Trump, Right-wing Populism, and ending the Drug War

Continuing on my list of things that the common man would find appealing in a broad coalition with libertarians, we will look today at The Drug War and at Crime in the Streets.

I wrote in the original list of items that a large populist movement could agree upon the following:

7) Take Back the Streets and end the Drug War: By ending the drug war and legalizing all drugs, we can then put the police to working on stopping rape, murder, theft and other crimes against the people. To hell with the state saying what I should be allowed to ingest into my body.

It is obvious to all reasonable people that the drug war is totally lost and that Nixon was totally wrong to start the latest version of the drug war.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants

The fact of the matter is that outlawing drugs was unconstitutional from the beginning. Consider the prior alcohol prohibition in the United States and how it was handled.

Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. The constitution was amended with the 18th amendment to begin alcohol prohibition and was ended with the 21st amendment. Alcohol prohibition gave rise to an astonishing proliferation of organized crime and violence in the US. The “wet” proponents cited personal liberty, reduction in crime, and tax review as reasons for ending the horribly wrong experiment in government mandated morality.They proved to be correct in all respects. The thing to notice, especially, is that prohibiting people from consuming a drug was seen to a power that the government did not have without a constitutional amendment.

There is no difference in alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition other than the US gave up on trying to follow the Constitution and just used raw federal power to make drugs illegal. Enormous civil liberties were cast aside and the idea of the police knocking on your door at a reasonable hour and producing a court ordered warrant to search your house without destroying the place was overturned in the madness to find the “evil doers”. When the police breaks in now, you are guilty till your are proven innocent.

As the war continued, ever more tyrannical measures were taken against the entire population in the hopeless attempt to stop people from doing what they wanted to do in the privacy of their own homes. We have come to see SWAT teams break down the door at all hours of the night, murder pets, shoot the people inside for little reason and with impunity. Living right is no defense as many have died simply because the police went to the wrong address. Know this: the SWAT team is there to kill people. And they do that very thing.

We are at a point were legalizing at least some drugs would be possible in the US at a federal level and that would help enormously with the crime problem in this country. Legalization would help protect people from the militarized, out of control, trigger happy police and SWAT units. For that reason alone I think the “man in the street” and libertarians can agree on this issue. But there is more …

If the prisons were emptied of those drug offenders who are unconstitutionally convicted of using or selling drugs that the feds don’t like, then we would have the space for arresting real criminals like murderers, rapists, thieves, and all the rest of the violent criminals we don’t seem to have the manpower to pursue at the present time. There are vast, vast resources going to the “drug war” at the present time. We could save billions of dollars and still have much safer streets in this country simply be following the constitution and allowing people to buy and ingest whatever they so desired. It is also important to realize that some of the users commit crimes to support the illegal habit and with legalization the crime rate would automatically fall.

Cigarettes are legal and there is no one giving out “free samples” to get your children hooked on the product. The same will be true of any legal drug. For the sake of the children we need to stop the unconstitutional drug prohibition.

 

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A closer look at right wing populism and “America First”

In the last post I mentioned a list of issues to use with the “average man on the street” towards the end of the post. I would like to look a little closer at the first two in that list as they really go together in my mind. Recall that the point of all of this is to find a broad alliance to stop the tyranny that the state has become all over the West, and especially in the US Empire.

The first two issues from my list that might drive a populist campaign of unity with libertarians and perhaps even anarchists are listed here:

1) America First. A key point, and one that is being used in the present election cycle by Donald Trump with great effectiveness. The American economy is stagnating. Many cities are dying and the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, all while we give money away to other countries and police the world at a cost of unimaginable amounts of money. Plus our foreign policy tends to make people hate us.

2) Bring all troops home. We are killing innocent men, women, and children overseas in countries that have never threatened us and have no ability to invade this country; other than by us allowing emigration of their people who would attack us via terrorism.

Number one and number two hold a lot in common, but number two probably speaks, at first at least, to the left as much as the right at this time. The anti-war left was always for bringing the troops home, but that left appears to have almost died out. However, properly explained I think the common man, perhaps even a modern progressive, can be made to see the wisdom of the “old right” and their foreign policy of non-interventionism. The ancient wisdom of “live and let live” was at the heart of the old right.

Consider the issue “America First”. Some think that is some sort of newly manufactured campaign slogan that Trump thought up or had some paid experts think up. But the “America First” crowd was originally the “old right” of the 30s to the 50s. They believed that we should keep our armies inside our own boarders are be ready to fight a defense war if need be. They believed that with an ocean on both sides of us that we really did not need to worry about an invasion but should be ready for one.

The cost of stationing fighting men and materials rises exponentially as the distance from the homeland grows. This is known by military experts and was once the topic of a long lecture hosted on C-SPAN on cable in the 80s.

How many troops do we have stationed abroad? In a story in The Nation in early 2015 it was reported that there were approximately 800 bases in foreign countries around the world. These troops cost tons of money to station overseas even when they are not actively engaged in creating new enemies by murdering innocent men, women, and children in countries that have never threatened to invade the US — and have not the least bit of ability to do so. Just having the bases costs tons of money that the state takes from all of us and that could certainly be put to better use.

How much does this overseas projection of power cost? Military spending is said to have accounted for 54% of all federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion in 2015. Then there is the “off budget” spending on wars and intelligence agencies which are all part of the US Empire and its determination to rule the world.The actual total amount spent on policing the world is hard to pin down exactly due to the secret nature of the more shadowy agencies.

If the USA would adopt a defensive posture for the military, bring the troops home to defend this country, and stop invading countries around the world we could fund much of item number one — fixing America itself with the savings. We could put people to work fixing the infrastructure that is in a sad, crumbing state. Saving approximately one half of all discretionary spending in a multi Trillion dollar budget would fix a lot of infrastructure and put a lot of people to work.

If we adopted a policy of non-interventionism and neutrality, we could practice the free-market capitalism that made the country rich. Instead of managing trade to benefit the well connected corporations and the ultra rich, we could let laissez-faire capitalism bring us the blessings of a really free market and not the crony-capitalism that we have practiced for decades on end. Truly free trade with other nations builds friendship and reduces the odds of any war greatly. But first we must bring home the troops and stop threatening anyone who disagrees with us on various issues.

But can we sell non-interventionism to the right wing? Certainly we can. Consider these words from Paul Gottfried:

Only a Neanderthal cave dweller would not notice that self-identified conservatives have been raging against the neoconservative foreign policy for decades, that is, the policy that Thiessen was paid richly to defend. For starters, there are numerous websites, such as this one, that have defended a more restrained engagement with the world than the one advocated by the last Republican administration and it’s unmistakably neoconservative “advisers.” Moreover, the entire Old Right, most notably Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, has been declaiming against neoconservative warmongers for generations, and before them we had George F. Kennan, Robert A. Taft, libertarians of all kinds, and the later Herbert Hoover, warning us to  avoid foreign entanglement. Yesterday I walked into my local post office in South Central Pennsylvania and listened to die-in-the-wool right-wingers, including two army veterans, screaming against further military commitments. None of my fellow residents at the post office could ever be mistaken for a leftist. In fact, they were ardent Trump-supporters, who were worried “about what’s going on in this country.” And they were most definitely immigration restrictionists, although decency prevents me from repeating their opinions on this subject.

Warmongering by the neo-cons has done more damage to this country, and the world in general, than anything I can think of. If you wonder where the hoard of Muslims flooding the western countries came from, just remember it was the neo-cons who lobbied for the destruction of every country in the middle east other than Saudi Arabia.

There are two different concepts, patriotism and liberal internationalism, at issue here.It is fine to be “patriotic” in the sense of cherishing the nation, that is, the people, land and society. It is another entirely to send American armies all over the globe to invade and array of enemies, each one said to be the  most recent incarnation of Nazi Germany.

It is time to dismantle the world wide empire and stop interventions all around the globe. It is time to put America first and let peace, prosperity, and mutual cooperation be the motto of our nation once again — just as it was in the beginning.

 

 

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Right-wing Populism to promote Libertarianism

With the last few posts I have been lurching towards answering this question: “how do we get the angry masses on our side”? Can we get the Donald Trump supporters on our side? (no matter if Trump wins or not) Can we get the Bernie Sanders people on our side? Can we get the average American who is just fed up with all the politics on our side?

And what side is that you might ask. (I would) The side I am talking about is reducing the size and scope of government as much as we can and as fast as we can. I especially want people on my side who are anti-interventionist as was the “old right” of the 30s and 40s along with the “new left” of the 60s. Anti-war sells in the realm of ideas once people understand the benefits of peace, and most do.

Murray Rothbard suggested that our course as libertarians is to employ populism:  right-wing populism. He believed, as I do, that a successful libertarian strategy will have to employ a heavy dose of populism. After all, libertarian theory and Austrian economics is not going to win the day unless the man you are trying to convert is willing to read, say,  Human Action by Mises and The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard.This is not going to happen with more than a tiny portion of the people we want to reach and bring to our side.

Successful populist messages must contain an answer to “what is in it for me”? So we have to show the people how they are getting ripped off and how our program will help stop that. We must show them that the corrupt ruling elites are cheating them and that our populist program will stop the bastards from cheating them.

We can stick to first principles and still have a popular message. We embrace right-wing populism and that will be the fastest way to show the man in the street that the state and all its lackeys are enslaving us. We do not have to try to convince the “man in the street” to adopt all of the program of hard-core, radical libertarianism like Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism. I will not deny that I wish everyone would read all of Mises and Rothbard as I have done as see where that leads one to — but that just is not going to happen. So, we try to get them to take baby steps towards reducing the size and scope of the state.

We must have a strategy that attempts two things. We must build up a legion of libertarian opinion leaders as well as small government wordsmiths in the press. The internet allows for a “new press” where we can get our allies heard by the common people. We must also go directly to the masses or the state’s propaganda legions will swamp us as they have always done. We must find a way, or many ways, to communicate directly. Communicating directly is crucial.

We must alert the people that the elites are the ones looting and oppressing them, both socially and economically. We can not attack the ruling class in the abstract as libertarians have so often done in the past. Taking a cue from Ron Paul’s great successes reaching people, we must show concrete ways the people are getting screwed right now by the state and all its minions.

What groups do we libertarians seek to reach out to? The answer is simple, we reach out to everyone, but more than that we must first seek to concentrate strategically on those groups who are most oppressed and who also have the most social leverage just as Rothbard told us years ago. Those people would be the “average” working class family and the people supporting Donald Trump right now. We hope to reach those who are already “right-wing” or at least leaning that way.

Most people are too busy living life and taking care of their families to have any free time to read Rothbard, Block, or read economic theory. So we have to keep our message easy to understand, beneficial to the people, and easy to sell. The message must be of things that are not that hard to adopt — we can’t sell utopia. Hell, I don’t believe in utopia, do you?

Ron Paul used: “End the Fed” and “Get out of the Middle East” in his two runs for president to enlist many new libertarians. I started this whole series after talking with one former progressive who is now “libertarian leaning” because of Ron Paul. So Ron won even though he lost at the polls. He won even with some on the left wing!

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What would a right-wing populist program look like? I am not a politician nor an “opinion leader” but I think I have listened to enough populists over the years to come up with a system for today. Not a single idea below is my own. I have heard everything from someone else (often many others) over the years.

A RIGHT-WING POPULIST PROGRAM:

The right-wing populist program that will convince people to join us on the libertarian side must concentrate on dismantling the crucial existing areas of State and elite rule which have become a tyranny and are oppressing the people.  We must concentrate on liberating the average American from the most egregious features of the oppression of the state.

Some of these are obviously interrelated. You can not drastically slash taxes while running a military empires.

1) America First. A key point, and one that is being used in the present election cycle by Donald Trump with great effectiveness. The American economy is stagnating. Many cities are dying and the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, all while we give money away to other countries and police the world at a cost of unimaginable amounts of money. Plus our foreign policy tends to make people hate us.

2) Bring all troops home. We are killing innocent men, women, and children overseas in countries that have never threatened us and have no ability to invade this country; other than by us allowing emigration of their people who would attack us via terrorism.

3) Slash Taxes. We would drastically cut all taxes.Sales taxes, income taxes, business taxes, and on and on. But especially the most oppressive tax ever devised: the income tax. We must abolish the IRS.

4) Slash Welfare. The welfare system has helped to destroy the family in this country and to keep the welfare class down. For God’s sake stop oppressing these people even as you claim to do them good. And besides that, we must end the welfare system to help keep people from coming here illegally just to get all the free stuff. Welfare was never intended to be a lure for illegals to come here.

5) Abolish Racial or Group Privileges. Abolish all racial or sexual preferences such as affirmative action. We should point out that the root of “victim class” quotas and so on is the entire “civil rights” structure, which tramples on the property rights of every American. A business owner’s property is not “public property”! It is private property.

6) Abolish the Fed. As Ron Paul pointed out so very well, the central bank is one of the state’s main ways of looting the common people of his country. The Fed will destroy us.

7) Take Back the Streets and end the Drug War: By ending the drug war and legalizing all drugs, we can then put the police to working on stopping rape, murder, theft and other crimes against the people. To hell with the state saying what I should be allowed to ingest into my body.

8) Defend The Family. Get the State out of the family, and replace State control with parental control. Make education a totally local thing and encourage private school by paying the tuition of private schools up to what it would cost to send the child to public school. Stop the indoctrination. We should also not force little girls to go to the bathroom with perverts.

9) All control to be as local as possible. Every act of government should be as close to the people as possible. There is no reason for the people of California or Florida to tell the people of New Hampshire how to conduct their business. If they want to allow public nudity, then that is their business and not mine.

 

.There is much else I could add to each of the above but the post runs long as it is and I expect to address various points in separate posts as time allows.

I will add that whatever government that is left, until we can privatize the whole edifice, that we should seek to run government in the manner most like a good business and to have the control as close to the people as possible. Local control would be a key point.

I realize that in building an alliance with right-wing populists we may have to compromise — this is politics after all — but to slash the size of the state I am willing to make compromises over present day policies as we move towards a state so small as to be unnoticeable.

 

The Trump supporter as ally (#2 in LLS)

I have changed the title in the series a bit to shorten the length of the title and to be more specific. Also, I wanted to get Donald Trump’s name in the title since he is the biggest name in politics at the moment. Last post I mentioned “good guys” and “bad guys” and even some others. Today let us look at the Trump supporter and see what we can do with this bunch. Can we find allies to fight for liberty and freedom?

I think the “Trump People” are potential allies just like the supporters of Ron Paul were in the election cycles of 2008 and 2012. Some of the Trump supporters are actual libertarians. For example, Walter Block and his “Libertarians for Trump” movement are certainly libertarian. Note that Dr. Block was a close associate of Murray Rothbard and is often thought of as the leading Rothbardian in this country. So, some “Trump People” are libertarians or even anarchists. These people already “hate the state” and are on our side.

It appears that many of the “rank and file” of the Republican Party are backing Trump. These people are all over the board on their defense of liberty. Some are fooled into thinking we really should have our military stationed all over the world — for our “defense” they say. Many of them are four square in favor of the horrific drug war that is an absolute failure. I think these groups can be reached by the tactic of explaining how their goals might be laudable but the results have proven to be counter productive. We need to educate them on the horrors of American Foreign Policy and on the horrors of the Drug War.

I readily concede that many Trump supporters are nowhere close to Ron Paul on foreign policy or anything else for that matter. For many libertarians, our philosophy would reject military interventionism on its face. The same goes with making what a person chooses to ingest a crime. But often the philosophical approach does not go well, so, we should try to point out the utter failure of what we are doing now: how it hurts our society and how it makes us and our children less safe. I think many of the Trump people will already agree with us on this or be an easy convert. After all, the candidate they are supporting has attacked the US foreign policy in the middle east and the goading of Russia, plus he does not seem to be a drug warrior at all.

Walter Block said of Trump that, “he could get along with Putin; that he wanted to end NATO; that we were mistaken to get into the Middle East; that US soldiers should leave Korea, German, Japan, etc.  He said of dictators Saddam Hussain and Muammar Ghadafi, sure, they were monsters, but at least they fought the far-worse ISIL type terrorists!” In other words, Trump was against American foreign policy as it has been for at least the last 30 years. His followers would listen to us as we point out that military interventions are the worst part of the Empires’ evils.

Many of the Trump people have flocked to back Trump based on his protectionist polices. Those of us who understand economics (Austrian Economics of course) know that his protectionist policies are wrong on many levels, but compared to military interventionism this is a policy that we can hammer on at a later time.

When put in this way, it is clear that The Donald is the most congruent with our perspective. This is true, mainly because of foreign policy. And, of the three, foreign policy, economic policy and person liberties, the former is the most important. As Murray Rothbard and Bob Higgs have demonstrated over and over again, US foreign policy determines what occurs in economics and in the field of personal liberties. Foreign policy is the dog that wags the other two tails. ~ Walter Block

Trump supporters and Trump himself have been decent at least on personal liberties. Trump is no prude who wants to get into everyone’s personal life. I suspect that his broad coalition of people who are mad as hell at the ruling elite have no special desire to enforce any particular behavior codes other than “live and let live”.

I think we can attempt to get the Trump followers to understand that it is the state itself that they are rebelling against. I have seen many of them indicate that they are in favor of the style of government that this country was founded upon. That would be a belief in Classical Liberalism even if they don’t know that is what they believe.

“Classical liberalism” is the term used to designate the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Up until around 1900, this ideology was generally known simply as liberalism. The qualifying “classical” is now usually necessary, in English-speaking countries at least (but not, for instance, in France), because liberalism has come to be associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals. This version of liberalism — if such it can still be called — is sometimes designated as “social,” or (erroneously) “modern” or the “new,” liberalism. Here we shall use liberalism to signify the classical variety.  ~ Ralph Raico

As an anarcho-capialist, I think that the Classical Liberals were wrong in that they believed that some government was needed and they could keep the state constrained by a constitution. But we now see that the government they founded just kept growing until it swamped the original liberals and is now the police state we live under. But if the first step toward finding a way to dispatch the state, or to put magic chains around the beast until it is no longer a threat, then working with other groups towards a minimal state is fine with me.

The palpable anger of the Trump supporters towards the state is anger we love to see. They are mad as hell at our ancient enemy the state and we can find allies in the Trump camp. We will have to be careful and not attack them on all the issues that we differ on. We need to celebrate those aspects were we agree. Mostly we need to agree that the status quo is evil!

The leader of Le Pen said, “Populist parties across Europe — and beyond — have gained traction in recent years, with their alarm over immigration and attacks on the political “elite” resonating strongly with voters.” The populist supporters of Donald Trump are looking for right-wing policies. In that “right-wing” policies are those that support private property rights then we can find much in common with Trump supporters since all “human rights” are property rights as Murray Rothbard pointed out countless times.

We must build anti-government coalitions and defang the police state before it becomes a tyranny worse than the USSR ever hoped to be.
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What can liberty lovers do in this era? (#1 – good guys and bad guys)

As I mentioned in my last post, we need to find strategies and tactics to defend ourselves against the state. We live in an era where the central government has become a police state and the overbearing nature of the state is growing on a daily basis. We need to find allies in this war for liberty.

The first thing to realize is that the state is not some mythical being come down from space to enslave us. The state is made up of human beings just like you and me. The state is a small group of people dominating the rest of us. So how does this small group of people dominate the vast majority of regular people? The state needs its supporters to keep the majority believing that the state is a good thing, believing it a necessary evil, or at least just believing there is nothing they can do about it. Resigned acceptance is often just as good as joyous support as far as the ruling class is concerned.

The state has its allies and the liberty lover needs to find his allies or potential allies. Ron Paul in his two runs for the Republican nomination for president found many new liberty lovers by helping them to understand what was going on. He converted many young people by education.

So who are the “bad guys” and who are the “good guys”? And then, who are the people that we can get to join our side? The most important question is “who can we enlist to be on the side of liberty“?

“Bad Guys”

The first thing to do is list some of the people that are not on our side and probably never will be. As Upton Sinclair told us, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

The first class of people who are not on our side and are never going to join us is politicians. The people who are the state are not going to give up power, prestige, money, and all the other perks of office to help us fight the state. A few rare exceptions, like Ron Paul, can be allies in the fight against the police state but we should not put much hope in changing their minds. Let us not waste too much effort on the criminal class.  H. L. Mencken told us that “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”

The second class of people who mainly are never going to help us in our fight are the intellectual class who support the state in return for money and prestige. University professors, public school teachers, journalists, TV news people, and others who preform the same role that the priesthood did once upon a time. Now obviously there will be a few in these groups who will join us, but overall any anti-state message is going to be a hard sell to these people.

Another group that will be very resistant to helping us will be the Corporate masters and the very wealthy. The large corporations are protected by the state in many ways and we have a “corporatism” economy; or as some call it, a crony-cap economy. These are polite words or phrases for economic fascism. It is not just those who supply our war efforts, but a host of large industries back the state as their positions are guaranteed by the state.

But it is not just the large corporations indebted to the state. Consider all the credentialed people whose piece of paper allows them to do a job and no one else is allowed to do. Think of the medical field where a certificate is needed to operate any machine. Think of poor women not allowed to fix hair for pay due to lack of permission by the state.  Other examples abound: thousands of them.

As Rothbard pointed out long ago, the “social democrat” will stand against liberty and tradition. The social democrat will always favor statism and big government. These people favor global government and are dead set against any celebration of cultural heritage. A subset of these people are often called the “social justice warrior”. A more wrong-headed and insidious bunch would be hard to find in today’s world.

And lastly for this partial list, consider all the people on welfare, and all those getting “free” anything from the government. As many have pointed out, welfare has destroyed the family and kept the poor down but it is hard to convince them of that.

The above list is hardly complete. The welfare-warfare state showers “goodies” on all sorts of people to keep them in line. We will have to reach some of these people to get to the ultimate goal, but trying to persuade a left-wing professor is hardly worth our time in the beginning.

“Good Guys”

At first one might think that there are damn few of us who are lovers of freedom and liberty. One might think selling the idea that the state is mankind’s enemy might be nearly impossible. But there are a lot of people who are already on our side and there are a lot of people who just need to be educated as to the problem. So, who are some of the people we can reach?

We already have on our side many anarchists, miniarchists, libertarians, classical liberals, and others. We only need to keep each group from attacking the other over ideological points. If we can see that the enemy is destroying us, perhaps we can keep down the injury by “friendly fire”.

Regular working people are a prime source of potential recruits. The self-reliant, common American has been brainwashed to believe that we must have government to have society and it is our job to explain that government is the enemy of society.

I believe that we have a great shot at recruiting young people to our cause. Ron Paul proved that fact in his presidential bids.

I believe that we have a chance to reach women. I think that we can reach women by talking up the center of society — the family. I also believe women would like to hear that we believe in small groups like the local church groups or civic organizations. We are not against governance but against the monopoly state. All voluntary rules and ways of doing things are within a libertarians outlook.

Another group that we find easy to reach is the paleo-conservative. The “old-right” is practically the same as the Classical Liberal. These groups are essentially believers in a tiny government that offers mainly police, courts, and military defense of the homeland.

 

“A Real Challenge”

One group that belongs in the “bad guys” list is the modern left-wing “liberal”. But we need to reach these people. They want to “do good” in the world, but have a mistaken idea of how to do good. They are brainwashed and it is our job to deprogram them. May God help us!

The military man is another challenge. They are often libertarian leaning, but they often don’t seem to realize that going overseas to kill people is not “protecting us”. They should only be stationed inside the US. A much smaller military will be a hard sell to many current duty personnel and vets.

“Conclusion”

This listing of various groups is but a beginning but one has to start someplace. I will look at what could be our first goals in moving toward liberty and freedom; and that will bring us to what tactics we might use to convince various groups. I hope not to take too long, as I am already working on the next post.

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What can liberty lovers do in this era? (beginning thoughts)

I was talking to a young friend on Twitter the other day ( Joe @024601 ) and we decided we wanted to talk over strategies and tactics for dismantling the police state and promoting liberty. I realized that such a project would take some time and would cover many posts. I am hoping to talk some friends into joining in a conversation in the comments section to help me put my thoughts into a coherent whole. Yes, the comments section that I have neglected for years. (live and learn I guess)

I think the first thing to do is take stock of the various players in the drama. Murray Rothbard told us that libertarians and anarchists tend to only see the individual and his relationship with the state. That tendency often causes us to be more pessimistic than we should be since standing alone against the state is a daunting prospect; especially against the U.S. Empire. He pointed out that there was another major player other than the individual and the state. That player is the “nation”. Not the “nation-state” but the nation. The genuine nation is a people. Best to let Rothbard explain.

Rothbard on the Nation:

The “nation,” of course, is not the same thing as the state, a difference that earlier libertarians and classical liberals such as Ludwig von Mises and Albert Jay Nock understood full well. Contemporary libertarians often assume, mistakenly, that individuals are bound to each other only by the nexus of market exchange. They forget that everyone is necessarily born into a family, a language, and a culture. Every person is born into one or several overlapping communities, usually including an ethnic group, with specific values, cultures, religious beliefs, and traditions. He is generally born into a “country.” He is always born into a specific historical context of time and place, meaning neighborhood and land area.

The modern European nation-state, the typical “major power,” began not as a nation at all, but as an “imperial” conquest of one nationality — usually at the “center” of the resulting country, and based in the capital city — over other nationalities at the periphery. Since a “nation” is a complex of subjective feelings of nationality based on objective realities, the imperial central states have had varying degrees of success in forging among their subject nationalities at the periphery a sense of national unity incorporating submission to the imperial center. In Great Britain, the English have never truly eradicated national aspirations among the submerged Celtic nationalities, the Scots and the Welsh, although Cornish nationalism seems to have been mostly stamped out. In Spain, the conquering Castilians, based in Madrid, have never managed — as the world saw at the Barcelona Olympics — to erase nationalism among the Catalans, the Basques, or even the Galicians or Andalusians. The French, moving out from their base in Paris, have never totally tamed the Bretons, the Basques, or the people of the Languedoc.

Notice that destroying the very concept of “the nation” has been the obvious goal of the “deep-state” or the ruling elites for a long time now. The present crisis of illegal immigrants is destroying communities all over the west every bit as much as the welfare state destroyed families. It seems the state (nation-state or government) finds ever new ways to enslave the masses.

As an anarcho-capitalist, far too often I think in terms of the state verses the individual and ignore the state’s attack on families, close associations of people, nationalities, and other groups. Even though the “nation” cannot be precisely defined we must be mindful of its existence and how the national group plays into our plans to overcome the state.  Rothbard claimed the “nation” is a complex and varying constellation of different forms of communities, languages, ethnic groups, or religions, so there is not a single dictionary style definition. I sometimes talk about “a people” when I really should say “nation”, but old conversational habits are hard to break and I am not sure I would be understood if I used “nation” rather than “people”.

We need to be mindful of these human groupings (nations) since we need to form alliances with all those who would help us fight the state. Note that Murray Rothbard rebuilt the idea of “libertarianism” in this country not only by being the great “systems builder” that he was, but also by building alliances with groups that did not “get” Rothbardianism totally but understood freedom and liberty. Rothbard believed that we had to form alliances with groups who were wrong on some issues but were on our side in loving liberty and freedom. The main thing was that if they hated the state as it existed presently, then they could be very useful in tearing down the state.

With those opening words out of the way, the question really is “what the hell can we do now to promote freedom and liberty?”

The question of open borders, or free immigration, has become an accelerating problem for all of the west and is a big question in the present American election cycle. A big part of that is because the welfare state increasingly subsidizes immigrants to enter and receive permanent assistance. Another aspect may be the state’s using the massive invasion of illegal immigration to destroy cultural cohesiveness which could enable the masses to threaten the state’s power.

Why mention that one specific problem at the very beginning of considering strategies? I do that because it is a great example of how the liberty lovers can be divided by a particular policy problem. Yelling “bigot” or “racist” at each other is not going to get us where we need to go. And yet, the answer is easy for those of us who realize that there should be no welfare state to draw the illegals to come here in the first place, and there should be no public property. If all property was privately owned then any immigrant is someone’s guest. However, we are a long way from a situation where there is no monopoly state and every bit of land belongs to someone or some group. So we have to deal with the situation as it exists presently.

I hope the reader realizes that the above paragraph is a minefield of arguments even among just the anarchists. Some will say there should be no private property at all while others will say there should be only private property — and a war of words breaks out! But I am hoping to talk about how to avoid a dystopian future where we all have the boot of the state at our throats forever. We must deal with the present danger and the situation as we find it right now.

So, we have to map out a strategy that will let us work against the police state and worry about perfection later. We need to teach people about the nature of the evil state and teach them that having rulers over us leads to the police state we see all around us. Ron Paul did a great job of teaching young people about the evils of the present state of affairs. I disagree with Ron on the question of the existence of a state; but I loved what he did educating people on the problems of our government as it stands. I think emulating Ron Paul in his educational mission will be a big part of what we must do. But there must be more. Alliances must be built and we may have to fight the state in the streets.

A lot of Americans who hate the US Empire are divided on the issue of Donald Trump at the present time. But there is one unifying aspect that we don’t mention often enough. That aspect is that Trump represents a great and deep anger at the ruling elite. He may not be the total answer but many of his fans just know they hate the state as it is presently run. He is leading a populist uprising. That, my liberty loving friends, is a plus for our side. I think the Sanders supporters on the Democratic Party side also where driven by a deep hatred of the status quo. We have many potential allies!

Next post will be about setting a goal for reducing the power of the state that can get broad support. We can not expect everyone to magically see that the only real way to contain the state is to eliminate it. That is a bridge too far in the beginning. What I hope to do with the next post is identify the groups that we can draw support from for a goal of vastly reducing the scope and power of the state. We need to identify our potential allies.

I hope this introduction to what I hope to do over several posts was not too rambling. Till next time, keep up the fight.

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Types of libertarians

We live in a world where people label everything. If ten different people say they are “libertarian” we don’t really know if they are all talking about the same thing. More than likely no one is on the same page. We need to define the terms so that we know what we are really talking about if we say “libertarian” or whatever.

The great economist and Rothbardian professor Walter Block once summed up the attributes of various labels:

  1. Anarcho-capitalism. This is earmarked by strict adherence to the non-aggression principle (NAP) and property rights, based on homesteading. All government is rejected as illicit, since it necessarily violates the NAP (for one thing, no one agreed to pay it taxes). The foremost exemplar of this viewpoint is Murray N. Rothbard.
  1. Minarchism, or (very) limited government: Here, the state apparatus is limited to an army, courts and police. All three institutions have but one role: to protect the persons and property rights of domestic residents. The most famous adherents of this philosophy are Ayn Rand and Robert Nozick (well, at least for a while, in the latter case.)
  1. Constitutionalism. These are strict constructionists of the U.S. constitution. Dr. Ron Paul is the foremost exponent of this libertarian perspective.
  1. Classical liberals. They favor free enterprise and the marketplace, but accept numerous exceptions to the system of laissez faire capitalism. The highest profile examples are Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

I think that if everyone would adhere to the labels above, many arguments and misunderstandings would be avoided. Unfortunately, the list does not include the “anarchists” who are really communists, but that is alright as I don’t have enough space in this short essay to cover those crazy people.

It should be obvious that number one above is the best of all possible worlds here on earth and that succeeding label is a drop in freedom. Those who expose the viewpoint of Anarcho-capitalism are telling us how we should live. Unfortunately, mankind has been dominated for centuries by the State and all its evil. Hence, getting from the totalitarian present to a free future is going to be a difficult task. The road is full of danger and errors will be made.

Some readers will disagree that the Anarcho-capitalism is “better” or “more free” than, say, “Classical Libertarianism”. Let us start with Classical Libertarianism and see how each level is better that the one below it. The idea of this exercise is that I want to take a look at tactics that libertarians should use to help the world (USA in particular) reach freedom and so a clear understanding of the problems of each ideology would be most useful.

Classical Liberals

Classical liberalism, which was just called liberalism in those days, once dominated the west. The idea of laissez-faire capitalism (even with the exceptions they favored) along with property rights brought us the industrial revolution and our modern industrial society.  Classical liberalism brought the downfall of feudalism and the stagnation that system gave humanity.

So what was so bad about classical liberalism? The ideology supported the state and thought the state could be contained and controlled. History proves that idea was a mistake. Classical liberalism gave us the United States and the history of just the USA shows that the state will continually amass power and will come to dominate the citizens. The tyranny of today’s USA came from the classically liberal beginning. That shows us that the Classical Liberals made a serious mistake thinking the State could be contained and controlled.

Constitutionalism:

The problem with those who think that the piece of paper called the Constitution will constrain the State is that the State itself interprets the words in the constitution. Naturally the State always finds for itself increasing “constitutional powers” that no one saw before. Essentially the constitutionalists make the same error as the Classical Liberals made.

Minarchism, or (very) limited government

Those who propose a government so limited that one can barely tell it is there have an advantage in that they claim to provide honest and impartial legal services to the people. They claim to provide national defense. The problem is that the state will grow in size and become exactly what we have today. Besides that, even a very limited state will reward its friends and become a bastion of crony-capitalism. It is true that a very limited government would beat the tyranny we have today but the ultimate goal must be for more than this.

Anarcho-capitalism

The idea of no State at all and how people would craft a society blows the mind of most people. I recall thinking that Murray Rothbard was good on most things but just went too far when he said that we could have a society without a State. Then I realized that society is not the State and that the State is the enemy of society. Protection of the weak does not mean there must be a monopoly sate.

People will find ways to govern themselves and there will be “bad guys” that must be dealt with. But competing police services, courts, and legal services beat the monopoly that the State enjoys today.

I think the example of Ireland for at least a 1,000 years without a state and perhaps as much as 9,000 years cured me of any doubt about a stateless society.

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