Libertarians for Trump Sold Their Soul for Nothing

trump-nasty

The Donald Trump presidential campaign is quickly going down the drain, and with it the dignity of all those who have supported him. Especially libertarians.

The brightly-burning, foul-smelling Trumpster fire captured the admiration and support of a bizarrely wide spectrum of voters. Strangest of these were self-professed libertarians, fans of Ron Paul and the limited, constitutionally-restrained government for which he advocated. However, as recent revelations of a conversation ten years ago (that was somehow worse than what the Orange One discusses on a daily basis) have sent Republicans scrambling to jump ship, the wisdom of the opportunist libertarian sellout appeals less sound than ever. [Read more…]

Libertarians: Don’t Ruin Your Big Moment

Credit: Gage Skidmore

Credit: Gage Skidmore

The libertarian moment is finally happening. Faced with the horrifying prospect of either a predestined Machiavellian queen or a political sock puppet come to life claiming the White House, rational American voters are looking to anyone who can save them from their fate. And, like the nerd patiently waiting for his crush to get tired of dating jocks, the Libertarian Party is there for them. This time, however, it seems the urge to go third party is more than just some empty threat. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson has reached as high as 11% in recent polls (15% being the minimum requirement to get into the presidential debates along with the major party candidates), interest on Google in the Libertarian Party spiked to record levels for May and June, and Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld presented a respectable front at a historic town hall hosted by CNN, viewed by nearly 1 million people. The libertarian moment might finally be here.

Unless, of course, it’s not a libertarian moment at all. Scores of the liberty faithful are upset over the LP’s choice of nominees, saying Gary Johnson isn’t libertarian enough (or at all). As for Weld, he might as well be the cursed second coming of Mitt Romney. Yes, this is not exactly the glorious return of the Ron Paul revolution. However, it still is the great libertarian moment we’ve been waiting for. No, I’m not necessarily suggesting that liberty lovers vote Libertarian this election, and I certainly am not saying that they should voice nothing but wholehearted support for all of Johnson’s policy positions. What I am saying is that, rather than eating their own, libertarians should capitalize on the moment in the spotlight to advance their ideas. Here’s why the Libertarian Party’s rise is good for the cause liberty: [Read more…]

Boulevard of Broken Porcs

porcupine

We walk a lonely road.

We liberty soldiers, those of us pledged to the defense of human freedom, are few and far between. That’s precisely why many thousands of us decided to concentrate in New Hampshire for the Free State Project. It’s understandable, then, when some of us can get emotional when one of our fellows exits the movement.

Many feelings were stirred up by the recent departure of activism legend Ian Freeman from the Free State Project. He’s still around, still doing what he does best, still working with the same people as always. The only thing that’s changed is that he won’t be at a couple of FSP-sponsored events. To some people, this is the entirety of their interaction with Ian, so it’s understandable that they would be upset, but for the rest of us, everything is exactly the same.

[Read more…]

The Second Rule of Libertarianism

abandonment

There’s more to libertarianism than not killing people or taking their stuff.

I know, that seems like a total no-brainer. Surely, a peaceful and prosperous society can’t be just that simplistic. But apparently, some people already struggle to remember to refrain from doing just those two things. So, in light of recent events, I feel the need to outline a couple extra points on how to liberty right.

I’m here to tell you that there’s more to being a good libertarian than the non-aggression principle. The second rule of libertarianism is cooperation.

No, anarchists, these aren’t “rules” in the sense that there’s some governing body that enforces how you live your life. It’s a simple law of nature of how you can expect people to react. The non-aggression principle isn’t law because Rothbard Christ came down from the heavens to bestow his wisdom upon us. It’s law because if you hurt people or break their things, you can expect to be shot in the face, and no one will have sympathy for your sad little corpse. But remember, this doesn’t guarantee even your basic survival. It guarantees your right to try to survive. The rest is up to your ability for cooperation.

Alone in the wild, few humans have historically survived to old age, and an even smaller percentage of modern people could make it on their own. That’s how humanity discovered cooperation, or as it’s known in modern economic terms, the free market. From individually specializing and collectively sharing food to community defense to trading with inventors and manufacturers, homo sapiens flourished through cooperation into the death-cheating powerhouse of a species we’ve grown to know and love. I know it seems insulting to break down the basics of free trade into childlike terms for a bunch of libertarians, but it’s important context for what I’m about to say.

Attacking people physically or taking their belongings will get you killed in short order, but that’s not the only way to die in a libertarian paradise. If you make fraudulent or sketchy business deals, no one will want to work with you. If you return people’s hospitality and generosity with disrespect and greed, they won’t repeat their mistake of welcoming you. If you are generally mean, hurtful, or selfish enough, no one will come to your aid if you are attacked. If you’re so much of a jerk and a bad person that no one wants to cooperate with you on any level, you will die alone, either from starvation, illness, an accident, or willing violation of the non-aggression principle by some barbarian, and no one but your mother will cry for you. Maybe not even her if you screwed her over too.

Peaceful, voluntary cooperation is what can truly make a society free, safe, and prosperous. Just remember that the “voluntary” part means your wellbeing isn’t guaranteed. You have to convince people to help you. If you upset enough of your community members, don’t be surprised if you find yourself short of friends, funds, and even basic physical protection.

Do-Nothing Anarchists

couch potato

I love liberty. I hate government. Does that mean I want no government? Absolutely. Am I sympathetic to the anarchist cause? You bet. Do I see eye to eye with most fellow anarchists? Mostly no. This is because so many can tell you why government is awful. Many can even paint specific pictures of how they think a world without the state would look. Very few, though, have any actual clue on how to get from here to there.

The somber reality is that we live in a world dominated by nation-states. Governmental systems, from constitutional republics to democratic socialism, to outright monarchy or dictatorship, control, or claim to control, almost every inch of this planet. Government rules the world, and no amount of wishful thinking will make it go away or shrink in size and scope.

It annoys me to no end when I hear anarchists judging or ridiculing other libertarians for trying to “work within the system.” Sure, navigating through the difficult, painful process of either elections or legal battles is an uphill struggle, and can often lead to wasted effort and frustration. But it’s something that actually has the real potential to shrink government. Criticism of these efforts should only be accompanied by a more efficient solution for ending the state. And those proposed anarchist solutions are practically an endangered species, bordering on cryptozoology.

Here are some things that won’t end the state: [Read more…]

Libertarians: Get Better At Shunning

amish

I’m never one to shy away from controversy, especially when it serves some greater purpose in the pursuit of truth and justice. A couple months ago, I drew flak for addressing the liberty movement’s scumbag problem and calling on libertarians to disassociate themselves with lowlifes. While the response was overwhelmingly positive, there were enough criticisms along the lines of “You’re destroying the movement!” that I feel I should elaborate on exactly why it’s important to be selective in who we, as libertarians, call our friends.

I call this selective association philosophy “weakest link theory”: A group is as vulnerable to criticism as its worst member. This means that, no matter how competent, kind, and wonderful most people in the liberty movement may be, all it takes is a couple lazy, sexist, racist, fraudulent, or hypocritical members to allow freedom’s enemies to throw the whole group into the scumbag category. It’s not fair, it’s not reasonable, and it certainly isn’t logical, but no amount of denying that the bad apple isn’t representative of the tree will matter as long as that apple is still attached. I’m sorry, but guilt by association really works.

Take the cautionary tale of liberty activists in Keene, New Hampshire. The Keeniacs, as they are affectionately (or otherwise) known, were some of the pioneers of the local liberty movement, in particular gaining national (international?) headlines for their spirited resistance to parking enforcers. I will speak no ill of them here, because although I’ve had my disagreements with them, I respect their contributions to the cause. However, it’s unavoidable to mention that they have been ostracized by large chunks of the Free State movement, much of it in connection with their acceptance of a certain individual known as Cantwell, or the Anarchist Atheist Asshole (his words, not mine).
[Read more…]