Perhaps you arrived here because of your views on the nature of the state. Maybe you have suffered from the effects of the futile war on drugs or war on terror. Maybe you have been prosecuted for tax evasion, packing heat, or for offering a service or two without a license. It’s possible you have tried to assert your freedom of speech or to freely assemble and protest immoral and unconstitutional wars only to be placed in jail.
As any “Freedomista, anarcho-capitalist, Austrian economist, gun nut, Federal Reserve conspiracy-theorist, gold bug, secessionist, political monkeywrencher, dope-smoking marijuana-reform activist, civil libertarian or other amateur or professional contrarian possessed of even the most rudimentary understanding of his beliefs will tell you: the fundamental human right is the right to be left alone.” Indeed, the right to be left alone implies the right to form voluntary associations and oppose and repel those who forcefully prevent you from exercising that right.
Of those who hold liberty as the only coherent system of peaceful and voluntary cooperation for society, a few are outspoken about it. Often times they risk ridicule or intellectual ostracism. They are called extremists or radicals, Utopians or dreamers, or useless obstructionists. Yet they, as libertarian activists, continue to embark on the journey towards greater freedom. Their efforts might not amount to much. But so what? Aggression is never justified. And as an activist, you are already well aware that all forms of crime, both private and public, are wrong and you oppose them on principle.
So long as you propose an honest system where people are free to make their own decisions, any and all action towards more liberty is legitimate. There’s bound to be disagreement on how to bring about change. This is normal but in the end they are immediate strategic details. Learn to discern steps in the right direction from other steps that merely seem to be pro-liberty but are actually against it.
Be truthful and unwavering. Never surrender. Share your knowledge. Criticize others but accept criticism. Heck, challenge your own core beliefs. Chances are you’ll be more convinced of them. The libertarian is in favor of civilization, peace, prosperity, and harmony, and anyone else either supports aggression or incorrectly believes that the state does not use aggression. Furthermore, do not confuse means with ends and tactics with principles. It is often fairly easy to abandon principles for the sake of achieving a short-term objective. This need not be so. The means of action must be presented honestly and should be consistent with the goal of increased freedom.
If you’re a blogger or journalist, take no prisoners in your rhetoric; you’re already standing on the shoulder of giants so there’s a good chance some of the hard work has already been done for you. If you’re an insider, agitate and sabotage as much as possible, then get out of it before you become consumed by the enemy of mankind.
Some will opt for more drastic measures. For those who chose this route: proceed with care. The state is extremely dangerous to one’s pocket and life. That said, however, you ought to be considered a hero, for you are freeing people from the shackles of injustice and providing others with many goods and services they desire.
“What if I am just an average Joe?” The average person is also in a position to be vocal about the ideas on the blessings of liberty and the detrimental effects of government on everyone. Talk to family and friends when certain issues you care about come up. Closely knit communities trust their members and will respect and consider other opinions. Your ideas, though quite possibly unusual to most, could very well reverberate and at the very least plant a seed of doubt over today’s statist order.
Personally, I feel that efforts to try to control the central government are a waste of resources. The empire is already too large and the chains were broken a long time ago. What could be done instead? ELF: Educate, Localize, Fortify. An interesting example of my ELF suggestion is the Free State Project where liberty-minded folks are moving to one location and are using both political and non-political means to achieve change by creating an environment of freedom which would allow them to better resist the future growth of their state.
So, can we ever be closer to liberty? It’s not impossible. Michael Rozeff mentioned in his lecture on the state that we need to establish a body of work. I agree. Though it may seem that the pace is slow, the development of a libertarian body of work has never been healthier. It’s possible that we’ll see a significant decline in Marxist thought (is that an oxymoron?), Keynesian policies and a move away from neoclassical economics. Could Austrians suddenly be a great "force"? Who knows. But fortunately activists have already decided that they care enough to make it worthwhile and thus they spend time and money promoting these ideas, regardless of the outcome.
Freedom fighters face an uphill battle and perhaps an interminable war. All throughout history, individuals and groups have repeatedly tried to assert their rights even in the most dire of circumstances. In contemporary times, the challenge continues. Therefore, do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.
Manuel Lora [send him mail] is a freelance TV producer and multimedia specialist in New Orleans.