A Facebook friend sums up why “the libertarian moment” passed with a succinct critique of conventional libertarianism (and I would include virtually the entire anarchist and anti-state milieu in this as well).
“The Libertarian Party is utterly useless. It may have once had some utility as a ‘forum’, but for a long time it’s been a scam to get donors to support the wonkery and time-wasting of party bureaucrats. The Tom Woods show has accomplished more than the LP ever has. The similar (though Republican-branded) Ron Paul Presidential runs are about the same thing. Millions of dollars blown to accomplish ‘outreach’? Most of the people it reached have apparently become SJWs, Bernouts or Trumpkins, anyway. Which just goes to show you that the problem isn’t ignorance, oppression, or government schools. The problem is that normal people are dumb, herdish, gullible, and just not libertarian. This is largely genetic, and also a product of enormous social inertias that are not subject to rational disputation. I generally think most ‘activism’ is a waste of time, especially if it’s activism for anything that makes sense: people have deep-seated, sub-rational reasons for rejecting this stuff.
“But I used to be a Nazi-Communist until I saw the Ron Paul campaign!” someone will say. Anecdotal stuff like this does not move me. Most people who call themselves ‘libertarians’ are useless, and still cowardly middle-classers who don’t dare actually break the law or approve of violence against the police. The Crips do more to actually subvert the law than most ‘libertarians’, because they’re not fat sissies. It’s not just that they’re afraid to declare Jihad on Washington and start selling meth out of their pickup truck, it’s that they’re afraid to even say that this is okay and maybe, just maybe, American soldiers who invade foreign countries deserve to die. This bourgoisie fetish for not offending people and being ‘respectable’ is a disease of the entire culture. This is one reason I’m not as big a fan of the middle class as the PaleoLib, types. They’re the people who gave us the nation-state and the state churches. You may think it is impractical to take on the FBI with your semi-automatic AR15. Fair enough. But the instinctive, herd-like fear of even acknowledging that the FBI would have it coming, tactical efficacy aside, is why American libertarians are weak sauce. I have much more respect for the Sovereign Citizens. I have more respect for the Shining Path and the Mafia than I do for the LP. They might be Commie lunatics and gangsters, but at least they’re not fat pussies begging their slave master for better food.
There is nothing more specious, tedious, and pointless than a college debate. Read a book. If you’re convinced by two shysters throwing rhetoric and emotional appeals at each other for an hour then you’re too dumb to merit having an opinion. Most people who are convinced by these tendentious, under-argued approaches are so ignorant and stupid that they don’t have a right to an opinion. Most people who are libertarians are libertarians for stupid reasons.
I think that not taking the government seriously, and not supporting any kind of respect for the law or the mindless customs of the masses does more for ‘liberty’ than all the voting that ever occured. And I think that looking after your own freedom – trying to keep your own money and do what you want – is far more efficacious than going on half-baked crusades to educate morons who are (as Aristotle would say) ‘natural slaves’ and don’t care about the truth; and that giving your money to useless bureaucrats who are afraid to offend middle aged housewives just because they call themselves ‘libertarians’ is the opposite of liberty, it’s enslaving yourself to a ghost.
“What’s your alternative?!” the Partyarchists screech! For one, I’m not obligated to give one. The LP is useless, and has never accomplished anything, and their entire strategy is inane even if they weren’t just a bunch of liberal republicans and low-tax democrats. Pointing out that voodoo does not cure malaria does not obligate me to produce a cure for malaria, nor does it mean that visits to the shaman are thereby vindicated. But my alternative is to reject the whole paradigm of politics and crusading and to simply look after yourself and yours. To paraphrase that epitome of fat, useless, middle-class pseudointellectual paleocons Rod Dreher we can call this ‘The St. Max Option’. You can’t save the world, you can’t use reason to convince people who are too dumb to understand things and not interested in facts, and the more people who simply reject authority and look after themselves the less power the state and its allies will have, both in your life and more broadly. It is precisely because people take politics and all its posturing and clown-show antics seriously that it has any power to begin with. It is the idea of ‘legitimate authority’ that gives the state its bite, the belief in ‘law’ and ‘propriety’ itself.
This is not a criticism of making podcasts or writing books about how stupid the government is, it is a criticism of the idea of activism and missionary work. If all the suburban breeders who call themselves ‘libertarians’ would stop paying attention to politics and break the law when they thought they could get away with it and show as little respect for ‘teh troops’ and ‘teh law’ as they do for al-Qaeda they’d accomplish more than all the ‘Liberty Movement’ ever has.
Of course you will never eliminate the moralizing, signaling, tribal wankery that makes up politics. Simply withdrawing consent and being an insurrectionary anarch will not take down the state because there are always millions of busy-bodies, cultists and other such useless people cluttering up the world. But neither is telling them ‘taxation is theft!’ They do not care if it is theft. Or, more aptly: they will not allow themselves to believe it is theft if it contradicts their inherited (both in the biological and social sense) prejudices. Most people simply are not libertarian. This is not amenable to correction. Insofar as the busy-bodies can be hindered it is by not cooperating with them. The minor, rare, and possibly imaginary cases where ‘activism’ has reduced the sphere of busy-bodies in some sphere are simply not worth the money and energy used up in the process. Certainly I could make better use of millions of dollars than to put Ron Paul on TV. Keep your money, watch your back, and mind your own business.