Gradualism: The Best Friend of a Libertarian in a Statist World

By James Sweet III | USA

Imagine standing in a pool, the water only half way up to your knees. You’re told that a big monster, unknown in name and nature, is heading towards you. You can either leave the pool, stay where you are or go deeper. Everyone else is going deeper into the pool, so you decide to go too. Now you’re knee deep, but you’re told that you’re not deep enough and that you must continue to go into the deep end. You haven’t seen this monster, nor have you heard of it before, but everyone else seems terrified, and you follow them, deeper and deeper into the pool until you’re as deep as you can go. Now you’re drowning, and you realize that the person who told you about the monster is standing on the surface, dry as can be. The pool is the government, and the person responsible for your predicament is a corrupt politician. The monster? Never there. The politician, by putting fear into the hearts of you and everyone else, put you further into the government’s hands by providing a faulty solution to a problem that never existed. Unless you’re saved, you’ll continue to drown. However, there is only one way to be saved: you must slowly swim out. What do you do? Do you stay there, drowning until someone saves you, or do you begin to slowly swim out? In other words, do you try to remove the government’s intervention in your life immediately, or do you work in small, gradual steps towards getting your life back? If you want a chance at being saved, you need to embrace gradualism.

If you want the government totally out of your life, it needs to be abolished. When the government’s power is immense, it is hard to get rid of. Going back to the pool metaphor for the last time: it is easier to get out of a shallow pool than a deep pool. It is honorable for one to stand for his principles. However, you’re not doing your principles justice when you demand change without halting the growth of the demon that is the government. The ever-growing United States government needs to be combated, and that cannot happen when you’re arguing over your ideas. The power of the government can be combated, as well as your ideas becoming closer to a reality, through action. Whether it is voting or running for office, you have a greater chance of being saved when you can stop the fear-mongering.

Adam Kokesh, a man running to earn the Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States, is great. He stands for his principles in an enthusiastic and proud manner. His plan, if elected, is to sign an executive order that would start to cut down, and abolish, the government. I attended a tour stop of his, and he seemed to understand that the Supreme Court and Congress would not be okay with it. So why do many think this will work without many bumps in the road? While he deserves credit for his dedication, that doesn’t change reality.  Many Americans had problems with President Obama’s executive orders, and through President Trump, began to unravel these orders. It’s illogical to think that Congress and the Supreme Court will just ignore this executive order. I would love for the government to head down the path of non-existence by the signing of an executive order, but it’s not realistic. As previously stated, gradual steps are needed.

Some argue for the radical shift of affairs as it doesn’t compromise their principles. Gradualism isn’t compromising. If you continually push for your ideas, how are you compromising? It’s idealistic and unrealistic to expect your ideas to happen as soon as you would like them to be enacted. Many Americans may agree with me when I say authoritarian governments that oppress the people are bad. Some argue for radical authoritarian ideas, and they don’t get far. If no one in power is outright arguing for the end result of collectivist principles, how are we still heading down the path of a statist government? It’s because gradual steps are being taken towards this end result. If libertarians want to achieve their goals, they need to look at the playbook of politics and realize that gradual steps have always made it more realistic for radical ideas, whether authoritarian or not. Exceptions are rare for libertarians in American politics, and there is not any here. Stop acting like your ideas are special, and instead, follow the process.

2 thoughts on “Gradualism: The Best Friend of a Libertarian in a Statist World”

  1. I think it’s a bit of a cheap shot to call someone out and not get a statement from them (Kokesh).. If you attended the tour he does explain why Congress or the Supreme Court won’t matter.. And Adam’s plan is gradualism. It’s the peaceful, orderly, and responsible dissolution of the entire FEDERAL government. Over 20 million people work for government, the Federal government only accounts for 3 million of those people.. His platform of Localization is the ‘Everyone gets what they want strategy’! San Fran shouldn’t have a say on gun rights in Texas, and Texas shouldn’t have a say in whether or not San Fran institutes a single payer healthcare system. “If you like your government, you can keep it!” -Adam Kokesh

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