What Is To Be Done? Burning Questions for our Movement

"While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State."

Socialism is intellectually dead. However, it remains in power everywhere. Why? Because libertarians, who claim to be for the market, try to oppose Socialism with socialist theory and practices. Without the Internet Protocol, there can be no Internet; without a revolutionary theory there cannot be a revolutionary movement. Libertarian memes can only win by libertarian means.

Libertarians have put too much of their efforts into the empty forms of democracy, forgetting that Democracy is indispensable to socialism. We have blown our limited money on wasted third-party efforts and even-more-wasted attempts to "influence" major-party politicians by helping them into power over us. Socialists, on the other hand, have used the market effectively at every step.

Even at the lowest levels of local government, Socialists set up self-replicating and self-generating systems. They campaign for "economic development" sales taxes. When the tax passes, they take the money and use it to subsidize their "capitalist" supporters. Then the supporters give them more money for future campaigns.

The same principle is applied all the way up the parasitic food chain. Those who control HUD profit from their knowledge of future government real estate purchases. Those who control the military profit from arms contracts and from market swings caused by military operations. Those who control the Federal Reserve have foreknowledge of interest rates… but considering that the Fed is never audited, this sort of indirect profiteering may be superfluous. In any case, socialists today are never at a loss for funds.

Capitalists are no more capable of self-sacrifice than a man is capable of lifting himself up by his own bootstraps. The same is true of any group in the long term; those who sacrifice their own resources to subsidize others without recompense will eventually be displaced by those who build self-financing organizations.

While libertarians may win an occasional ballot initiative against a specific tax or regulation, they weaken themselves with each direct battle. Libertarians are using up their own privately produced resources in each election, while the pro-government side is using… other people's privately produced resources. When the libertarians win, they strengthen the whole economy, including the tax-supported part. When politicians win, they weaken the whole economy but strengthen their faction relative to everyone else.

So engaging in conventional party politics is self-destructive for libertarians (at least until the libertarian memes are so dominant that mainstream political candidates are forced to adopt not only libertarian rhetoric, but action as well). Libertarian strategy cannot be based on capturing political office and rewarding supporters with the loot; to win the zero-sum game of politics would require that the libertarians loot more than their opponents.

Instead, libertarians must engage in asymmetrical meme warfare. Spreading memes in the age of the Internet is easy, but the noise problem is severe. Our enemies' meme motto is: A lie told often enough becomes the truth. This is only true if the lies are kept isolated from the truths that would destroy them. But the lies are kept safely isolated indeed. America's public schools serve as the walls between Socialism-inoculated minds and libertarian memes.

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.

Of course Socialists have a lot more than four years to sow their seeds in the minds of public-schooled American children; they have a minimum of 13. These years are spent in two ways; first, crippling the ability to learn and take individual action. This is accomplished through u2018Look-Say' anti-reading training, various schemes of anti-math training, avoidance of intensive language courses, and fanatic opposition to any other techniques that might transfer actual skills or knowledge of any kind.

Second, as much as is possible today, schools implant the bitter-ender remains of the Socialist memes. While Socialism can no longer claim to be the bright hope of the future, it now claims the primitive past as the moral ideal. "Green" ideology is taught in every public school; its message is that humans are evil, our works are evil, and that only government control can restrain them from destroying the fragile living world (which otherwise would continue forever in perfect harmony). Asteroids, Ice Ages, supernovae, and the other natural destroyers of life are not prominently featured in today's curricula.

Public-school mental deconditioning is our main enemy, not the quality or quantity of opposing memes. But it is also a tactical opportunity.

America's public schools are filled with intelligent students who are bored out of their minds. They are sick of Green death-worship, sick of staring at chalkboards in the age of the Internet, and sick of being u2018taught' by dull education majors. This is the demographic where libertarian memes can spread cost-effectively. The only limitation is the required patience; an investment in high school students will take ten years to pay off. It's well worth it.

When should we try to first inject the libertarian memes? When the student is in college, struggling to overcome his terrible lack of math and science knowledge, probably working at the same time? Or should we wait until she has a job, and is trying to work and start a family? Maybe we should emulate the Cato Institute, and only talk to 50-year-old incumbents, hoping to get them to repudiate an entire life spent looting the public?

No. If libertarians are to win the Meme War, the time to start fighting is at the beginning. If libertarian think tanks and activist groups hope to compete against the subsidized legions of socialism, we have to stop talking to ourselves.

And we have to stop talking to people who are already too ossified to change. We have to aim at the long-term goal, of reaching the very young.

There are a few cost-effective programs already in place. The National Center for Policy Analysis maintains a webbed database for high school debate teams, updated each year for the major debate contests. This site reaches thousands of intelligent, viciously competitive protolawyers and protobusinessmen every year.

Other web sites should be constructed to spread market-oriented environmental solutions, together with info on nuclear power, genetic engineering, and just plain economics, aimed at the high-school level. The Foundation for Economic Education has recently webbed Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson; a good start, but not updated or optimized for students. This is a gap that should be filled. Economics memes will spread themselves; people are interested in money!

It is a huge failure of the libertarian movement that we have not made more use of the space-colonization meme. The Soviets captured the imagination of youth all over the world with Sputnik, Vostok, and their other space spectaculars. For them it was all a lie; socialist economies can't even maintain themselves on Earth without foreign aid. But free markets and private property really can spread life to other worlds; this is the proper antidote to the "Deep-Green" death-to-humans meme.

And even in the age of DSL lines, there is something to be said for just going into the educational gulags and talking to the zeks. As an unpolished and unprepossessing Libertarian candidate a few years ago, I spoke to many high school government classes and a few assemblies. The reaction was always very enthusiastic; I was the most interesting thing the students (and teachers) had seen in school for months. A professional PowerPoint or video-augmented presentation given by a well-dressed think-tank employee would be very effective.

I am sure that other people have better ideas along these lines. Anyone who does, please feel free to email me. On to victory, comrades! ~ V. I. Walker

April 26, 2005