Between this story about Tea Party candidates running against Ron Paul to another about how ConAgra set up shop at the Nashville Tea Party, it seems that the neocons and their tory hordes have hijacked the Tea Party movement from its patriot progenitors. Continue reading
The Western Standard, a Calgary-based journal of libertarian and conservative thought, wrote an article on the conflict in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It brought to light the fundamental issues of the caucasian conflict. My comment, lengthy enough to be a post itself, is reprinted here:
On the subject of New York City secession, one fellow wrote that the 5 Boroughs should secede along with the suburban counties of Upstate New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. It would look something like this:
I would like to take that idea one step further. I have developed a map of several states that could be carved out of what is now New York. It is my theory that large states turn to statism because they are ungovernable. A writer once wrote, “quality does not scale.” This is often true. Companies face this issue when they grow too large to evolve rapidly with their market or connect with their customers. So, here is a first draft of a new map of the New Netherland region of the northeast:
Interestingly enough, another fellow had a similar idea that he developed into the alternative history of the Republic of New Netherland.
While that was just a thought experiment, my initiative is quite serious. New York doesn’t make sense in its current configuration. The only feeling upstaters and downstaters have for each other is disdain. Albany steals all our money and uses to further suffocate the upstate economy with government programs. Upstate has virtually emptied out under the weight of poor governance. The answer is to divide the states. Let the City-State of Gotham be born. Just that move would resolve tensions between East and West Jersey, and New-York and New-England Connecticut. Even Pennsylvania should probably lyse into two states.
As I sit here pondering possible future endeavors, one of which being a libertarian school in New Hampshire, I find the internet equivalent at NH Free Press. TOLFA, or The On Line Freedom Academy, is one man’s plan to bring about the revolutionary restoration of human liberty – a principle that is dying in its traditional home turf. The plan is simple enough: educate our friends and family, on by one, about their own humanity; ask them to, in turn, quit their government or government-contracted jobs; then, have each of them ‘mentor’ one other student through the process. If every person who takes the course refuses to work for the government and puts one other person through the course, then in a matter of years the government will be desperate for labor and hopelessly fighting a rising tide of defiance.
All plans, at the outset, may seem far-fetched, but I believe that what is important is not whether they could work, but whether they should work. This is part of a new generation of pragmatic strategies for advancing the cause of human liberty against political tyranny, with the Free State Project being the other pillar that comes to mind.
We are losing, folks! There is now a Matrix-esque mass of people who couldn’t give two shits if their loved ones are scanned with mm wave scanners – exposing their naked bodies to the prying eyes of TSA rapists.
We are lost, folks! The more intellectual of my friends were depressed by the recent comedy ‘Idiocracy‘ because it hit too close to home. There is no excuse for being a centrist in 2008 North America: we are fast approaching a point-of-no-return on our way to a totalitarian state. It is like being a centrist in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia – you might feel comfortable, but to anyone with some distance from the sickness of your immediate state, you are complicit in indefensible activities. Our 50 free and sovereign states behave like administrative sub-units of an empire. Some citizens are speaking out, but most are left-wingers begging the central government for their freedom back – and expressing full support for all of the practices that allow empires to exist.
Not since the 1990s have I seen any concrete actions taken against the US Imperial Government. The TOLFA is something, a step. I have begun the course myself, even though I have already spent the last 8 years re-educating myself. If any readers decide to undertake the same, please email me and I would be happy to serve as mentor. Good luck!
I’m a slow reader. That’s why I buy interesting-looking books much faster than I read them, and why I must then lug boxes of them when I move. That explains my fascination with a new project from L. Neil Smith and Big Head Press: The Probability Broach graphic novel. I know that graphic novel is a fancy term for comic book, but don’t let that deter you. It’s a great feeling when you “can’t put it down,” and I get hooked on reading this novel. It’s an accessible and fun adaptation of an inspired premise.
In an alternate present, North America is living in liberacy. Wealth abounds, money is real, and everyone carries a firearm. Our protagonist, Detective Win Bear, is thrust into this alternate reality from his own, a version of our world with a few extra dashes of fascism. Winnie, as his new friends affectionately call him, is receptive to this libertopia – thinking that it’s a more prosperous future. He learns about the North American Confederacy, the main political body of the libertarian present, and comes to realize that he has not travelled to the future but to an alternate timeline. His rescuer is revealed to be his alternate self.
Besides being extremely easy to read, with stunning artwork, the book depicts the practice of much of libertarian/confederal theory. The political order borders on anarcho-capitalism, but with a minarchist defense league in the Confederacy. It shows how free banking, with backed currency, leads to cash of ever-increasing value. Thus, everyday items and services become extraordinarily inexpensive. The concept of underground cities is broached (excuse the pun) by the denizens of the North American Confederacy going underground at every intersection. The novel even shows how crimes are adjudicated in the absence of a sovereign state.
Some of the book may seem fantastical to many, even many minarchist libertarians. The point is, though, that it presents an ideal and a direction. L. Neil Smith has presented here a model of a particular libertarian vision – one that mirrors the goals of the Confederation Society. Even if a lot of libertarians are policy-oriented and have no opinions about political theory, this novel shows that the form of government and the resulting policy are interrelated. It shows that the negativity exhibited by many libertarians is a byproduct of living in the shadow of repeated tyrannies. Each victory for liberty will make life that much better and easier for our descendants. That truth, well-known by the better of America’s Founding Fathers, is why the American Revolution was the quintessential turning point in the history of human freedom, and why Hamilton’s subsequent coup, by way of the Constitution, was so damaging.
I could go on forever, but I recommend reading it first-hand. Without further adieu: The Probability Broach.
Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your contribution to culture and liberty.
Libertarians often feel that they are fighting a reactive war on enemy turf. This is often true, but to what extent is it our fault. In other words, what can we control to make the political environment more suitable for liberty. Vocabulary, the language of political discourse, should be our main target.
Libertarians hardly realize that they are often using the language of authoritarians. Partly, this is due to our movement lacking a comprehensive political theory. We certainly surpass the Greens and others in having an original policy proposal for every political issue, but we noticeably overlook questions of the form of government and answers phrased in words illustrative of libertarian thought.
Liberatic, or Free State, Theory seeks to address this. It seeks to formulate a political theory, vocabulary, and worldview for libertarians in the postmodern age.
For example, libertarians should start by taking back the word ‘liberal.’ It described us from its coinage to its cooptation by socialists in liberal clothing. When we speak of liberals, we will mean the ‘big tent’ of people in the libertarian quadrant of the Nolan Chart. Correspondingly, libertarians might forego recent tradition and work within ‘liberal’ parties rather than ‘conservative’ parties.
Which brings us to another point. Libertarians are not conservatives, right-wingers, or nationalists. Though they seem to find us more comfortable bedfellows recently than socialists do, we are not them and have traditionally opposed them. Conservatism is a chronological ideology: it seeks to preserve the recent past, regardless of what that was. That’s why it is so hard to define across states and time periods. It’s opposite is not liberalism, which is a philosophical ideology, but progressivism – which seeks to move politics toward the next fashion. Libertarians will be conservatives in places like the States, where libertarianism is losing ground to authoritarianism, but they will be progressives in places like Italy, which have no recent period of widespread libertarianism. Does this make sense? Right-winger has the same problem. As you can see on the Nolan Chart above, the right-to-left political spectrum is designed to exclude libertarianism. It allocates half of the libertarian program to the right and half to the left. This has caused great damage to public understanding of what liberty is, as it isn’t taught in government schools. If we are anything, we are ‘up-wing,’ and totalitarians are ‘down.’ That sounds about right, doesn’t it? We are the ‘light-side,’ and they are the ‘dark.’ Traditional politics is endless shades of grey. Finally on this point, we arrive at the term ‘nationalist.’
This hits at the heart of the lesson. With reference made to The Ethics of Secession, which informed the liberatic position, let us all understand that fighting for a ‘nation,’ promoting ‘nation-states,’ supporting the ‘United Nations,’ or even using the word ‘international,’ are all very un-libertarian things to do. A nation-state is a particular political order, dominant in the modern world, that identifies the principle right of self-determination not by the voluntary cooperation of sovereign individuals but rather by the correspondence between a state/political class and a particular socio-ethno-linguistic group. Democrats do the same, but their group is called the ‘demos’ instead of the ‘nation,’ and its only requirement is that is be identifiable and constant. Both ideologies have an utter duopoly on political theory, and we are almost forced to use their language. That is why liberals are often called ‘liberal democrats,’ and why centrist Americans support ‘freedom and democracy’ – as if they were inextricably linked.
So, we don’t want to promote concepts like: democracy, nationalism, internationalism, the nation-state, federalism, social liberalism, conservatism, socialism, etc. Then we must have our own vocabulary. What does the postmodern liberal, the liberatic libertarian, want to see in the world?
He wants to see unitary ‘free states,’ or ‘liberacies,’ based on individual sovereignty, existing not to serve a nation or demos but to protect the liberty of all human beings within a territory. These liberacies will permit secession, incorporate sortition and other power-mediating strategies, follow an agreed system of law with no legislative capacity for the government, subordinate and divide the executive, focus only on night-watchman functions, but will remain as strong as possible in counteracting aggression. They will evolve by four methods: confederation, union, accession, and secession. Confederation is a league of two or more states, with each sending a delegation to a Congress, to provide for mutual defense. Union is the creation of one new liberacy from two, both of which are subsumed into a new government for the whole territory. Accession is the joining of one liberacy into another, where the former is subsumed into the latter. Secession is the withdrawal of a territory from a liberacy, the exercise of which is a right of all free people.
Liberacy itself is a latin construction from the root ‘liber,’ meaning freedom, and the suffix ‘-acy,’ to indicate being in the state of. Therefore, to live within a Liberacy is ‘to be in a state of freedom.’ This is similar in meaning to ‘being in a state of happiness:’ a matter-of-fact statement on the way things are. This is differentiated from other forms of government, which have terms ending in -archy or -ocracy. These latter forms indicate the rule of a state by a particular group. For example, democracy means ‘rule of the people’ or ‘rule of the majority.’ The term ‘free state’ is something of an English translation, already in use by The Free State Project. The adjectival form of liberacy is ‘liberatic,’ while the noun is liberal or libertarian. So now, I expect to see libertarian parties support liberacy (the libertarian state) over democracy (the majoritarian state) or nationalism (the nation-state). I expect talk in libertarian clubs to discuss globalization, a libertarian phenomenon, over internationalism, a statist phenomenon. In parallel, terms like ‘interstate,’ ‘intercontinental,’ or ‘global’ should entirely replace ‘international’ as a term of art.
We should be talking up concepts like sortition, like private mass transit, like private urban design, like anti-federalism or confederalism. Here in the Canadian Confederation (notice my use of liberatic terminology to describe Canada), we should be pushing for the elimination of the Canadian House of Commons, the expansion of the Senate with a delegation from each province (selected by whatever method that province chooses), the reduction of the role of the Confederal (currently Federal) government to defense, the end of the monarchy, the changing of the term ‘province’ to ‘free state,’ the welcoming of all immigrants and even new members to the confederation, the use of sortition for free state offices, the end of the RCMP, the end of the Social Insurance Number, the institution of free banking (or rather, the de-institution of central banking), and more.
But it all starts with how we speak. We have to affect the worldview of our local cultures. Most people can’t imagine a world without nations, without fiat currency, without zoning. First, libertarians must examine their own vocabulary and worldview, then spread the words. So spread the words!