Reaching 20,000

Given the upcoming snap election I thought it might be appropriate to reflect on the health of the Libertarian movement in the UK.

I am of the opinion that Libertarianism, in the long run, stands a good chance of being a dominant system of ethics and political operations if it exerts cultural pressure as opposed to being a purely political entity. In practice this would mean that Libertarianism would seep into the mainstream through films, artworks, books, presence in academia and through social media.

The problem is that this would be impossible for a small group of people to organise (no matter how talented they were) and require and an endless pit of resources in order to proceed.

In the short run then it would seem sensible to consider galvanising the British Libertarian movement around something more tangible. Perhaps a political party (just putting it out there), annual gathering or literature festival would be appropriate.

We will also need to devise a way of measuring our progress.

The historical benchmark for political significance in the modern world appears to be around the 20,000 mark.

After a long battle against insignificance and humiliation UKIP consolidated its party membership at around 20,000 before increasing rapidly in the mid-2010s. 20,000 seemed to be the point at which it became a credible party that could be a player of the political stage.

On a much grimmer note; at their strongest in 2014 the CIA put a conservative estimate on the number of fighters in ISIS at around 20,000.

If we go back slightly further. On the eve of Hitler’s march to power in 1923 the Nazi party had 20,000 members. The Paris Commune supposedly had about 20,000 active combatants and right before the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Bolshevik party had just over 20,000 members.

I apologise for my reference to all of the loathsome political organisations above who are all horrific in their own way. They were merely the figures that first sprang to mind when I decided to write this piece.

The figure of 20,000 is an arbitrary one. But it does appear to be the dividing line between something significant and relative obscurity.

Clearly, a case could be made that for the Libertarian movement to be an important force in Britain. 20,000 is a good target to aim for.

I do not know what exactly that figure should be comprised of. Party members, attendees at a conference, readers of a certain news periodical etc. But what harm is there in at least having some sort of goal to get us started?

 

 

  28 comments for “Reaching 20,000

  1. Paul Marks
    May 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I suspect that freedom will only be tried when everything else has failed – not just socialism, but also the government take over of education, healthcare, old age, poverty relief and so on.

    I think there is no chance (none) that people will turn away from these things before they collapse – and they may not turn away from them even then.

    It may be the case that even the utter failure of policy does not need lead to a change in policy – the statism of the late Roman Empire did not lead to a change in policy (even though it took a very long time for the Empire to fall – and (“late antiquity” fools please note) the Dark Ages were very real – see the little book by Byran Ward-Perkins “The Fall of Rome: And The End Of Civilisation” the end of Empire led to population collapse and collapse even in the size of farm animals (no point in having animals that take a long time to grow – when there are bands of savages raiding all over the place, and many of those savage criminals will be from Roman families as society breaks down, it is not just a matter of barbarians crossing the borders).

    HOWEVER – had there been 20 thousand people in the Empire arguing publically that policy should be fundamentally changed (taxation drastically reduced, an end to the state take over of production, an end to the regulations trying to control every aspect of life), it might have actually been changed – in desperation as everything collapsed.

    People do not (mostly) want to suffer and die – they carry on with bad policy because they do not know of an alternative.

    If most people not only see things collapsing around them, but ALSO know of an alternative policy (which has been presented to them, n detail, for years) – they may well adopt it.

  2. Paul Marks
    May 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    By the way the barbarians could be more advanced than the, post collapse, Romans.

    The Romans had large factories (powers by water mills and so on) producing everything from pottery to weapons.

    The Germanic tribes had village craftsmen – people who could not produce the stuff that Roman factories could.

    But now think post-collapse. The Germanic tribes still have village craftsmen – think “Forged in Fire” types – and the “citizens” have…….

    Well they have some village craftsmen – but not so much (after all there had been all these factories…..).

    So suddenly the barbarians are more advanced (in what they can produce) than the citizens – who are busy starving to death (or engaging in “Walking Dead” activities).

    Skills take time to learn – and they need people to teach you. All rather hard with civilisation collapsing around you (Mad Max style).

    But the barbarians already had the skills of village craftsmen – they did not need to learn them.

    They did not have to learn how to fight (that is itself a skill – try and fight with a sword if you have never used one before, you are a dead man) because they already knew how to fight – they did not rely on a professional army.

    And they did not need to learn how to make stuff village craftsmen style – because they already knew how to do that.

    In every way the “world was turned upside down” – the primitive barbarians were still primitive (see the post holes of barbarian huts in the ashes of burned Roman buildings), but they were less primitive than the citizens – who could not even make pottery, and thought that weapons came with the Imperial service (not from the village forge).

    In such places as what are now France and Spain and so on – the Germanic barbarians became aristocrats ruling what was left of the Roman population.

    Not just because they knew how to fight – but because they (the Germanic barbarians) could actually make things – not as well or in such vast amounts as the old Roman factories, but at least they could make some things. They were not like Cargo Cultists waiting for stuff to appear from production centres that no longer existed.

  3. Julie near Chicago
    May 10, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Paul, your (excellent) second comment brings up a point that I’ve been pondering for quite awhile now.

    Which is, what with all this wonderful technology we have that makes our lives so much easier (and in many ways it does), and more fun (and it does), and pleasanter in general — and it certainly does, although there are also certainly costs aplenty also — and even provides us with medical know-how and technology that lengthens our lives, generally speaking …

    What with all this, we are now in a situation where most of us cannot begin to take care of ourselves if our cushy infrastructure goes phlooey. Our magnificent cities … but how will the people there eat if the electrical grid goes down for four or five days; how will they communicate? Keep warm in winter, or safe from death by heatstroke in summer (depending on their particular climate, of course)? If the grid goes down AND the generators eventually run out of fuel, what about the hospitals? What about the many people who are able to live at home, but depend on electricity for their life-support?

    In a serious physical war, or even no war but with a long procession of ersatz “leaders” at our various helms, people who squander the taxes they collect on sexy speculations and projects, at the cost of ignoring the condition of the roads and bridges that it’s unfortunately part of their jobs to look after; in such a circumstance, how will food and medicine be delivered to, say, some 320,000,000 of us here in America?

    My point is that it is possible to become too interdependent, too reliant on other people’s successful performance of their own particular jobs.

    I am no Luddite, but everything has a price, and I think that the lack of the “homely” skills such as serious gardening, hunting, even knowing how to light a fire in the absence of abundant natural gas delivered down the pipe to your very own stove … is potentially a lot more serious than the manmade-global-warming catastrophe that isn’t happening and, in my opinion at least, is altogether unlikely to happen.

    I’m not preaching a Doom Any Day Now! sermon here. I just think that as individuals and families and smallish groups of people who know each other and can pool their skills so as to survive, it would behoove us to love our lives and our wonderful technology, but to keep alive the know-how that could see us through if ever TSHTF in a really disastrous way.

    Better to be a live village smithy than a dead James Taggart, if you see what I mean.

    • R. Herst --West Coast of U.S.
      May 10, 2017 at 11:33 am

      Paul Marks is correct regarding the overspecialization and excessive dependence on “Civilization”. If one does not actively learn how to do more than your specialized job, you may be unable to survive if conditions cripple your Civilization. One of the obvious examples of over dependence is the readiness to turn over much of your control of the world around you, just on the grounds that “the automated stuff works better than I can do, so why bother to learn or practice the foundational skills?”….which apparently caused the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco in 2013. In that case, there was a pilot new to that plane type with limited flights with full manual control on the landing approach. In this incident, the glide slope guidance system at the airport was offline due to maintenance, and the pilot might not have had a good “feel” for a manual approach, since he apparently was landing too slow and too low to land safely. He was an experienced pilot in other plane types, so he may not have had a good “hand-to-eye” or “sear of the pants” feel for what that new plane type should feel like and how the approach should look from the pilot’s seat. Similar thing probably happened to the B-2 bomber that crashed at Guam on takeoff….defective sensors gave the pilot the wrong digital speed info for safe takeoff, and the pilot probably didn’t have many manual takeoffs under his belt so he didn’t realize that the scenery was going by at the wrong speed for proper takeoff. Incidentally, the runway at Guam was more than long enough (2+ Miles) for a longer takeoff roll if the pilot had wanted to gather more speed. But when he rotated at the lower speed, the plane stalled almost immediately and the pilots ejected because they didn’t have enough time to save the situation. High tech is great, but have a backup plan, with appropriate skills.

      I agree with Julie that today’s society does not usually teach people in the normal course of their lives, how to live in a more primitive mode, but those skills and appropriate equipment are not irretrievably unobtainable. One is not limited to learning only those things that the government allows you to do.

      Many things and processes can be understood if they are approached in digestible chunks, especially with the help of today’s “Free Life Educational Service”, usually known as the internet or YouTube instructional videos. It helps if you know someone who already has some well established “primitive” or “low-tech” skills, but it isn’t absolutely necessary if you view YouTube and proceed with caution, or take beginning classes at your local adult education centers. A good place to start is to learn how basic hand tools work…not electricity or gasoline are needed for proper functioning, and they rarely wear out. Get a friend to show you how to change a tire or your spark plugs, or how to jump start a car/truck. Even after you learn these basics, you are not required to perform those functions if you are nicely dressed and you have an Auto Club Roadside assistance card….but it’s nice to know how to do something if help is not quickly available.

      Some people already have some basic mechanical or nature skills (backpacking, outdoor cooking, building expedient shelters, navigating by compass or stars or sun, dealing with first aid and dangerous animals), which only need to be broadened to improve one’s chances of surviving a wide range of situations under power-outage or environmental emergencies. As Heinlein put it in “Time Enough for Love” — “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” A pretty good starting point for developing your skills! Skills, once learned, are rarely completely lost, so they can be refreshed when needed, much like “riding a bike”.

      At a slightly higher level of technology, one can keep electrical devices running if you have a Kerosene/multi-fuel generator (beware differing voltages and cycle rates, and get proper convertors) in case the power grid becomes erratic, as it often is in Third World nations. And for the longer term power outages including year-long societal collapse, you can learn (YouTube!) how to make your own bio-diesel/diesel/kerosene fuel for your generator.

      Other skills, including food-growing, martial arts, shooting, self-defense tactics, and gunsmithing are quite straightforward because they are “primitive”, but they benefit from at least semi-regular practice if you have the opportunity.

      Please do not assume that I am telling everyone to just go out and perform possibly dangerous actions before you learn how to do things.

      • Paul Marks
        May 10, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        One weird thing is the cult-like faith in automation when it clearly works less well than having people do something – indeed even when it does not work at all.

        “Automation MUST be best” is a theological belief of our time.

        As for your suggestions of what a person should learn – I think they are excellent suggestions. But one must also have room – even the most skilled person is likely to die in a real collapse, in a place a crowed as Britain. Someone in (say) New Zealand has a better chance – if they have real skills.

      • Julie near Chicago
        May 13, 2017 at 4:32 pm

        In particular, with regard to the comments by Paul and Randy above, who I think are speaking of somewhat different aspects of the problems of surviving catastrophe, and with somewhat different assumptions about its causes, circumstances, degree, and longevity; and both of whose remarks I think are excellent:

        .

        I didn’t mean so much skills or methods formally taught in school, but a certain attitude of self-reliance, such as that backed by skills learned in children’s clubs such as Boy Scouts (and, I presume, Girl Scouts — ?) and 4-H.

        (I would assume these activities are still the main mainstay (so to speak) of these clubs, although unfortunately attention has shifted, at least in the case of the Scouts, to politicization and putting the achievement of Perfect PC Equality and Inclusiveness ahead of all else .)

        Naturally, the parents can teach a lot, if they have the skills themselves and use them in their regular lives (not just as special projects), with the help of their children. Or parents and children can learn at least the rudiments of skills new to them, as a companionable joint activity. And if all goes reasonably well, the children develop a basic attitude of self-reliance. (The storied “Can-do” attitude of Americans — but I’m not so sure we’re the only society that has, or had, this attitude.)

        Still, all this pertains to what individuals in certain circumstances, which are far from universal at least in my country, can do to increase their chances of survival in a relatively short-term major disruption.

        But very many people are not in such good circumstances; and the disruption may be long-term indeed. Notoriously, for instance, when war on the home territory — or near it — occurs, people can no longer be sure of the availability of TP, or soap, or medicine, or even bread. There are also examples where cataclysm is brought on by other circumstances, as in Venezuela. (The stupidity, blindness, callousness, and actual individual aims of those in power, helped along by — guess what — a mindset of “the government must and will help us,” or so I gather.) In this latter case, it seems to me there must be a broad segment of the society in whose outlook self-reliance is not a major feature, except perhaps “grab what you can for yourself today, lest by tonight you be dead.”)

        Notice that these sorts of cataclysms don’t always result in a situation where people are continually in deadly danger from their fellows. Great Britain herself comes to mind, during WW II.

        It depends a great deal, I think, on what people believe about the outlook and values and history of their own societies and of mankind in general.

        . . .

        My own initial impulse in writing my first comment above was to point out that it’s folly just to assume that any part of our vital infrastructure will always be there, and that we can coast on it happily while still more jolly technological goodies (such as electricity, transportation of people and goods, communication, medical treatment, entertainment, play) are developed, often by us ourselves (as for example by computer and other electronics engineers — among many others).

        For example, it strikes me as insane that people would entrust their most valuable research and its results, not to mention personal information, to The Cloud. And this is true even when they’re sensible enough to keep very private copies of their own.

        One of the chief practical elements in the makeup of a serious libertarian is his belief that self-reliance is one of the major life-supporting values. Don’t misunderstand me: This in no way eliminates the value of coöperative efforts. But “let George do it,” where George is The Gov or some accepted Leadership With A Program, is not self-reliance, and it’s also not safe.

        Example: My grandfather’s farm and those of many other farmers in an area of perhaps as much as 16 square miles, happened to contain patches where natural soil drainage was very poor, which resulted in lots of rotting crops and mired tractors (and, I daresay, horses and equipment in the pre-tractor age). Eventually these gentlemen got together and decided to fix the problem themselves, laying tile in appropriate places to carry off water toward a local stream. This took more than a year, and lots of personal sweat and a bit of cash, but it worked fine.

        There was no government involvement in the end. (I don’t know whether there was ever an appeal for help from township, county, or state government or not. If so, it was denied or ignored.)

        Self-reliance and coöperation, both.

    • Paul Marks
      May 10, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Yes Julie – within living memory most things could (just about) be repaired by a skilled person, but now everything is electronic that is not so.

      Also the teaching of practical skills has been in decline for many decades. When things get difficult one does not need people who have studied “self esteem” and “social studies” – one needs people with physical skills.

      Too many people are like me – they have no practical skills.

      And men like the village smithy created the first railways – George Stevenson.

      James Taggart was, of course, no use to anyone – other than bureaucrats and media types. The world of Atlas Shrugged is, alas, our world.

      • R. Herst --West Coast of U.S.
        May 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        Hi

        Yes, many people have never been taught foundational physical skills by the Establishment, but they CAN learn many of those skills on their own.

        The main issue then becomes: How to motivate people to pick up some useful skills? I’d suggest the development of “hobby or interest groups” so that the learning process would be fun and enjoyable, so that the participants would actually look for opportunities to engage in the new activities. A little friendly competition would attract some other people who don’t see learning activities as “fun”.

        Even in UK with its more limited space, I would think that one could still find some parks and farms where one could try some basic outdoor techniques. And you Brits could even schedule a trip to America, Canada, and other countries for the lure of “exotic vacations’.

        Would such training and learning be the most intense and efficient way to spdread basic knowledge? Probably not, but even a modestly trained car mechanic or backpacker would be far better in terms of survival odds compared to people who have little or no experience/education.

        Even a bit of training and experience will show the novice that things are not hopeless or totally alien, and they can be analyzed with some reasonable chance of figuring out how to do something towards solving the problem. Finding an experienced friend or club/hobby group member to observe and talk to is a very good way to learn more with less trial and error. YouTube is a decent substitute for a mentor or club.

        I haven’t had any formal high school or college classes in auto repair or gunsmithing or plumbing or carpentry, but I can do a fair amount in those fields just by applying general physical principle after a little careful observation.

        • Paul Marks
          May 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

          Interesting.

  4. May 10, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Yes Jordan. This is something I have been wrestling with. To grow you need a sense of an achievable purpose, or perhaps a loosely related bag of minor goals. The goal itself is secondary to the goal of growing the movement, but without a goal the movement won’t grow. It is a little bit chicken-and-egg too, because if your movement is tiny then all goals seem impossible.

    The questions I have been asking attendees at the Meetups are an attempt to cut through this knot. They do, on their own, appear to be somewhat energising which is good.

    • May 10, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      I guess the issue is what would those numbers be comprised off. I am not sure what the answer is on that one.

      I imagine an enrmous ammount of effort would be needed to get somthing going but it would be seriously worthwhile and very rewarding!

  5. Paul Marks
    May 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I think there are enough libertarians in the United States for people there to at least know what libertarianism is – for it to be a live alternative if everything falls apart,although every American television post collapse series (and Hollywood film) has collectivist little groups, no real production or trade (both of which depend on private property).

    Britain? Britain is dominated by a historical narrative that sees the rise of statism from the late Victorians on, to be be “reform” and automatically good. It is not the case that the British oppose change (that is a bit of a myth) – but they do not change back, admit ERROR.

    Getting out of the E,U, (if it happens – and that is a big if) will be a rare admission or error – that “history” can get things wrong and that we can CHOOSE to reverse events.

    Can we reverse other mistakes – such as the replacement of vital elements of Civil Society by the state?

    I doubt it – but perhaps we can.

    • May 11, 2017 at 8:58 am

      The point about the ‘historical narrative’ is an important one. That is why it’s imperative that the Libertarian message does not focus on ‘going back to the good old days’ because people will always throw up objections involving workhouses, chimney sweeps and Gradgrind style businessmen.

      However false it might be; the Dickensian image of the pre-liberal reforms Britain is deeply ingrained in the British Psyche.

      Libertarianism needs to be centred around a positive images of letting professionals run services instead of inept politicians and an ideology at ease with the new digital world.

      Politics is as much about imagery and identity as it is about policy.

      • Paul Marks
        May 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm

        Yes – the confusion of primitive technology (primitive Capital levels) with government policy.

        Most people really believe that poverty (and so on) were reduced by government action (not by capitalist capital investment over time). That people such as Disraeli and Lloyd-George came along and passed Acts of Parliament that magically made things better (with government regulations and with spending funded by taxes on “the rich”).

        It is similar to the late Roman attitude (hence my first comments) – no matter how total the failure of interventionism the cry always was for the Emperor to do more (never less).

        Even American Republicans just assume that more government spending makes things better – for example the recent Sales Tax increase in South Dakota for government teacher pay.

        It is difficult not to despair – but we must struggle on.

        • Julie near Chicago
          May 12, 2017 at 4:56 pm

          “There oughta be a law.”

          Unfortunately, Paul, you are correct. :>(

          • Paul Marks
            May 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm

            Yes – but how do we fight it Julie, how do we “spread a different narrative” (the truth) as the young people have been discussing.

  6. Julie near Chicago
    May 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Everyone: The comment I just posted above, May 13, 2017 at 4:32 pm , should have been down here at the end of the current comment stream, and NOT in response to any particular comment (in this case, Paul’s). That was part of the point!

    I suppose I erred somewhere.

    • Paul Marks
      May 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Any thoughts on how to regain the “narrative” for freedom, Julie?

      • Julie near Chicago
        May 14, 2017 at 11:41 pm

        Oh, Paul! Of course I do! You sit in the closest thing to a comfortable chair that you can find, and work your little fingers to the bone telling The Enemy just exactly what you think of them. Oh — I don’t mean you tell them this. Obviously, you are informing your like-minded friends. And be sure to throw in plenty of good advice.

        On the rare occasions when a friend has been so foolish as to ask me for advice, I have always agreed to give it; but explained that if I give it and the person doesn’t take it, I’ll be mad, and if he takes it and follows it and it does not work, it will be because he did it wrong, and I’ll be mad.

        Just so you’ll understand the stakes here. Ha-HA-ha-HA-ha-HA !!!!

        .

        Seriously, I think Jason’s got it exactly in his second paragraph:

        Libertarianism [should work at seeping] into the mainstream through films, artworks, books, presence in academia and through social media.

        And, I would add, using other methods as well. Rational argument doesn’t work too well with folks who aren’t already halfway there themselves, I think. But I do think things like demonstrations have a bit of an effect. So does casual conversation. Once in awhile I overhear two people discussing politics or ideas, and these can provide food for thought, not just for the conversants but also for the innocent byhearers *g*.

        The Tea Party [movement: not a political party, and the name is NOT an acronym of “Taxed Enough Already” !!! — it was intended to be understood as springing from the same impulse to freedom, if such it was, as that which caused the Boston Tea Party just before the official Revolutionary War] —

        The Tea Party [a movement, not a political party] started on a very good track, but enthusiasm died down slowly as the election passed and people went back to their “regular” lives. I think there are still a lot of Tea Party types out there, but they need issues around which to coalesce, if they are to be effective demonstrators and speechmakers. And as people who lean libertarian-ish come together into groups, they need among them people who will work toward keeping their morale up, and who can find and articulate these issues.

        But beyond writing novels and scripts (and songs, too) and getting the former published and the latter produced, and holding rallies and demonstrations, and finding or creating events during which to give a speech, I really don’t have suggestions. I’m the farthest thing anyone with a brain would want as an activist. Completely temperamentally unsuited to activism. Heck, Paul, you yourself are an activist. So is Simon. So are lots of people. Me, I just sit here in my chaise longue eating bon-bons, and kibbitz.

        As to changing the culture, it’s such a sea-change that it probably takes a long time. But in the area of “education,” homeschooling and carefully selective private schooling are important. Thus, another part of “activism” is parents’ careful evaluation of educational alternatives, along with the means and the moral courage and will to act upon what they learn. I don’t think, for instance, that “private schools” are a magic bullet. Most of their teachers come out of the same educational system that produced the viewpoints and attitudes that plague us.

        I trust that all this shows just how ill-equipped I am to advise in this area. :>((

        But I do have to point out that every bit of fact that someone presents in a lecture or talk, and whatever analysis goes into the presentation, is an instance of Jordanian *g* activism. In particular I would note your own talks at LH, and your interviews with Brian and Patrick; Stephen Davies’s lectures (at least the best and most accurate of them); and Brian’s talk on the difficulties of selling libertarianism, and Richard Carey’s on the Levellers.

        All educational, and lord! do we need education. And that includes things like disabusing people of the (highly intuitive!) idea that statistics have any predictive value about the outcome of a specific, individual event or set of circumstances.

        “Don’t bother to vote: Your vote is meaningless and can’t influence the results.” There’s so much that’s wrong with that, on so many levels, that you could write an 88-page journal article about it. Yet we hear this balderdash all the time, even in venues that are supposed to present serious, highly intelligent people’s ideas.

        And there are many other examples of such sloppy thinking, all grist for the educational activist’s mill.

        .

        I hope there’s something useful somewhere in all that.

        • Julie near Chicago
          May 15, 2017 at 12:28 am

          Oh dear. “Jason.” No no no, I meant Jordan, Jordan Lee, writer of the posting and of the quoted excerpt. I do apologize, Jordan. “Jason” is my nephew.

          :>((

        • Julie near Chicago
          May 16, 2017 at 3:23 am

          A little observation made in a posting by at WUWT:

          “As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, ‘The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.’ This is why endlessly repeated simplistic soundbites like ‘climate change is man-made and dangerous’ and ‘the science is settled’ and ‘97% of scientists agree’ have been so powerful. Is there any real truth in these statements? It doesn’t matter – just keep repeating them.”

          –Iain Aitken, “Two Competing Narratives on Carbon Dioxide”*

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/05/14/two-competing-narratives-on-carbon-dioxide/

          I think Machiavelli must have been a master of applied psychology, and Lenin and Alinsky and many other baddies as well. (No opinion as to Mach’s moral standing.)

          It seems to me there must be ways to work this method also into our activism. Only we won’t be spreading falsehoods to support our position. (Those who did couldn’t be called “libertarians” unless the circumstances were pathologically abnormal and nothing else would work.)

          Of course, these points would be hammered over and over again in speeches and in conversations with potential converts. (Actually, two convinced libertarians could have all sorts of “conversations” — more-or-less scripted dialogues — promoting the positions.)

          .

          *I think the comments to this article are unusually interesting, at least the first quarter or so of them. (Haven’t read anywhere near all of them.)

          • Paul Marks
            May 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

            Sadly some libertarians have been historically very good at spreading lies.

            As you know Julie the “history” spread by the Rothbardians in relation to the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, Vietnam (and so on) is a tissue of lies – but it has been very successfully spread.

            Nor is it just war…… for example the Rothbardian history of the Progressive period (that T. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were tools of Big Business) is utter nonsense, disinformation and propaganda (agitprop) taken from the socialist Gabriel Kolko.

            I wish, profoundly wish, that libertarians were as good at spreading the truth (for example that the “New Deal” of Franklin Roosevelt was a failure and that the “Great Society” of President Johnson was also a failure) as they have been at spreading lies. Indeed, tragically, some libertarians actually spread the false Marxist memes that the New Deal and the Great Society welfare programs and entitlements were for the benefit of “capitalist big business”.

            The first rule should be tell-the-truth – and this the Rothbardian faction of libertarians just do not seem to care about.

            • Julie near Chicago
              May 16, 2017 at 2:46 pm

              Yes, Paul. You can use a hammer to put together a house: very effective, useful tool; helpful in the best sense.

              You can also use it to moosh somebody’s head in.

              And of course, with the best of intentions you can let go with a wild swing and either nail your foot or give your workmate bruises and contusions.

              Like everything else, it takes care and judgment and dare I say it, a commitment to honesty and ethics.

        • Paul Marks
          May 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

          Yes Julie – voting (and so on) is only pointless if people do not care about ever higher taxes and ever more regulations.

          And the answer “Republicans will not keep down taxes or deregulate” is answered in the United States by Primary elections.

          If libertarians can not bothered to register as Republicans (in most States this only requires filling in a form) so they can vote for better Republican candidates, then they (the libertarians who will not not bother) are lazy and useless. “I do not vote because it is pointless” or “I do not vote because I am an anarchist” is hiding behind excuses.

          If most people wanted lower government spending, lower taxes and less regulation they could have these things – first by voting for (and working for) Republicans who will hold to this position in Primary elections, then by working to see these candidates elected in general elections.

          It really is that brutally simple – and efforts to complicate matters are really excuses to do nothing.

  7. Paul Marks
    May 16, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Yes Julie – the “hammer” is rhetoric.

    Aristotle understood that it was skill that could be used to convince people of the truth, but also could be used to convince people of lies.

    The moral choice of what one is going to use the power or argument to achieve has to be made up-front (at the start).

    The position of “I have an important objective – and if I have to convince people of things that are not actually true, in order to achieve my objective, then I will do that” is made the result is morally fatal (and corrupts the objective).

    For example the Economist magazine supports free trade – and that is a noble position, but it is uses false arguments (such as the idea that American trade deficit is about investment in the United States – whereas the truth is that the trade deficit is mostly CONSUMPTION goods) and that corrupts its position.

    • Julie near Chicago
      May 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      Bingo! Unfortunately. :>(

      Every word you say — is the truth.

      • Paul Marks
        May 16, 2017 at 7:55 pm

        It is the truth – I wish it was not.

        One can hear the most powerful moving speech, or read a wonderfully written book or essay – and be carried along by it.

        It is easy to crush the little voice who points out “this is a pack of lies”.

        Libertarians have seen their enemies prosper (intellectually, politically, even financially) by beautiful lies – and have watched it for very many years. It is a natural instinct to try and copy the success of the left, natural but also fatal. What works for them (for the collectivists) will not work for us – it just will not. Trying to “lie our way to liberty” is the road to extinction.

        • Julie near Chicago
          May 16, 2017 at 11:57 pm

          Absolutely. 100% correct.

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