Take Liberty.com
Don't Ask Permission - Just Take It


Liberty Series
Anarchocapitalism & Libertarianism vs. Liberty
by   Richard   Rieben
Introduction - First Posted – 11 November 2003 – Revised 25/11/03
 
The arguments for anarchy and/or anarchocapitalism – and the arguments for limited government or constitutional government – both seem to bypass liberty on the road to an application.

And, given that we have the experience of juries in the U.S.A., I can't quite see how anyone can miss it. Perhaps it's just me.

All the arguments that I have read against anarchocapitalism are brilliant at demonstrating, by reference to human realities and logic, that anarchy, in any form, will only result in a "might is right" situation – rule by brute force, massive corruption, and no agreed-upon, standardized, enforceable definition of rights (law).

What they don't point out is that anarchy devolves into the kinds of coercive government bodies as now exist. Through the years, in a basically anarchic world, political agencies of coercion have formed to give us "protections." These agencies have been somewhat voluntary, in that most people have voted with their feet, whenever they have had sufficient freedom to do that.

Though they explicitly or implicitly subjugate their populations, conventional governments exist through a kind of "social sanction." That is, by protecting and enforcing the values of the group, they earn their sense of legitimacy. Governments justify themselves by promoting the "common good" or the "common weal." Without this facade of legitimacy – the sense that they are getting some benefit beyond security for their subjugation – most of the subjects would either leave the territory or replace the regime in power.

The present system is, at root, anarchocapitalistic. There are approximately 140 competing "protection agencies" around the world, offering their customers various levels of security, various degrees of freedom, a variety of protected "rights," and each having different pricing schedules, kickback arrangements, and "membership" requirements. Did you think it would look different? It won't – it doesn't.

Against that – against this – several excellent arguments have arisen for limited government agencies, i.e., those which are not empowered to exercise coercion offensively, but only in defense of the rights of their territorially homogenous citizens. In most respects, this is the official position of Libertarianism, but that position is interpreted variously, depending mostly on a person's cultural background (his tangible experience with and understanding of what a "government" is).

Self-promoting anarchists and anarchocapitalists confuse the issue of limited government by their willingness "to rob the aspects of limited government by including them as aspects of anarchy," as writer Roberto Diego puts it in an online article Anarchy, Liberty and the Libertarian Party. In consequence, some "libertarians" further quality themselves as "anarchocapitalist-libertarians."

Anarchocapitalists proclaim that we can "have complete freedom," if only we dispense with government entirely – and let the "market-place" take over the functions of government. As mentioned, this is a description of the present world, rather than a prescription for liberty. Anarchocapitalists claim that it would be different if we would erase all present forms and start over. In an online book review at The Independent Review, writer Gregory R. Johnson suggests otherwise:

"When the first two people came together for an economic transaction, they presupposed the existence of a shared social context in terms of which their actions were intelligible and without which their transaction would have been impossible. This shared context functioned as an external precondition for the market to arise. This context is not always the product of the state; in primitive societies, it takes the form of a common culture. But without some common context – cultural or political – the market cannot function."
Further, without a common standard or agreement, there is no defined principle of what is to be defended and how. As Diego relates:
"Anarchocapitalist writings frequently mention how man's rights might be protected by free market functions, in total neglect of the fact that man's rights cannot be consistently defended without documented approval of the citizenry through laws and established legal precedents, an approval which gives rise to the possibility of legality and objective law. Rights, although derived from the nature of man, cannot be achieved politically without a constitutional statement of them and a singular government's authority to uphold them."
Anarchocapitalism clearly depends on dropping context, and fantasizing that "somehow" it would work. The anarchist Jacobin Reign of Terror during the French Revolution provides a sufficient demonstration – and reminder – of how anarchy actually works: It transitions to conventional forms of government (it stabilizes over time), and the transition is marked by turmoil, destruction and suffering.

A broader philosophical argument, one that I have made is my books, is that part of the context that anarchists drop is the inherent nature of groups.

"Anarchists ... base their visions, of a world without government, upon the premise that the human being is basically decent. It is a valid premise, but it fails to take into account the nature of groups. All groups. Any group....

"Anarchy will not work because we will always have groups. And there will always be group values, whether these are familial, religious, moral, or civil. And, regardless of whether these values are healthy or unhealthy, if people are raised to them, they will seek to practice them, and seek to enforce/impose them upon others....

"The primary and secondary threats to human sovereignty come ... from groups, and from group philosophies that preach the submission of the individual to the group (for the individual's own 'good,' and the good of the group)....

"We need protection from groups. Anarchy does not give us this protection. Anarchy gives us only what we have always had. Anarchy is not revolutionary. Anarchy seeks to dismantle the apparatus without understanding the forces involved." [Handbook for Liberty]

Group nature is not the same as human nature. It is the nature of groups to subordinate individuals, to aggrandize power and to expand. Any group. This is part of understanding our real-world context. It is essential to understanding the function of a government, its composition, its structure, and its relationship to the individual.
"The proposition of liberty is a defiance of anarchy, a repudiation of all government bodies as presently constituted, [and] a quest for principles that define our political boundaries that are based on reason and justice rather than force and clout – a legitimacy by human standards, rather than group standards." [Blundering Social Bodies]
If we agree that the only proper function of an "agency" of liberty is the protection of the rights of individual human beings, regardless of how that protection is devised, then the "dispute" is over the issue of how to best accomplish this basic security. Ways and means ... but, by implication (and natural consequences), also: where we'll actually end up.

The limited-government advocates show that anarchy can't do it. The anarchocapitalists show that limited-government (in a conventional, authoritarian form) can't do it, either.

The choice is between no government agency at all (or a free market of competing firms), or a territorial, constitutional agency that we contract with for the limited purpose of defending individual rights.

In both cases, we have an agency that is external to ourselves, with which we contract (implicitly or explicitly) for protection.

Of the two choices, the limited-government option is at least workable. Because of its structural relationship to the citizens, regardless of the content of its protections, it will, in time, end up as a conventional authoritarian government, over its territory and its subjects.

However, neither this solution nor anarchist solutions are capable of effecting a condition of liberty.

We do need to dispense with "rulers" and "subjects." That is, we need to dispense with the conventional arrangement of a unilateral government – with an "external" agency, public or private. That is, with the unilateral (one-way) contract between ourselves and a group empowered with the use of force.

But, isn't that anarchocapitalism? No, because anarchy leaves it, vaguely, at that point, without putting anything in its place. And anarchy argues that if we put anything in its place, then its just a standard government, limited or otherwise.

But there is an alternative that is not usually on the plate. Our conditioning and education limits our understanding of "political" and "government" to the present and historical applications – and given us a false choice: you can have this kind of government or none at all.

With that kind of a choice, sensible people (up to a point) would probably choose "none at all," rather than some degree of tyranny (which is a FORM of government, but not the only form possible).

This dispute is not about practical forms or structures or solutions. It is about ideology, culture and psychology. The famed Austrian school of economics, led by Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe, promotes anarchocapitalism, but their goal is not anything I would call liberty, nor do I even consider their objectives humane. According to an online article by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, they envision a natural aristocracy, or natural order, that is "'elitist,' 'hierarchical,' 'proprietarian,' 'patriarchical,' and 'authoritorian.'" [sic]

In an online article titled, Authoritarianism, Racism and Anarchocapitalism, writer John J. Ray has written that, "Conservatives are people who are wary about the good intentions of others. They have a pessimistic view of human nature." This parallels (and sums up) the point that Rep. Ron Paul recently made about the philosophy of Neo-cons presently running amuck in Washington D.C. But it extends from there to many Libertarians, as well.

I begin to wonder if the anarchocapitalists and the limited government libertarians are not, perhaps, too authoritarian in their cultural bias and experience, in their Austrian "cultural" priorities, and in their essential Hobbesian conservatism to concede the possibility that self-government is not only workable, but is the only approach to structuring liberty that can work.

I oppose authority. I oppose anarchy. These are false solutions to liberty. And they are false alternatives.

They both come from people (philosophies) who don't get the concept. Who haven't thought about it. Who have a "pessimistic view of human nature." Who think their own group/cultural values are being enforced voluntarily. Who drop either the context of human nature or the context of group nature, or both.

The Reciprocia.com bumper sticker sums up a political alternative:

Rights are reciprocal;
Respect mine, and I'll respect yours.
Do we have a deal?
[... an agreement? a contract? a constitution?]

Liberty is not going to be established between you and me and an agency. That will never work.

Liberty is only going to be established between you and me ... operated by you and me ... and enforced by you and me. To our mutual benefit without – singularly without – any conflict of interest.

"In no other matter does an individual have as vital a stake as in his own security (the protection of his sovereignty), and in no other venue does he share such a value equally with all other human beings, universally. The establishment and maintenance of political boundaries is the sole arena of universal brotherhood. It cuts across all divides of culture, custom, and belief, and unites us. It is the single, universal common cause of the species. All else is divergence, as individuals and as groups. The erection and maintenance of liberty is the only common meeting ground of the species, because our individual sovereignty is the only possession we hold of equal value universally." [Handbook for Liberty]
The idea of self-government is a tradition dating back to the ancient Greece. It has made spotty, half-hearted appearances through the ages, but has always been neglected in favor of strong, dominant, caretaking governments. Self-government is the path to liberty. Conventional forms of government will not get us there. And anarchy will not get us anywhere, except to the traditional (existing) forms of government. If we want liberty, then we need to blaze a new trail.

It is likely that a number of libertarians and anarchocapitalists – and others – have ideological vested interests in various authoritarian, hierarchic, and patriarchal solutions, and they intentionally obscure the road to liberty, and denigrate or ignore anyone who stumbles upon that road and starts showing it to others.

It is evident to me that human nature is inherently a good thing ... and needs no masters. Indeed, the evidence shows that human nature is corrupted and brutalized by the master/slave relationship. Hence: dispense with all masters forthwith. This, however, is not the anarchocapitalists solution, which is to create the same kind of masters in what they call a "free market" context, nor is it the solution of the "limited" government proponents, who do see a need for masters, merely more accountable and less intrusive ones.

The idea that we could be our own masters is much pooh-poohed – without listening because the possibility of actual liberty is a threat to authoritarian, aristocratic, elitist goals and values. Liberty is philosophically opposed to such values. The objection is not that self-government is unworkable, but that it works too well. It co-opts authoritarian goals into nonauthoritarian realities. People in positions of power (academic, economic, military) reject self-government because they fear losing their power under liberty. Authoritarians proclaiming "liberty" are intent on preventing its realization. They won't even look at self-government, because, in pure form, it can't be co-opted.

Self-government is an ineffable term. It does not apply to any existing form of government. At one time, it was used, loosely, in conjunction with the American form of government, at least in respect to certain forms of participation by the people in regulating the "ruler" (i.e., the agency empowered with force over them).

Its use in the American experiment did not extend to doing away with the "ruler." It afforded a limited "say" by the subjects in how the ruler governed them.

Okay, yes, this was an awesome kind of experiment and advance in government structure. But it retained the structural trappings of conventional, patriarchal government at the same time. And the "say" of the subjects, once a coherent, if small, voice in some aspects of the rule, is now rarely heard at all, except as an incoherent, emotional groan, which the ruler quickly sweeps aside (and presumes to tell his subjects, through his media, what they are to feel and think, especially in regard to their government).

In the midst of our present sociopolitical flummox, the word "political" is seen as dirty and contemptible. That's a common view. It is a view based upon every application of the term in recorded history. But the field that word describes is critical to every man, woman and child.

Political science is a branch of philosophy (following epistemology, metaphysics and ethics) that studies the natural boundaries between and amongst human beings. It precedes sociology, while defining it. It precedes psychology, while anticipating and relying on it. This is the single most critical branch of philosophy in terms of application. Its real-world impact on our lives is more tangible and pervasive than any other branch of philosophy.

Do not abandon "politics" because all the applications you've ever encountered (or seen theorized) are crap. This field – this concept – is pivotal to your survival, and to your humanity.

The same argument applies to the word "government."

One anarchist argument defined "government" as "the jurisdiction exercised over the people; rule" and – correctly – threw the whole thing away. Anarchists have great instincts. But they don't look far enough.

Government is also defined as "control." Self-control is a necessary adjunct to the healthy functioning of a matured human being. It parallels the development of conscious, aware and intentional capabilities, and culminates in assuming responsibility for one's behavior and thoughts.

As sovereign entities, no human being on earth is in a "politically" subordinate position to any other person, group or institution. Individuals are, inherently, self-governing entities.

The "self-government" of political liberty is not, however, anarchic. It is contractual – between sovereign entities, themselves.

Instead of a unilateral contract with an external agency (also called a "government," conventionally), sovereign individuals contract bilaterally, amongst themselves. This can be framed as a constitutional contract – the terms of which are fulfilled by those signing the contract.

To explain this idea of self-governance, it is "like" the jury system, but expanded into every aspect of the "protection of our own rights," which is the fundamental, inalienable responsibility of every human being.

"It is not 'government' in the sense of governing others. It is 'government' in the meaning of 'a system instituted by the people of a given territory to effect security of their rights and liberties amongst themselves.' It is not democracy in the sense of majority rule, but in the sense of participatory government by the entire demos. It is not republican in the sense of representative legislators, but of representative participation in the monitoring and enforcement of one's own security (by office, by jury, and by lottery in either case). It is not rule of laws (handed down from 'above'), but rule of principle using laws or guides that derive – practically, sensibly, and consistently – from this principle: that the individual is sovereign in its entirety, and that this sovereignty is universal and thusly delimited." – [Reciprocia]
The Reciprocian application of self-government has been described as "an anarchocapitalist application of libertarian ideas." I reject the compliment(?) and the category (either one, actually).

Self-government, as described and applied in the book Reciprocia, repudiates both anarchy and conventional, but limited, forms of government. It reinvents government, based upon the single idea that we can effect our own protection on our own behalf, and upon our own responsibility, given that we retain a stake in the proceedings and control over the apparatus or machinery.

This is innovative, but not pie-in-the-sky.

The philosophy which precedes this application is non-domination. It is philosophically and structurally non-hierarchic, non-patriarchal, non-elitist, and non-aristocratic. It is designed in recognition of the inherent sovereignty of every human being on the planet. It is also non-egalitarian. It acknowledges that every human being on the planet is uniquely composed, and is unequal to every other human being, except in regard to his/her sovereignty, alone. Upon this basis, it recognizes that every human being is politically equal to every other human being. And that it is, therefore, the equal responsibility of every human being to provide for his/her own political protection, without giving-over, delegating or relinquishing their inalienable sovereignty and responsibility.

"When we contract unilaterally with an agency and give-over our individual responsibility, we become, in fact, irresponsible and susceptible to tyranny....

"Where the personal responsibility for one's rights has been given over to another, so has the right to them. The possession of personal rights, as a birth right, entails full responsibility for them, as a birth obligation. Lose or alienate either one, and the other will be likewise lost." – [Reciprocia]

The Reciprocian structure is also innovative in the sense that it is non-hierarchic, and thus avoids generating the usual power structure. It is fully operated by those, and only those, who have a stake in its functions (of the protection of individual rights), and it bars power or authoritative sanction to groups of any description.

The really nice thing about Reciprocian self-government is that it is not predicated upon a society of "rational human beings." It neither requires nor produces any particular "kind" of human being. This is not political, social or educational engineering, nor is it utopian in any sense. It is solely about respecting rights. That's the field. You don't have to be Christian, you don't have to be rational, you don't have to be ethical, you don't have to be an atheist, or an altruist, or anything, anyhow, anyway.

You gotta be a person; that's the main qualification ... and you gotta reach an agreement: that this contract protects your sovereignty in exchange for your participation in effecting it. You can be normal or abnormal; ordinary or extraordinary; poor as dirt or rich as blazes; dumb as dishwater or smart as hell, or even a smart ass. It's for people, not ideologues. And that's the main reason why it works. And it does work ... but only to effect liberty. (If you don't want liberty, don't go here.)

If you have read and understand the literature of the Fully Informed Jury Association, you will realize that the jury system is the single remaining operative form of government-by-citizens in the U.S.A. Its present operation is inefficient and muted, due to suppression and voidance of its power, and to the replacement of the jury by federal judges/courts, which vacates self-rule entirely. But the jury system is not just a silly old relic of some ancient regime of domination. It is the single most innovative and pro-liberty element in the history of our authoritarian governments. It is the key to their replacement and to the achievement of actual liberty.

I did not base the structure of Reciprocia upon the jury system. I did not start there. I started with the sovereign individual and, from the ground up, invented a structure FOR that entity. The jury system fits. Nothing else (that you would recognize) fits. There is no head of state. There is no legislature, congress, senate, or parliament. There is no separate military branch. There are no lawyers. There is no external power, aside from the contract (agreement/constitution) itself, which is vested with its power (and its viability) through the signatures and participation of the people, who, themselves, delineate the content and terms of the contract.

In itself, this form of government has nothing to do with the operation of a "free market." It is not defined by its economics, but by the singular protection of the individual rights of sovereign human beings. (A free market follows from that, not the other way around.)

For the past fifty years, the buzzword, "anarchocapitalism," has become an increasingly audible hum in many libertarian circles. But the "buzz" is that of someone asleep at the wheel: who hasn't thought it through, and isn't paying attention to where they're going. It seems to be "hip" these days amongst sly old academics, college students, and certain conservatives. They focus on nifty Rothbardian details, like insurance and competing court systems, with the same starry-eyed zeal that the communist youth (and academia) of the 1930's prattled on about labor taking over the means of production. Ooooh! Imagine how neat it would be!

I empathize with anyone's desire for a better system (and a better world) than what presently exists. I empathize with the willingness to imagine and invent alternatives. I even empathize, to some degree, with a willingness to be bamboozled a bit by people selling snake oil – an eagerness to hang your hat on something that makes sense to you (at least as far as it goes, and if you don't actually think about it).

I further empathize with the effects of growing up and living in a collectivist culture, such that independent thought is a burden and challenge. I do know the temptation of laying down your mind at the door of a particular philosophy or belief system. Our conformist culture teaches us to do this. It is reinforced in all of our social and cultural interactions.

I empathize with the struggle for individual and intellectual autonomy. It ain't easy being your own person. (Well, hell, yes; it is too! But getting there feels like forever, uphill, with no light at the end of the tunnel.)

Popularity (yours or mine) is meaningless to the viability of political ideas in a real-world application. It is hard to evaluate people who are buzzing with non-concepts and quoting illustrious names left and right. One thinks: "new convert" to the ideas of liberty and individualism. But most people, I think, can be "new" converts for years at a stretch, without exercising their minds – and without getting the concept.

This is not unlike Christians, who are clueless about Christ's message, or Muslims, who are clueless about Mohammed's message. Religion and political philosophy can be very similar, in that you are "attracted" to a given collective position, "side" with it, read all the literature and go through all the motions, and never grasp that the essential message is: leave authoritarian collectives, be your own person, and submit to no other human being (physically, morally, esthetically, politically or intellectually).

Another rationale for clueless "liberty loving individuals" for whom I have a degree of sympathy, if not much empathy, are those who come to these ideas through brilliant and beguiling fantasy writers – these writers are illusionists, mind you – and who never think about the ideas in the context of the real world, but only in the continuing fantasies in their own minds. These people are little more than drug addicts. (Yes, fiction is an addiction – TV, film, print – and is a derailment which is integral to our collectivist culture and our political decline.) One should not really expect addicts to be very bright on the concepts – or any realities.

Thus far, this is a "benefit of the doubt" approach that I usually think is sufficient for why presumed liberty lovers can be so authoritarian, or why presumed individualists can be such submissive, cultural collectivists.

Another approach, reluctantly confronted and within which I find no empathy, is that there are a lot of hucksters out there – selling "liberty-protection," selling legalistic, stop-gap solutions, selling bottled liberty snake oils, and trying to convince you that authoritarianism, patriarchy, and hierarchy are compatible with individual liberty (which agenda can only be explained by a desire to perpetrate some form of sodomy – on you).

Many people in the liberty movement have a power-over, domination agenda. Their ability to divert, subvert and re-channel the foggy quest for liberation into domination is the stuff of legend, charismatic personalities, and mesmerizing intimidation. They are there to derail the movement; to make sure it never succeeds. This is not a conspiracy. It is equal parts of philosophy and psychology. But it's rarely conscious or intentional.

The liberty movement itself, as any kind of activity or gathering, is composed of decidedly irregular people. A mixed crowd. But every person in the crowd is a product of collectivist culture, and conditioned to a conventional value system and socialized morality. This is integral to their identity, even as they strike-out for personal autonomy and political liberty. The conflict in this crowd is mostly internal – within the individuals. Their quest for "liberty" is often focused by that internal conflict onto a single issue. On other issues, these individuals may be rabidly conventional, ambivalent or confused. And, as such, they may be – either or both – prey or predator, depending on whom they encounter.

A final approach or explanation deals with the behind-the-scenes conspirators, many of whom watch, infiltrate, and manipulate the various pro-liberty movements and activities. These conspirators are real and do have an impact. Even as they manipulate world events to further their agenda, at many different levels, so do they have an impact on the activities of liberty movements and philosophies. For a balanced, historical overview of the varied secret forces, see Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs.

Because the drive for liberty is intimate and personal – a felt-thing; a basic, primordial drive – many liberty lovers presume that such primal activities are not subject to much scrutiny. Further, many libertarians tend to think that, because the quest for liberty is already so scattered and hopeless, the powers-that-be will just ignore us. Well, think on that for a minute: why is something so inherent to our very humanity so "scattered and hopeless"? I don't think it's accidental. It is not in the nature of liberty itself. Indeed, if the opposition to liberty were not so robustly active, we would fall into liberty with hardly any effort – we wouldn't be able to stop ourselves.

Many active, competent minds are engaged in scattering the flame, intentionally. They've been so engaged for centuries. The fact of world events and conditions (damn near everything) exemplifies anti-liberty forces in high gear, and with no relief in sight (don't be deluded). In this context – in a real-world context – it would be absurd to believe that the public liberty movements had not already been co-opted.

You will still find many people therein, a majority even, who are honestly and sincerely committed to liberty. As mentioned previously, much of the co-opting of liberty is not even intentional. It is more an internal self-sabotaging that derives from our cultural conditioning and common assumptions – within a conformist, collectivist, statist culture. In this milieu – with so many liberty lovers unintentionally shooting themselves in the foot – the intentional saboteurs do not even stand out.

It is true that liberty lovers and freedom fighters stumble around a heck of a lot, and rather predictably shoot ourselves in the foot, as we race out the door – and trip over the door jam. Ineffectual and self-sabotaging. That's our leitmotif. And that is a pretty good public characterization. True, it doesn't make us attractive to others (who wants to join of bunch of stumblebums?), but it does make us less of a target.

The drive for liberty is innate. And it is personally powerful. But a movement for liberty would be quickly crushed if it ever came into a focused position of turning the tide against statism and domination. To those in power, the forces of liberty will, preferably, be diverted or co-opted before they can gain such power or momentum.

Consider this: A free country would not be some special society of "rational human beings." It would just be a free country, with free, but otherwise normal, human beings. As such, they would be more aware and self-responsible than you are, and at a deeper level than you imagine. And they wouldn't be a bunch of stumblebums, because they wouldn't be trying to be free, they would just be free. But forget this utopian projection, and focus on the impact of such a country, or state, in today's world. Yes, it would be attractive to a LOT of people. And that's the problem.

There are powerful forces active in the world today. Forces that can conjure up a war in Iraq on no pretext whatsoever. Forces that can manipulate events into a war in Vietnam, with a phony episode in the Gulf of Tonkin. That can "arrange" to have Pearl Harbor attacked so that the USA will be "forced" to enter an European conflict. That can remote-control two huge airline planes into two towers that are loaded with explosives, and arrange to make it appear that the planes were hijacked, and that the towers turned to dust through the planes' jet fuel alone, in order to ... oh, hey: you're already here, and what do you think your little country/state of "liberty" is going to do against forces like these?

Turn it around? Think about this. Think context. Think conspiracy. Think big.

Do you think they're going to ignore you? Oh, so far, fine. Just keep shooting yourself in the foot. No problem.

The authoritarian diversions (anarchic or miniarchic) are excellent ways to shoot liberty in the foot. I agree that liberty isn't a "beaten path," but a bunch of stumblebums aren't going to turn it into a beaten path in their lifetimes.

It is relevant that liberty activists know what liberty is composed of, and where they intend to go – explicitly. But that's just opening the door, so to speak, to a real-world application.

The application of liberty will attract liberty-hungry hordes and, simultaneously, provoke the wrath of Khan (the Illuminati, Freemasons, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderbergers, CIA, Vatican, Mossad, Skull and Bones ... and/or your favorite secret cabal), assuming they let it get that far.

I had thought to make some clarifications on the muddle and derailment of the liberty movement. And to explain, again, that liberty is not about economics or authoritarianism or collectivism. But, having done so, I wonder if it matters. Maybe it isn't relevant.

The liberty movement is a game. It's a fairly innocuous game. Nobody is very serious about it. Nobody is even very clear what liberty consists of. That doesn't seem to be a requirement. And less clear how to achieve it – perhaps this is reserved as a subject for entertaining debate; how nice. It doesn't cost much to play this game, and it's a fairly risk-free indulgence.

The liberty movement is not going to disappear or come to fruition any time soon. It is unlikely to even gain much momentum.

The liberty movement, no matter how active, is not about the application of liberty. It may be something about "keeping the ideas of liberty alive." But, honestly, 9/10th's of it is idealistic dead-wood, and the 1/10th that isn't completely off-target does not suffer fools gladly. Liberty lives inside human beings. As long as there are human beings, the flame for liberty will burn – untended.

The liberty movement game is not about achieving liberty, but is dedicated to the prevention of liberty on this planet.

The game is composed of indoctrinated collectivists, fantasy addicts, academics, authority-worshippers – of superiors and subordinates – all of whom are products of the statist, collectivist culture that they were reared in.

The quest for liberty burns in the heart of every human being. It takes massive brainwashing to dampen that flame. To the degree that this cultural suppression fails, the vague feelings must be co-opted and re-channeled. To oppose or resist these feelings is dangerous – it can lead to organized and successful rebellions. The whole thing must be handled carefully, quietly, and openly; that is, with a show of agreeing with the goal of liberty, while confusing the patient (subject, slave) on the meaning of liberty and on how to achieve it. Instead of "opening a door" and walking into the ballroom of liberty, the patient's progress is marked by confusion, struggle, criticisms, frustration ... and cynicism.

If the quest for liberty has been so completely co-opted – to the point that every organization purporting to be in favor of liberty is actually intended to prevent liberty (originally or by mouthing the same liberty-killing doctrines that have been originated by co-opters) ... well, then, perhaps there's nothing more to be said here.

When the all the people supporting and proclaiming liberty, of every mark, stamp and description, are actively set on preventing, suppressing and co-opting any possible chance of its realization ... and when there are thousands of websites engaged similarly in proclaiming/killing liberty ... then its time to realize that the market for liberty has been taken over. And the marketplace. The people preaching/proclaiming liberty are desirous of preventing it. The people supporting the movement are also desirous of preventing it.

Every facet of the "liberty" movement is Orwellian-speak, meaning just the opposite.

If you want liberty, don't go there.

Oddly enough, most people already know this.

I guess the "stumblebum dance" is a bit too well choreographed for anyone to take at face value.

 

Liberty Series - Chapter 1
 
copyright © 2005 by Richard G. Rieben