The pinnacle of entrepreneurship is “Uberizing” your respective industry. Grab surplus-value and create a new business out of it. Airbnb is the Uber for sleeping. There’s an Uber for dog walking. It’s a pretty clear formula, that, if done right, is clearly profitable. Libertarianism has an analogous formula for producing a freer world. No, it isn’t Gary Johnson. It isn’t even Ron Paul: it’s WikiLeaks.
The Problem of Modern Libertarianism
Contemporary libertarianism has caught democracy’s disease. It’s fallen into the trap of thinking that the implementation of politics completely depends on who the public elects. Just like the Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians aim for elected positions via the Libertarian Party. This way of thinking is fundamentally misguided and based on the lie of democracy.
Jean Baudrillard explains in Simulacra and Simulation that the social order (centered around the State in today’s America) focuses on maximizing the production of speech and meaning to avoid any change whatsoever.
All the movements that only play on liberation, emancipation, on the resurrection of a subject of history, of the group, of the word based on “consciousness raising,” indeed a “raising of the unconscious” of subjects and of the masses, do not see that they are going in the direction of the system, whose imperative today is precisely the overproduction and regeneration of meaning and of speech.
When the battleground of ideas is in full force, the government can glide above the fray, avoiding any real challenges to its power. It simulates its own conflict through the two-party system and continues to reign supreme. The libertarian mind has tricked itself into the democratic way of thinking.
The system (both social and political) is capable of absorbing criticism. Direct attacks will not harm the State – rather, they will strengthen it. Baudrillard continues:
All the powers, all the institutions speak of themselves through denial, in order to attempt, by simulating death, to escape their real death throes. Power can stage its own murder to rediscover a glimmer of existence and legitimacy. Such was the case with some American presidents: the Kennedys were murdered because they still had a political dimension.
The political system is designed to absorb the blows of direct challenges, those that libertarian philosophy throws at it. This leaves the Libertarian Party two options. They can go the route of Larry Sharpe and Austin Petersen, staying true to their ideas but falling victim to low polling numbers. This is a guaranteed loss. The other option is leaving the core of the philosophy behind, nominating people like Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, and even Romney. Either way, libertarian ideas lose, even if the party wins.
Party politics will not work because those who wish to change a system from within will ultimately be co-opted by the system itself. Many think that this is not as much of a problem with the system or electoral politics, but rather a problem of the people. Ludwig von Mises told us that a State cannot exist without public opinion generally supporting it. Many party libertarians see this as a reason to go after the “hearts and minds” as a means to gain political support.
This supposes, though, that we can change everyone’s political disposition toward strong libertarianism. It’s a fool’s errand. The American consciousness has made up its mind. It is in favor of the democracy that gradually whittles away our freedoms. This attitude spawned the NPC meme; Americans will go along with whatever the greater consensus is. This revelation can cause despair, but it’s a harsh fact of life. Most people are weak, content, and will settle for the cushy neoliberal order no matter how oppressive it is. Yet, not all is lost.
This realization means that we do not need to reach a political “critical mass” as libertarians to take down the State. We only need a few that are able to proliferate weapons of freedom in a post-political manner.
WikiLeaks: the Uber of Politics
The Uber of the political space already exists. Established in the digital realm, WikiLeaks fundamentally changed the game. Julian Assange’s whistleblower outlet was guarded behind layers of code, ensuring that the political sovereign could not take down the site. Its guarantee as a way for whistleblowers to get out their information has proven to be extremely helpful to those who wish to watch the watchers.
So politically, instead of wishing to create an “Uber for X” in the political space, what we should aim to do is create a “WikiLeaks for X.” The two organizations parallel one another. They both took the tools of the evolving digital world and applied them to issues that they saw. They shortened the distance between a means and an end.
Uber took us from “you will wait around to get a cab and you will get frustrated” to “you will wait for your Uber driver that the community has approved to pick you up.” WikiLeaks took us from “the whistleblower will leak if they think they can avoid the State” to “the whistleblower will leak because they can now avoid the State.” Politics permanently changed.
This is the political change we must work to see in the world. Instead of hoping and praying Gary Johnson might get 5% of the presidential poll, we need to twist the arm of the political and make it hurt. If real, radical change, a transition to a world without status-quo socio-political control, was possible through conventional political means, it would be illegal. Democracy upholds itself. And under the guise of “equality” and mantras such as “we are the government”, it ensures that its rule continues.
Neither a radical direct opposition nor a politics of speech and elections will bring forth a libertarian future. But WikiLeaks couldn’t be stopped. Even though Julian Assange has been arrested, the site lives on. WikiLeaks still gives whistleblowers a safe haven.
WikiLeaks manages to not be a hopeless method of political change. This is because rather than choosing to look at authority as it commits the act, it commits the act regardless of the authority. The whistleblower chooses to speak the truth in spite of social authority. They move forward with the act because they can. They don’t do it to undermine the authority of the State directly. Instead, they expose the State, ignoring the authority it has entirely.
Over-Extension of the State
This WikiLeaks attitude will bring forth political change. The creation of more “WikiLeaks of X”’s will lay out the blueprints for anarchy that the State cannot take down. WikiLeaks is not the only example of this attitude. Two of the other shining examples of anarchism in action are the 3D-printable gun and Bitcoin.
The ghost gun and the liberator are weapons that exist not physically but digitally. Sure, there is the gun itself that can shoot and injure living things, but the more dangerous weapon is the digital file. Because of the nature of information on the internet, these blueprints for 3D-printable weapons will exist for a very long time. If there is still a need for them, they may outlive anyone reading this article.
That is real political change; the politics of guns will never be the same. The idea of “gun control” is now as foolish as the idea of “gravity control.” You can regulate and legislate all that you would like, but it will still exist. It is an irreversible fact of political life.
Bitcoin may be even more revolutionary. Even after its fall from glory in December of 2017, it lives on. This is because Bitcoin provides a function that we need desperately: a system of trustable payment outside of the State. Bitcoin meets every standard of good money that economics gives us. The blockchain that Bitcoin is built around guarantees that we can trust any bitcoins we have.
Even though the price is lower than it was before, its ideological value is still strong. To exist, there needs to be demand for it. And as long as there is skepticism over State-produced money and that State’s ability to fund itself period, there will be demand for Bitcoin.
These are the “WikiLeaks of X” that are changing the world. What is the end of these subversive political projects? It is to force the State into over-extension. Baudrillard explains that massive systems like the State don’t explode because of outside pressure. Rather, they implode because they become too heavy to hold themselves up. Extending liberty to go outside what the government traditionally controls forces the government to attempt to control things that it cannot. The end is to create a regulatory black hole for the State: something that will force it to waste its finite time and resources until it completely implodes on itself.
A whole other violence appears today… A violence that follows an inordinate densification of the social, the state of an overregulated system, a network… that is overencumbered, and of a hypertrophic control investing all the interstitial pathways. This violence is unintelligible to us because our whole imaginary has as its axis the logic of expanding systems -Jean Baudrillard
The Path of Action
Looping back to the NPCs: the majority of the population will just sit there and live in the world that they choose to live in. Not everyone is going to be a Julian Assange or a Cody Wilson or a Satoshi Nakamoto. Almost nobody will be. But we don’t need everyone to be a diehard libertarian radical. Less than 5% of the population carried forth the United States’s incepting revolutionary war. A few radicals that understand political leverage are all that is necessary to make this change come forth.
To end the political world as we know it and create a freer future, we need to build more “WikiLeaks for X.” These are going to permanently alter political reality in ways that the status quo deems impossible. What the status quo deems impossible, though, is not truly so. Action needs to take place outside of the bounds of what the social order has even named.
It is far easier said than done, obviously. It requires a very serious visionary to create the politically impossible, but that doesn’t mean that we should give up. Engaging in what seems hopeless may be the only way to a better future. We, as radical libertarians, must put our full-fledged support behind these visionaries whenever we find one. In addition, none of us should take up the attitude of “someone else may do it.” We should all become Satoshi Nakamoto’s in our own way because the political transformation does not come forth until each of us takes responsibility.