… the occasional advice column that’s taking the world by storm, one sovereign individual at a time.
This week’s question comes from a correspondent at the Libertarian subreddit. Our correspondent has been reading some discussion of the increasingly belligerent statism of conservatives within the
Tea Party movement and the efforts of conservative politicos like Sarah Palin to harness the movement to their own ends — typically purging libertarians in the process. And he or she agrees, but doesn’t really know what to do about the co-optation and takeover attempts that conservatives always mount when a libertarian organization or a libertarian activist effort starts getting some buzz. What can you do when any time you try to go out in public, you face this kind of unwanted attention?
Dear Dr. Anarchy:
How do we keep neocons or someone else from co-opting a libertarian organization, without some kind of top-down approach? It seems like real libertarians just get drowned out in the din of statists, and the libertarian agenda gets changed in any desirable organization libertarians contribute towards.
Co-opted in Connecticut
Why is it that neoconservatives and other statist politicos keep trying to co-opt and take over organizations that libertarians started? The answer is the same for any politico — because they see the organization and the people in it as a means to political power. They’re able to treat limited-government reform groups like that because limited-government reform groups, while protesting
big government, still want a little bit of government — to hold onto some part of the State and executive power (e.g. government cops, courts, borders, and soldiers). A Sarah Palin sees this as the platform she can stand on: as long as you’re willing to accept a little bit of government, she can ride your movement to victory, or if not victory at least a speaking gig and a comfortable sinecure, with a very selective set of promises about the kinds of government she’ll roll back.
But an Anarchist organization, or an Anarchist direct-action campaign against state power (like CopWatch or No Borders Camp, say), aims to change political conditions by frustrating or bypassing electoral and parliamentary politics, and the goal that you are trying to reach is to abolish the political means itself. When your means and your ends are to destroy the very thing that conservative politicos want to control, you no longer have anything to take that they could want to have.
I know it’s tempting to believe that you can go on doing just what you’ve been doing, and that this time — with the right sort of vigilance, maybe; with the right sort of understanding from the get-go — you’ll be able to do it right, or if things threaten threaten to go wrong, you’ll be able to see the warning signs before it’s too late, and do something about it. But when you keep seeing the same pattern over and over again in your political relationships and your casual interactions, it’s time for you to wake up and start facing facts. Political organizing is always going to attract politicos, and people with more political pull are always going to have the advantage in political organization. It’s not just time to dump this control freak; it’s time to think about whether you should be doing things differently, so that control freaks like this won’t find anything to attract them in the future. Stop putting your hopes into support for limited-government political parties and governmental reform; it’s time to stand up for yourself, without the crutch of legal politics, and put your time, energy and hopes into efforts that bypass governmental politics entirely, and treat the state as an enemy to be smashed, rather than a tool to be seized and wielded.
That’s all for today. Just remember, folks: people are more important than power. And everything is easier when you reject the State as such.
Next week: Dr. Anarchy answers your tax questions!