Patriot Act! And you dare claim to be a libertarian? This is exactly the sort of “I’m a libertarian… unless I’m not” crap that Johnson is notorious for. One either supports the Fourth Amendment or one doesn’t. Gary Johnson wants to have it both ways. Either people have the right to privacy without being spied upon by the government until they’ve demonstrated probable cause and the state has gotten a warrant, or people don’t have that right. Gary Johnson, however, would say “People have that right, unless I think they shouldn’t.” That is not a libertarian position. And, again, by what hidden criteria does he use to determine when people should be protected by the Bill of Rights and when they shouldn’t be?
That is how badly statism has conquered the world. Even the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate uses a non-principled metric to determine who gets rights and who doesn’t.
Libertarians, I implore you: kick Gary Johnson and his ilk from the party. If he was willing to learn, that would be one thing. But he has demonstrated that he is not. He has had this glaring contradiction (“I believe in the Fourth Amendment, unless you’re a Muslim refugee from Syria”) brought to his attention, and he waves it away. He knows that he is not following libertarian principles. Why are we still discussing this “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” clown? Kick him from the party and nominate an actual libertarian. Kick Austin Petersen while you’re at it, because he openly says that the Non-Aggression Pact is stupid. That’s the VERY BASIS of the party!
What is going on? Kick these people out until they’re willing to follow the principles. The GOP and Democratic Party are what happens when you let people in who don’t give a duck-squatting shit about the principles.
This is the second time that you’ve nominated Gary Johnson. Near the beginning of the election, I was a Johnson supporter, and I didn’t care that he’d tried and failed to rally people to his cause. But a lot has changed since then. For one, Johnson has revealed himself to be a statist and anti-liberty.
For fuck’s sake, Libertarians! There is no ambiguity here! The platform is clear. Gary Johnson is demonstrably a statist:
Rejecting free market principles and rejecting the Libertarian mantra of “Let the free market sort this out” in favor of “No, we should make that illegal because I don’t approve of that behavior” is fucking Statist through and through. And that’s your presidential candidate. A statist.
But I’m not here to rail against Johnson again. Nor am I here to criticize the Libertarian Party for falling closer to Classical Liberalism than actual Libertarianism; nor am I going to criticize the LP for not falling as closely to liberty as do I. Seeing as I’m an honest-to-fuck Anarchist, of course I’m going to be a more extreme advocate of liberty than that. I’m not here to talk about any of that.
I’m here to talk about how foolish you are to have done this.
You nominated Gary Johnson in the hopes of appealing to conservatives who are disenfranchised with Donald Trump, and in the hopes of appealing to liberals who hate Hillary but will have nowhere to go when Sanders is inevitably defeated. To achieve this, you’ve selected the candidate most likely to appeal to those conservatives.
Libertarian Principles lie sacrificed on the altar of mass appeal.
Even if Johnson’s credibility as an actual Libertarian wasn’t questionable (and it is, because he isn’t one), he does not stand a chance against Donald Trump. Trump ran right over Rand Paul, and he’ll run right over Rand Paul 2.0, aka Gary Johnson. The only one of the main candidates who stood a chance against Trump was John McAfee. Even if Johnson does manage to not get steamrolled by Trump, he will never nail down and overcome Hillary.
I don’t even support McAfee any longer, but he was your only chance.
You’ve squandered this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With huge masses of Republicans unhappy with their candidate, and a huge number of Democrats about to be unhappy with their candidate, you’ve chosen the most uninteresting, uninspiring, un-Libertarian candidate that you had. Johnson has been fighting for years to get into a mainstream debate with the main two parties, and he has routinely failed. You never had a better chance, and you’ve selected the guy who has proven consistently too weak to succeed. While the circumstances are different enough this year that I don’t deny he has a better chance than ever, he remains the least likely.
You’ve proven yourselves to be hopelessly attached to Gary Johnson. Even when he reveals himself to be a statist, you cling to him. Simply for the sake of tradition and mass appeal, you cling to this statist who neither understands liberty nor the free market.
I am glad that I gave up on the Libertarian Party months ago, when I realized that it had been conquered by classical liberals and conservatives. And it has. The very fact that a Libertarian Presidential candidate can stand there and say that he thinks the Non-Aggression Pact is stupid… and not be instantly rejected… is ipso facto proof that conservatives and classical liberals have conquered the part. The pledge to non-aggression is required to join the fucking party! And one of your biggest candidates rejects it! And your selected candidate clearly rejects it, as he’s more than willing to use the state to enforce his moral standards, rather than letting liberty and the free market take care of it.
Change. Your. Name.
You are the Classical Liberal party at best. At best, you are the Classical Liberal party. Realistically, you’re just Conservatives who fall a little closer to Liberty. I don’t mean this to apply to everyone. I’ve talked with Thomas Knapp and Raymond Agnew and other prominent grassroots libertarians enough to know that there are some among you who still hold true to the principles of libertarianism. But you wonderful, principled people are too few in number to outweigh the steady influx of conservatives.
I remember when Gary Johnson said that he wished the Republicans would try to usurp the Libertarian Party to curtail a Trump nomination. They didn’t have to, did they Gary? Because they’d already succeeded in doing so. You are the Republican. You governed New Mexico as a Republican Governor. If you want my support, Gary Johnson, then you and I are going to have to have a long conversation about liberty.
I know that you don’t listen to people when they tweet to you and comment to you. Austin Petersen does. And, in fact, I’ve come pretty close to being an Austin Petersen supporter. Because it takes courage and principles to get in the thick of it and discuss things with people, and Austin Petersen has twice stood up for himself against me. It doesn’t matter to me that he and I disagree on abortion and the NAP–I respect that. I don’t support him, but I’d support him before I supported you.
McAfee has routinely engaged me, especially when I was a McAfee supporter. You, Gary Johnson–you have consistently ignored me, even when I am clearly right. You have let your supporters be eviscerated trying to defend you, and my allegations and rebuttals of your positions continue to stand.
I invite you to join the Anarchist Shemale on a podcast, Governor Johnson. Let’s clear the air once and for all. Explain to me how you aren’t a statist. Prove to me that you understand the connection between the free market, economics, and liberty. Prove to me that you understand the value of the NAP and how the rest of libertarianism is built from it. The onus is on you. If you want my support, you know where to find me.
Don’t get me wrong–I know that you won’t. I’m too small of a fish for you to worry with. But I won’t support you any other way, because you’re focused on the Mainstream Media. You’re trying to reach the average American. You’re not spending any time trying to convince us that you’re a Libertarian; you’re focusing your efforts on trying to convince mainstream America that you’re their candidate.
You missed a step. We’re your core supporters. Before you move on to mainstream America, you have to convince us that you’re our candidate. And I don’t care how many people are willing to sacrifice Libertarian principles to nominate the candidate with the most mass appeal. I have a few simple questions for you.
Why do you propose to outlaw the right of businesses to choose their clientele based on religious considerations? Why are you unwilling to allow the free market to act on such businesses?
Why do you think a 20% cut to all government spending matters to me? We are libertarians and anarchists. We want these institutions abolished, not reduced.
Why do you propose leaving distinctly statist methodologies to be enacted at the state level? Do you not realize that statism is statism at all levels of the state?
I have to admit that Cruz dropping out of the race on the tail end of Trump’s victory in Indiana took me by surprise. I never expected Cruz to drop out; I thought he would fight to the bitter end, because he is really the only person who could fight to the bitter end. Kasich won’t keep Trump from hitting 1,237, and Cruz surely knows that. With Trump’s only real competition out of the way, Trump is assured the Republican nomination. There’s almost no way that he could lose at this point.
So moving forward, the Libertarian Party has to ask itself: who is best suited to square off against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? And I have to confess here… I don’t see anyone surviving an onslaught of Donald Trump’s notoriously childish attacks except John McAfee. As I said previously, there is a very real aspect to John McAfee–he is, as I said, “a real motherfucker.”
He’s an alpha male. There is no doubt about that. He looks and acts exactly like an alpha male, and he doesn’t take shit. The man has lived on the streets, escaped from an armed military, and confronted an abusive pimp directly. This is not the sort of man you insult in the way that Trump insulted Ted Cruz. It’s not because John McAfee would snap out his 38 and put a bullet in Trump; it’s just that Trump is smart enough to recognize that McAfee isn’t the sort of person one wants to mess with.
Beyond that, McAfee’s business credentials are too solid for Trump to assail. Without his television show The Apprentice, Donald Trump wouldn’t have become the household name that he is today. He was a real estate mogul, and that’s quite impressive, but it’s hardly something that is going to cause the average American to know your name. John McAfee has his name on the desktop of practically every computer in the United States–or at least has had his name on it at one point. “McAfee” is a household name in the way that Coca-Cola is a household name.
That is McAfee’s empire. Though he sold his ownership and retired, it changes nothing; it is still an empire that McAfee built, the software that dominates the anti-virus industry (and, no offense meant, Mr. McAfee, but McAfee antivirus sucks… Whatever it may have once been, it’s not worth a shit now).
Trump will find it impossible to derail McAfee in the way that he derailed Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Kasich, and Cruz. Bigger names than Gary Johnson have been paved over by Donald Trump, and, I’m sorry to say, I don’t think Governor Johnson would pose as much more than a speedbump to the Trump Trainwreck. The same is true for Petersen, who would be sidelined in ways that would make Rand Paul look like he hadn’t been neutered by Trump.
We have to think about these things. We have to act as though we will land a spot in the official presidential debates; we have to act as though it’s a given that the presidential debates will consist of Trump v. Hillary v. Libertarian candidate. And we have to ask ourselves, honestly and sincerely, who the best person to stand between these two titans really is.
And there’s only one answer.
Can you imagine how Petersen would fare against Trump and Hillary? No offense to Petersen, but he couldn’t handle me, and that was just on Twitter. The Libertarian candidate is expected to stay on track, on the issues, and on principles; standing tall and solidly against whatever comes. And Petersen fell back to the same banal generalizations and soundbites that the Republicans and Democrats are notorious for. That will not earn a third party candidate any support in a general election debate. At best, it will maintain existing support, but we cannot simply stand our ground in these debates. We must GAIN ground.
It will do not good for 11% of the Americans watching to be Libertarians and already siding with the Libertarian candidate before the debate, if only 11% of Americans watching side with the Libertarian candidate after the debate. And with an assured onslaught coming from Trump, and a likely one coming from Hillary, the work is cut out for the Libertarian candidate. Consistency, reliability, genuineness, soundness, and charisma are necessary. Yes, charisma.
Gary Johnson will fall to Hillary. I have very little doubt of that. He may or may not be able to stand against Trump–it’s hard to say, because Johnson does have his record as governor to point to. His business record, however, is meaningless to Trump, and any weakness there will be picked apart. Again, Trump cannot pick apart the business record of McAfee, because McAfee built an entity that makes Trump’s look quaint in comparison–regardless of the dollar figures involved.
Petersen will surely fall to Trump. Trump is a bully without moral or mercy, and Petersen is too similar, in national stature and political positioning, to Rand Paul, who was absolutely eviscerated by Trump. Rand Paul was left looking like a child, because Trump painted him as a child. One by one, Trump toppled his opponents, and finally eliminated Ted Cruz–who enjoyed far more support than Petersen is likely to have.
Because I won’t support Petersen, and I gather that many other Libertarians won’t. I simply can’t support Petersen. Even if he gets the nomination, and even if mine would be the deciding vote, I can’t support Petersen. Nor can I support Johnson after his Nazi Jew cake debacle, and that’s true of many other Libertarians as well. In fact, the only candidate who hasn’t been sworn off, to my knowledge, by a sizable chunk of Libertarians, anarchists, and classical liberals… is John McAfee.
I think that Johnson would come out okay against Trump, but would probably fall to Hillary. I think Petersen would probably come out okay against Hillary, but would probably fall to Trump. I don’t see John McAfee falling to anyone. His principles are too sound, his voice too reassuring, his demeanor too calm, his eyes to convicted, and his gaze too confident. I am not in love with the man or gushing over his physical appearance, but these things matter, and he has them.
And let’s be honest–Janice will only help him. One of the biggest weaknesses of the Republican Party is that it’s notoriously… how shall we say… of the Caucasian persuasion. The Libertarian Party doesn’t have that problem, but John and Janice McAfee damned sure don’t. At a time when racial issues are ripping up our country (I’m sure it’s offensive to someone, but I have no idea what Janice’s ethnicity is, and I don’t really care to look into it), her mere presence alone as his wife will be a tremendous help. And his genuine love for her is obvious to anyone who knows the story.
Hillary receives a huge chunk of her support from black Americans, but how might that change with John and Janice McAfee gaining the national spotlight? Hispanics also favor Hillary–how might that change? In a very real way, McAfee is not merely an alternative for the disenfranchised Republicans who don’t like Trump; he’s an alternative for the unhappy Democrats who don’t like Hillary.
We already know from experience that the millennials supporting Sanders won’t switch their support to Hillary–as the Democratic Party thinks they will. They won’t. They hate Hillary just as much as we do. And we already know that the message of liberty resonates with this group. These disaffected millennials will have an easy time switching their support to John McAfee, with his non-white wife (the millennials are notoriously filled with white guilt and self-hate… Seriously, it’s to the point where it’s just embarrassing. When you see things like this:
…coming from a white person, it kinda makes you wonder. It wasn’t just once, though, that this friend of mine shared and wrote something like this. He does it pretty often, in fact. It’s gotten so bad that someone even commented one of them and said “Aren’t YOU white?” He replied that yeah, he is, but he isn’t allowed to say things about any other races, so…
But yeah, dude. Yeah, you are allowed to say things about other races. Otherwise you are the one being racist. If you’re making honest-to-god jokes with no ill intent behind them, yeah… you are allowed to joke on other races. That’s the white guilt and self-hate we’re talking about. If you’re just consistently saying things like “White people are so fucked up…” though, then you don’t really… What is your… Do you… Bro. Why do you hate yourself so much?
Look, this is simple. If you feel that you can’t say jokes about other races, then… don’t make jokes about race. See? It’s that simple. Here, for example… I don’t want to make jokes about race. That’s why I don’t. I don’t make jokes about black people, white people, or any other ethnicity. You do. But you only target one race, and you purposefully don’t target other races. That’s… the very definition of racism.
Got off track there. That’s a complex issue that takes way more time to really get into than I have here.
Anyway, these white millennials who hate white people (What? They do. Don’t take it up with me. Take it up with them.) will throw their votes at anyone who either a) also hates white people or b) just isn’t white. Sanders fits “a” really well, with the endless pandering, and Janice fits “b” really well. Given they already have some penchant for liberty anyway, John is a very easy fit for them. I’m not being sarcastic or facetious–that’s pretty much how millennials work. They’ve been doing it for years; surely I’m not the only one who has noticed the trend?
While I think Johnson will get the nomination, I also think it would foolish for the Libertarian Party to give it to someone who has consistently failed to increase his support. If anything, Johnson has lost support. And I won’t support him, because I don’t think I have the right to whip out a gun and force people to sell me cakes.
I honestly don’t think Trump would assault McAfee in the way he’s gone after so many other people. Would you? If you saw all the past GOP hopefuls, John McAfee, and Hillary Clinton standing in a line, who would be the last one you insulted? This isn’t bravado or foolish naivety; it’s the simple recognition that McAfee is one of those people who has it written all over their face “Don’t fuck with me.”
Let’s just assume that we can get a Libertarian in the national presidential debate. Let’s assume that’s a fact. Realistically, do you see Petersen or Johnson coming out of those well? If you do, more power to you–vote for that person, if you see them coming out well and support their positions. But give serious consideration to that question, and keep in mind that Trump is a notorious bully and Hillary a well-known liar who is almost impossible to pin down on anything. The professional bully and the professional squirmer. Think about what kind of person it will take to step into that mess and not only put down the bully but also nail down the squirmer.
And to that, the choice is obvious, isn’t it? Johnson will never nail Hillary down, and Petersen will crumble beneath Trump. The only hope Petersen or Johnson would have would also lie in a fourth candidate being onstage, and that would be a disaster; we do not want a four-way debate. That simply fractures the vote further, and it is already going to be difficult to get people to cross the aisle.
We Libertarians* have had a fun year, because we’ve actually had a choice about who we select for the presidential nomination, and our choice has actually mattered pretty significantly. It’s pretty obvious that with a general election clearly coming down between Trump and Hilary, many voters will be fed up and seeking a third option. With the Libertarian Party being the only third party appearing on the ballot in all 50 states, there is a clear opportunity to gain some much-needed ground–ground that we had claimed 4 years ago, but lost when a huge number of people shifted from support of Liberty to support of Socialism.
There’s never been any doubt, though, that Gary Johnson is going to get the nomination. His lead in polls and name recognition are too great, and it didn’t hurt him that much to come out and say that Jewish bakery owners should be forced to bake a cake for Nazis. In reality, every Libertarian should have immediately rejected him in the way that I did–that’s a fundamentally anti-Liberty position to have, and many Libertarians did reject him. But not all.
And that’s because the party has been hijacked by an influx of classical liberals whose introduction to liberty was done by Ron Paul**. Ron Paul, of course, was not a libertarian, either–he said so himself in Liberty Defined. It’s true that classical liberals and libertarians are pretty closely aligned, but the fundamental question of the nature of the state is one upon which they disagree, and that’s a huge, critical question. But there are now far more classical liberals dominating the libertarian party than there are libertarians, and the result… is exactly what we’d expect to find: low support for McAfee, high support for Petersen, and an assured nomination for Gary Johnson.
I argued on Youtube recently with someone who got offended that I dared point out that he’s not a Libertarian. It’s sad that I have to point this out to people, and I guess it’s more related to my being a Nihilist than a Libertarian, since there doesn’t seem to be anything inherently libertarianish about calling out bullshit. However, classical liberalism and libertarianism are not the same thing–they are, in fact, mutually exclusive because the point of difference between them is on what the role of the state should be.
It’s without irony that I say libertarianism is the first step on the road to anarchy. I’ve never made that claim about classical liberalism, though if we consider the early United States to be pinnacles of classical liberalism, than we could certainly make the argument that classical liberalism –> libertarianism –> anarchism. However, to equate classical liberalism to libertarianism is to allow the conflation of libertarianism and anarchism.
How do I justify calling myself an anarchist yet interfering in the affairs of the libertarian party? To be clear, this is exactly why I admonish the classical liberals who are supporting people like Gary Johnson and Austin Petersen and ignoring a true Libertarian candidate like John McAfee. By doing so, they are redefining the Libertarian party, hijacking it and making it the Classical Liberal party. If they want to elect classical liberals, then that is fine, but they should do so for the Classical Liberal party, not hijack the Libertarian Party to do it.
Part of the issue is that they don’t understand libertarian principles, and they think the platform is some generalized one of “wanting small government.” I would kindly remind these people that such a platform is that of Conservatism, not Libertarianism. If the only thing that binds you to the Libertarian Party is your desire for small government, then rejoin the Republican Party and start electing conservatives who will actually fulfill their promises to limit the role of the state. To find out the principles and policies of the Libertarian Party, you need look only to the name:
Libertarian. Liberty. That’s the guiding principle of the Libertarian Party.
Libertarians want a small government because the state and liberty are directly at odds; small government is incidental to the philosophy and is not the principle itself. This is more than splitting hairs, because Liberty involves a ton of connotations that “I want small government” simply don’t. For one, there is the Non-Aggression Pact, which is something that Austin Petersen and this Youtube person are against.
As I’ve pointed out before, it is impossible to violate someone’s rights without using force, violence, and coercion–that is, it is impossible to violate someone’s rights without using aggression. It’s simply not possible. It is also true in converse: as soon as force, violence, and coercion are used, then someone’s rights have been violated. Aggression and rights are at odds, just as the state and liberty are at odds (which is no surprise, since liberty is the maximization of rights and the state is the institution in society that achieves its aims solely through aggression).
The NAP, therefore, is a critical aspect of the recognition of rights, and the recognition that individuals have the right to not be victims of force, violence, and coercion; it is the expressed agreement, a pledge even, that one will not violate the rights of other people. This is the most fundamental question of liberty, and it creates an obvious slippery slope to allow aggression in some circumstances. I’d remind all of these classical liberals that the United States already has clear rules about when aggression is acceptable, and these rules have been consistently expanded, re-interpreted, and violated for well over a century.
This person said that it will all be okay when we restore our Constitutional Republic. I’m unable to comprehend what kind of insanity leads to that idea. We’ve already tried a Constitutional Republic. Look what happened. Restoring our Constitutional Republic would only guarantee that, 230 years from now, a new generation is fighting against a leviathan state that literally regulates how they can take a shit. Seriously, in the United States you can’t even take a shit without the state regulating it. It’s something we forget, but there are:
regulations on the toilet paper
regulations on the water
regulations on the toilet
regulations on the light bulbs
regulation on the electrity
regulations on skipping all that and trying to do it outside
regulations on the septic tank
We dare call ourselves the land of the free and we literally can’t even take a shit without the state telling us how to do it. We’re not the land of the free. We’re the land of the regulated, the land of the licensed, the land of the permitted–today we purchase rights that our ancestors and fought and died to secure.
Sure, while we’re at it we can install a feudal monarchy and see if that plays out differently this time, too!
We won’t get a different result if we repeat the same experiment. The Classical Liberal experiment failed. Oh, and there’s no doubt: Jefferson, Washington, and all the others were classical liberals according to today’s terminology. The nation they built was a Classical Liberal nation, and we know that it wasn’t a Libertarian one because of its roles of the state: minting a currency, regulating foreign trade, regulating interstate commerce, even having a Supreme Court…
None of these are Libertarian things to be doing. To the Libertarian, the state has no right to regulate commerce, to regulate international trade, to create or abolish treaties. And the “Tenth Amendment” argument that people are so fond of putting forward: “It wouldn’t be a big deal if we just left these matters to the states, instead of the Federal Government” is absolute nonsense. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Federal Government imposing its “pro gay marriage” position onto all 50 states, or if it’s a single state imposing that position onto 92 counties–it’s still anti-Liberty, at any level of government. That fewer people are marginalized doesn’t make the marginalization suddenly okay.
These are the things that made Ron Paul NOT A LIBERTARIAN. And he says so himself. To the Libertarian, the government (sorry–it was unavoidable) has no business regulating trade at all–not federally, not locally, not internationally. To the Libertarian, the government has no business making the currency–not federally, not locally, not out of gold and silver, not out of paper, not out of 1s and 0s. These are the ideas that DEFINE Libertarianism.
It is not a No True Scotsman fallacy to say that people who don’t hold these ideas aren’t Libertarians, because the Libertarian platform is clear and concise. The Libertarian platform is more or less codified, and all of it is extrapolated from the principles of Liberty. If you don’t agree with that platform, especially on the matters that literally define that platform, then you are not a Libertarian. It’s like someone saying “I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe in a god or Jesus.” It’s like–No. We literally define “a Christian” as someone who believes Jesus was the son of Yahweh, so you can’t say you’re a Christian if you don’t hold that position.
Classical Liberals are the people who think the government should do such things, and that’s a gross violation of the most basic of Libertarian ideas: the state should exist solely to protect the rights of the people. Classical Liberals add a few other things to that, and those few other things they add prevent them from being Libertarians, because… I mean, that’s what Libertarianism means. It’s what it literally is.
I recognize that we need the Classical Liberals on our side, if we are to ever win an election, and 2016 is shaping up to present an actual opportunity to do exactly that. People hate Clinton and people hate Trump; this is going to be the most divisive election of our lives, and it could only be worse if Sanders gets the Democrat nomination–but he won’t, obviously. Already the bandwagon has lost its momentum, and all the people who suddenly were like “I’m going to talk about politics, so if you don’t like it, then you can unfollow me!” have shut up again and descended back into their self-involved holes–the hibernating bear. The thing that bothers me about these people isn’t necessarily that they pop up every few years (at best) to make a political remark, it’s that they do so with some kind of self-righteousness, calling themselves activists and involved in politics, when they’re only jumping on a bandwagon.
About a year ago, I told someone that I’d been slacking off myself and hadn’t really been very involved in politics. Then I looked again, and I realized that my standard of “not very involved in politics” was drastically different from the average person’s. I was still writing all over the place, still answering Quora questions on liberty and anarchism–that was me not being involved. And I ran godlessandlawless.wordpress.com, which was an Anarchist Atheist page. So when I, who am active in politics and not jumping on a socialist bandwagon to appear more involved than I really am, see these people sanctimoniously mouth off like they’re actually trying to change the world, it irritates me. If they merely tweeted once or twice some stupid pro Sanders bullshit, I’d gladly ignore it. But to follow that up with bullshit assertions that they’re “going to be political” despite all evidence to the contrary and despite the fact that they’re just jumping on a bandwagon–that’s too sanctimonious for me to ignore.
Anyway, yes. To win the presidency, at the very least we need the classical liberals to vote for the Libertarian Party. But they should have the self-awareness and the decency to not attempt to influence who that candidate is, especially when the candidate they’re trying to pick is not a Libertarian at all and is a classical liberal. Instead of hijacking the libertarian party, they should have the decency to recognize that they’re classical liberals and that if they want a classical liberal candidate then they should start a classical liberal party. The Libertarian Party exists to nominate Libertarians, not Classical Liberals, and I can–and have–demonstrated that neither Petersen nor Johnson are Libertarians. They claim that they are, but I can claim to be an alien from the Horsehead Nebula, but it won’t make me an alien from the Horsehead Nebula. I judge them on their policies, principles, and positions, not their expressed associations.
I support John McAfee because he is a Libertarian. He’s the only one of the main three who can make that claim honestly. I don’t support McAfee because he’s an anarchist–I would never support an anarchist trying to hijack the Libertarian Party to push their anarchist agenda. Neither should classical liberals allow classical liberals to hijack the Libertarian Party to push their classical liberal agenda.
Nor am I alleging that Classical Liberals are an enemy, or that they shouldn’t be allowed to select the nominee. Not really. I am saying, however, that they should have the decency to put their classical liberalism aside and vote for a nominee who is actually a Libertarian. It’s just not right to hijack a political party with a pure philosophy with a corruption of that philosophy. It isn’t right for Sanders, an avowed Socialist, to run as a Democrat, either, but at least with him he has a reason: Socialism and modern American liberalism are not at odds, and the Democratic Party is one of the big two American parties. These two big parties do accommodate a wide range of views and positions.
The Libertarian Party, however, does NOT accommodate a wide range of views and positions. The Libertarian Party’s positions are set in stone as its principles, and always yield the same outcome when those principles are applied to a given issue. It’s not like the Republican Party, where disagreement is expected; its positions and principles are clearly outlined. And those positions and principles directly are at odds with classical liberalism and its pro-government positions.
If you support the Libertarian Party, you should do so for the reasons that I do: because it’s the closest party that there is to sharing your ideology and principles. You should not hijack that party with your ideology and corrupt it so that its candidates are in-line with your philosophy. I’m not trying to make the Libertarian Party more anarchistic; you shouldn’t be trying to make the Libertarian Party more classically liberal, either. You should respect the Libertarian Party’s right to nominate Libertarians, not interfere and impose classical liberalism onto the party. To refuse to recognize their “right” to nominate a candidate who is actually a Libertarian, because you want the Libertarian candidate to be a classical liberal, is a philosophical violation of the very principles of liberty. It doesn’t involve aggression, I freely admit (and it’s why I put “right” in quotation marks), but I’ll return to something else I’ve said recently:
We can’t ignore the wedge issues once they’re brought up, because it’s still critical to push people philosophically toward liberty and “Live and let live,” even though it’s a wedge issue. As long as a sizable chunk of the population is philosophically willing to push their views onto others, then we simply aren’t ready for liberty. All of these wedge issues must be sorted out, with people agreeing to live and let live, before we abolish the mechanism that prevents them from forcing their views onto others. Adopting Libertarianism or anarchism will not erase that underlying mentality that they can and should force their views onto others. Whether it’s a wedge issue to distract us from the state’s illegal actions or not, it still must be addressed.
* I’m not a Libertarian, but I’m ideologically aligned with them, in the same way that anti-theists are aligned with atheists and in the same way that anti-theists are also atheists. I want to go one step further and abolish the state, but a Libertarian society wouldn’t be untenable, and is, in fact, the first step to properly abolishing the state. I am not attempting to impose my anarchist views onto the Libertarian Party–I support John McAfee because he’s a Libertarian, not because he’s an anarchist running as a Libertarian. If, somehow, an anarchist attempted to run as a Libertarian, I’d speak against that, too.
** I supported Ron Paul in 2012, and I greatly admire him. I’m not knocking him. But he himself will tell you that he’s not a Libertarian; he’s a classical liberal. And, more importantly, Ron Paul advocates libertarian philosophy, and he does not (and never has) attempted to undermine the Libertarian Party with classical liberalism. Ron Paul was also a Republican at the end of his career, not a Libertarian, for precisely this reason, people. There is much to admire about him, and this refusal to corrupt the Libertarian party’s purely libertarian principles with classical liberalism is among those reasons. If only his followers had the same decency.