Thoughts on Libertarianism and Strategy:
I’m starting to post some thoughts on libertarianism and libertarian political parties and the situation in our society in general with respect to freedom. I don’t have any fixed conclusions on political activism, and am considering the pros and cons.
Do groups ever have the answers? They can’t supply your own thoughts to you. They can’t do your own thinking for you. That’s a drawback of political parties or other kinds of activist groups. What if the members are all waiting for the organization to supply the answers and the answers are not good enough?
A very real problem is that people involved in parties outside the maintream such as the Libertarian Party have concerns about losing their jobs. Big corporations get involved in funding policy institutes to promote the agendas they support, but ordinary people are afraid of losing their jobs.
In fact, ordinary people probably are so busy working, looking after their families and being entertained, that most people don’t seem to be involved at all, never mind being aware of the legislation that is being written and passed. So it’s unusual to even join a small activist group, and the person may feel they are taking some risk just by joining, even if they are satisfied with the ideals of the other members.
No doubt there are people who feel that donating to that political party is a risk also and more people probably avoid donating because they are aware that their names might be published to meet legal requirements. This brings up the irony of trying to be a registered political party that promotes freedom but is constrained by the oppressive rules of the Elections Act that nobody else knows about. Ironically, the ones who are most likely to join a libertarian group would be the ones most likely to be concerned about freedom and privacy. Outside of electoral politics, whether we use the electoral strategy or not, I think we should try to find more informal ways to organize where we don’t even sign our names or record contact information.
As far as the experience of running as a candidate, with my strange libertarian ideas (which only seem to get “stranger” with time), I’ve had to play the “bad guy” where I rain on everyone’s parade, so I take the risk of being seen as eccentric. The cost-benefits problem is a real concern – at the very least, candidates should expect to have more support to make it worthwhile. The lack of support for that strategy from the libertarian members of the public (there are some) is something I take to heart.
Often libertarians think that their philosophy is totally reasonable and acceptable to the public if they can only give them enough arguments, but they haven’t seen the disconnects yet between their own reasoning, the logical conclusions of their philosophy and the false reality the public lives in.
I brought an antiwar message and a warning about looming dictatorship to the election campaigns I’ve been involved in. I tried to tell people the truth as I understood it, that taxation is force and theft, that our freedoms are being taken from us, that war is murder, and even that global warming is a scam. I tried to be relevant. “Relevance” is important. In this case, it means being relevant to people who give a damn.
I have no clue about whether most people understood what I was saying. Probably not – even if they were listening or even got a chance to hear the message – although I know a few here and there understood. Ron Paul’s movement has broken some ground, so I know there are people out there who are moving to understand the world better and to wake others up. But I know that we haven’t moved fast enough.
To understand the philosophy of libertarianism properly as well as the real world takes time and individual study and effort. And I’m not even going to assume that libertarianism fills in the whole picture adequately.
The freedom philosophy is not something you’re going to learn by osmosis by hanging around other people. It’s certainly not something you’re going to figure out by waiting for party directors to pass resolutions. I put through my own resolutions in the Libertarian Party of Canada, and it just reinforces my conclusion that everybody should be working out their own resolutions individually, and not waiting for others.
To get back to this issue again about the fear of losing our jobs, it’s a fact that probably people – on the “right” or “left” – who defend the system don’t understand. So a reminder to libertarians – this is not a free market we live in, in no way, shape or form. Many big businesses are involved in contracts with government agencies – agencies that are funded by tax-payers. These corporations make money on the status quo. They fund policy institutes to promote integration of the Americas (one of these “conspiracy theories” that’s “not really happening”!) or to profit from the huge database and surveillance network that is being created, or to network with others in the Establishment.
Ordinary people, on the other hand, are possibly scared of losing their jobs – “rocking the boat” – even though they pay those taxes that fund those contracts. Everyone is being tightly integrated into this power structure of control – wages and taxation – through fear. That’s how we live – we live in fear of not having money, of not getting out of debt, of not being able to pay the rent and the other bills. Fear from cradle to grave. Fear is control.
People observe the media’s portrayal of the political process. They have very little say in the political system. It’s not even a real democracy. You should try influencing the political system if you doubt me. Give it a shot. It’s worth trying but it’s not going to be easy. You’ll understand better how you’re ruled. If you see something out of place, that you don’t agree with, get others to go along with you, explain your concerns to the politicians or the media. Try reasoning with them and see if they listen. Maybe you’ll have some success, or maybe you’ll notice that they’re not listening to you at all and their minds are made up already, because their orders are coming from above them, from their party bosses, and also from a national and international bureacracy, and from a network of privately funded think-tanks.
An example of this: there was a huge popular movement against Bill C-52 concerning natural health products, and it had an effect in cancelling the legislation, but the politicians just bring it back again in a different guise. So I’m just saying that the situation is much much worse than people are led to believe. This is the reality. Ideas for change comes from think-tanks and not from the grass-roots, not from individuals who are outside the establishment’s managerial philosophy. It’s not what you think until you take a closer look. It’s not the point to discourage you from trying though. We have to try, but what should we try?
It’s worth trying to educate other people, especially regular people like ourselves, and maybe it is worthwhile putting pressure somehow on elected officials. But if you’re too busy with your lives, following orders and being afraid of losing your jobs, I totally understand, but you’ll also understand that’s how things are designed.
Would the media listen to you? The mainstream media tells us what to think about, what we’re supposed to think is important. Today it’s “swine flu”. Forget about the looting of tax-payers by banks and auto companies, and the wars, and the international negotiations, and everything else that’s going on, and just think about “swine flu”.
April 30th, 2009
Comments for Thoughts on Libertarianism and Strategy
May 4th, 2009 at 7:09 pm
As an university student and it is alarming to see that most university students really don’t think through about these political issues. I am hoping that it is because my peers and I are in engineering and we simply do not have enough time to divert our attention from anything but school, but when I converse with other students, it becomes apparent that most students mold their opinion solely based on what the media feeds them.
University is supposed to be a place where open exchange of ideas is harbored, yet when I question political status quo, I am not critically examined, but rather simply labeled as wingnut. It’s frustrating that they won’t even consider libertarianism.
- Jean-Christophe Roux
May 5th, 2009 at 9:36 am
One should define the best strategy for libertarianism in terms of personal satisfaction and not in terms of political success or impact on society. Alan, do what you like the most such as writing 1,000-word articles on political issues.
Media should not listen to libertarians. I would be shocked if they were. Why would the media push ideas that are rejected by more than 99.993% of their viewers/readers/listeners and shareholders/owners/political supports and writers/employees? I find it arrogant for supporters of marginal opinions to claim that the medias should pay attention to them. If CBC or the Star or the Western Standard starts covering the Libertarians, there is danger. Either they intend to ridicule libertarianism or libertarianism has been highjacked by some statists who needed a cleaner name to sell their ideas. Conservatives are currently the ones who use libertarianism to sell their authoritarian political ideas.
It is dangerous to stand for libertariansm because one never knows who is behind the name; one never knows what will be done under that name. Who wants to be a Libertarian today when the Libertarian Party in the US urges killer-in-chief Obama to protect the land against the swine flu!!!! Alanism or Mercerism is the way to go… for Alan Mercer.
May 5th, 2009 at 10:46 pm
Those are some good points. I think my goal is to get as close to an understanding of the real world as possible and not compromise and have it watered down by other peoples’ ideologies. This way we can have more impact, if we are more in tune with reality. And we can encourage others who see what’s going on.
Most of the media is controlled by the people who control the government and they like things as they are. They *should* listen to the truth, but don’t. But at least I do expect well-intentioned people – usually in the alternative media – to listen. I always expect people to at least listen to the truth and eventually be convinced that freedom is necessary. It would be arrogant only if real libertarianism was separate from truth – but it’s not – it’s a natural moral idea – not aggressing against others, leaving people alone.
May 5th, 2009 at 11:02 pm
Jason, you’ll always find a few more like you who are concerned with concrete issues, especially on specifics and then they can understand freedom intuitively, so you’ll find people everywhere who will listen to you. Society is mostly brainwashed, but not everybody.
For example, the health care system in Canada that people worship (fines and prison if they disobey it) was created by a eugenicist – Tommy Douglas – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Douglas – I didn’t know that until recently! Socialists were all about eugenics. The media and education system – controlled – kept that quiet.
Socialism’s purpose is to create total control of society. That’s why they created it. That’s actually what real socialism is. It controls all major political parties (at least) – so for example, the Conservatives brought in the income tax in WWI. Central bank, public education. From the beginning. So there isn’t any reason to be intimidated by socialist arguments. The real thing is just a bunch of monsters at the top. Everyone who believes in it – most people believe in one form or another – is deluded and some can be woken up. The left-right party thing causes endless confusion intentionally. The fact is they’re all the same and never move things towards freedom.
Orwell wrote Animal Farm and 1984 to warn people. “Some animals are more equal than others.”
I think it’s true also that people will need to encourage each other in these times, and they’ll need to hear from people like you.