"[T]he burden of government is not measured by how much it taxes, but by how much it spends." ~ Milton Friedman
A Letter to Young Paulians
Column by Jim Davies.
Exclusive to STR
You've just been kicked in the teeth, and this is to convey sympathy and comfort, as well as sincere congratulations for what you've done – along with suggestions about what you might best do next.
The way you have been treated by your own Party is a scandal that will long reverberate – and was so stupid even from the Party's perspective as to leave its former chairman lost for words. You had bust guts to nominate a fine candidate who alone has a chance to beat Obama, yet you were systematically prevented, even by retroactive changes to rules, even from placing his name in nomination. That Party is just not worthy of people like you.
Your dedication to the job of getting Ron Paul nominated has been remarkable. For over 30 years I've been active in, or an observer of, American politics and have never seen the like of it. I live in New Hampshire, and at the time of its primary happened to drive along the I-89. On each of several overpasses there appeared giant signs, saying simply, starkly: RON PAUL / PEACE, RON PAUL / JUSTICE and RON PAUL / FREEDOM. There were bumper stickers for him too but the most surprising thing on that drive was that I did not see a single political sign for any other candidate! This was one example of your work, and all over the country you came from behind to support your champion and you did a first rate job – opposed every step of the way by those you were trying to help.
Ron Paul is personally remarkable too. In Congress since 1820 (according to comedian Jon Stewart), he has consistently refused ever to vote for an increase in tax or government power, and has held to his principles regardless of the advice of friends and foes alike; in so doing he has impressed many on the Left, as well as on the Right. Such disdain for compromise is unknown in Washington. It's a real shame and must greatly disappoint him that his son Rand has, in his short political career, already failed to follow his fine example. Ron may not always be right (in some respects I think he's wrong, see below) but he is always honest. In the cesspool of politics, that makes him an unique historical figure. Fifty years from now, your grandchildren will “wow” their friends by boasting: My Grandma worked for Ron Paul!
So what's next; what will you do now? Your first decision may be about what to do in November, now that there's nobody on the ballot worth voting for. You know the choices: (1) Stay home, don't vote (2) Vote for the next best, Libertarian Gary Johnson, or (3) Write in Ron Paul. I'll pick #1, but will not be surprised if you favor #3. It would be a fine thing if, when Mitt Romney has lost to Obama, the media reported that a substantial write-in vote for Ron was the main reason. The Republicans will then know why they failed, and there will be a measure of poetry in the justice.
After that, though, comes what matters most; and I offer two key recommendations.
Re-examine your objective
Of course, your objective was never just to get “your guy” into the White House, as a Tweedle Dee to replace Tweedle Dum. You thirst for Peace, Justice and Freedom, and find in Ron Paul a credible way to get some. Good, I agree. (His platform fell short in some respects, but proposed a huge improvement.) You understand that the mess we're all in was caused by arrogant, stupid laws and fiat money; so you want the Fed abolished, and for money to become real, with gold or at least a gold standard; and Ron proposed that. You understand that as America extends its empire, this country is becoming more and more detested worldwide, and you want to reverse that terrible trend; to terminate its wars and bring the troops home; so does Ron. Good.
But why, exactly, do you favor those things? What's your foundation, your premise?
I suggest they come, or ought to come, from a recognition that every human being is his or her exclusive self-owner; that each of us has the natural and absolute right to control his own life. That's what “freedom” is; neither more nor less. And it's not a “belief” merely, it's an axiom; a premise that cannot be denied. (Try denying it, see how far you get!)
So before moving forward from the fiasco in Tampa, it's worth re-examining why you think the way you think; and making certain that axiom is the foundation for all the action that's to follow. It fixes our objectives; it says where we want to go. It determines the destination.
This self-ownership axiom leads to a raft of revised opinions, for most folk. We may have all manner of preconceived ideas and views, but after recognizing that everyone has the natural right to own and operate his or her own life, some of them may have to be discarded. Example: if you own your life, you also own your labor; if you own your labor, you own the fruits of your labor, the money for which you exchanged it. If you own that money, nobody (not even 99% of everyone else) is entitled to take any of it from you. So a proper objective, consistent with this undeniable premise, is not to reduce taxation but to abolish it altogether. That's more radical than Ron Paul proposed, but it does follow.
And of course, since no sane person would volunteer to pay someone to govern him, government can subsist only by imposing taxes – so if taxes are abolished, government will also disappear. That too is further than Ron Paul proposed; but it's the inevitable, logical result of recognizing the self-ownership axiom, the undeniable premise.
Not just taxes but every other law by which we are so arrogantly governed violates that axiomatic right and disrupts our natural harmony as humans. Government is incompatible with human nature. Follow this reasoning consistently, therefore, and you must become an “anarchist”--one who acknowledges the requirement for “no ruler,” which is the etymology of the word. If that is surprising or unfamiliar, take a look at the Anarchist Alternative. It's by no means “off the wall” as you may have been led to suppose. It will mean you have to re-examine that favorite Conservative nonsense phrase “freedom under the law” and realize it's an incurable oxymoron; either you govern yourself and so are free, or else you are governed by someone else and their laws, in which case you are not free. That bit of clear thinking escaped even Rand (Ayn Rand, not just Rand Paul) and individual self-rule does not imply chaos or violence; rather, the opposite. Reassurance on this point will spring from the “Justice” page on that web site.
Select the Appropriate Action Plan
Having decided where to go, the next necessity is to figure out how to get there.
First, and again surprisingly, politics is a dead end. It can never lead to the desired objective of a free society, one rid of the menace of government.
The reason is not just that it's formidably difficult (and you, better than most, know that) but that it could not produce that result even if, superficially, it appeared to succeed. Suppose in some general election there were a clean sweep; every elected representative at federal, state and local level solemnly promised to put all government out of business as soon as he took his seat. Suppose further that (incredibly) every one of them kept that promise. So on Day One of a new era, all governments in America vanish in a puff of smoke. More than half the voting population will have caused it to happen.
That's when the trouble will start, if not before. “Half the voting population” will leave at least 65% of the whole population opposed to the reform. They will be very unhappy, and very scared. They will have no idea what to do, now their supposed source of security has vanished. Hotheads among them (those who were just fired, for example) will take to the streets in violent protest. 2011 Athens was nothing, compared to the chaos resulting.
The violence will shake the confidence of those who were just barely persuaded to support abolition, and after a very nasty period – of civil war, perhaps – some kind of fresh election will restore the status quo ante. So politics simply cannot do the job. Working for any party or any candidate is just not the road to take; it leads in the wrong direction. To chaos, not to anarchy; and (the opinion of all government-licensed teachers notwithstanding) those two things are mutually opposed.
So what road will lead to freedom? What action should be taken?
Look in one degree more detail at the result desired: a free society. It's one in which everyone understands the self-ownership axiom, and is ready to live by it. One in which everyone governs himself or herself, but nobody else. One in which all interpersonal encounters are voluntary, not forced. A true free market. One thing, and one only, is prerequisite for all that: education. A radical change in everyone's understanding.
Once those things are understood and accepted, government will disappear without any political action at all, because nobody will work for it. When all its employees quit their jobs in disgust, it will no longer exist, for it consists of nobody else. It is just people, waving papers or badges or wearing costumes that they allege give them some mysterious “authority” to govern their neighbors – and yes, they may wave a gun as well, to reinforce the claim, and always the use of lethal violence is implicit. But once that ridiculous myth has been recognized for what it is, there will be a giant implosion. We'll be free at last.
Education is prerequisite; if everyone learns those things a free society will result, and if they don't, a free society will not result. It's a sine qua non, a without-which-not. Further, it must be universal; a free-market justice industry will be able to handle 1% or so of sociopaths who still try to use compulsion, but not many more.
So where's the school for 300 million students? Right here. Enrollments happen when one person (you, I hope) introduces a friend; he enrolls because he respects his friend. And after graduating, he does two things: (1) he resigns any government job he may hold, and (2) introduces one of his friends to the school. It's very easy, a very light load of work; far easier than campaigning politically. The suggested cycle is one per year, though a faster one is very feasible. The fun bit is that at one per year, the whole job will finish as soon as 2027. I call the day in question “E-Day” (for Evaporation) and hope to be around to see it.
This exponential spreading happens to be the way the early Church grew so fast. Those folk had a quite different objective and belief set, let's not confuse the two, and they did not have a specific plan like this one – they just stumbled slowly into the right solution. Friends told friends about “The Way” and groups of them called “churches” got formed all over the known world. By AD 325, after suffering terrible persecution, they found themselves the largest single religion in the Roman Empire and, for political reasons, were offered at Nicea the status of “establishment” and primacy. That's another story, and not a savory one, but my point is that one-to-one replication is a well-tested method of massive growth, not a mere theory. And for sure, it's the only one that will do the job. Other specific schools will arise in time, better than this first one I expect, but one-to-one replication is the only road to take. Take it and succeed, or decline to take it and fail. Your pick.
After the Storm, Quiet Growth
It will be quite a contrast! Normal life, pretty well – with the vital ingredients of learning first, then helping teach, one at a time, without rush or stress. By all means enjoy the company of other freedom-seeking people, here on Strike The Root and elsewhere on the Net, and in physical gatherings for mutual support and encouragement – and for the forming of friendships and business connections, ready for when the burgeoning but underground free market breaks into the sunlight of freedom; but the frenetic activity of rousing the apathetic to political action will become a distant memory.
An honorable one, no question. You Paulians have made history. Your work this year may well mark a watershed, a turning point. You have done your utmost, nobody could have done more, and so you marked what Karl Hess once called “The Death of Politics.”
Now, it's time for a new approach.