Tag: radical idealism

It’s Time for the Libertarian Party to Give up on Elections

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

The perpetual war between liberty and state control rages on day-by-day, year-by-year, and era-by-era. The United States of America was founded with the intention of creating a government that would limit itself and yet here we are with the largest centralized governance in the history of our nation.

Spoiler: this creation was a failure. Even with a constitution built to reign in how far a government can expand, the United States has become a state expansionist frenzy. The hope of Lockean liberalism turned into neoliberal interventionism run amok.

We spend insurmountable sums on military, welfare, social security, and other entitlements. At the same time, the government sees the solution to every bit of its own malpractice as adding more money to the pile.

Yeah, the U.S. Constitution hasn’t worked very well. Alas, this is the system we are in. Radical departure from the status quo does not seem to be on the horizon. We must play into the electoral system of our republic at the present. The United States Federal Government is a powerful entity, so we are going to have to play by its rules as we beat it back down.

This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is possible. There are two ways to do this: replacing the state with entrepreneurship (a method that will get its article at a later date) and the Libertarian Party.

Historically, the LP has been more of a flop than the Constitution. Prior to the 2016 presidential election, the Party of Principle only gained over 1% of the national vote once, in 1980.

2016 saw a 2.3% increase in votes since 2012, but in turn, we ended up with Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. Towards the end of the race (but still prior to Trump’s election), Weld all but endorsed Hilary Clinton. Gary Johnson had his own fair share of incidents.

You get the point.

These guys were wrong for the party. They were the wrong guys for garnering votes. They were the wrong guys for beating Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. But that is not the extent of the problem. The fact that our goal was (and still is) “get votes, maybe get elected” was and is the crux of the issue.

The Libertarian Party has become obsessed with figuring out how to run a good campaign. This is because its only goal has become getting votes and getting into office. Liberty seems to be less of an end than being in the proper position. Although there are exceptions, the LP has historically fit this trend.

The Johnson campaign became “get 5%,” rather than “reduce taxes, reduce spending, reduce government.” The Libertarian Party needs to shift its focus away from getting votes to getting converts.

The issue with election-priority campaigns is that the campaign will have to go one of two routes. The first is that they have to appeal to voters, which begins to make small regulations incrementally be added to a “Libertarian” candidate’s platform. Next thing we know, the forerunner Libertarian candidate in any given race is a barely watered-down Republican.

The other is don’t roll over for the other parties. This is the more admirable and principled route to take, yet still lacking. Holding talks, rallies, speeches, moneybombs, and cookouts with the local voters seems like the way to run a proper campaign. At the end of the day, though, voters will vote on a central two or three issues, meaning the LP ends up in last place anyway.

The Allison Foxall campaign was a prime example of this phenomenon. The campaign was excellently tun, yet Ms. Foxall did not garner the Florida voters everyone expected her to achieve.

This is because getting elected, along with the existence of any government in general, requires one thing: popular support. The masses need to be libertarian before we can win libertarian.

This is why I believe that the Libertarian Party should shift from a “get decent candidates elected using campaign gimmicks” focus to a “disseminate libertarian ideals” focus.

The Libertarian Party will have seen victory not once it has the White House, but rather it will see victory when the Republican and Democrats have to change their platforms to keep their voters. A Republican who enters office hoping to end the Fed, slash corporate taxes, and privatize social security is a Libertarian Party victory.

The success of the party is not our end. Seeing Congressmen have (L)’s in front of their name is not what we should be striving for. What we should be striving for is the creation of people who will vote for candidates that want to reduce government.

I know what you’re thinking: Republican victory is not Libertarian victory.

It is if the Republican label has transitioned to mean limiting and reducing government while promoting individual rights and free markets.

This is how most parties have had to change throughout American history, too. Eugene V. Debs, the icon of early 20th century American Socialism, topped out at 6% of the national vote for president in 1912. He did not become President of the United States, and the Socialist Party did not become a long-lasting American political entity.

The numbers show the Socialist Party itself did not become wildly successful. Regardless, their ideas turned the tide of American history. The Democratic Party took up the torch of worker protection and fighting for the “little guy.” Because of this, over time we got policies like Social Security, minimum wage laws, Anti-Trust laws, high taxes on the “1%”, high corporate taxes, and various worker protection laws.

The Socialist Party lost, but their ideas came out on top. The Libertarian Party needs to take a similar approach. Rather than political leaders, we must become ideological revolutionary radicals. We need intelligent and charismatic speakers to inspire the hearts and minds of people of all races, parties, and ages.

And yes, I am talking multiple. We need to give a platform to new Ron Pauls, and Jordan Peterson-like individuals who grip the hearts of individuals that yearn for freedom. We need to transform the masses ideologically so the Republicans and Democrats are left no choice but to make freedom a priority.

We need thought leaders and intellectuals, not druggy former-governors. That is the direction the party should turn in. Let’s stop seeing how moderate we can get and still be considered “libertarian.” Let’s stop making people icons of our movement because they have political backgrounds.

Let’s start putting charismatic intellectuals at the forefront of this movement. Let’s make libertarianism win, even if the Libertarian Party loses in the process. A crash course towards political self-destruction is a worthy aim if we reap the benefits of ideological victory.


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There And Back Again: My Journey From Marxism To Libertarianism, And Back To The Radical Center

By Jason Thompson | United States

Political opinions are like assholes – we all have one – and for the most part, nobody wants to see or hear yours expressed if it does not validate their own preconceived notions and particular worldview. It just seems so impossible that a person on the “left” could have anything at all in common with somebody on the “right. ” Aside from tremendous failures in communication, there tends to be, and I am speaking from my own personal experiences, an apparent inability to see somebody on the other side of the supposed “spectrum” as truly human. I would go so far as to say that American political culture is diseased.

Echo chambers and political tribalism abound.

I would like to introduce myself. In articles to come, I will do my best to focus on objective reporting of facts and happenings, albeit from a libertarian standpoint, but this right here, folks, is an opinion piece.  It is the story of my own personal experiences and how they have come to shape and define the beliefs and principles that set the stage for a political bildungsroman twenty-five years in the making.

I was born into a working class, mostly Irish family of eight children in the small town of Mount Airy, Maryland. My father is a roofer and a farmer from Southern Virginia. His people were old-school Southern Democrats, and my mother’s people were liberals from Maryland, Western Pennsylvania, and Missouri.  This familial political history has been integral in shaping my own conceptions of identity and the principles and values I hold dear.  Over the years, my principles have largely held steadfast, but the manner in which they have been expressed politically and ideologically has transformed radically.

I used to be a filthy commie.  A God-damned Marxist inspired radical who raged against what I saw as a system which forced my father to grind his bones into the dirt to feed eight children and to scrape by in a world which that crushed the poor while enriching the elite. Little did I know, my father was the ultimate rebel.  He was agorist in every sense of the word.

And I am his son.

I was angry.  I wanted vengeance. And as the saying goes, I was certainly born with a plastic spoon in my mouth.

How could somebody work so hard and find themselves constantly scraping by just to survive? My family members were Democrats. My great grandmother’s sister was the second woman to travel to the USSR after WWII and was on an FBI blacklist during the McCarthy era. How could I not do my forefathers justice by believing what I truly thought would raise the poor out of impoverished misery? My heart was in the right place, but I was trying to build a foundation and ideological home with a hammer and a sickle.

And I wondered why the house I had built kept crashing down under the weight of objective scrutiny.

Marx, Trotsky, democratic socialism, mutualism, George Orwell – these were my political fodder.  I ate it up at the expense of intellectual honesty.  I blogged about it.  I towed the party line. But from a young age, the seeds of entrepreneurship and personal responsibility had been planted, and those two things were crucial in my journey towards libertarianism. The election cycles of 2012 and 2016 pushed me away from the extremes and helped me find a new home in a libertarian-inspired radical center.

Going to a small liberal arts school, I find it amazing that I was not further indoctrinated into the cult of social justice and Marxist lunacy.  Perhaps it was because I was surrounded by truly leftist professors – useful idiots the whole lot of them – that I raged against what I was coming to see more and more for what it truly was – rhetoric and faux outrage not truly grounded in historical or economic analysis.

I started to gravitate towards right-libertarianism and men like Larry Sharpe, Lew Rockwell, and Ron Paul. Gary Johnson’s 2012 presidential run was fundamental in bringing me to what I saw as my new truth. I started delving down the rabbit hole further and further and recognized the myth of true freedom from a tyrannical state in the modern age. I could see that our society had strayed far from the spirit and text of the US Constitution.

I felt vindicated. Here was truth. I was more right than God, but man, did I still have a lot to learn. Fast forward to the 2016 election cycle and I was hooked.  I was a full blown political junkie and I jumped right into the firefight.

I was an ideological soldier fighting my own personal jihad against the system of leftist professors who had lied to impressionable college kids and corporate stooges who had misled the American public. Boy did I alienate a lot of people. Vitriol and political hatred were in the air.  People who I had used to agree with politically at one point, and whom I had considered good people (they were, I was being a pretentious prick), became my ideological enemies in a battle waged on social media.

Slacktivist, Supreme. That was me.

I lost a lot of friends over what I now see was inane bullshit and a failure on my own part to adequately communicate my ideas.  I drove off the people most in need of hearing what I still believe is the truth.

That is when I discovered radical centrism, and began to see that libertarianism may be much more of a centrist ideology than I had presupposed and that a lot of the hatred and vitriol could be extinguished through communication and approaching the issues facing American society from an open-minded pursuit of outreach beyond our base. We accomplish this, as a team, not by abandoning our principles, but by focusing on pragmatism and effective marketing.

Somebody I was in a discussion with last night said “you can be more right than God, but if you don’t communicate effectively than you have nothing.” Our movement is so consumed with ideological infighting by keyboard warriors that the voting public cannot take us seriously.  We argue incessantly over drivel the average American neither has the background nor the luxury to care about, and in doing so push ourselves into smaller and smaller sub-groups to the point that we can’t even compete with the duopoly on major issues facing ALL Americans. We’re all on the same ship piloted by a political elite which perpetuates this false dichotomy between left and right. Even the filthy internet commies.

Divide and conquer.

We are playing right into their hand. We have tightened the yoke around our own necks by failing to see each other as Americans and to effectively communicate our ideas to the wider public.

Someone once said that getting libertarians to agree and to organize coherently is like herding cats. It can’t be done.

Well, I grew up herding pigs, cows, sheep, and goats. I’m good at it.

Now I am going to try to herd cats.

I could go on and on, and my editor is probably going to grill me for writing such a long piece.  But this is my story, and am I being detained?

Voting Isn’t Working. What Will?

By Josh Louski | USA

The Libertarian Party has existed since 1971. Since then, its members have done a great job at securing seats Congress and even governorships. These are considerable feats since we live in a corrupt, two-party nation. However, they consistently fail at what arguably matters the most: securing the presidency.

As an anarchist, I don’t put too much stock in the Libertarian Party anyway.  However, I do acknowledge that electorally, they are the best path to a smaller state. But it isn’t working. Why?

The GOP and the DNC have a common goal, and that is ensuring and upholding the status quo. if the LP ever got into serious power, they would be failing at that. So they work together to keep policies in place that prevents people voting Libertarian. For instance, our public schools teach about the two major parties and their (very minor) differences but do not inform students about third parties like the Libertarian Party. This causes a lack of voters. If students, especially in their teenage years, were informed about the Libertarian Party and its values, I guarantee it would have a lot more voters. As long as the Republican or Democratic parties are in power, this will not change. Rather than having an informed public, the GOP and DNC would prefer to have a dumbed-down populace that continues to vote for them.  Therefore, voting is not a viable option for achieving any real change.

The Libertarian Party simply doesn’t have the means of gathering upwards of 60 million supporters that will vote for them. So how do we achieve our ideal society of small or no government?

In 1936, Spanish left-anarchists revolted and successfully implemented anarchist societies around Spain, like Catalonia. They didn’t vote, they fought. The workers were in control of most of Spain, and they liberated themselves from government oppression. Maybe its time we do the same.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. America was built upon revolutionary ideas and values. We wave flags that say “Don’t tread on me” yet refuse to do anything when treading on for decades. Our forefathers would be ashamed of us. It’s time to defend ourselves from the gang we call government, from theft, abduction, and murder. We would not hesitate to defend our families from a home invasion, so why do we sit by idly when the government steals from us and takes our property when we disobey them? Many say that the public has no chance against the United States military. Superficially, this is obvious. However, when you look deeper you see that the Viet Cong waged war with the United States for 20 years. And they won. Additionally, after 16 years, insurgents in the Middle East have still not been defeated by the greatest military power the world has ever seen. As the most heavily armed populace in the world, I’d say the American people would fare even better than the Viet Cong and the insurgents in the Midde East.

We have to fight back. But this is not the only way to free ourselves. For far too long, the American people have given the federal and state governments legitimacy by obeying them. It is important for us to utilize agorism, a strategy of non-compliance and counter-economics used to delegitimize the government and crony-capitalism. If we refuse to participate in government using mass civil-disobedience, it will be totally powerless.  Do not validate their oppression by abiding by it.

Unlike violent insurrection, agorism has never been used in order to undermine and overthrow a government, but is extremely popular among right-anarchists as a means of peaceful dissolution of the government. The problem with agorism is while the populace is not utilizing violence, the government undoubtedly will. Mass disregard for its artificial “authority” would be met with force. Murder and mass abduction would take place as the government would become increasingly frustrated with the people. We would be forced to defend ourselves, and violent insurrection would have to take place anyway.

Pairing these two means of revolution, agorism and violent insurrection, is undoubtedly a more effective way of achieving real, positive change than voting.

Let’s hope that the government decides to straighten itself out before it comes to that.

 

Was Murray Rothbard a Sexist?

By Mason Mohon | USA

Multiple times throughout the years, Murray Rothbard has criticized many women-oriented movements. To anyone first stepping into libertarianism, this is a seemingly obvious red flag. One of the most pronounced and influential libertarian theorists of modern times has literature rife with what looks like sexism. Who in their right mind could support the teachings of a man who was against the women’s suffrage movements of the 1830’s and stood against the women’s liberation movements in the 1970’s? Should Rothbard be completely disregarded for his sexist comments?

In short, not at all. There are two main writings by Rothbard I would like to focus on, and these two writings are writings usually cited when people are making accusations of sexism. The first of these is his essay Origins of the Welfare State in America and his article Against Women’s Lib, which can be found here and here respectively.

In the first place, Rothbard’s essay Origins of the Welfare State in America should be focused on. The intent of the essay was to make an analysis as to how the welfare state has expanded, hence its name. Right off the bat, we can see that Murray Rothbard did not title this essay “Why Women are Bad.” Rather, the article’s entire intent was to analyze how the welfare state arose.

The reason people see this article as a sexist one is first that of the section titled “Yankee Women: The Driving Force.” What this shows us immediately that Rothbard was linking a women’s movement to the impacts of the welfare state, rather than the impact be women’s rights itself. This legion of Yankee women strongly pushed for the right to vote, because they knew that they would be the first to the ballot box, seeing as that Catholic women saw their place as an individual who is the homemaker. The Catholic women would not care about political issues, while the Yankee women would, and the first thing on their agenda was prohibition.

Susan B. Anthony, an ardent women’s suffragist, was also the founder of the first women’s temperance movement. In the early 1870’s, this spurred into a large organized movement, with “Women’s Crusades” taking to the streets. These marches became widespread, but rather than marching against a president, they were marching for dangerous prohibitionist political action. According to Rothbard, though, this wasn’t the end to it, for in the following decade “the WCTU was pushing, throughout states and localities, for a comprehensive statist program for government intervention and social welfare.” These female suffragist movements didn’t want to be able to vote just for the sake of equality. Rather, their goal was political action, most notably prohibitionism, which was disastrous for American society, and the welfare state, which has also had absolutely horrible impacts.

Clearly, Murray Rothbard was not criticizing the ability for women to have equal rights with men. Rather, he was against the political action immediately following the success of these movements. The alcohol prohibition era is looked at fondly by very few, so why are its most staunch historical supporters held in such high esteem? If someone is a supporter of equal rights solely for the sake of the perpetuation of political violence, they are no hero in my book, and neither are they in Rothbard’s.

Moreover, Murray Rothbard’s article titled Against Women’s Lib should be discussed. He opens the article by comparing it to environmentalist movements in that they were both making a sudden surge in the 1970’s. One other similarity should be made clear, and that is why Rothbard opposed them. Murray Rothbard was very against environmentalist movements, not because he hated the environment, but because all of their proposed solutions were phenomenally statist. The same holds true for Murray Rothbard on women’s rights; he doesn’t hate women, but he is against the movement for reasons within the movement itself, not its ultimate goal.

The Women’s Liberation movement at the time was eerily similar to modern feminism in that it is vague and no specific adherence other than a fight against sexism. Today, feminists are the declared enemy of the patriarchy, and it was the same idea in Rothbard’s time. There was a faceless entity of sexist oppression which was being attacked by a mob that had no specific agenda except to defeat it, and whatever happens between point A of the status quo and point B of destroying the patriarchy is acceptable.

Rothbard made the claim that the oppressors are staying strangely silent, attempting to make the point that no institution of oppression exists. The ‘patriarchy’ has never made any official statement. Ever. Because it can’t, for it does not exist.

The similarities to Women’s Liberation and modern feminism do not end there, though. Rothbard faced his own time’s wage gap, which was much larger at the time. At the time, reports were that women only made 58% of what men make, rather than today’s 80%. He quickly made the economic explanation for this occurrence, debunking the idea that it is because of a shadow oppressor.

The strongest attack, though, comes in Rothbard’s defense of capitalism, which is as follows:

It should be emphasized that, in contrast to the Women’s Lib forces who tend to blame capitalism as well as male tyrants for centuries-old discrimination, it was precisely capitalism and the “capitalist revolution” of the 18th and 19th centuries that freed women from male oppression, and set each woman free to find her best level. It was the feudal and pre-capitalist, pre-market society that was marked by male oppression; it was that society where women were chattels of their fathers and husbands, where they could own no property of their own, etc. Capitalism set women free to find their own level, and the result is what we have today.

Clearly, Murray Rothbard has never articulated any disdain for females as a category of humanity. His attacks on the suffrage movement were not based on its goal of the ability for women to be able to vote, but rather, they were well founded on distaste for prohibition and welfare. Furthermore, Rothbard attacked the Women’s Liberation movement for the same reason libertarians widely attack feminism today; Women’s Lib and feminism are ill-defined, turning them into destructive societal forces rife with economic fallacy. These two Rothbardian writings should not be a turnoff when looking for liberty, and Murray Rothbard should not be seen as a sexist woman hater.

In Favor of Radical Libertarianism

By Mason Mohon | USA

One criticism I have received from my peers is that I am “too radical.” When I was first faced with that accusation, I asked for elaboration, and the critic stated that I “have strong views on everything, and they’re kinda crazy sometimes.” I was first taken aback, trying to evaluate whether or not I was actually too radical. I decided to quiet down a bit for a while and not be as vocal about my libertarian leanings in my personal life. This was a mistake.

Take a brief look at recent history and look at what dominated the pre-U.S. hegemonic world, particularly during the cold war. Communism had a greater influence on the hearts and minds of every individual than any ideology ever had before. It was global, and even Americans feared for the future of the United States due to the “Red Scare.”

In 1949, the Soviet Union successfully tested a nuclear bomb and communist forces led by Mao Zedong (1893-1976) took control of China. The following year saw the start of the Korean War (1950-53), which engaged U.S. troops in combat against the communist-supported forces of North Korea. The advances of communism around the world convinced many U.S. citizens that there was a real danger of “Reds” taking over their own country.

This global communist uprising left a lasting imprint, and the ideas are still practiced by many countries today. Most notably is Venezuela, which collapsed under its own socialist weight and now has to feed its people rabbits. These radical leftist ideas of state control took a grip on the world, and we still haven’t pried it off.

As strange as it sounds, the libertarians should take a page out of the Marxist playbook. Clearly, it has worked for the left in the past, and it seems to be taking a new form in the Antifa movement, but what is it that gives them such great impact, and what can we take from the left’s playbook to further libertarianism?

Many members of the liberty movement like to be “less radical,” aiming to be more socially acceptable at the expense of their principles. This is what is described as “opportunism,” or the belief that we should wait for opportunities to insert our principles, rather than always being active and pushing. Murray Rothbard had a few things to say about that in his writing The Case for Radical Idealism.

The major problem with the opportunists is that by confining themselves strictly to gradual and “practical” programs, programs that stand a good chance of immediate adoption, they are in grave danger of completely losing sight of the ultimate objective, the libertarian goal.

This is where we need to look at the left’s actions. Their unrelenting push for their end goal of total socialism is what gives them so much ground. They don’t sacrifice their principles, and it is effective. We should do the same.

Murray Rothbard then goes on to describe the sad case of a man named Robert, who decided to focus less on the libertarian goal and began to slowly make friends with the state, all for the sake of becoming more appealing. As great as it would be to not be seen as outlandish when advocating for the end of all taxes rather than a slight decrease, focusing on the slight decrease results in freedom fighters losing sight of their goal.

A more recent case of this would be the curious one of former VP of the Cato Institute, who made the case that libertarians and conservatives should tone down their opposition to the welfare state. While of course, the liberty movement should look to find new recruits, abandonment of principles and advocacy for a devastating program that is destroying minority communities is not the way to do it. This dilutes the message of libertarianism and will only result in creating a fake libertarian movement that will hurt the true fighters for freedom.

Libertarians need to say what the masses see as crazy. These wars are murderous, taxation is theft, and the government is phenomenally oversized. The best part about this is that it works. Ron Paul was radical, voicing sympathy for anarchist ideas and openly stating that cocaine should be legal (and being met with applause nonetheless), and his movement grew. More people came to radical libertarianism through him than probably any other libertarian icon through history.

But saying radical things isn’t the only aspect to libertarian success. We need to act. We can do this by building platforms and talking to people. We need to spread our message to the masses, through culture, conversation, debate, and academia. The state only has power over us because we act as opportunists, rolling over belly-up and letting it stomp on us. Etienne de la Boetie said:

He [the state] thus domineers over you…has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.

The state is able to walk over us because we let it. We need to act against them. Hans Hermann Hoppe laid out a way to do so:

If compelled by them, one complies, out of prudence and no other reason than self-preservation, but one does nothing to support or facilitate their operations.

What Hoppe is saying here is that we should not assist the state. Like a child doing something obnoxious, do not encourage it. Avoid it when you can and do not use its faculties, and openly act against it. One way to avoid using its faculties is to trade in cryptocurrencies, avoid its taxes, and help the poor through private charities or in private groups. Spread the message by talking to friends and family, or connect through culture, such as comedian Dave Smith and band Backwordz have done.

The fight against the state’s oppression must not be a passive one. Do not sit alone at home and mope that the state exists, band together and act. The state will not decrease until we gather the masses and turn popular support against them. Then we can be free.