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Paradigm Shift

The old guard built this movement. Without them, it’s unlikely any of us would be aware that a liberty movement even exists! This alone is an accomplishment. And the history books will look favorably upon them for it - & justifiably so. Their preference for a political approach however, has been ineffective at bringing about liberty (just take a look around, if you’re still permitted). Progress hasn’t just stagnated, we’ve been losing ground rapidly. It’s time for a paradigm shift. One that moves away from the old way of thinking & instead focuses on teaching people how to opt out of corrupt systems & to build competing, market-based alternatives to state institutions. Like sports teams, ideas also get tired & worn out, old players retire, & new, fresh ideas take their place. In the world of ideas, when paradigm shifts occur, the old guard resists the change at first, but eventually comes around to seeing the benefits and virtues of the new way. This is how progres

Against the Partyarchy

Political parties don’t have members, they have victims.

These are typically good people, who so desperately crave liberty that they're duped into joining an organization whose goal is to become the very antithesis of liberty, the state. Like the mother of a sick child being sold snake oil, these poor saps are filled with false hope and good intentions. Perhaps party membership allows the public to rationalize their chains. Maybe “Big L” libertarians pay their dues, swear to vote libertarian faithfully, and are thus satisfied that they’ve done everything within their power to fight the Leviathan.

These otherwise good Americans fall prey to an old military strategy: induce your enemy into expending their resources and energy into unproductive ends. Surely, the state would have preferred Satoshi Nakamoto to be working phone banks at the LP rather than authoring the white paper. Likewise, they would have preferred Cody Wilson to be canvassing neighborhoods for a local candidate, rather than designing the Liberator. Undoubtedly, the sacrifice of heroes like Ross Ulbricht and Irwin Schiff did more to spread the message of liberty than every vote ever cast for an LP candidate.

Political action isn’t useless you say? Consider that in 2016 Gary Johnson ran against an orange version of Hitler and grandma Nixon, and yet, was still only able to eek out 3.27% of the vote - a record for LP candidates. One popular excuse for poor electoral performances, is that LP candidates are deliberately kept out of debates by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Well, duh. If you wouldn’t stay in a card game that you knew was rigged, why stay in the LP knowing the elections are rigged before the fist ballot is cast? Moreover, whether or not Gary “Just Bake the Cake” Johnson is actually a libertarian, is up for debate. Certainly though, none would refer to him as a nap-abiding, voluntaryist.

The desire to rule over others is something that we’ve come to expect from R’s and D’s, which is why it seems particularly egregious when it comes from supposedly “pro-liberty” organizations like the LP. This wasn’t always the case either. The devolution of the liberty movement into party politics is well documented by Sam Konkin in his Agorist Primer. Aside from the inefficiencies and legal obstacles outlined above, the movement is hampered by the structural defects of institutional party politics. The role of technology and the rise of candidate-centered campaigns reinforce the duopoly and discourage the rise a third party.

In his book, Politics In Action: Cases in Modern American Government, Gary Wasserman points out that politics and technology are not strange bedfellows. The ‘84 Reagan/Bush campaign successfully used robocalls in a bid to register new voters. Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign leveraged a strong internet presence to shatter previous fundraising records for Democratic candidates. Indeed, the portion of donors coming from online sources has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years. Consider that one method political parties use to find donors, is to shell out big bucks for lists - this includes everything from subscribers to the Wall Street Journal, buyers of luxury cars, new homeowners, etc. This information is then cross-referenced with existing voter databases to find unregistered members of the public who are likely to either join the party, or donate to it. All of this requires one thing: money.

Money to pay strategists to identify key demographics, to pay companies for client lists, for computers to process the data and for staff to man the operation. Technology then, gives the advantage to the party with more funds in the coffer. It serves to strengthen party institutions and officials. Arguably, the unelected chair of RNC/DNC has more power over national politics than does any individual member of congress. It is therefore, almost impossible for a third party candidate (let alone an unaffiliated candidate) to achieve any semblance of success in electoral politics.

Also, the growing trend of candidate-centered campaigns, serves to undermine the Libertarian Party in two ways. First, it minimizes the prominence of the political platform. Whether or not the party has good ideas matters little to the average Joe in an age of political bombast and showmanship. Observe Trump’s rallies and it quickly becomes obvious, people vote for bread and circuses over well-thought out arguments 8 days out of the week. Secondly, it increases the likelihood that funding and support will be derived from special interest groups rather than donations from the general public. For good reason, Libertarian candidates seem predisposed to rejecting this funny money, and all the strings that come with it.

Even if we put these pragmatic arguments aside, is it not a logical contradiction for a group whose mission it is to banish coercive political power, to actively seek out coercive political power?

The idea that political parties are mutually exclusive to individual liberty is not a new one. George Washington, whose experience crushing the Whiskey Rebellion makes him a qualified expert on the subject of tyranny, wrote in his farewell address:

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”

Mises knew it too. In Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition, he wrote:
“There can be no more grievous misunderstanding of the meaning and nature of liberalism than to think that it would be possible to secure the victory of liberal ideas by resorting to the methods employed today by the [other] political parties.”

If liberty cannot be achieved through party politics, then how? At this point, the answer should be obvious. If you’re concerned about inflation, rather than donating to the LP, wouldn’t it be better to invest that money in cryptocurrency? Rather than knocking on your neighbor’s door to talk about gun rights, are you not better off buying a ghost gunner? What is a more effective way of protecting your privacy rights: giving your money to Bill Weld or downloading Tor?

Leave the party friends, because it’s already left you.


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