So, I’ve been giving some thought to approaches we could take to free ourselves of the Nitwits. Again, I didn’t start this group because I thought I had any answers, but rather to ask the question of any who see the problem the same way I do.
I thought it might be worthwhile to break down approaches into general categories and people could add to them in the comments (I’ll amend the OP). Below are the first I’ve thought of off the top of my head, along with the results of any already tried and/or foreseeable challenges. Please add and comment.
For those employing any of these means, I ask in advance to control the urge to be defensive about any challenges I suggest. We’re all here because we recognize one thing: nothing so far has worked or we wouldn’t be here in the first place. However, there may be ways to innovate/improve within the general categories listed below:
- Political action. This seems like the most obvious failure. Could anyone have done better taking the message to the Nitwits than Ron Paul or Harry Browne? And no, Ron’s campaign didn’t fail because the media blacked it out. Ron got way MORE exposure than his votes warranted. The Nitwits just didn’t want to hear about less government. I don’t see how this avenue could be exploited significantly better than it has been. The Nitwits will make zero effort to understand the message, no matter how well it’s presented. They’re still answering polls about whether the U.S. should have a third party as if third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. parties didn’t already exist. This seems hopeless to me.
- Free State Project. This was an admirable effort and certainly creative. But the most optimistic thing one could say about it is it has yielded no fruit so far in terms of affecting New Hampshire politics. As proof, I’d point to the last U.S. senator elected in 2016 – a Biden/Clinton-style Democrat, just like the other elected in 2008. I am open to why this isn’t true, but let’s please refrain from holding up that one position any Republican or Democrat holds that might be slightly libertarian as if it’s helping. You can find those all over the establishment. Yet, we have the system we have.
I think the problem with the Free State Project model is it requires such an uprooting of one’s life and uncertainty about making a living, etc. Not everyone is built to live in NH. I wasn’t built to live in FL. I moved back to NY after 10 years, knowing how much more statist it was here (they’ve upped the ante since I moved back – sheesh).
- Free Country Project. This is a variation based on what Doug Casey has been saying to individuals for a long time: find a backwards, poor country that presents opportunities and become a big fish in that little pond. It’s conceivable that a bunch of libertarians could try to do this in a small country somewhere and become the so-called “elite” there. But it has the same challenge as the Free State Project times ten.
- Free City Project. The same strategy, but in a smaller geographical area/population. This is probably the most realistic, although to some extent we can observe the results now. No, there aren’t pockets of libertarian communities anywhere, but my little rural community in New York, for example, is decidedly pro-Trump. But the residents here do not live any more a Trumpist life than anyone else in deep blue New York State. The county, state and federal governments control so much of daily life that whatever differences a contrary political view make (and I can point to zero here in my town) are minor at best.
Now, if a community my size were taken over by libertarians, instead of Trumpists, what differences could they really make? Maybe get rid of some zoning laws, maybe not. Every county has an urban center and I’d bet it would be hard to change much here without the “permission” of those in the City of Niagara Falls where all the population lives. That’s not even to mention something truly libertarian like privatizing the water utility, police force, or garbage pickup (and I mean really make it private, with free entry into the market, not the way some of these are “privatized” right now).
- Civil Disobedience including Agorism. I know people do this now and have some measure of success. But let’s be realistic: the success avoiding taxes and regulations is based solely on flying under the radar. In other words, not doing enough business or acquiring enough wealth for it to be worth the state taking an interest in confiscating it. Were there a way to get a significant number of people to do this en masse, I believe the Nitwits would immediately call in their keepers out of sheer envy, but certainly it might be worth a try.
The problem again is geography. The people doing this would have to be in the same geographical area to make the movement rise above what it is: a few, relatively poor rebels eking out a subsistence or barely above subsistence living too small for the state to care about. It’s analogous to convicts trading contraband inside a prison.
- Promoting Homeschooling. The homeschooling population has grown tremendously out of necessity during the Coronasteria. Even before it, the population had approximately doubled in the past twenty years to 2 million. Apart from still being barely more than a rounding error compared to the whole population, I can say from firsthand experience libertarians make up no more a percentage of this subset than they do the general population. My experience has been the most prevalent category are mothers who don’t think their child(ren) would do well in school because of some medical challenge (extreme allergies, autism, etc.). There is also a large contingent of people who object to school merely because they do not teach the Bible as a history and science text. Some of these are conservatives, which means they aren’t libertarians. My wife and I are the only people I personally have met who homeschool for the purposes of providing a libertarian-friendly education.
It is an open question whether there is an opportunity to promote home schooling very hard right now to at least get a larger chunk of the child population out of the public school system. No matter what their parents believe, not having them literally marching back and forth to bells and buzzers can’t but help. But we need to approach this with open eyes.
- Armed rebellion. I mention this only because I’m sure someone will bring it up. I don’t think this is a realistic option, not for the reasons the Nitwits give that the state has superior armaments (“because you can’t fight a government army with only rifles and small arms against planes, missiles, etc.”). Obviously, the Afghans have disproven that. But armed rebellion is a bad idea for three reasons:
A) We’re completely outnumbered. Unlike the Afghans, there is no significant portion of the population who would support this. We’d all end up dead and held up as nutcase militia types and leave no freer a world behind us.
B) The history of armed rebellions has not shown them to yield more freedom. I know someone will bring up the American Revolution, but I submit that was much more an example of a population expelling a foreign invader than it was an armed rebellion against the existing political structure. The colonists’ objection was that Parliament was changing the political structure by acquiring new powers. And like the Taliban, the domestic population included a significant percentage (1/3 at least) that supported the revolution. This is not the case here.
Besides the American Revolution, what was the other armed rebellion(s) that resulted in a freer society? I’ll hang up and listen.
C) War is destructive and miserable. If the rebellion had any success, which it won’t, it would destroy all sorts of infrastructure and private property, not to mention innocent lives. War is the means of the state. It is humanity at its nadir. Surely, we non-Nitwits can think of a better idea than resorting to this, can’t we?
This blog will be updated with new approaches as they are suggested.
Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.