I’m confused by the recent trend among some libertarians/voluntaryists of being seemingly more upset by the mass emigration of people fleeing government induced problems than they are at the governments who (through market and foreign intervention) caused the problems they’re fleeing. Can any libertarians/voluntaryists explain to me:
1) How a consistent libertarian can advocate for restrictions on movement that don’t have to do with private property considering a) you don’t own the property they’re moving to or the border they’re crossing and b) it would require an expansion of government power which necessarily implies more expropriation of private property of native-born citizens. Keep in mind that what crimes (a small handful) might commit in the future is a smaller scale version of the argument that libertarians reject elsewhere. A notable example would be that what the government in Iraq *might* have done in the future was a justification for the aggressive invasion. Also keep in mind that when considering the refugee crisis in Europe (caused by governments) that if you are afraid of their ideology – with good reason in some cases – most of the native-born population in each Western country is completely fine with caging nonviolent people and I don’t hear people calling for the deportation of natives…yet. By the way, the reason some of their ideologies could be dangerous is, again, only a threat due to the mechanisms of the State they could potentially gain control of.
2) If you’re using exploitation of the welfare state as your reasoning – which is not necessarily anymore true of immigrants than it is of native-borns – why not advocate for no welfare benefits for immigrants instead of restrictions on immigration?
3) If the exploitation of the welfare state is your answer, why not advocate restrictions on birth rates being that children are for all intents and purposes the same as immigrants – in that they are people who were previously not here entering the country through birth canals – except for the fact it will take them much longer than working age immigrants to contribute to the system and pay taxes?
4) If the exploitation of the welfare state is your answer and Massachusetts has a bigger social “safety net” system in place than, say, New Hampshire, would you advocate Massachusetts builds a wall around the entirety of the state to stop people from moving there?
5) If we are abandoning the principle of non-aggression in this case anyway (by advocating the government restrict movement mutually agreed upon by immigrants and receiving landlords and employers, while taking private property from domestic subjects to pay for this enforcement), then how is draining a welfare state necessarily a bad thing from a purely strategic point of view? In other words, will it be more beneficial to the cause of freedom to free up the labor market (with all the advantages a free market brings in a sector of an economy) and potentially expedite the bankruptcy of the State, or to further restrict free trade in labor and let the government maintain the illusion of solvency for what only amount to a few years more? Or is this a false dichotomy to advocate for?
Mark. Instagram: @anarchoatheist Twitter: @anarchoatheists
Language absolutely fascinates me. It is an astonishing evolutionary achievement and tool that, in evolutionary terms, happened only yesterday in the history of our species, and it’s more important than I think some realize.
The history of civilization is in large part a reflection of the history of ideas, and the history of ideas is directly linked to the rhetoric that promulgated those ideas. Since humans first developed spoken language, rhetoric has literally shaped history for both better and worse.
If us anti-authoritarians wish to more quickly bring an end to involuntary hierarchies, we must remember this simple analogy: rhetoric, or the way in which language is used, is the vehicle in which ideas travel. Just as we will generally arrive more quickly and safely to our destination in a new vehicle as opposed to a bicycle with a flat tire, the ideas of the non-aggression principle and the free market will spread throughout the population and change minds (minds being the intended destination of ideas) – and thus change actions, and therefore the world – much more expediently if we are more proficient in our use of rhetoric, or the way in which we transmit these ideas.
There is a lot to be gained by tailoring a message for the person or audience that you’re talking to, and there is a lot to learn from the history of propaganda. Propaganda is *not* an inherently bad thing – it is just most often associated with horrific ideas or events – and its mastering can be useful for promulgating the message of freedom (and furthermore, for deciphering and unmasking the State’s intentions when they disseminate their propaganda through state media). Let me explain.
There is an entirely different reaction elicited from people simply based on how something is explained to them, and while the State constantly uses this fact to their great advantage, if we anarchists and libertarians do not, we are acting against our own interests for no reason at all.
Imagine that you have information that the person or audience you’re talking to does not possess. For example, if someone sees a member of the mafia (unbeknownst to them at the time that they were in the mafia) helping an old lady across the street, and later that night you tell them you should not associate or do business with him, or even that you were perfectly within your right to kill that mafia member (who they didn’t know at the time was in the mafia), they would be, unsurprisingly, appalled by your statement and would likely never take you seriously again. If, however, they knew what you knew – that the mafia member robbed the old lady before walking her across the street, kidnapped her granddaughter the day prior, and was on his way to shake down the local food market for their protection racket – they might be more susceptible to the justification of ostracism or violence in self-defense against that person.
If this example is lost on anyone reading this, the mafia is directly analogous to the local police department (or more broadly, the State itself). The only difference between the mafia and the government, besides the size of their operations, is our perception of them, which is based on the *language* surrounding the mafia and the government in our society. The mafia member, just as the police officer or politician, makes his or her living on money that was taken by force from some people who explicitly did not consent to relinquishing it to them, but were successfully bullied into giving in with threats of kidnapping or death. The mafia, just as the government, uses this money that was taken without consent to hire people with guns to enforce their arbitrary edicts (although the government has infinitely more violently enforced edicts than any local mafia, and the mafia is infinitely more honest about its intentions). We’ll save for another day a discussion of the masking language the State uses to defend itself from intellectual attacks and rebuttals.
Suffice it to say, however, anarchism will not win converts, so to speak, by coming out against the State crying, “Kill cops!” or, “Fuck the troops!” On the other hand, if one clearly and systematically lays out the moral opposition one has to government institutions based on adherence to the non-aggression principle (that the only justified violence is violence in self-defense), there’s a greater chance that the person(s) they are speaking with will recognize the contradictions in their own moral philosophy – in that while in their personal lives they would never use, justify using, or hire someone on their behalf to use violence against peaceful people, they more than happily will vote for politicians to use violence against people they want money from, people they don’t like, and people whose habits or lifestyle they find distasteful.
In short, if voluntaryists/anarchists want to be more effective at talking to non-anarchists about these ideas (which is important considering the fact that non-anarchists make up at least 98% of the population), language and rhetoric is just as invaluable as economics and ethics in this fight. It is perfectly possible to convince a statist who wouldn’t harm a fly in their personal day-to-day life that moral disgust, ostracism and even violence is easily justified (even if it’s not wise or practical) against that mafia member walking that old lady across that street – according to their own moral philosophy! All you needed to do was point out their inconsistencies. You need not sacrifice principles to tailor a message, just as you don’t have to change your destination when you purchase a new vehicle.
– Mark Allen. Instagram: @anarchoatheist Twitter: @anarchoatheists
Imbalanced Incentives, Political Power and Growth of Government: The “Libertarian” President’s Paradox
Part 1) Imbalanced Incentives, Political Power and Growth of Government
If a governmental policy or act will net an entity 300 million tax dollars, but only cost each individual American $1.00, which side has more of an incentive to lobby? The entity that will net $300 million will succeed in gaining the state’s favor almost 100% of the time, since you and I aren’t likely to march on Washington for that dollar lost because it would cost us more than a dollar just to get there. These imbalanced incentives do not only play a role in the state’s natural tendency to expand, but they also impede any significant reduction (or containment) in the size of the government for the reverse of these incentives is also true – an entity set to lose 300 million tax dollars is much more likely to win the state’s favor when individual Americans only stand to gain $1.00.
Political power is accumulated in great part by obtaining a person, demographic or entity’s political dependence in one form or another. Examples of political dependency include votes, bailouts, favorable market regulations and tax structures, etc. Political power is not accumulated by taking away an interest group’s goodies – corporate subsidies, defense contracts, social security, etc – unless by doing so the loss of political capital from those you’ve taken goodies from is outweighed by the political capital gained by alternative sources.
Naturally, power-hungry politicians – or more simply, politicians – recognize that power is more easily secured by creating new allies than by making new enemies. In other words, power is more easily secured by growing the state (taxing, borrowing, inflating, spending, arming and enforcing) rather than fighting its largesse. Over time this creates a network of interest groups more influential than any one politician – no matter how expansive that office’s powers have become.
Part 2) The “Libertarian” President’s Paradox
As a thought experiment, pretend that you are the President starting tomorrow. You got there “playing the game” and now you can let your true badass libertarian/anarchist self out to fuck shit up. (This thought experiment would even apply to minarchists.)
Let’s say that despite your past (albeit naive) love of the constitution you use precedents, executive orders and signing statements just so you can shrink the state as much as possible during your time in office because you know the congress, courts and states are stacked with statists.
What can you actually do? Every piece of the pie has at least one deeply entrenched interest behind it.
Cut entitlements to the average citizen by executive order? You’ll have a riot on the White House lawn within minutes. (For now, we’ll not even deal with the pesky non-aggression principle in the handling of a riot here…We’re the president, after all.)
Cut entitlements to the corporate sector, including the military industrial complex? Your party – whichever one you used as your Trojan horse – will instantly abandon you publicly and you will see zero campaign contributions while every candidate opposing you and any remaining allies you have has tens of millions dumped into their coffers by those vested interests.
You’re down to one term in office. You will not win another. If you’ve attacked in any meaningful way one or both of these two areas of spending, you will have approval ratings in the trash and riots and thus no reelection, or you will have no financial backing and thus no reelection. Or you will have both.
If that one-two punch isn’t enough to stop your second term, try acting in your constitutional role as Commander-in-Chief to do a “strategic withdrawal” of American forces from around the planet as any good libertarian anarchist president would. That’s a lot of goddamn bases, troops and hardware. In turn, that’s a lot of goddamn pissed off voters, troops, pundits, politicians, contractors and foreign governments. This would be the absolute “red line” so to speak for the rest of the American power structure and it would absolutely not be tolerated.
Sure, you might theoretically have that authority under the constitution, but what about the entrenched interests everywhere along the political food chain from Neocon Ned in Murica-Town, USA who simply “supports the troops” to the defense contractors, to the Israeli lobby, to the governments of Japan and South Korea, etc.
This would be a major political crisis moment – either an impeachment would go forward and pass under some charge similar to treason for “putting American lives, interests and allies in grave danger” or Congress would pass a resolution halting the funds being used to withdraw troops, or however they want to spin it with whatever legalese they decide to use. Or both. You risk false flags against troops and civilians, assassination, opposition on all fronts in all manners.
Ah, but there’s a solution! Just “play the game” for the first term and get your less-than-symbolic vetoes overridden and possibly win a second term, then face political and physical danger. Then, finally, you just might shrink the state a bit…until the next election.
Major media outlets in 2020 or 2024: “Look at the damage a libertarian president did to our image and reputation throughout the world in such a short time. Look at all the financial chaos, jobs lost and harm done to the least well off among us, thanks to Mr. Anarchist illegally cutting our safety nets and subsidies and stopping crucial bailouts for those who are simply too big to fail. We cannot afford another eight years with the same backwards ideology and failed policies!”
*slaves cheer* *state grows*
The road to freedom is not a political one. But who will build the road? For once, not the government. It will have to be us as organized individuals without subscribing to a monopoly on strategy. There’s no hero coming. Just us.
– Mark Allen (Instagram: @anarchoatheist Twitter: @anarchoatheists)
Thanks to the nearly 21,000 viewers I’ve had in only one week for visiting this site! Today several new updates will be posted on http://libertyspinnetwork.com. I am exporting all your comments and posts to that site and starting our news service this week. Please spread the word and check back soon.
First of all, I’m surprised you’re reading this. Thanks to the corrupt media, many of you might be clueless to the fact we share quite a bit of commonground.
Let me clarify: By “Tea Party,” I am in no way referring to the hijacked movement we know and love today. By “Tea Party,” I don’t mean Iran warmongers, bailout lovers, the “extreme right,” and people who think what happens in your bedroom affects them in any way. No, what I mean is the Tea Party as it started in 2007 as opposition to Bush policies.
The media loves to paint a picture of OWS vs. TP, “right” vs. “left,” etc. It’s an old tactic called divide and conquer. If we fight amongst ourselves, no one looks at the true criminals at work in society.
Of course, Fox loves to make corporations out to be our “capitalist saviors.” They’ll cover every corrupt government action they can find (if there’s a Democrat in the White House), but they won’t admit the greed of the mega banks and corporations. They rarely talk about the private Federal Reserve system and how it robs the lower and middle classes of their wealth via inflation. MSNBC is no better. They do point out how the corporations literally stole trillions of dollars from the American people through the bailouts and the Fed. However, for some reason they’re hard-pressed to admit these actions are carried out by government guns. CNN is STILL no better. In their effort to be “right down the middle” they don’t point out any of the criminals! Whether in the corporate world or the government.
And by the way, we do need to start calling actions like the bailouts what they are: Theft. The corporations, through their rental politicians, used government force to take from the people trillions of dollars. If we refuse to pay the taxes to pay this “debt” off we face risk of government guns carrying us off to jail. That is the very definition of theft.
This brings us back to the commonground we share. The original Tea Party (not counting the historical Boston Tea Party) was focused on ending the corporatist (fascist?) model ourselves. The original Tea Party was for ending the wars and against policing the world. We are against legislation that invades privacy of citizens here and abroad. Think unPatriot Act and the recently passed NDAA bill. The NDAA gives the military the authority to raid homes without warrants and imprison citizens indefinitely without trial.
If we actually want to change this country, we have to unite on issues like these and others. General Assemblies: invite Tea Party groups to participate. If you can find shared values organize joint protests. If you can find local Tea Parties that want to occupy with you, encourage it.
The system we live under is a corporatist model rapidly deteriorating into a fascist police state. The reason I added “Marine” to the heading of this letter was to (hopefully) attract active duty servicemembers, veterans, and law enforcement. We took an oath to the Constitution in order to join. The oath clearly gives us not only the option, but the responsibility to disobey ALL illegal orders. The police attacking peaceful protesters in the streets are in direct violation of that oath. If you are attacking peaceful people you are already on the wrong side of history.
Remember, focus on commonground. Just don’t look to government to be our saviors. Our politicians (yes, including our President) are bought and paid for by corporations and the mega banks. In fact, Obama’s biggest campaign donor is Goldman Sachs. His Treasury Secretary worked at Goldman Sachs himself. Why do you think some Europeans call us the United States of Goldman Sachs?
Semper Fi and Semper Occupare. Because nothing would terrify the establishment more than a united Occupy Tea Party movement.
– Cpl. Stephen Mark Allen, USMC