Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 529, July 26, 2009

"Agorism proposes not to confront tyranny
in the streets, but to use counter-economics
to withdraw support from tyranny."

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Give Up Already!
by Rob Sandwell

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine about the 2008 presidential campaign of Ron Paul. As an anarchist, I am on principle opposed to the idea of achieving freedom through the enslavement of others. However, for the purpose of the argument, I am willing to grant the premise that Ron Paul is the most moral, most wise, and most freedom loving politician in human history. I am even willing to accept the position of some of his followers, some of whom I feel edge dangerously close to worshipers, that Ron Paul is the philosopher-king that this country needs to be truly free of the oppression and tyranny under which we have toiled for all of our lives.

But even if we accept that he is this great and wonderful thing, it should be clear to all by now that he will never be elected. It is time for us to surrender the field to our enemies, and acknowledge our defeat within the sphere of electoral politics. It is time to give up already!

But that does not mean we must surrender. We simply need to forgo this misguided idealism that we can triumph by working within the system. We can not. This is a game you can not win by playing. No more than we could defeat the British Redcoats by standing before them in lines of battle and exchanging gun fire. No more than the Viet Cong could confront our own soldiers on the field of battle without suffering devastating losses. Yet in each of those engagements, the enemy who was willing to adapt, and understood that political goals are more important than military ones was the enemy who carried the day.

We must learn these lessons ourselves.

In Ron Paul's last presidential campaign, well over 25 million federal reserve notes were raised. Thousands of man hours were spent attending rallies, and conventions, and caucuses, electioneering and making phone calls and writing letters. All for what? The supporters of Ron Paul would have you believe that in so doing they increased the visibility of the cause of freedom. Their man was interviewed on Fox News. He was present at debates. He drew crowds at rallies.

But are we more free? Since his election, we have seen the government seizure of major American industries. We see energy and health care legislation on the horizon which will cripple this country for decades if not more. We see preventative detention, and "hate speech" legislation designed to shut down websites like this, and an expansion of Executive powers that would have made the last President rejoice. We see just how much that "damn piece of paper" means to our leaders.

So I say, give up already. Quit trying to seize the Gun of State for your own purposes. Even should you somehow succeed, you will only become the very thing you hate. We can not win this battle. Our enemy makes the rules, he's more experienced, and he cheats. We have truth and liberty on our side. They have only lies and enslavement. Surely, if we could have won, we would have done so by now.

Instead of fighting a war we have already lost, we must fight a new one. A new war, with new rules that we set. We must fight a guerrilla war, one with unconventional tactics and strategies. Because our enemy wants us to fight him on his terms, he counts on us wasting our resources in a hopeless cause instead of investing them in something that might actually work.

Imagine if all the money and resources wasted by the lovers of freedom, not only in this most recent campaign, but in every campaign going back over two hundred and thirty years, had instead been used to establish schools where freedom and liberty were taught, and create neighborhood gardens where people could grow their own food and become self reliant, and open up community garages where people could receive free auto repair if they were willing to provide the labor and learn how to fix their own machines, and set up free self defense classes so people could learn to provide for their own protection instead of relying on the state, and to fund concerted news outlets that reported honestly on the outcomes of the statist agenda, and to support Austrian economists and Libertarian authors and musicians.

If we had spent all our money and man hours on those things, I do not believe we would need men like Ron Paul today. We would already be free. And so would he. Free to do something productive with his life, instead of standing as the lone bulwark against the onslaught of statism.

Sun Tzu wrote, "there are some fields which should not be contested, some enemies which should not be fought." He also said, "avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak." It is time that we learned from these words.

Give up already. The enemy has carried the day. Electoral politics is not going to be the mechanism by which we achieve freedom. Even if we seized the Gun, we would only be guilty of the same crimes as our enemies. Pointing guns at the innocent will never bring about true freedom.

Instead, let us fight a new war. A guerrilla war. One we can win. Let us fight outside their system. Let us become the cancer in the body politic.

We have lost the battle. But it is not too late to win the war. If we are willing to adapt our strategies and tactics.

Otherwise we will go on through 2010, and 2012, and 2014, and 2016 sliding into despotism and squandering our hope of freedom.


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