"There's nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it." ~ William James
How We Can Get There From Here
Exclusive to STR
Market anarchists have no problem visualizing an ideal society--one rid of the age-old curse of government, so that we self-owning human beings make all our own decisions, unburdened by any obligation except those undertaken explicitly and voluntarily.
Nor have we any problem seeing the ruin, misery and destruction caused by government, as it supercedes those sovereign decisions and distorts what would otherwise be a free market. Comments upon that destruction appear here and elsewhere every day.
Rather, our problem is that we don't know how to get there, how to cause the change.
Two possible methods must be excluded, for both initiate force, which would violate the very principle of self-ownership we wish to implement. One is that of armed revolution, and while self-defense is fine even if deadly, a systematic program of initiated violence against the violent State is something else. And the other is that of politicking, which even if "successful" would mean the defeated minority would be forced to do our bidding--again, a denial of our primary principle. Additionally, the Libertarian Party has tried that route and in 34 years it has miserably failed.
A third "method" sometimes proposed is just to wait for the inevitable collapse of the State under its own weight and incompetence. That is certainly peaceful, but is by no means certain to take place; the State has had a lot of practice disguising its own powerful tendency to bungle, and to postpone the reckoning. Additionally, only a few would understand why it collapsed, and so the whole disastrous cycle might easily be repeated.
So the main task to be completed in my opinion is to so educate every member of society one by one as to convince him that a zero government society is the only kind consistent with his human nature and the only one that will maximize his pleasure in life; and that must be done by reason. So the two obstacles to surmount are the vast numbers involved, and the ugly fact that most people have been so well indoctrinated that they are barely open to reason; they live rather by myth, prejudice and superstition.
Here's how both these huge obstacles can be overcome. I am proposing something new: a program of universal, systematic education. I have prepared TOLFA, The On Line Freedom Academy, for the use of every reader here and then by all his or her friends and then all theirs. By means of on-line, interactive study, here's what every participant will discover:
- The huge benefits a free society will bring him
- By rigorous logic, that such freedom alone conforms to his human nature
- That practical experience conforms to that theoretical proof
- How to bring one new student to TOLFA every year
- How, thereby, to end the Age of Government within a single generation
"A tall order!" may perhaps be the first reaction. True, but nothing less will do. Anything less is to engage in mere armchair debate, mere preaching to the choir. "People won't listen!" is the other, for yes--victims of government schooling follow myth, not reason, and resent any suggestion that they need re-educating. For that, however, please note from #4 above that everyone looking to join the Academy will have been introduced by someone he knows and respects. That's how minds will open--not everyone's at once right now, but progressively over several years. One who refuses today, will consider it tomorrow--and each of us knows about 200 people we can approach over time.
The numerical obstacle will be overcome by TOLFA because of the math I mentioned on Strike The Root last November in "The Power of One." It is quite simple, but dramatic: when a person has studied all 18 segments of this Academy, he or she will be motivated to find one new member from among his circle of friends, to do the same thing--once per year, or more frequently if feasible. That very light workload will cause the number of graduate members to double every year.
So if, say, 256 readers of this article decide to take part and there are about 268 million literate Americans to convince, it will take us just 20 years to complete the job; more, or less, according to how many join immediately and what the average replication rate proves to be--one a year, or more, or less.
At the end of those ~20 years, notice: nobody will want government to continue. Therefore, nobody will support government; those working for it will walk off the job and get on with the business of living freely, well-informed on what that means and how to do so by what they have learned in the Academy. The brilliant but neglected insight of Etienne de la Boëtie will be implemented at last: support for the Collossus having been withdrawn, it will peacefully "fall of its own weight and break in pieces."
TOLFA represents about six months' development, with frequent review by a small panel of market anarchists whose opinions I respect. As well as kick-starting the process of ending the Age of Government within a single generation, I hope that the first "round" of members whose participation is solicited here will help eliminate any remaining wrinkles. A particular strength they will find, I hope, is that--as indicated by #2 above--it commends a zero-government society as something that necessarily follows from an undeniable premise--that is, that freedom is not just a good idea as a matter of opinion or pragmatic advantage, but something impossible to deny without abandoning one's intellectual integrity and essential humanity. It's a powerful tool. Please, use it.
Nuts & bolts: the Academy is ready now, at tolfa.us and visitors will find they are quickly directed to an "Entrance--Is this for you?" page whose purpose is plain from its name. Nobody here will have difficulty with that. However, nobody here will have been introduced by a "mentor"--a friend who has just graduated; and mentors are important, to make sure each student gets answers to his questions and does complete the course and sets about the task of replicating himself each year. So for those wishing to proceed, please also visit its "Orphan" page and I will find him or her a mentor.
Oh by the way, TOLFA comes completely free of charge.