What next?

Accepting that the past is immutable, and the Obama has in fact won the US Election, we now have two choices. Moan and wollow in self pity for a bit before huddling in fear as the system collapses under it’s own greed, or thinking about what we do next to put the world back on course.

Of course, the battle was really lost when the rules were changed on Ron Paul to exclude him from the ticket. A Romney win would not have been a vote for freedom anymore than a vote for Obama but I can’t help being much more worried by an Obama victory. First, Obama represents a complete departure from the founding principles of America, a fact he made abundantly clear in his victory speech, he also represents a more urgent and devastating attack on the economy than Romney, and a wealthy society was more likely to be consistent on issues of personal freedom and much more open to new ideas. My amateur analysis is that Obama’s second term makes the libertarian mission harder and more urgent.

There are reasons to be cheerful. The economic trouble looming for America might make it easier to make the economic arguments. We’re a little gang of libertarians on this here blog, but the liberty movement is growing quickly at home and abroad. Same sex marriage, medical marijuana, and even recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado have all been made legal at the ballot box. People want freedom and our numbers are growing.

So, with a UK hat on please, what to do next? What now are your priorities for the next four years?

20 Comments

  1. Sadly a more free market candidate would have lost by MORE than Romney did (remember Romney got about 49% of the vote).

    Ron Paul would not have won a single State – he would have got no Electoral College votes. I would have voted for him (even though he does not much like where I currently am), but I do not have a vote.

    Anti bailout Connie Mack (a good man) lost in Florida – sad, he would have been an ally of Rand Paul (who I really like).

    Michele Bachmann (the most lied about lady in the United States – virtually everything said about her is a lie, the smear machine is awesome) somehow managed to hold on to her District in Minn (I am glad – I would not like to see this women defeated by endless lies, and I was particularly irritated when some libertarians started repeating mainstream media stuff as if it was true).

    What now?

    Give up on this Washington D.C. thing?

    But no “Free State Project” either – not in the north anyway. New Hampshire now has two Dem Congress critters and still has a Dem Governor (a different one).

    Republic of Texas anyone?

    Or other States…..

    At the very same time California was voting to increase the sales tax to 7.5% (or top of a massive income tax and….) people in South Dakota were voting “no” to a 4% sales tax (as opposed to 3%) and (a separate vote) no to “Merit Pay” for government teachers – still costs money you see.

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    1. Free state project? I live in the UK and this is a thread about the UK. Let’s park that.

      Do you, Paul, agree with my instinct that accelerating decline over there means we have to move faster over here? If so, how to move faster?

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  2. The Free State project was about New Hampshire libertarian (it came off the rails in 2004 – when I a wild spending Dem was elected Governor).

    I apologize for not thinking about the U.K. Simon.

    The truth is I do not know what to do in a British context.

    The religion of the British people appears to be government medical care and the BBC.

    The United Kingdom also has a counter factual political culture.

    With people denouncing the private railways – which are 100% government owned.

    And people (passionately) denouncing “the cuts” when government spending is actually not falling.

    I agree with you that “we have to move faster” – as the world economy is about to fall off a cliff.

    But I have not got a clue what to do.

    You are a successful man – you might consider moving to Guernsey.

    That is the nearest place that might turn out O.K.

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  3. I basically agree with Paul. It’s no surprise that Obama won. Romney kind of nailed it, accidentally, with his 47% remark.

    I have no idea how the Libertarian movement moves forward at the moment. I think the inertia within western society is too great and we can only think about what happens after the probable bankruptcy. But even then we can’t be sure the people won’t demand more Government — not less. It’s what happened in Germany 80 years ago.

    My feeling at the moment is just look out for yourself. Try and get yourself as secure and high up the ladder as possible before things go AWOL. It may smack of self defeatism but basically the whole Western World opposes even the mildest forms of austerity so what other course of action is there? One has to assume the debts won’t be tackled and money will be printed to alleviate the symptoms.

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    1. I’m hearing a lot of defeatism.

      There is a book, Eye of the Needle by Ken Follet in which the hero, a historian roped into catching a spy is faced with a dilemma. The spy went out to sea on a boat making for Germany, a U-Boat rendezvous or his death in a massive storm of Hurricane Sandy proportions. Death was acceptable, the other outcomes mean the war is lost. Drawing on his experience of historical investigations, he decides to focus on outcomes that he can do something about, so he sets about searching for islands where the spy might have found shelter from the storm, or got washed ashore shipwrecked. Sure enough, the spy was rescued by the books heroine who is living on an island with her crippled and emotionally absent husband, whom she betrays by shagging the spy before working out who he is and killing him with the aid of the heroic sidekick. All very dramatic, but the heroes basic strategy is sound. If he’d just given up finding the spy then the war would be lost, but he didn’t he sat with his sidekick and brainstormed all the thins he could do to find the spy, regardless of the odds.

      So, let’s brainstorm.

      For example, if all we can do is wait for a massive disaster to prove Keynes is wrong, what can a band of libertarian activists do to ensure Keynes gets the blame when that happens?

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      1. Pavel, you’re not looking! We have the economists and the channels, and even though they’re small and not running 24/7 you get more truth out of them in half an hour than the BBC supplies in a week.

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  4. What difference would Romney’s victory make? IMHO none at all, well – may be abortion policy as per Todd Akin.
    The only thing disappoints me is that Gary Johnson hasn’t achieved 5%.

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  5. Quite simply, we’ve lost. With the US choosing to walk further down the road to serfdom the idea of limited government is dead in every major country. And the Ron Paul/LP fans who think they have a chance in 2016 are deluding themselves, the GOP will ‘moderate’ like the UK Tories and accept the status quo in return for another hold of the reigns.

    Our only option now is to keep the flame alight and start again- short term seasteading, long term off world. Ironically the one of the few good thing Obama has done has been space policy (Romeny didn’t even have one), so we will see commercial spaceflight appearing in the next few years

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    1. “And the Ron Paul/LP fans who think they have a chance in 2016 are deluding themselves”

      The fight is on now, at the local level and the state level, not in four years time. With regard to Romney versus Obama, libertarians didn’t have a dog in the fight.

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  6. That election was a total non-event. No-one liked Mitt Romney, including the people who voted for him. It’s like being asked which bollock you want removed.

    @Simon More defeatism for you: Ludwig von Mises spent his entire life watching the rise of totalitarianism; didn’t even live long enough to watch the USSR collapse. That’s how I see our situation, we can talk as much as we like, things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better. Nobody is going to blame the government.

    I think we’re suffering through the long-term liberal*/conservative alliance. That is liberals responded to socialism by allying with conservatives. Now nobody can distinguish between liberalism and conservatism, conservatives have learnt to use our language to keep us on-side and liberalism has become contaminated in the process. Basically we have a major image problem, and I honestly don’t know how to fix it. It doesn’t matter what we say, people assume we want to eat their babies.

    *We all know what this word is supposed to mean

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  7. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think we should stop organising or this that and the other. For our own sakes we need to make it clear we don’t agree and we believe there is a better way. But I don’t think we should expect to see any positive change any time soon. History has a tendency to flow in great waves. And maybe we’re the victims of one of those waves. The Anglo-sphere rose to prominence on the back of freedom built up over 800 years, but like all great empires and civilisations we may be experiencing our fall. It happened to Rome and many others, there is no reason to think it won’t happen to us. History is a slow and arduous process, it is possible we are 50, 100 even 200 years away from the complete collapse of what we hold dear. Remember it took Rome 500 years to rise and once the Republic fell another 500 years to fall. Only arrogance can suggest we definitely won’t face a similar fate.

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  8. Rome did not have credit money – debasement can only produce a tiny fraction of the inflation that credit money can. And there was no banking problem in the Roman world either.

    Nor did Roman welfare apply to most people (farmers and village folk – they got nothing). It applied only to the people in a few cities (Rome itself being the biggest example).

    The collapse of the present system will be quick – not slow.

    “defeatism”.

    Partly yes – partly no.

    Bankruptcy is inevitable now – but that life does not end with bankruptcy.

    Libertarians should turn our minds to the post bankruptcy situation.

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    1. You make some good points and please don’t think I believe the two are analogous. But I believe history can inform and that the Roman Republic is a good example of a relatively free society, based on precedent and restricted power that collapsed as a result of greed, corruption, etc.

      Also I hope you are right. Ideally we need the collapse to be swift and sharp, so that the next generation can move on from our mistakes. However I’m not convinced it will necessarily happen.

      I’m of the view that our Rubicon moment isn’t approaching but occurred, probably the moment the First World War broke out. And certainly by the time WWII ended. Since then we’ve limped from crisis to crisis. The crisis we face today may be the biggest and worse we have ever seen. But there is no reason to think once it unfolds our statist system won’t limp on or become worse.

      I’m currently willing to accept that I won’t see any real change in my lifetime. But that doesn’t mean I will stop shouting at the brick wall. I will always love freedom and do my best to promote and support it.

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  9. “The prospects ahead are grim, and it behooves all libertarians to rise up and redouble their efforts on behalf of their cause, their country, and their own liberties. For make no mistake: there is no place to hide. Your gold coins, your caves in the woods stocked with canned goods, your retreats to new islands, your Swiss bank accounts, are not going to be worth a tinker’s dam when the U.S.A goes collectivist. If we stand up and oppose the trend, we might succeed in avoiding the holocaust: at the very least, we will be able to tell ourselves and our grandchildren that we did our best. If we do nothing but run to the cave, literally or metaphorically, we will deserve the scorn of present and future generations.”

    Murray Rothbard, The Emerging Crisis, Libertarian Forum, December 1974

    http://mises.org/journals/libertarianforum.asp

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  10. “So, with a UK hat on please, what to do next? What now are your priorities for the next four years?”

    I am of the view that nothing in British politics will really change as long as house prices hold their value. If there is a big housing crash then I think we could see sweeping changes & radical ideas of all stripes will come to the fore. What party or movement will be be placed to exploit this I don’t know.

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  11. Rob – you will certainly see big changes in your life time, unless you die very soon (unlikely – you seem a fit and resourceful person).

    Dan T.

    No big changes in politics till house prices collapse.

    I see – so no big changes till next year then.

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