Saturday, July 2, 2016

Mud into Clay

Brexit and Gary Johnson have done things to challenge my outlook on voting, campaigns, and elections. Particularly, when it comes to the choice of participation, or how to participate. I hold an aversion to participation for a number of reasons, but as a result of these two topics I'm questioning how effective this tactic is when it comes to moving the discussion and action toward liberty.


It all comes back to Rothbard, as it always does. Murray had it right, our victories aren't necessarily in the results of elections. After all, nothing says that Brexit will actually happen. It's still waiting for a line up of rubber stamps and statist bureaucracies before the idea becomes tangible: In this process, there are multiple means to halt this from happening. We can't rely on the State to give liberty any approval.

While I'd be delighted to see the vote transferred to action tonight, tomorrow or in two months, in the grand scheme this isn't as important to me as seeing Sixteen Million people say "No, goodbye". A war of ideas was won, reminiscent of the Rothbard method of education and persuasion. I don't insist these same Sixteen Million people are libertarians, but this same group chose to remove a very large apparatus of control from their day to day governance. Two weeks ago this was the stuff of imagination, now it's what's put a smile on my face for over a week!

What followed was sections of the Bremain camp wanting to secede from the United Kingdom. As of this writing, there are movements in Northern Ireland, Scotland and London emboldened by the vote to further decentralize the UK. Though their motives are blatantly unlibertarian, Libertarians can still take heart. Freedom of Association and Secession aren't relegated to the dark corners of political discourse anymore. These aren't limited to the planks of Libertarian theory, these are now very human issues.

Don't take my word for it. Even California, socialist utopia of the west, boasts a small but budding secession movement that's since been emboldened by Brexit. No longer can the talking heads insist that secession and decentralization are the movements of racists, xenophobes, or fringe elements - lest they spite the poster children that comprise their power base.

The Elite has been painted into a corner as a result of Brexit. Even Obama has to use alternative language to maintain credibility in the conversation. A quote, from an interview on NPR:

"Mr. Trump embodies global elites and has taken full advantage of it his entire life," the president said. "So, he's hardly a spokesperson, a legitimate spokesperson, for a populist surge of working-class people on either side of the Atlantic."

Right, wrong, or otherwise isn't the point of this writing and citation. The State felt compelled to use anti-state language in an anti Global Elite context to keep it's place at the round table. The elders among us may correct me, but I can't recall a moment in recent history where this has happened.
The poltergeist of Lincolnism has been pointed out in the Haunted House of political discourse. The exorcist has been notified and may be on his way.

Gary Johnson:

I'll avoid restating what I've said already about the Libertarian that wasn't, you can read it here. But the rise of Johnson as the face of Libertarianism for the past two election cycles has me questioning my arm chair stance. Since I wrote my critique, Johnson only seems to get worse.

Kristol is interested in supporting Johnson.* 

That's interesting. I'd wager this has more to do with #NeverTrump than it does with favoring Johnson or Libertarianism, and likely motivated by supporting Hillary without overtly saying so. Despite this, when has Kristol ever given a second thought to Libertarians? This says more about Johnson than it does anything else. Anything that makes the likes of Kristol feel safe likely does little for liberty.

If the Libertarian Town Hall is any indication, Johnson would be right at home campaigning as a centrist Republican or Democrat.*

All of this, in the post Ron Paul age. Disappointing is an understatement.


While I obviously can't speak for everyone and I'm certain there was a presence, where was the Libertarian Wing of the Libertarian Party? Rightfully so, there's an aversion to participating in this process. The very nature of Democratic action is a violation of the non aggression principle.

But like Ron Paul, we don't have to become part of the game as a stakeholder in the outcome. Education and changing the conversation are infinitely more important. Even if Johnson was the Libertarian Savant, putting libertarian application into an existing apparatus of Statism is likely to yield little for liberty. Avoiding the Statist's chosen arena seems to do even less.

The results of both Brexit and the Libertarian nomination are challenging to my non-participation stance. If we'd like to effect the conversation, taking one step back out of the discourse doesn't help our cause. It gives the State a chance to take two steps forward. Which it did, the faces of liberty are Johnson and Weld. Did a non participation stance yield this result?

If ever there was a moment to inject unfiltered ideas of liberty into the conversation, it was this election cycle. Nuts to me for not participating. Maybe I'm off base, and I'd welcome some criticism to tell me why.

*Credit for these citations rests with Robert Wenzel and Justin Raimondo. Thanks to you both!

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