For my Truly Wise, Truly Human online acquaintance and liberty-friend whom I met on Twitter: @Veresapiens . . .
Here is, at least, part of an essay I’ve been promising him for a long time; I started several others so those may get finished and appear at some point. I didn’t intend to do this today. And I never thought I’d use a message from Campaign for Liberty as a jumping off point. But as it turns out, it is appropriate.
Campaign for Liberty’s John Tate sent an email message this morning urging immediate action. I’ve included an excerpt below. While I can see how the actions he advises may seem essential to significantly advancing the Cause of Liberty, after fully immersing myself in the study of *politics, for at least two years now, I have serious doubts.
While at some level I have known it much of my life, it is now abundantly clear to me that politics and coerced government are equivalent to endless war, with the blood usually being shed by those subject to the decisions of the political actors, rather than by the political actors themselves. It is an inherently ugly and treacherous system, designed to benefit the corrupt while it purports to protect the good.
Yet some see coerced government and politics as the only possible path to a relatively peaceful and free world. They view the alternative as world-wide chaos and tribalism, with regions ruled by warlords, themselves engaged-in and coercing others into endless and bloody battle. They view the end of politics and, by extension, the end of government as the certain death of individual liberty.
In contrast, some believe the path to a peaceful and free world requires complete disengagement from the never-ceasing battle of politics. They believe that to participate in politics is to endorse and support the system, which extends the life of coercive government (the state). They believe that civil disobedience, engaging others in dialogue, and sharing information is the surest and quickest path to a freer world, perhaps the only path to a truly free world. Moreover, some believe that entering the political battle, at any level, or from any angle, even if it is simply to stop the bloodshed at the fringes, simply encourages more bloodshed. They see that the warlords are still with us, even here.
Is there a better way to secure individual liberty for the maximum number of individuals than politics, even politics aimed at limiting government and thereby limiting coercion?
Does politics essentially equal coercion?
Is only a limited measure of individual liberty ever possible, simply because it must ultimately be secured by some form of coercion and coercive systems always tend toward corruption and expansion?
In other words, can politics and coerced government ever result in genuine, widespread, and enduring liberty?
Are humans capable of achieving genuine, widespread, and enduring liberty?
Do we really do more harm than good by continuing to participate in politics, even only in selected ways, which means participating at some level in coercive government?
Will complete disengagement from (shunning) politics, except in the form of civil disobedience, result in more freedom and less violence than selective engagement? [Both approaches being combined with dialogue and education]
Will the shunning of politics bring an end to coercive government sooner than carefully chosen political engagement?
Is genuine, widespread, and enduring liberty worth devoting one’s emotion and energy to, even though it may never be achieved?
Is genuine, widespread, and enduring liberty simply a philosophers’ dream?
Is it possible we are held captive only by continuing to believe in the illusion that we are enslaved?
What happens to someone who sees the world as already free and behaves as though coercive government simply does not exist?
Why does liberty matter?
Can we live full and meaningful lives without seeking liberty?
Should we be willing to stop seeking liberty if doing so makes life easier and less turbulent for those around us?
As individuals who value liberty, how do we determine which path is best to follow?
One enormous, overarching problem we all face is that while our politicians are distracted by being allowed to play tug-of-war with a scrap of cloth, along the edges of a world-wide chess board, the real GLOBAL warlords (UN, IMF, CFR, CIA, etc.) and their minions are raiding, raping, and pillaging–literally and figuratively.
They view national politicians as so many chess pieces and a convenient distraction for the masses. True, a few liberty-minded politicians have occasionally managed to gain control over a few insignificant moves on the chess board, but that’s about all they ever accomplish, other than raising awareness.
So? Well? What do we do then?
Is it possible that both approaches–political engagement AND shunning of politics (combined with dialogue and education on many fronts)–are helpful and necessary?
Because our common goal is a world in which individual life, liberty, and property are fully respected, where the non-aggression principle rules the day, we usually agree that smaller and local are better than bigger and farther from the individuals concerned. This is especially true when individuals enjoy freedom of movement and when options abound in other locations.
Also, can anyone reasonably deny that engaging in politics at the local and state level is already an effective way to defend individual liberty and property at least to a small extent (better than individuals can currently achieve solely with private coalitions) from vast forces already oppressing so many good people?
Some obvious examples of real successes (albeit small ones) include local efforts to block drone flights, Agenda 21, and SMART Meters and state-level nullification of Agenda 21, NDAA, HR-347, ObamaCare, Gun Bans, and National ID cards.
Would we really be further down the path to a freer world if the globalists’ attempts to undermine national, state, and individual sovereignty were left unchallenged by these available and relatively peaceful means?
Are we wrong to use the power of a smaller and less-tyrannical state to protect us from the overwhelming power of a larger and far more evil coalition? At least for now?
I have been thinking about this a lot, for a long time. When I decided to vote in the last presidential election, I greatly disappointed @Veresapiens, who firmly believed my doing so, even if only to cast a vote for a liberty candidate, lent credibility to the tug-of-war and the chess masters and helped to ensure perpetuation of the evil game.
Regarding national politics, I am prepared to say he is mostly correct. Again, especially because the globalists are really the ones in charge, not our so-called representative government of the United States.
Even if a liberty-minded president is elected, there will be little he or she can do to significantly restore liberty. Yes, the behind-the-scenes actors have that much control, including of the media. So national elections are a big distraction from more urgent matters, which is no accident.
But it is hard not to feel a little hope when people such as Ron and Rand Paul are in the national spotlight. And I see no harm in cheering them on when they do good work. It seems that what they do helps to spread the liberty-message to a lot of individuals who would otherwise never listen. And their efforts offer much-needed moral support to those already convinced.
Do I wish their actions were more principled at times? Yes, yes, yes. The more principled the better. Do I agree with them in every respect? No, no, no. So are they helping to perpetuate the big game by engaging in politics? Or are they helping, ultimately, to end it by enlightening and supporting others? Are they doing a little of each? Does one outweigh the other?
@Veresapiens once agreed with me, at least slightly, that local politics might be an exception to the no-engagement rule. I hope we still agree on that, because I think engaging in local and state-level politics is currently our only significant means of seeking protection from oppressive measures the globalists are imposing and hoping to impose through federal force.
Perhaps this is a tired analogy, but if we were more directly and visibly enslaved, imprisoned, than we are today, say, held inside a physical camp on a few acres of ground, would we be wrong to seek some measure of protection from the more sympathetic “guards”? Doing so could help us to maintain health until escape is possible. Perhaps some sympathetic guards could even be convinced to help us escape.
Would it be somehow better to disengage completely, refusing to cooperate in every way, and let ourselves starve or be beaten to death by the more brutal guards? I suppose we would offer inspiration and revelation to others through this approach. But is it morally superior and more effective than limited, principled engagement for the purpose of immediately easing suffering (less brutality), while trying to protect what little liberty remains and even to increase it?
National politics in this analogy would be, say, being allowed to choose one prison camp warden over another. We might be able to elect the less-brutal warden, but we could be certain the difference between any two wardens would be very small. And we could be certain the same governor has tight control over both.
For those somehow yet unaware of the futility of such an election, engaging in the process could lead to unfounded hope and to a prolonged failure to become cognizant of the extent of their enslavement. That would be the purpose of holding a vote in the first place, to create the illusion that the enslaved have some measure of control, granted by “benign” governors, into which illusion the enslaved then invest emotion and energy, thus detracting from their ability to grasp reality and seek to change it.
But for the enslaved ones who are aware, perhaps voting for the warden who MIGHT ease the daily pain just a little is not a terrible idea. Perhaps discussions among inmates of possible differences might lead to the enlightenment of others.
But again, whether one votes or not for warden does little or nothing to change the system or to physically free one from it. This particular system is already too corrupt, extensive, and powerful and the warden and governors are too distant from the inmates to care and to be swayed by them.
Within this same analogy, local politics could be seen as the creating of enclaves more sympathetic to preserving humanity and the ideals of liberty, through education and creative use of existing rules, with the ultimate goal being converting and enlisting the assistance of the guards or else escaping from the system, the camp, through coordinated action.
In this prison-camp world, failure to engage at the local level, with the guards, could mean that both individuals and ideals rapidly succumb to temptation or to extreme oppression and ultimately, to utter destruction. Coordinated civil disobedience, provided such coordination were possible, could result in easing conditions, at least temporarily, but would it be any more likely than engagement to result in greater freedom in the long run? Either approach alone, could be helpful. Both approaches combined–local engagement and civil disobedience–along with dialogue and education, could be even more helpful. Of course no approach guarantees complete success.
Alas, we are already living in a prison-camp world. While its walls may be invisible for the moment, they exist, nonetheless. We are truly free only in our hearts and minds, if we are among the more fortunate ones. And while there isn’t much that most of us can do to directly change the national or world-wide picture, much can be done–in the form of engaging and enlightening others and in undoing or preventing harmful measures–closer to home. Simply offering moral support to other liberty-minded individuals is an important contribution.
I don’t think engagement in politics, even at the local level, is right for everyone. And I think that individuals who take the stance of refusing to interact with guards, wardens, and governors play an essential role. On the other hand, I also believe that liberty-seeking individuals who are willing to engage in certain aspects of politics are also essential and no less principled, but that they should not waste too much time or effort on national politics (wardens and governors) and instead look closer to home (guards and fellow inmates); I also believe they must be exceedingly careful not to succumb to temptation and to ensure any political action they support is truly aimed at reducing coercion.
The excerpt from Tate’s message, the one that inspired me to get busy on this essay, follows:
The GOP establishment’s sheer HATRED for those of us who truly believe in liberty, limited government, and constitutional principles was on full display in Tampa, Florida, last summer.
New rules designed to weaken grassroots activists were RAMMED through at the hands of establishment-insider lawyer Ben Ginsberg over the SCREAMING objections of rank-and-file delegates at the Republican National Convention.
In the process of telling all Ron Paul supporters to hit the road, they stabbed our liberty movement, Tea Party types, and grassroots activists of every stripe in the back.
This next week – at the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting April 10-13 – you and I have a chance to reverse this outrage and guard against new assaults already rearing their ugly heads.
I’ll explain more about the new attacks shortly …
But the result of next week’s meetings will finally show you and me whether or not the GOP is serious about growing and winning – or if its insiders want to keep their party small, old, and impotent.
Now, Virginia RNC Committeeman Morton Blackwell – who led the fight against implementation of the new rules in Tampa – will be introducing a resolution to reverse them.
That is why I need you to contact your Republican National Committee representatives IMMEDIATELY to urge them to support Blackwell’s repeal effort.
You are represented at the RNC by the State Party Chairman, a National Committeeman, and a National Committeewoman from your state.
It requires a 75% vote of all RNC members to overturn these rules, so your action could not be more critical . . .
. . . Please remember, this fight could have ramifications that last for years.
Each one of the GOP’s new rules are designed to hand even MORE control to party insiders, fat-cat donors, and GOP hack consultants.
The new rules force more “winner take all” primaries, discourage states from allowing grassroots activists to have “too much” power over the selection of the eventual GOP nominee in state convention processes, create more national delegates beholden to campaign operatives, and raise the number of states needed to place a candidate’s name in nomination at the convention.
The effect will be to disenfranchise liberty candidates like Ron Paul in 2012, Ronald Reagan in 1976, and Barry Goldwater in 1964, who were powered by armies of small donors and activists inspired by principle rather than opportunism …
… the very people that are proven to create the foundation for a healthy and vibrant Republican Party.
I know you’re not surprised.
In recent months, you and I have seen more than our fair share of assaults coming from the establishment.
In fact, not long ago, Karl Rove launched his own Super PAC designed to combat liberty activists and Tea Party types.
Breitbart news just reported that the RNC Chief of Staff “effectively declared war on the conservative grassroots” at an exclusive meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C.
Now, as part of the GOP’s “Growth and Opportunity Project,” the establishment is doubling down.
Buried amongst the report’s platitudes about building a more inclusive Republican Party are three recommendations designed to cement the establishment’s control over picking the nominee in 2016, including:
*** Requiring every state to hold primaries instead of caucuses and conventions.
Establishment candidates that can afford multi-million dollar ad campaigns have a built-in advantage over liberty candidates, who rely on grassroots donors and volunteers. And this would also cost already struggling state governments as much as $30 million;
*** Replacing individual state primaries with a series of “regional” primaries, further advantaging well-heeled establishment candidates who can afford to run massive multiple-state campaigns at once;
*** Placing primary debates under the control of the GOP, virtually guaranteeing moderators favor their established frontrunners and that those who challenge the status quo are simply shut out.
I hope you’re as outraged as I am. The liberty wing of the party is the only part of the GOP that is growing.
But I’m afraid far too many in the GOP establishment would rather lose to statist Democrats than see grassroots types gain party positions.
This next week is the GOP’s chance to prove that’s not true.
But it’s critical you act at once.
You and I simply must make clear that we will not settle for Obama-lite.
And we will not allow the GOP establishment to silence or control the liberty movement!
So please call your state’s RNC representatives today and ask them to support Morton Blackwell’s motion to repeal the Tampa rules changes and reject the three proposals in the “Growth and Opportunity Project” that further empower the establishment.
Please act at once . . .
*Politics – defined – http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/politics?q=politics
1 [usually treated as singular] the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power: the party quickly gained influence in French politics; thereafter he dropped out of active politics
the activities of governments concerning the political relations between states: in the conduct of global politics, economic status must be backed by military capacity
the academic study of government and the state: [as modifier]:a politics lecturer
a particular set of political beliefs or principles: people do not buy their paper purely for its politics
(often the politics of) the principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status: the politics of gender
2 activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization: yet another discussion of office politics and personalities
Revised April 7, 2013