“War does not persist because human beings are flawed or unenlightened, or even because we are violent or hate each other. Even if all of this is true about us, it does not explain war. War is not just another form of violence. It is the institutionalization of unrestrained violence with no meaningful accountability for those who inflict it.” ~ Bretigne Shaffer
If you hate war as I do you will want to do everything in your power to stop the wars of the US Empire. The hot wars, the cold wars, the overt wars, the covert wars, the economic wars, and the brutal occupations. Millions have protested the wars. Millions have written online in protest of the brutality. Millions are being impoverished to pay for the madness. Why can we not stop it?
In this 2012 election cycle Ron Paul was able to empower millions of young people by giving national voice to their concerns on all manner of issues, the Empire’s wars being a prominent one of them. Where will these people go after Ron Paul leaves the scene?
Libertarian law professor Butler Shaffer wrote:
My experiences and inquiries keep me convinced that trying to dismantle political thinking from within the system is both a futile and contradictory undertaking. I do acknowledge that Ron Paul, using the political process, has done more than any other individual to help intelligent men and women discover the harsh and destructive nature of the state. The central “issues” that whisked George H.W. Bush into the White House in 1988 – whether Willie Horton should have been let out of prison and the sacred nature of the pledge of allegiance – can still arouse applause from aged defenders of the status quo, but the younger generation knows that the quality of their lives depends on more important questions. There is enfolded into the life force of humans a need for fundamentally new thinking and social practices that is – thanks primarily to Ron’s concise and principled analysis – unfolding in the kids. At my age, everyone is a kid.
Anyone who believes that Ron Paul has simply dreamed up an ideology that young people find attractive has no understanding of what is transpiring in this movement. Ron has tapped into an energy source that could be likened to a Rupert Sheldrake “morphogenetic field.” At both a conscious and unconscious level, tens of millions of people throughout the world are sharing in the spontaneous eruption of opposition to the dehumanizing, oppressive, violent, and destructive nature of the corporate-state systems that exploit human beings for institutional ends. Peace, liberty, private property ownership, and respect for the inviolability of the individual, are qualities insisted upon by growing numbers of persons, not only in America, but elsewhere in the world.
Ron Paul did not invent this mobilization of the human spirit, nor will the energies subside after November’s elections. If members of the established order look upon this movement as a “fad” that will disappear when Ron Paul retires, they are sadly disillusioned. The question before us, however, has to do with how this energized spirit will find expression in the following months and years. How will those whom I affectionately refer to as “the kids” advance the cause of peace and liberty when there is no presidential campaign to attract them?
… As our civilization – and the thinking that’s bringing it down – continues its downward spiral, there is a vacuum to be filled by ideas and practices that sustain life. It is in response to such emptiness that Albert Jay Nock’s “Remnant” will help to discover alternatives to our politicized mass-minded destructiveness. I have been in attendance at Ron Paul rallies and seen thousands of young faces in the audience, and realized that I was looking upon the Remnant; the future of truly civilized people. What a contrast is found in comparing the attitudes of the young who see their lives enhanced by such transformations, while those who have chosen to become part of the life-destroying military are responding with ever-increasing acts of suicide. What better images to put before our children as they embark on the preparations for their futures!
One of the main reason politics hasn’t worked very well to end empire is that political systems do not reward those who try to weaken the system itself: it rewards those who strengthen it. So, those who succeed in the system are those who restrict freedom and increase spending even if they are claiming they are trying to do the opposite. Many don’t seem to recognize what a rare exception Dr. Paul is. We have a man who went into politics to defeat the system and return it to its Classical Liberal roots. Ron Paul spent over 30 years demonstrating that he is committed to liberty by his actions and not just his words. This man was worthy of political support in order to have a libertarian “on the inside”.
I have read many who do not participate in electoral politics who will then say:
Personally, I’ll be voting for Ron Paul not because I think the odds favor him but because I believe he is the only person who has any intention of stripping back government. If he doesn’t win, are there other victories that can be had by the movement? Sure there are. But they aren’t likely to be at the voting booth.
So what do those Ron Paul voters do now? I hope they support the libertarian message of Ron Paul which in its essence is “less government is always better no matter what the subject”. I hope they will protest government actions on all levels: national, state, and local. I hope they continue to educate themselves so the propaganda counter offensive of the State does not fool them. If you are a “libertarian” and you resist learning about the Austrian School of Economics you are only partially prepared to understand the nature of the world around you. If you are a “libertarian” and you have not read Murray N. Rothbard then you have missed the most complete and reasoned defense of liberty ever mounted by a human. If you are a “libertarian” and you seek to ever use the government to coerce other then you are missing the point!
Rarely does the political system yield any positive results; but it can happen, especially with a protest candidate or a “message” candidate. Just remember that many so-called liberty lovers will yell and scream that you are somehow doing the Devil’s Work if you support any anti-war candidate. I don’t know why; perhaps the love misery and hence love the status quo. Who can tell?
Many libertarians differ on tactics and strategies to reduce the State’s interventions at all levels. The main question to ask yourself is, “will this help to weaken the State”? In all things seek to weaken the State. Cut it will a thousand cuts till it bleeds to death.
The same horrors of the State that the Ron Paul supporters are fighting can also be seen as energizing Occupy-Wall-Street, Arab Spring, anti-war movements, the Tea Party, pro-Wikileaks people, and other movements yet to come. All these movements are populated by people who yearn to be free. Even though many are in deep error in certain ways; they are the allies of those of us who seek a peaceful, non-coercive, voluntary world. Even though many of them don’t fully understand it yet. With so many warmongering enemies on the left, in the middle, and on the right: don’t attack our allies at every turn on their errors — welcome allies to the fight against the Empire even as you know you don’t fully agree with them.