"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another ]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." ~ Thomas Jefferson
A Voluntaryist Milestone
Column by Alex R. Knight III.
Exclusive to STR
Marc Stevens’s 2006 appearance on Coast to Coast Live – at the time, a subsidiary show of the famed Coast to Coast AM, with a much earlier broadcasting slot on Saturday nights and about 70% of the listenership, hosted by the now-retired Ian Punnett – was, as you can tell from my previously published article, not very well received by the Coast cast (though it universally was by every one of that evening’s callers). Marc himself gave me some of the less-than-admirable behind the scenes details, which I won’t repeat here, but I will tell you that both Punnett and George Noory read my article at the time, and were not at all pleased. In fact, Noory was so perturbed by even the mild constructive criticism present in my write-up that he blocked me from ever e-mailing him again. So much for truth in media.
But my, how times do change. And radio hosts, too. As of last night, at the time of this writing, John B. Wells had voluntaryists John Bush and Catherine Bleish on the program for a full four hours, to discuss strategies for sovereign living – in essence, the transition to a zero-government voluntary society.
For those of you who may not be in the know, Coast to Coast AM, in spite of it airing in the middle of the night throughout North America, is the most popular and listened-to radio show in the world, with over 550 AM and FM radio station affiliates, plus Internet and satellite. It averages about three million listeners each broadcast.
When I first entered the libertarian movement in 1994, Voluntaryist ideas were strictly the province of underground newsletters, second-hand books, and word of mouth, with maybe a low-listenership shortwave radio show hosting an occasional guest at odd hours and intervals.
The progress since then, as you can see, has been substantial. Wells mentioned he would like to have Bush and Bleish back for more shows. A caller to the show also mentioned Marc Stevens, as did Bush, who also named Marc’s show, The No-State Project. It may have taken seven years, but it finally got a fair mention in a non-hostile environment. And as of right now, the second half of tonight’s Coast broadcast will be about jailed Voluntaryist activist Adam Kokesh.
It gets even better (and it feels good to not have to say that sarcastically for a change): Frequent Coast guest Alex Jones, with a listenership in his own right estimated to be at around two million, has now hosted Stefan Molyneux several times, and toned down his own anti-anarchist rhetoric of the past. In fact, towards the end of his most recent broadcast with Stefan, Jones pledges twice to have him back on again soon.
What does all of this mean? It means we’ve hit and crossed a milestone in the Voluntaryist movement. We are now considered a valid and thoughtful part of the philosophical discussion taking place within the Freedom Movement. We are slowly winning over the hearts and minds of minarchists, while even faux allusions to our philosophy still inflames the temperament of pro-government leftists.
We still have much to do until we achieve a truly free, voluntary society, yes. That said, I could be wrong, but I don’t think the going will be quite as hard from here on in. That particular Rubicon has been crossed.
And as far as the next one, we are now on our way.