Steve G.

Thoughts on laissez-faire and self-government

In Libertarian on February 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm

There’s been a whole lot of talk since October about the necessity of the government to step in to correct the failures of the free market.  Many very intelligent people have argued both sides of the many proposed stimulus packages but very few (obvious exceptions being Congressman Ron Paul and his ilk) discuss the real crux of the problem- it was never a free market to begin with.  Especially over the last 130 years, the government- at the urging of those who represented many of the isms- has tinkered with and ruined any semblance of laissez-faire.  As we are now witnessing, the results have been terrible.

As a proponent of limited or self-government, I naturally have some ideas on how this all came to be but I’d like to start by offering this very non-scientific, only vetted by me observation: There can be no free market without very limited or self-government; the model we’re watching implode would be more aptly described as a perverted combination of all the isms- capitalism, fascism, communism and socialism- a combination of market ideas which relies on twisted truths and clever marketing done by those who lust for power.

The notion of limited or self-government has taken quite a beating over the last couple hundred years and there are a great many who are fearful of the idea of life without the government behemoth.  In my own life there are many who tell me that life as we know it would stop if we no longer had the government taking care of things.  I could only hope!  Alas, cocky answers do nothing to comfort my friends and I had to sit and think about the reasons behind their fear.  I’ve come up with a few possible reasons and will attempt to explain them here.

Lack of true self-esteem.  It may seem folly to suggest a lack of self-esteem when, for several generations, all children were awarded participation ribbons and trophies in schools and competitive sports leagues.  After all, everybody was trying to build self-esteem by making certain the little rug-rats who came in last didn’t get their feelings hurt.  Society has been molded- either with intent or as a by-product of more noble goals- to believe that it’s sufficient to show up and participate.  True self-esteem requires one to overcome obstacles and perceived limitations and competition is the best teacher.

Lack of good personal character.  A person of good character either innately knows or has learned to exercise good judgment and, upon the occasional failure, is honest with himself and others.   This may also tie into self-esteem; after all, it’s difficult to be self-critical if one never fails.  If a man, when looking in the mirror, doesn’t have any reason to trust his value, he will find no ability to trust in the value of others.

Legitimate fear of evil in the world. There are of course people who have no desire to live peacefully with others but examples of such are, thankfully, very rare.  While it’s certainly not my intent to oversimplify the matter, I do think it interesting to juxtapose the numbers of U.S. homicides with the numbers of U.S. deaths from the common flu.  According to FBI data from 1976-2005, the murder rate per 100,000 was 7.8. Comparing that number to a WaPo article (interestingly enough, the article is cautioning against flu panic by breaking down numbers) about flu virus death rates, one easily starts to understand that our fears can be quickly alleviated.

People will always lust for power. Sure enough, that’s the case but you must remember that the ability to seize power only flourishes in the fertilizer made from fragile human hearts and psyches. The aforementioned issues with esteem, character and fear make a fabulous growing agent and are thus tended with care. The power hungry of each ISM dogma, whether or not by design, use the brute force of government in their quest to incite division. The surest way to wreck self-esteem is to make disappear the common aspects of humanity by inciting division based on class, gender, ethnicity or religion.

What makes you think you’re so smart? I’ve actually heard this question and the answer is always the same: What makes the rest of them smarter than us? Seriously, this isn’t about advanced education. This really is as simple as a baby knowing to take the breast. Humanity hasn’t changed, our societal construct has. The answer really is as simple as allowing ourselves to respond humanly to our fellow man and anybody who tells you otherwise is damn sure pulling a bait and switch on you.

It boils down to common courtesy. I have been lucky enough in life to know people all over the world. They’ve been from every ethnic, political, economic and religious background and, believe it or not, they’ve all, whether they knew it or not, had the ability to navigate life without an outside governor. I just respect them enough to let them figure that out on their own. I wish that, even in their fear, they’d extend me the same damn courtesy. Since it’ll take making normal of this type of conversation, I hope you’ll join me while I discuss this topic on Tuesday (8:00 CST) at Break The Matrix TV.

  1. In a lifetime of debating issues with others, I found these reasons for non-acceptance of liberty:

    1. Afraid what other people will do with their liberty – that is, will act irresponsibly – and hurt one somehow. eg, driving stoned and smashes into some innocent. And doesn’t want to pay for such iresponsible behaviour. Spoken by those who say they’d personally never be irresponsible.

    2. Doesn’t appreciate how liberty has propelled civilization and prosperity forward. “It is over-rated, especially when the U.S. is under attack by foreign foes or economic crises. We can always exchange security for liberty when the crisis passes.” Spoken by those who believe everything said by those in authority.

    3. “Your system has no compassion or charity for others.” “People with no friends or social connections would be starving in the streets if government didn’t help them.” Usually spoken by religious types.

    4. “My ideals of justice demand that evil, expliotative bastards
    like you need to be utterly crushed.” Generally spoken by Marxists of whatever hue.

    5. “I have no interest in political discussions.” Spoken by those who slept through history class or are consumed by the doings of Brittany, Paris, Angelina, etc.

  2. Interesting comment, Roscoe. I’ve dealt especially with 1, 3 and 5. 1, I attribute to that lack of self-esteem mentioned in the post. 3, I am floored by- as if it’s not the highest regard in love and appreciation for your fellow man to trust that he possesses the ability to care for himself and/or is worth loving enough to forge relationships that are healthy, strong and maybe sometimes charitable. 5 is my biggest nemesis; my hubby tells me always that I shouldn’t discuss impolite issues like politics and religion in outside company. I think those topics to be the most important as they either feed or destroy man’s spirit.

  3. People are as “good” as the system they are born into.

    Religion and statism generates bad memes. The media empowers bad memes, because statism feeds the media. This provides a pressure on one side of a fairly random drift. The result is incremental socialism, until the freedomlovers wake up and fight hard, on all fronts.

    Right now, the freedomlovers are asleep. They don’t care about winning freedom, because they are not hungry, and taking all opportunities. The recent example is the AZ LP screwing their libertarian activists, the National Party still unconcerned with the destruction of its activist base by Sean Haugh, and the fact that the broke, “povertarian” libertarian activists haven’t been replaced by formerly rich ones.

    When the warning signs of imminent inflationary crash draw near, the state WILL get serious. Which will happen first? Will the state get violent first, or will the libertarians take politics seriously?

    Samuel E. Konkin III noted that before the state gets violent, they always attempt infiltration and subversion, since it costs less. If the State tries violence and fails, the price –even for the central bankers who have nearly unlimited gold– can be steep. So why not inject smegma like Barr, Russell Verney, and Sean Haugh into the LP, and just see if it goes off the cliff? That’s always their first shot.

    Why not make sure that “Shane Cory” (AKA Assy McGee!) gets a promotion? LOL! ROTFLOL!

    The term “free market” is a good one. It applies more to Democrats than it does Republicans. (In fact, locofocos and Jacksonian Democrats were the last mainstream victorious free market forces in US politics. Let’s not forget that during the great depression, there was a 25% nonpayment of taxes in Chicago, as an organized tax-revolt.)

    Movements come and movements go. I wish that the LP could see that movements REQUIRE people talking to each other, in public. People going door-to-door.

    Even ‘agorists’ (free market anarchy advocates/activists) can do this, although they will be met with more confusion than someone operating within the established paradigm, and will thus waste energy that could have been plugged into the established paradigm.

    Chattel slavery is not a good example to use for the state reducing its power. Lincoln was a racist himself, and was seriously morally compromised, and the mainstream is hopelessly miseducated because of this. Libertarians also have a fondness for Spooner that the public can’t have, because they have no idea who spooner is.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: videotaped FIJA Activism is a good non-electoral way to make a difference. Don’t wear a friggin’ chewbacca costume while you do it. Wear nice clothes, speak in complete sentences, and appear to be a rational human being, and not a sideshow. When enough non-sideshow people call the mainstream on being shallow and murderous, it shames them into altering their scope of action to fit the new paradigm.

    At that point in time, people will be roughly as good as the new paradigm.

    No one tactic is “right”. Decentralized grassroots tactics are a result of the personalities performing them. If you’re involved with a RELATIVELY libertarian electoral group, then great. If you’re not, do your own thing, but try not to reinvent the wheel.
    Specialize, and do FIJA the right way, and learn, and post your learnings on the net.

    Research the common law if you are a lawyer. Google “Marc Stevens” and read his book “Adventures in Legal Land”. Google “Paradigm education Canada” and “The Magnificent Deception” …Watch those google videos. Research the common law, and precedent. Read Black’s Law Dictionary, vol I. Learn proceduaral law. Fight the state hard.

    Or learn about guns, knives, poisons, etc. Buy dummies to practice on. Join an Aikido or Brazilian Jui Jitsu class. Get really good at killing people, so that you can defend yourself when the state finally aggresses against you and your family. Spread your information. Order everything that you can from Paladin Press to a friend’s house. Stop using your home IP computer entirely (no mask is adequate, no sniffer threat safely nullified). Be so careful it seems paranoid!

    Learn how to confront the cops, and how to defend yourself in court. Carry a video camera everywhere. Post everything to youtube. Imitate the traffic camera levellers in the UK, AZ, and AK. Read http://www.thenewspaper.com

    There are a lot of divergent strategies. Support the libertarian, sure. Also support counter-economics. Have no orthodoxy.

    Retaliatory violence is not morally wrong. Limiting state power to such an extent that it wakes up the mainstream is possible via elections. Stop the infighting, when people mean well, and act in good faith. Politely disagree with other libertarians. Libertarians may only be 90% similar, and almost everyone is inconsistent and learning to be more consistent on their own.

    The biggest enemy is the worst of the state. Let’s try to kill that first. The DEA, ATF, FDA, IRS are probably the most embarrassing to the state, and the most killable/abolishable. After one of those is killed, then we can shoot for the Federal Reserve, which otherwise simply seems to amorphous for most people to understand. While we’re killing the DEA, ATF, FDA, or IRS, though, we can demand that the Treasury stop raiding liberty dollars and gold, and ask that “If the Treasury is going to do anything, they can offer a standardized minting service, like they did under Jefferson.” –Market this solution to Democrats, so they can feel good about themselves, and not stupid.

    Nobody wants to feel stupid. Jeffersonian Democrats have as many answers as Goldwater Republicans (maybe more). Plus, they’re more socially tolerant, and thus more likely to change to libertarian, if they cna just learn enough economic concepts to make it out of the house.

    G. Edward Griffin has made libertarians of more Democrats than any other book I know. Why? It doesn’t ask Democrats to change their philosophy (that’s an accidental by-product): It simply gives them the facts they didn’t have, in a relatively simple manner.

    Media Influence / Propaganda: Play rebellious music that has libertarian lyrics. Give interviews and state that you are a libertarian who often votes with the party, when they run someone who is libertarian enough, and define it with a candidate you liked, perhaps Harry Browne, or Wayne Root, or someone more libertarian than Barr. Someone who would bring individual liberty to the forefront of the debate.

    Reject those who reject your moral philosophy from occupying your time, especially if you are a socially well-respected member of the community. This is powerful. This shows people there is a price atached to statism, theiving, and murdering by the ballot box.

    I’m not suggesting that everyone do all of these things. I’m suggesting they do all of these things that they can do, while doing one of them VERY WELL.

    Don’t get involved in libertarian electoral politics if you are no good at it, or can’t stomach being forced to compromise. A lot of people feel terrible when that happens, and can’t stay focused on the goal. They are also bad at planning for possible defeat, and asking how all defeats could be minimized. If you’re psychology is so structured, then getting into electoral politics will only bring disappointment.

    At minimum, if you are an “all or nothing sort of person” get involved only with pro-freedom initiative petitions that are likely to win.

    These are just a few suggestions.

    Noone is right. Everyone has a possible optimum defense of freedom capacity that hinges on their ability to perform certain tasks. If you can’t stand politics, learn how to effectively hand out FIJA stuff to incoming jurors outside courthouses, so that individuals are not punished with prison. The first time you are successful, (possibly you will prevent juries from being rigged via voir dire, and hence prohibit them from being seated by the judge/prosecutor combo. This means you will possibly be successful immediately, at which point, you will need to videotape the police who come out to silence you, on the judge’s orders, so you can harness the power of the media.)

    I think FIJA is optimal overall for rallying the public, and preventing tyranny in the immediate sense. I think elections are optimal for preventing the very worst of government tyranny, but are weak at everything else. I think videotaping thuggery is also optimal, and it is directly related to FIJA, because at some point they ALWAYS try to silence you.

    Chat at the http://www.fija.org forum. Find out what works. Your local courthouse is your local tyranny outpost.

    Or pick up protools, soundforge, etc… and learn to compose/mix music. Be the Libertarian ‘Jello Biafra’ (he made Nader “counter culture” and had a much bigger effect on the campaign than most people realize. He made nader “hip” for the early adopters. Before he was a statist, ironically, Biafra was an –evidently– unprincipled “anarchist”…) or write and be the next Rand.

    Generate the change you wish to see. Don’t just be it. That’s easy. WIth a bit of thought, you can anticipate how stupid/lower information institutions will react to your actions.

    This has been my rambling diatribe, while we’re philosophizing about why people do things…

    -Jake

  4. nice to see LFV is back!

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