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L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 700, December 9, 2012

"So here's a call to arms—or at least to
keyboards—for all of those I hear wondering
what they can do to advance the cause of liberty."w3


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A Reply to Mr. Bradshaw's Open Letter
by Chris Claypoole
igli1969@comcast.net

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Re: "An Open Letter to Chris Claypoole" by Michael Bradshaw

Mr. Bradshaw gave me the opportunity to draft a reply to his treatise on the Friday afternoon prior to its publication, but personal time constraints have prevented me from reading it in full until now (Saturday morning, Dec. 8).

This will be brief, because I do not disagree with Mr. Bradshaw's analysis of the writings of William Lind, nor his assertion that violence does, indeed, change things, including governments. I also agree that the United States of America has grown into an empire. However, his two examples of similar states to the one we live in are Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Godwin's Law in only one step! While the potential for government-initiated domestic violence exists in America, and the U.S. is quite cavalier about deaths caused to the civilians of the countries we have invaded in recent decades, it hardly rises to the levels of either of those two former nations. Things are still being done retail by the U.S., not wholesale as was done by the Nazis and Soviets. As of yet, no gulags, no pogroms, no mass graves, no death camps.

He goes further in stating that violence was needed to remove the Nazis and Soviets from power. Well, yes and no. Certainly, the end result of World War II was the end of Nazi Germany. But I sort of remember the Soviet Union falling more from internal rot than from violence. Economically, the USSR was a failure, and could not compete with the freer economic systems. Certainly there was little internal fighting on the scale of a guerilla war. It was more that the peoples of the USSR decided not to obey the national government. There was no civil war. Sure, there was some fighting, but it was localized and very small-scale. (And the resulting government of Russia is still very authoritarian, but there is no history of Rule of Law in that part of the world, so no alternative was seen as viable.)

That kind of regime change was what I was referring to in my original essay, hopefully with a better ending. Which would be regime end instead of regime change.

That is not to say that I am against self-defense. Far from it. Nor do I think that there is a chance that our current situation will be resolved without some violence. But that violence, of necessity being conducted in some kind of guerrilla setting, or even individual actions uncoordinated with or by any other person or group, will not be what changes or renders irrelevant the current U.S. government. People in power will nearly always fight to retain that power. Others who had passively supported the government may be roused to make that support overt and to resist anti-government activities. (Does "Love it or leave it" ring a bell?) Only the decision in the minds of a significant minority of Americans that the government is no longer legitimate, no longer needed, and no longer desired, can do that.

Violence is tactics. The hearts and minds of Americans is strategy. Mr. Bradshaw's extensive treatment of the tactics of resistance is solid. However, I do not think that those tactics form a viable strategy to resist the American government's destruction of our liberty. We will have to agree to disagree on that point. Only American individuals can decide, one by one, whether they prefer freedom to the false security of government control. If they choose the latter, as in the recent election, no amount of violence, however conducted, will do more than inconvenience that government. Nor will agorism do more than create a scapegoat for more government control of our lives. The only possible strategy for success, IMHO, is to spread the meme of liberty, one person at a time, and hope it goes viral in the hard times coming over the next several years.

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