This week has been one of the best weeks for small government/libertarian types in a long time.
I realize, a lot of small government folks will read that claim and think to themselves, "Are you kidding me, man? This week was horrible! Rand Paul quit his Presidential bid. Robert "LaVoy" Finicum the Oregon Ranger was killed by police for saying he was a part owner of federal land. And a guy that wants to move America away from capitalism, and more towards a bigger, more centralized government is leading on the Democratic side. How could things be worse for liberty?"
Maybe I need to define "best"...
This week ended the Ron Paul experiment
I love Ron Paul. Old Ron introduced millions of people to the ideas of "liberty"*. The idea that government is out of control. That it is a growth industry, which grows at the great cost of each person being governed. Connecting with Ron and his campaign was a great time for those affiliated back in the day. You learned that there were names for the things you were seeing each day. You realized that many great thinkers, before you, saw these same abuses and the violence inherent in government. You realized that our Founders anticipated these things, and they had the unbelievable vision to write things down that could potentially keep those abuses from happening - if we were just interested in enforcing them.
Ron Paul followers learned about things like jury nullification, and peaceful protest, The Fed, sound money. We learned that disobeying bad laws was not only a good thing: but our Constitutional responsibility as educated citizens. Heady times for people that actually enjoy being free.
We "disciples" winked at each other as we called Ron a "republican". We all knew he wasn't REALLY a republican. He was a libertarian in republican clothing. And we all understood why he took that route. We knew the two party system was and is completely rigged to exclude any voices from outside the two parties. All one need do is look at the consistent 2% election results of any third party, and you can see how effective the two party system has been in locking it down.
So old Ron was crafty and called himself a republican; and it worked! He got elected as a Texas Congressman as a republican. And from there, Ron ran for President. And that platform helped Ron get his message out. He has changed the world! He created the real "Tea Party". Not as it exists today, but for what it was around 2004: a group of principled folks that all shared the common goal of smaller, smarter, more Constitutionally controlled and peaceful government.
But those days were short lived. Neocons were not in favor at that time, and they were looking for a new home. The Tea Party looked like it had momentum, so many wayward Neocons held their nose at the peace and intellectual parts: and figured they could hide there for a while. They knew that over time they could make the Tea Party into the warmongering, bible-thumping image that they enjoyed at their old digs. And that's what happened. The Tea Party "jumped the shark" the day Sarah Palin said she was a member. She was not. She may have thought she was, but she embodies all the original Tea Party was not...and that was the first in a series of upcoming "ut-oh" moments for the real small government crew of 2004. We knew at that point, the hijacking had begun, and that the train was being routed onto a new track. We knew that this new direction didn't seem to take us to a destination we wanted...but we had no idea what to do about it...it had taken on a life of it's own.
The writing was already on the wall. Some got disillusioned right away. Some started calling themselves anarchists. Some moved to one of the endless shades of grey between Libertarian and Anarchy, and set out to prove they were more "freedom oriented" than the next person talking to them. It started to break down into a real shit-show, pretty quickly. It was cat-herding at it's best which yielded unending examples of why small government folks will never be organized or have nice things.
But let's not over romanticize the rise or fall of the "real" Tea Party.
Truth be told, we all knew we were screwed before we really started. We were young and naive, and hopeful, but deep down, we all could feel the fix was in, before things ever really got rolling.
Ron Paul basically reinvented the word "Revolution" in his campaigns for President. But in real world practice: how did that "revolution" work out for him? He kind of got marginalized - didn't he? Did he EVER get any meaningful legislation passed? Did he ever get any legislation repealed? Did he shrink government at all? Or was he neutralized from the start? Sure, he sold books and packed speeches to the already converted, but did the parties ever really respect anything he did? Or did they always treat him like our "crazy uncle Ron" who we put up with, because we find him amusing?
I remember watching as the Republican National Convention (RNC) changed the rules - Right on live national TV - to show that Ron Paul would NEVER get any political traction: no matter what he did. 2008, the RNC changed the delegate rules to deny Ron Paul the nomination, that he had earned using their rules. They didn't like that, so they changed the rules on him. And just like that, 4 years of hard work by thousands of dedicated volunteers instantly went away. And no one made a peep. Remember that? I bet you do.
...but then came Rand!
So Ron got hosed. But in the process, we got to know Rand Paul (Ron's son). And Rand seemed to have an idea that he thought was even more clever than his dad's clever idea. Rand figured, "Well if dad fought the Republican machine, and they marginalized him: all I need to do is play ball a little, and I'll get the green light! And then after I get in, THEN I can do some of the Libertarian stuff I really want to do."
So Rand bit the bitter pill, and got in bed with the Republicans big time, and endorsed Romney.
I'll be honest here: I kind of liked that plan. Seemed like Rand had some of the strategy the old man didn't have time for in his campaigns. Seemed like Rand had a little more guile and practical political sense and a tad less principle for principle sake. And I get it. If you don't win: what good is running?
So how did things work out for Rand?
In Republican circles he was now a team player, on a team that didn't have the talent to win any games. In today's sports terms: Rand made himself one of the top players on the 2016 Philadelphia basketball Sixers. On the libertarian side, he became the poster child for the phrase, "Sell-Out".
In the end, the two party machine was successful in doing to Rand the exact same things it did to his father. Neither Fox News or CNN included either of them in their poling numbers. You would see more news items entitled, "When will Paul Quit? than "How is Paul doing?" At debates, both were put on the edges of the stage and constantly referred to as "fringe candidates". I could go on. But I guess the question will always remain: Did either strategy work out the way small government folks had hoped? Would any strategy?
But if we are honest with ourselves as smaller government folks, we would have to agree, that as long as some Paul was running...we held out a tiny bit of hope. We could convince one tiny portion of our brains (against all logic) that there was a chance. That somehow, a Paul might get into office and open their Pandora's box of liberty on the legislature and all rainbows and unicorns would flow out from that box, and all the evil politicians would instantly see the error of their ways, and begin to strive for fiscal conservancy, a peaceful foreign policy and individual rights for citizens of the United States of America! Hallelujah!
But here is the sad truth. The truth all liberty folks knew years ago, but that this week finally makes acceptable to say:
YOU HAVE NO REPRESENTATION.
YOU WILL HAVE NO REPRESENTATION.
NO VIABLE PARTY WANTS YOU.
SNAP OUT OF IT!
I'm sorry to be the one that has to say it, but it's true. You will NEVER get representation in America as a liberty voter. Maybe not anywhere in the world. I want you to stop right here for a moment, and let that sink in a little bit... I'll wait...
Make no mistake, and finally get it through your head that you will NEVER be represented in this lifetime.
Until you get right with this fact, you are destined to continue to feel that empty terrible feeling you have been feeling for some time now. You will be destined to continue to keep saying to yourself, "Well, I guess I just didn't do liberty exactly right...that's why it didn't work for me." Until you get right with this fact, you will continue to do the same things, over and over again, and you will NEVER feel better. You are doomed, until you get this part right.
But this is why today is such a glorious day!
Today you are free to snap out of 12 years of false hope, and get on with it! NO PAULS ARE RUNNING! And if it's not clear to you yet: NONE WILL EVER GET ANYWHERE...ever. You are free, to return to logic, and see things for what they are in reality. You are free to give up on the unicorns and rainbows, and start to work on a new plan: a plan based in real premises and the realities of the world today.
So where are we?
Below are a few things you need as factors to formulate your new plan in a "Post Paul" world:
1. Our system is completely broken - you can't win.
The Constitution is dead, and the people that support that old rag are political orphans. There are steps that could be taken to make the system better (In my opinion) most of which start with campaign finance reform, but I don't see anyone on the horizon that is thinking of implementing any real reform.
Sadly, when Rand quit the race, I'm seeing a number of folks instantly falling back into their same old, dead end street, behaviors: They are looking for a new candidate. How many times do we as peaceful, freedom-loving folks fall for this same trick, before we realize that some games can only be won by NOT PLAYING? It's rigged folks. You can try to "figure it out" all you want. But in the end, every vote you cast, for any candidate, will only serve to do the following:
- If you vote at all - it will support a corrupt system. It only serves to show that you still think it's legitimate, and that you endorse it with your consent. You are saying, "give me more of this."
- If you pick a party candidate - either side...you will simply be moving the bar another step towards less freedom for all of us. They both have their favorite pet topics: but make no mistake, both sides are working together to get more rules (which benefit them) at your cost. Therefore, any vote, for anyone, in any party, is simply a vote against yourself and your neighbor and freedom and happiness... nothing more.
- If you vote for a third party - you will effectively do nothing. They can't win. It's that simple. You didn't "send a message". You painted yourself as a whack-job. You probably were obnoxious about it, and lost friends in the process. And you will devoted a lot of energy to something that will NEVER HAPPEN...ever.
None of these options above give people like us even a hint of representation. Like a religion, this present system simply requires blind faith and obedience. It's not a system at all, it's hero worship, submission and obedience.
2. No real change will come from this system
How is voting working for you so far? I've been doing it since 1980, and I don't feel like our constant march towards more tyranny, has been stopped or slowed even a little bit, in that entire run. I've voted for Republicans, and Democrats and Independents in equal measure (a voting record I'm kind of proud of), and to what end? Today we are more war-like, less free and more broke than in each previous election.
No one wants you, because of what you represent. No one can make money off of less war, fiscal responsibility, and less regulation. It's ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, and you come to the show offering less. Either party would rather the person from the other party get in, than one of our peaceful hippy do-gooder, responsibility people. Our guys don't get anyone yachts and defense contracts. Real money doesn't build massive militaries as well as fiat for oil.
This year (still hoping for change via a Paul) I proposed an unholy partnership that might have brought some change via our system. But at this point in the game (maybe at every point) it's very unlikely to happen.
3. Most importantly - Your neighbors are not peaceful
As the opening quote so nicely illustrates, very few Americans are actually peaceful. Most people want what they want, and they will do everything they can to harm people that stand in their way. They might say they are peaceful. They might believe they are peaceful. They might say they are law abiding. But be sure, that they say that only because they believe they can use those laws and "peaceful" agents of government to forcefully get what they want from you. They believe it is civilized to use "justified force" via the guns of government and the power of the majority to get what they want. No amount of lying or deception is out of bounds, in the process of convincing those with power to do violence on their behalf.
Voting gives people a distance that is comforting. Don't believe me? Ask any group that voted for either Obama or Bush if they feel personally responsible for the deaths of people ordered under the President they voted into office. 99% will tell you, that they are not personally responsible for the deaths, because the deaths were the result of the elected leader's decison...not theirs. When you compare electing a leader with authorization to kill, to hiring a Hitman - and ask them how their vote is any different: they conveniently don't see the parallels. They don't see how paying for a guy to kill someone is very similar to telling a guy he has the power to kill someone (who they personally might like to see dead) and paying him a nice salary. It's amazing to see the rationalizations: but they are there. Try it for yourself.
The point is: don't forget it. Your neighbors don't want you to be free. Parties don't want you, because you limit their gaft. Authority doesn't want you because you are less likely to feel good about giving them a blank check to use force and violence against your neighbors. Believing in things like "sovereignty" of men and nations makes giving authorization for force a much more complicated affair. People today don't want "complicated". Either you are on Team America - or you are against her! God Bless America! American Exceptionalism!
The real problem is:
You are an Anomaly.
You are out of time.
You don't belong.
You feel too much.
You think too much.
You read too much.
You question too much.
You are a pain in the ass.
And no one wants you at their party.
So what to do?
Again, I refer you to the opening quote at the top of this piece. This system WILL NOT be fixed by anyone elected. The SOCIETY is broken - not the system.
A corrupt system works perfectly for a corrupt society.
I'm urging you to spend your time not voting, or convincing others to see things as you see things but instead, spend your time FIXING SOCIETY.
I realize this is a tall order. I realize this can't happen overnight. I realize that you might spend a lifetime on this task, and not see any tangible results at all. But we have to start; so why not now?
Too much time and energy has been spent playing a game that is unwinnable. We're trying to fix a system with fundamental constructs to which any logical, peaceful person would object. So let's instead, harvest all that energy we have been expending chasing an impossible dream, and invest that energy in places we can directly effect and improve.
Start a business and fix something.
The areas needing improvement are too many to mention here. Education, mental health, sustainable lifestyles, objective thinking, philosophy, and individual rights, responsibilities and duties - would all make my own personal short list of things that need fixing. But I could write an entire book just on areas that need improvement in our society. Justice, money, love and peace would make the second sentence. You need to pick the things that you see lacking in this world and list them for yourself...then get to fixing them.
Not to be cliche, but...
You need to be the change you want to see in the world.
The culture is sick. You aren't going to vote your way to an ethical, kind, loving, humane and caring world: you simply need to BE IT.
Sounds silly, I know. Where would you even begin?
The best answer I can give to this question is: Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Teressa and Nelson Mandela didn't make their names and become icons by trying to lobby others or vote others into positions of power: they saw injustice, and became the change.
And you don't have to be a famous reformer. You can just be the person down the street that thinks differently. If you can change even one person, and educate them in regard to the things important to libertarian folks: you have changed more hearts and minds than you would have ever done by electing someone.
Changing the world on a personal level, is my advice to you, and my challenge to myself. May we both be skilled when skill counts and lucky when needed.
* I hesitate to use this word, "liberty" because like "liberal", "conservative" and other collective terms, I feel like it's been sullied to a point, recognizable from it's original meaning. But for the purposes of this article: let's just roll with it.