Dear Liberty Movement*,

In 2008 and 2012, something big happened. That big thing was Ron Paul. Prior to these years libertarianism was heard of, however, nowhere near to the degree it is today. If you were libertarian before these years, chances are that Ron Paul made you more of one or more familiar with it (such as other libertarian philosophies), or if you weren’t libertarian at all, he made you one in general.

 

If you fall under either of these, even if you are a libertarian adamantly opposed to Ron Paul, the 2008 and 2012 campaign seasons possibly created excitement for you as Ron Paul brought in a wave of newcomers to libertarian ideas. Suddenly, you didn’t feel so alone. With social media exploding around these years as well, you realized that you weren’t the only black sheep of the family. With his arguments against the Fed, U.S. foreign policy, the IRS, war on drugs, and other encroachments of the State, Ron Paul arguably helped libertarianism grow more than anyone else before him and ushered in what is now called the “liberty movement.” Libertarianism was to “take over.”

 

Fast forward to 2015 and something else happened. We didn’t win. Not only that, but the state didn’t shrink but is still growing? What happened? This was meant to be our time. Heck, Ron Paul even influenced others to do what he did and create change, so what gives?

 

Something related to the reason that statist policies don’t work happened when things didn’t turn out the way we wanted. We started questioning why, and unfortunately began to search for who or what was to blame. Some of you libertarians may not have noticed, possibly because libertarianism isn’t a passion of yours. Perhaps you just do it on the side or only follow a few small issues; it doesn’t take up your days.

 

As it turns out, it’s actually not that libertarianism didn’t grow because the consensus wants rulers or believes we are better off with the state than without, no. I thought the State and those who support the state were the problem, but I was wrong. It turns out those things are not to blame. As a matter of fact the state isn’t the problem, it’s libertarians like you and me.

 

At first I thought it was the state — the entity that wages war on a mass scale — that was the problem but it’s those pesky libertarians that won’t get behind Rand and support him. The ones who aren’t pragmatic and won’t work within the system, despite the state growing these last 200 years with that route. They are to blame. Damn those anarcho-purists and agorists. If only they voted harder! Then the libertarians would be in charge! If only they understood that voting the right guy in would work.

 

Turns out the state isn’t the enemy. The enemy is me – and other white male libertarians – for being “privileged.” The problem is that I started the race “a few steps ahead.” No, not the state – the entity that drives the mass of oppression, but the fact I am “not as oppressed” as another individual. In other words, instead of talking about actual injustices, the blame should be placed on people who are not treated unjustly.

 

Turns out the state isn’t the problem. Not the institution that penalizes victimless crimes and makes criminals out of innocent people, no. Turns out all those racists are to blame that libertarianism hasn’t taken over. Turns out I am an enemy because I “harbor racism” since I take an uncompromising stance on defending the rights of all individuals regardless of their beliefs or social preferences, even if I disagree.

 

I thought those statists and the state were to blame, but I was mistaken. I came to realize it was that cursed Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Austrians. Don’t they know that their economics must be more commercial? Don’t they know that they need to appeal to the scientific community with their methods or they’ll make us look bad with their dogma? Can’t they realize that anarchy has never existed anywhere either?

 

Turns out the state isn’t the problem. No. We must not go after the state. It’s not the state that is the problem, but comments that offend others’ sensibilities. When presented with choosing between spending time explaining the evils of the state — a monopoly on coercive power that historically and currently engages in atrocities on a grand scale — and railing against jokes found to be offensive, perceived discrimination, and cultural traditions found to be discomforting, we must go with the latter. Furthermore, we must do it in a “this group has it worse than that one” manner, instead of pointing out injustice in all cases.

 

Turns out the state isn’t the problem; being critical of other libertarian philosophies is the problem. Turns out that being critical of other philosophies that are philosophically and economically insensible, which don’t even share the same ends, makes you look paranoid. I am the problem for not being “big tent” enough. I am harming liberty by questioning the legitimacy of numerous counterproductive ideas which are attempted to be brought in. That infighting is the problem, not the state.

 

The issue is not the monopoly of “ultimate decision-making power” over a given area, no. The issue is those cheapskate libertarians who don’t donate enough to support your lifestyle or your “cause,” despite the fact that many may be struggling themselves and yet have supported your ideas that made you who you are today. Why stop there? Anyone that takes donations is a problem and not the state, regardless of whether they already have a decent job and are well off but are creating material and content hundreds or thousands of people value. Damn beggars.

 

I came to realize that those who advocated for a State shouldn’t be the focus, nor were they an issue. The issue was me for using terms like “capitalism.” It doesn’t matter that I use the term correctly, we should abandon using it in a positive way in favor of a bastardized and disingenuous definition of it to be taken more seriously. “Capitalism” doesn’t mean private ownership of the means of production. Where, by “private” I mean individual, by “ownership” I mean an exclusive legal right to use or control the use of the thing owned, and by “means of production” I mean land, labor and (especially, in this context) capital. It means “corporatism” and I am hurting liberty by defining it correctly.

 

It turns out the state isn’t the problem. Not the state, which confiscates property through the use of eminent domain, civil forfeiture, and taxation, no. Turns out the enemies are those who oppose the state morally, rather than those who oppose it simply pragmatically or preferentially. Who cares that these two do share the same ends? The fact that some oppose it morally is what is to blame. “Taxation is morally wrong”? How dare they!?

 

I was wrong when I thought libertarianism was a political philosophy about non-aggression. Turns out that I have to be welcoming and accepting of all behavior, otherwise it is coercive and not libertarian. Turns out that being libertine and libertarian are requisite to each other. I need to be accepting of any possible behavior – not even toleration is enough. Addressing the state can come later.

 

Turns out that not talking about ending the state is what’s important. Hanging out with the “who’s who?” of the “liberty movement” and getting a fancy photo is more important than ideas. And when it comes to ideas, only ideas from a favorite personality are what matter, not that the argument has merit. Unless you have a large multitude of followers and academic credentials, your arguments are invalid. Making others below you feel insignificant is what is valid, not abolishing the state. Furthermore, who do those radical libertarians think they are by not adhering to our way, that libertarianism must always be mainstream and cozy up to the consensus?

 

If you thought the state was the problem, you are overlooking the fact that we must ridicule males by calling them “thirsty” or “white knights” when they happen to defend the arguments of a female, ignoring that her argument might actually have some substance. The state isn’t what our focus should be, rather bickering about a left-right paradigm is what should be addressed. Asserting that libertarianism isn’t only a political philosophy about non-aggression, but it should address and fix every single social preference, then placing ourselves on a moral high ground pedestal when others don’t agree that’s what libertarianism is.

 

It doesn’t matter that we may look like the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front. It doesn’t matter that it is actually quite contradictory that an alleged proponent of the free market would be so keen on attempting to dictate how an entire movement should perform. In other words: put aside your personal ideology about anti-collectivism and think about what you’re doing to the collective of those against collectivism. The state is not the problem, it’s you and me.

 

Why have the same exciting fire within us for a freer society as we did years ago when we can make enemies out of libertarians? Why address the state when we can alienate libertarians to the point where they feel as though their voice doesn’t matter? Let’s have an unelected board of divatarians approve what is libertarian and what isn’t, then have an inside joke about those “fringe” libertarians not playing the game. Let’s bash rulers but replace those rulers with our own personalities we idolize. Let’s see how quickly the state shrinks or how many libertarians are (not) attracted to the concept. Sound like like a plan? Great.

 

Dear Liberty Movement, what happened? Some years ago I was excited. I was happy to take part and learn new ideas. Now, I am hesitant to turn on my computer only to find out that I’m supposedly (and unknowingly) too racist, too intolerant, too sexist, too purist, too dogmatic, too idealistic, too “thirsty.” We were gaining momentum and I was happy to be involved but then I came to realize supposedly I am not involved because I’m not famous enough (and I may need to compromise libertarian principles to become a famous libertarian icon too), not hot enough, not part of the in-crowd, don’t have enough glamor shots, don’t play friendly enough with the state. I was eager to share ideas but turns out many libertarians don’t want to learn and progress further, or are happy being unchallenged. And when they do want to learn more it must be from an approved philosopher or economist since the arguments don’t matter it seems.

 

Dear, Liberty Movement…. Ron Paul cured my apathy, and the “liberty movement” gave it back.

Sincerely,

…..well… the “liberty movement”.

 

 

*While this article resembles a satire piece it reflects a number of grievances not only from myself but numerous other individuals that contributed their own concerns on the “liberty movement” to this article. Further, while I do find the state the ultimate enemy, I also find arguments and ideas that are abhorrent to libertarianism are of great importance to be addressed.