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The Failure of the Libertarian Movement

libertarian movementTurn on a television after midnight some time and watch the churches that offer prayer for the sick, the depressed, and the overwhelmed. At first you’ll probably be put off by it and angered by hucksters who are selling things that they can’t possibly deliver. But if you stay with it for a few minutes, you may see something important.

Look at the people in the pews. Don’t just classify them as a group of stupid people – look at them – see the individuals. These are people who know they need help. They know that they are in pain, that they have failed to become what they should be, that they have hurt others, that they are lost in the middle of a confusing world, and that they don’t know a way out.

These people are not morons. They know that dipping slips of paper with their names on them into holy oil is silly. But they overlook the stupidity, because they’re desperate for help. And don’t kid yourself, they do get some temporary help from these places. Yes, they are also removed from their money, but if they go to that church, they will be surrounded by people who will try to help them. Humans are clever creatures, and when they try to help each other, they often succeed. (This help will come from the other attendees, not the guy with the holy oil.)

You can complain all you like about the huckster, but he’s only in business because people have nowhere better to turn. They’re sitting in front of the TV at 1 AM because they are depressed, guilty, desperate, and they need something.

SO…?

So, what if there was a group of people who had the answers to these problems, who knew how to eliminate the pressures that caused them? And what if those people didn’t have the sense to recognize it and spread it? How would you describe them?

Well, take a look in the mirror, Mr. and Ms. Libertarian, because that’s you.

I was one of the early libertarians. We were engineers and analysts and financial experts. We knew math and analysis, science, and the intricacies of law. If you wanted to know how property rights led to increased financial output, we could tell you immediately. If you asked aloud why central control of commerce led to shortages, five of us would turn around to enlighten you. But we were insular; we were contained. We didn’t appreciate that we held the world’s cure in our hands.

I’m not trying to be critical here; I was a part of it all. But the truth is that we missed the biggest philosophical opportunity of the century; we failed to see how our new truth applied to millions of people who needed help so badly that they’d put up with TV hucksters.

Our Enemies Judged Correctly

We really should have known. We’ve all had the experience of people embedded in the state system flying into a wild rage upon hearing our ideas. We thought we were just talking about economics, but they acted as if we were trying to destroy everything they loved.

Our enemies thought our ideas were far more powerful than we did.

And they were right; we didn’t appreciate what we had.

If our message is ever understood by average people (and it isn’t hard to understand), the systems that treat them like farm animals will simply vanish. They have a stunning amount to gain from our discoveries, and whatever pain they take along the way would be a joke compared to what the existing system lays upon them.

So, yes, our enemies’ judgments were right when they flew into malicious rages. And if we are grudgingly accepted by them now, it’s because we’ve been limited to abstract and confusing areas like finance and politics.

Simple Truths

How many personal problems do you suppose thrive on low self-esteem?

How many personal disasters happen because people are afraid to act on their own judgment?

The answer to both of these questions is “most of them.”

So, why are self-esteem and judgment at such abysmal levels? The answer is simple: Because the state and its agents are dedicated to this result. They’ve been doing this since their inception, and they have no other choice. Can you imagine trying to get tax money out of people who felt perfectly confident in themselves and their own judgments?

Governments are necessarily against human will. If they can’t make us feel that our desires and judgments are shameful, their entire operation will collapse. Their game requires Joe Average to feel insecure and flawed.

Our enemies were right to freak out. Now it’s time for us to agree with them, and to start fixing the world.

We hold the cure in our hands. It’s time to break out of our bubbles and start distributing it. Once people see that the pressures crushing them are artificial, they will begin shrugging them off.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

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  • Matt

    Very good analysis.
    So, why are self-esteem and judgment at such abysmal levels? The answer is simple:
    I would change the answer a little from “Because the state and its agents are dedicated to this result.” to “Because the people with low self-esteem try to keep others at their level. And people with low self-esteem try to get into positions of power and influence.”

  • Terry Hulsey

    Paul,
    Yes “[g]overnments are necessarily against human will” and necessarily against common sense: In a perverse way, the more defiant of common sense, the more evident that a group with arcane knowledge should decide instead of “common” men. Keynesianism is a perfect example of this.
    As for the strategic and tactical reform of the Libertarian Party:
    http://c4ss.org/content/1019

  • Jerome Bigge

    On my blog as “www.muskegonlibertarian.wordpress.com” I’ve been giving libertarian solutions to problems such as excessively costly health care (repeal prescription laws, introduce a true free market in health care). The simple fact is that “statism” increases economic costs, creates monopoly, and makes the problem “worse” instead of better. Libertarianism solves problems, reduces costs, produces jobs, makes people better off.

  • Biggly

    Low self-esteem? Seriously? To me it seems much of the problem is because so many feel entitled, feel their kids and situation are ‘special’, refuse to punish their kids or accept responsibility for themselves, because “society owes” them a living, comforts and a cell phone. If anything we have a problem of TOO MUCH self-esteem and not enough responsibility.

    “Can you imagine trying to get tax money out of people who felt perfectly confident in themselves and their own judgments?” Yes, because that’s exactly what is happening right now!

  • Dan Ecklund, MD

    For solutions to fixing the world that libertarians would find familiar, and for opportunites to get involved, please see https://www.fixtheworldproject.org and http://www.globalgeniustrust.com.

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