Category Archives: Voluntary Society

growing stages

WANTED: Liberty entrepreneurs

Money is a dirty word in the liberty movement.  Ironic, for a pro-free-market and free trade ideology.  But when theory becomes reality, many recoil at the idea of bloggers doing sales or advertising.  Why?

Spending time to make content or technology means taking time away from other activities, whether business or leisure.  That time has to be compensated.  Yet some act like entitled socialists, expecting this work to be provided for free!

To be fair, some monetization strategies are obnoxious or spammy.  But all that means is we need better monetization options.  Better technologies.  Better feedback and suggestion from audiences of what works and what doesn’t.

For the liberty movement to survive, much less thrive and change the world, it must be economically self-sufficient.  If you can’t feed yourself, you can’t change the world.  If our activities in pursuit of liberty are not profitable, but only financial drains, we will never grow and advance.

We need more business models around advancing liberty.  We need more content, more media platforms, more technologies.  With the fake news media collapsing before our eyes, there has never been a better opportunity than now.  There is so much pent up demand and very little supply.

We need more liberty entrepreneurs.

Not just from an economic perspective, but from a psychological one as well.  It can get depressing focusing only on what the poweful are doing to us.  Who wants to be on a constantly losing team, with a victim mentality?  It’s time we recognize our own power, take responsibility, and become agents of change.

I am working on several media technology projects with a group of liberty-minded developers and creators.  Want to join the effort?  Email me at apollo at apolloslater dot com and let’s get to work!

Climbing a mountain

The 4 steps to political freedom

1. Philosophy – Your foundational ideology should be coherent and correspond to political reality; these are contradictory aims.  Yet the dialectical process between these two requirements is what produces your reason for acting, your reason for being.  Acting without it leaves you to the mercy of “some defunct economist“.

2. Education – This is not just the propagation of your ideology to others.  It is the application of it to the particular backgrounds and historical circumstances of your target audience.  Communication is a task in itself, yet the act of it also affects the thing being communicated.

3. Economy – You cannot change the world if you are scraping by.  To effect change, your community of ideology must be economically vibrant.  It must not only get by, but it must have a surplus of resources, time, and energy.  It must also do so in a way that retains independence from the very power structure it is attempting to subvert.

4. Power – A self-sufficient and well-organized group is unstoppable, regardless of numbers.  The challenge for a group propounding liberty is overcoming the history of such groups creating a tyranny, often worse than the one they replaced.  For the old revolutionaries, the end justifies the means, for the end is the revolution, and it justifies all.  The new revolutionaries must overturn the cycle between tyranny and revolution; therefore, the means can only be justified by their ideological ethics; therefore, the means is the revolution; therefore, the means is the end.

Lucy and Charlie Brown play football

The practical failure of libertarians (and what to do about it)

I was floored by the sheer inanity of Walter Block going back on his word to disband “Libertarians for Trump” after the convention.  This nonsensical shilling for a would-be tyrant by a smart, prominent libertarian, based on nothing more than a willful naivete around a politician’s lies, is very discouraging.

Remember candidate George W. Bush’s claim to be against nation-building?  Boy, did that work out well.  Now we are supposed to believe Trump is a non-interventionist, even though his psychology and history clearly do not point to that conclusion.  It’s like the last 16 years never happened and no lessons were learned about believing presidential candidates’ words.

Walter Block isn’t the only libertarian with googly-eyes for Trump;  Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo, and others as well.   Maybe they are more paleocons than libertarians after all?  Who can tell.  But if these libertarian leaders can be so taken in by the emotional con game, what hope is there for the masses?  Can education and spreading ideas really result in a voluntary society?  Do we not have the right ideas yet and that’s why we’re falling into error?  What are we missing?

Here are a few suggestions of what I think we need, that we’re missing.

#1, devise ways to measure how much progress we’re making toward the goal of a voluntary society.  We need to be able to tell which tactics work and which don’t, which are more effective and less effective.  We clearly don’t have a good handle on this, judging by the constant debates on the merits of voting.

#2, create an institutional alternative to the Libertarian Party, focused on non-political means of achieving a voluntary society.  There are plenty of options already on the table; they should be catalogued, nurtured, promoted, and funded at an institutional level.  Right now, most people assume that electoral politics is the only way to effect change.  A non-political action organization would help break this paradigm.

#3, develop self-reinforcing systems of advancing liberty.  The problem with relying on education to advance liberty is that it’s a constant struggle, and only a few will have the motivation, time, patience, curiosity, resources, etc. to understand the issues and go against their emotional instincts.  Even with this education, as we’ve seen with “Libertarians for Trump”, it’s easy to go off the rails.

Just as the market functions regardless of the personal opinions of its participants, we need to devise systems that inherently advance liberty by their very nature.  Ideally, such systems would align people’s financial interests with advancing liberty.  It’s hard to stay in the fight if you have to scrape by to survive.  A focus on systems of coordination, not just the ideas of liberty per se, is needed to make the liberty movement an effective social force.

Trade by barter

How do we achieve a voluntary society?

How might we bring about a voluntary society, one in which individuals are free to do as they wish as long as they do not initiate physical violence against another’s person or property?  What specific actions can we take, instead of just spending time criticizing the status quo?  There are many possibilities, some of which I have outlined below, along with reasons why they would be suited or not suited to producing this society.

Revolution

Why it might work

A revolution has the appeal of immediate action.  You don’t have to play the game of an unethical system and it can appear as the only way to make any substantial change due to status quo inertia.  It is also a way to bring high-ranking criminals to justice.

Why it might not work

The government has the best weapons, training, and money.  Coordinating a large revolution would be detected and neutralized in the modern surveillance state.  Furthermore, violent revolutions are essentially war, the suspension of law and morality, so they are unethical since they inevitably result in the deaths of innocent people.  Revolutions are uncontrollable.  Just because you start a revolution doesn’t mean you are the one who ends it.  It can lead to a worse regime than the one it is replacing.  A regime built on violence to achieve power must also rely on violence to maintain power.

Secession

Why it might work

Secession allows a community of like-minded individuals to bypass trying to reform the existing corrupt system and go straight to creating an independent state.  Secession also has the advantage of using pre-existing state structures, so that there is reduced uncertainty in whether the new system will function.

Why it might not work

It would be easy to repeat the mistakes of the past if today’s issues aren’t dealt with.  You might simply end up with a smaller tyranny, or an even worse tyranny on a smaller scale.

Withdrawal

Why it might work

You can withdraw from society individually, according to your individual tastes and preferences.  Just go into the wilderness or even stay secluded within the geographic boundaries of a society, but with the ready option of escaping if things go sideways.  In either case, you are self-sufficient and ignore politics..

Why it might not work

This doesn’t really answer the question of how to bring about a voluntary society – it is a kind of defeat.  it also is not very pleasant and foregoes the benefits of division of labor in a society.

Voting

Why it might work

Voting is available to us here and now – we don’t have to wait.  Social change has been achieved with voting before, such as the civil rights movement.

Why it might not work

Unfortunately, the public doesn’t support a free society.  The public wants goodies from the government.  In any case, the real power is not in congress, so we are playing a rigged game even if we do have some victories at the voting booth.

Education

Why it might work

It is necessary to prepare people for any social change.  Before you can win at either the voting booth or in a revolutionary struggle, people must be mentally prepared for it.  In fact, education in itself may ultimately be the most effective means of social change, since whatever form such a change takes, it will inevitable reflect the prevailing sentiment of the people.

Why it might not work

Most people don’t have the time, mental bandwidth, or motivation to get educated about complex topics like politics and economics.  Only a small handful of people have the free time, money, and curiosity to sustain that kind of effort.  So, there either has to be a change in educational tactics that can influence the masses instead of just a few intellectuals, or there has to be a way for a few educated intellectuals to effect social change in an ethical manner.

Technology

Why it might work

Technology can empower individuals and free a society.  You don’t have to convince people of complex theories.  You just have to convince them that a particular technology helps them advance their own interests.  One idea, one new way of doing things, can affect millions of people.  That is enormous leverage that is difficult to achieve with education or force.

Why it might not work

Technology is a double-edged sword.  The internet can break down barriers to communication and facilitate an alternative media to shine a light on corruption.  It can also lead to a surveillance and control grid with NSA-style spying.

Voluntary coordination

Why it might work

Systems of voluntary coordination enable large-scale collective action with the consent of each individual involved, without any coercion.  Markets in general are an example of this.  Recent technologies open up new possibilities such as crowdfunding, which enables projects to get funded quickly by many people.

Why it might not work

There is not enough research and development yet on systems of voluntary coordination that are now possible with new technologies.  Even so, such systems can still be used to oppress and ostracize, if not structured correctly, such as cyber-bullying.

This list is just a start.  What other methods can you think of?  Let’s talk about concrete action we can take to actually bring about the world we want to live in.