Resisting the Nitwits: Strategies

Simpsons-Mob homer runningSo, 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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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).

  1. 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.
  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

9 thoughts on “Resisting the Nitwits: Strategies

  1. Brian Wilson

    Secession. Serious efforts already underway in CA, OR with small pockets in VA near WVA; upstate NY has been smoldering for years. Check out Tom Woods – outspoken proponent who has written voluminously and speaks regularly on the legality of the option. Several of his informative and instructive pieces are on line.

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    1. dann reid

      The State of Jefferson 51, the proposed new state comprised of Northern California and Southern Oregon has been trying since 1941 to get going. The idea is fine until you learn that the chief objection to the state is the roads are nice enough. They SOJers are perfectly fine with overlords, just not the current set. I did an print style interview with someone in Oregon about SOJ which can be read here. https:www.culinarylibertarian.com/soj51.

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  2. Steve Hall

    I, too, thought education and political action might effect change. We supported the Free State project until they chose a State at the other end of the country. A different country would not attract enough people unless it was small and already so inclined. I have abandoned hope for all of those.
    Home schooling and some degree of civil disobedience will be necessary in any scenario. It just seems that the only option is an independent geographic area. Secession might be tried again, although we can see what happened last time. But we are more than 50 States – we already have some 500 sovereign nations within our borders. Perhaps one of those would be so inclined, open to partnering? Or maybe that could at least provide a model?

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  3. Steve LaBianca

    I’ve mulled over, in my mind over and over again, the failures over the years, of improving liberty – i.e. reducing or removing statism for over 40 years now. The state has virtually every base covered to prevent that from happening. From the “playing field of politics” which virtually eliminates dissent in the political process to taxation (which people view as “I need to get my government services because i paid for them”) to welfare programs from AFDC to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and government massive involvement in healthcare to the surveillance state that monitors our every move to being armed to the teeth which would squash rebellion and secession to minimizing any jury nullification to operating under the color of law to monopolizing education into mandated indoctrination factories, which churns out new statists every year. Shall I go on?

    The only answer (because mass civil disobedience will almost undoubtedly NEVER get a critical mass) is a long term solution – a difficult hard long fought effort down a long and hard road – and that is . . . concentrating on the complete severing of the state and education. Without new recruits to the statist ideals, the state will collapse due to the lack of support. This will not happen in 5, 10 or even 20 years. This strategy is likely to take at least 25 to maybe 50 years. And therein lies the problem . . . long term solutions are EXTREMELY difficult to sustain, especially considering that people will be using the lion’s share of their time on earth to actually ENJOY life and be productive to sustain it!

    That said, I believe this is the only peaceful path to liberty. Secession sounds nice but will be squashed just like the South was in the 1960’s. Outside of purposeful action to restore liberty, one can only hope for the state to crumble under existing and continuing unsustainable actions like central banking and high taxation and regulation. THAT IMHO would yield chaos and violence – as the vast majority (who are ALREADY on the dole) will riot and steal and kill to get their “due”.

    Severing ALL ties of government to education has many supporters – homeschoolers to Christians, to others who simply find the process of making changes WITHIN the system via school boards and state laws and taxes that support it, simply unbearable.

    Thoughts, comments?

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  4. Heidi Smith

    The greatest defender of homeschooling (RJ Rushdoony) wrote a massive work on common law some 40-50 years ago. It’s called the Institutes of Biblical Law. It was his interpretation of biblical principles as a defense against statism and Marxism.
    Most of the lectures that became the book are available at pocketcollege.com
    I think you’ll find them intensely libertarian without offending the morals of life-affirming people like myself.
    That’s the big sticking point for most conservative Christians. We won’t ever agree that aborting people is good or that the aberrant sexuality of the few should shape culture.
    With those two planks removed and replaced with free-will charity and education, the masses would roll into the libertarian party like a full-moon tide.

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  5. Barry Block

    Hey Tom, just found out about this blog and first I want to say you have some really great content here. I totally agree that libertarianism is not some secretly popular ideology being held back – most people want government to do everything for them. Here’s my ideas for dealing with this:

    #1 Billionaire libertarian buys a good chunk of land in a (relatively) libertarian state (say Arizona, Texas, Nevada), hopefully near a major population center (you need to have jobs to attract people!), and throws enough money at the state/local government (obviously not bribes, but rather commitments to $current_cause) to let them allow for unimpeded development and local secession from the county government. Freedom of contract will reign supreme here, and so burdensome state laws can be ignored. If we’re lucky, maybe this place is given a permanent sales tax holiday. I think if something like this could be launched you could get quite a few libertarians to come, perhaps even enough to one day wield some power in the state government. Outside of Las Vegas seems like a suitable candidate, there’s a good amount of undeveloped land there, and Nevada is a low population state.

    #2 Strongly encourage any libertarian-leaning celebrity to run for political office, even as a Dem/Rep. The celeb bump (even for football coaches apparently) is laughable in this country, and seems like the best way for a fringe group to get people in power.

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    1. Bob Dannegger

      Barry, although there is much good about the libertarian party, there is an essential problem. it has no moral principles that are common or accepted by all of its adherents. It’s members run the gamut from christians, atheists, agnostics, altruists, anarchists, etc.There was a similar attempt to establish a site such as you propose years ago https://gawker.com/ayn-rands-capitalist-paradise-is-now-a-greedy-land-grab-1627574870 . It’s clear what led to all the problems, but it’s obvious the group had some fundamental differences.

      I’don’t know why all the other attempts to start a free state failed, but for one to succeed it has to have a rational philosophy and the only one available is Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. It is the only hope, but it needs more adherents. The Ayn Rand Institute https://aynrand.org/ is and has been working hard to grow the knowledge of her philosophy.. There is much free material and many of the members also have podcasts. Yaron Brook ARI chairman f the board, has a show on youtube several times a week and also has podcasts available on Itunes.Before the pandemic he traveled the world giving speeches, having debates, and anything he can to present Rand’s philosophy. Many of his longer videos on youtube have short excerpts from the full length video..

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      1. Steve LaBianca

        Unfortunately, in politics, there isn’t and never has been a coherent, complete, principled philosophy that binds any political movement, The libertarian movement, in a political sense at least, is no exception. While I came to the libertarian movement through Ayn Rand and Objectivism, I have learned that it is ludicrous go expect, for politically minded people, even liberty minded ones to follow one of these complete philosophies, an totally integrated, complete philosophy (which includes, metaphysics, epistemology and aesthetics).

        Now, this may very well be an indictment of political movements in general, but HOW do liberty minded people, who understand the ramifications of the state getting involved in their lives IN ANY WAY, coalesce around reining in the state? To my mind, the Libertarian Party, as a political movement is doing as well as any could. It has MANY problems, but name a political party that doesn’t have MAJOR problems?

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      2. Steve LaBianca

        “Strongly encourage any libertarian-leaning celebrity to run for political office, even as a Dem/Rep.” While this may sound reasonable, the roadblocks that Dems and Reps PUT IN THE WAY FOR LIBERTARIANS to run on their ticket are enormous! Virtually nobody ever gets through those barriers, unless your district is a very rural, “leave me alone” type nature of the constituents. Thomas Massie is one of those breakthroughs but forget about doing this in NY, Calif, Mass, or any other highly populated regions.Virtually 90% of congressional districts and 95% of states virtually preclude libertarians from running under the major party banners.

        Reply

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