L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 329, July 24, 2005
"You've GOTTA be kidding"
What The Hell To Do Now?
Exclusive to TLE
I have been reading Butler Shaffer for a long time. I love his writing. However, he is only one of many, many writers who are great at diagnosing the problemsbut hardly anyone has the cure, the fix, the optimal strategy (personal or political). In other words, OK, hey, snaps and props for the diagnosis, professor. Now how do we fix this decline of western civilization? Butler believes it to be unfixable. Oh happy day.
The Galt's Gulchers amongst us have concluded its best to watch the Fall of New Rome (or, more accurately, New Westminster) from afar. Find a decent hidey-hole and lay low until we can pick up the pieces. It is, I admit, tempting. Shaffer's recent writings suggest a form of this dropping out, i.e. "withholding one's consent" by not voting. Since he is anti-democracy anyway, this has the benefit of being logical consistent, although it is not clear to me that our feared leaders will care all that much at some point in the future. A strategy that hinges on the cryptofascists giving a shit about you and I and even the apperance of "freedom", I note dourly, is very likely to fail since they have shown no real concern heretofor.
The politically hopeful amongst us work at the SystemFree State Project, Libertarian Party, even writing missives and essays are forms of "working within the System." I admit to being in this camp, perhaps a sign of both my optimism and my ability to bullshit myself. It has worked for me personally in the past, this relentless optimism, so perhaps it will in this case, doubtlessly a sign of at least runaway ego. I should submit myself for debugging.
The MacVeigh's of this world have their own way of dealing with things, either "in the large" (i.e. MacVeigh's grossly coarse activities), or "in the small" (i.e. Vin Suprynowicz's Black Arrow or Boston T. Party's avenging character in Molon Labe). Voting from the rooftops makes a dandy slogan on a t-shirt, and will make an excellent target for the Geheime Staatspolizei if you wear said t-shirt in public.
I'd love to know what Professor Butler Shaffer's stance is on What The Hell To Do. Any ideas, Professor Shaffer? Because while you have an extrordinary, Menckenesque way of turning phrases and a dead-center sense of the truth, I have not really noticed many practical solutions.
Perhaps, as my blogging friends suggest, "spontaneous order" will illuminate the way. Since I have no idea what they mean by this (other than some sort of Adam Smith-ian hidden hand of the market, and frankly markets are so intervened these days the very concept is nearly relegated to history's dustbin, sadly).
In the end, observationally, what I actually do is surround myself with friends who are prone to liberty, and I keep reading those who have a positive vision of a future where coercion doesn't exist (or at least is not unchallenged), where the Doctrine of Unanimous Consent is considered common sense, and where the Zero Aggression Principle (formerly the Non-Aggression Principle) is the baseline law. I am attending the Porcupine Festival this year in New Hampshire, the Free State (or, the future free state, we hope) to be amongst my comrades in arms and peace. I am by nature gregarious and social.
I am also looking for my own Gulch. Unless you know of a better idea, Professor Shaffer. Until then, keep writing, because diagnosing the disease at least serves to remind us that the lipstick worn by authority is really just putting lipstick on the pig.