Libertarians Prove the Left Has No Monopoly on Time-Wasting Nuttery

This article by Walter Block provides an illustration of why my attitude towards the organized libertarian movement has always been: “Read the works of their scholars, which are quite helpful, but ignore their movement, which mirrors the Left in that it is composed primarily of students, intellectuals, academics, and bohemians committed to outdoing each other in their philosophical purity rather than actually bringing down the state.”

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  1. Wendy McElroy has always opposed the parliamentary road to a libertarian or anarchist society on the typically anarchist grounds that one can’t use the State to abolish itself no matter how well meaning the elected politicians. She has written many essays arguing for this form of non-compliance with the state. She stands alongside forbears such as Proudhon & Benjamin Tucker (& many others). One of her writings on this subject even appears on the Rockwell site (Act Responsibly: Don’t vote! from 2004). I find it mystifying that Block does not refer to Ms. McElroy’s principled objection to electoral politics which lies behind her specific objection to Congressman Paul.

  2. I though Block’s article was beyond ridiculous.

    I wrote a number of pro-RP articles for LRC back in 2007 on the grounds that Paul was providing a useful forum for the dissemination of antiwar, anti-empire, anti-Fed, anti-drug war, etc. ideas. But I always knew he had not a snowball’s chance of becoming president.

    Now that Paul’s campaign has gotten more serious this time around he’s already started to compromise out of necessity (for instance, planning to reduce the military budget by only 15%). He would have to compromise even more if he actually became prez and if he rocked the boat too much the system would pull either a Lee Harvey Oswald or a Pinochet on him.

    The point is that Wendy’s position is a perfectly valid one even if I think Paul’s efforts have some merits on a propaganda level and as a prelude to something more radical. For instance, the libertarian movement of the 1960s grew out of the Goldwater campaign to a large degree.

  3. This is interesting.


    “Consider military spending. Counting savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Paul calls for $832 billion in cuts over four years, which would leave the Pentagon’s base budget in 2016 about 2 percent lower than it is now.”

    While Paul is no doubt sincere in his wishes to end to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s about all his plan for reducing the military budget would do. The military-industrial complex would otherwise remain completely intact as would the 1,000-base world empire.


  4. The fact is that Paul is endorsing the system by participating in it. Not that I’ve heard him say that he’s planning to hit “self destruct” on the Federal Government should he be enthroned in the Oval Office.

    If Paul really wanted to do something concrete to contest the power of the state he would withdraw from the primaries citing the unfairness and anti democratic nature of the electoral process, declare he was of the opinion that the system was beyond reform through its internal mechanisms and that only direct action can bring liberty to the people.

    Ultimately since the guy doesn’t have any chance of winning the election (and since even if he did it wouldn’t make any difference) the effort expended in this doomed campaign is totally wasted by everyone involved whether they be libertarians or Bible belt” Jesus for Ron” types. Losing elections never changed anything.

  5. As I’ve said before, I view movements like the Ron Paulistas, Occupiers, Teabaggers, et. al. as transitional phases towards something far more radical and extreme. Of course, not everyone who participates in those movements will eventually move towards something that is authentically anti-state, rejects the left/right paradigm, develops a viable plan for attacking the ruling class, etc. But those movements allow novices and neophytes to learn the hard way that working in the system doesn’t work.

    Eventually, of course, I want the secessionist/anarchist movement to agitate for the Mailer model at the local level and boycott national elections as fraudulent. The “Pan-Secessionist Front” or “North American Anarchist Hezbollah” ( 🙂 ) or whatever it would be called would be something that completely rejects any participation in the U.S. electoral system, certainly at the national level. There may be room for a more pragmatic approach at the local level or, in some instances, the regional level.

  6. I dunno OS I think the Wachowskis did more to promote anarchism in the US than every conventional political campaign of the 20th century put together.

    (plus Chomsky gets about a bit).

    Anyway Paul isn’t an anarchist; all he is talking about is winding the state back to where it was in about 1980. That’s a lot of state.

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