A Cancer on the Liberty Movement

LibertyMovementI can’t believe I actually have to write this article… and I’m deeply disappointed that no one else has. Where are all the other adults? I don’t want to wade into Internet crapstorms; I have better things to do with my time.

But there is disease in the liberty movement, and if no one else will call it out, I guess I’ll have to. So be it.

Old poisons are flooding back into the broader liberty movement, being sold with new packaging. And they’re leading ‘anti-state’ people right back into the swamps of political obsession and plain old hate. The more you suck it up, the more you’ll slide right back into the stinking pits of politics and mingle your life with all the venom and degeneracy it produces.

Welcome back to the Matrix, Mr. Libertarian.

The Obsession

I just checked a popular liberty website, and of the 50 stories linked, 14 had titles like these:

“Israel’s Friday Bloodbath”

“Ethnic Cleansing and Zionist Supremacy in Israel”

“Israelis Are Today’s Nazis”

This is simply obsession. Articles like these are the seeds from which poisoned fruit grows. Don’t believe me? Then maybe you won’t want to read some of the comments this post will generate.

Israel is a state, and we hold all states as morally inferior, do we not? So, why the obsession with just this one? Where are the breathless horror stories from Belarus? Where are the brave investigations of Turkmenistan? Where’s the in-depth analysis of Uzbekistan, or Burma, or the Congo. Why do none of those places matter?

The answer becomes obvious soon enough: Those places don’t generate the right kinds of passions. And if you keep reading these obsessive stories, you’ll absorb their slogans and take their rationalizations into your mind.

Do you really want to go back there?

But, But, But…

Almost any angle you take to justify the Israel obsession leads right back to politics and drags your mind right back to statism, anger, hate, and the endorsement of violence.

Here are the usual angles – the new labels for the old poisons:

We’re only talking about Zionism.

That is to say, “We’re not against all politics, only certain kinds.” That’s some kind of a position for an anti-statist to take. Isn’t political force by itself contrary to the nonaggression principle? Why then should this one be the focus of all our attention? Aren’t they all refuse? Why the obsession with only one among hundreds?

But these people cannot let go of Israel; it stands as the central target for their nasty blows, like “Israelis are today’s Nazis.”

In the end, “only about Zionism” serves little purpose but to deflect charges of anti-Semitism. And seeing that the title mentioned above puts millions of Israelis into one bag and slaps a “Nazi” label on it, those charges seems quite fitting.

And if the Israelis were actually like the Nazis, the Palestinians would all be dead by now. So the statement is also illogical.

They’re not really Jews; they’re Khazars.

A modern classic. Aside from the fact that this line has been fairly conclusively proven false, what difference would it make anyway? Why should anyone care? Shall we scrutinize the genetic history of the Hmong people too?

If people call themselves Jews, follow the traditions, and die for their beliefs from time to time, what else matters? Jews, after all, have lived amongst other peoples for 2,000 years. There is plenty of Russian, German, Polish, Spanish, and other types of ‘blood’ mixed in by now. Why should that even matter?

But it matters for this reason: If they’re not really Jews, then they’re not really entitled to their tiny slice of land.

So, here we are, back to deciding which group is or isn’t entitled to political power over a piece of land. Welcome back to the same old endorsements of violence: “my favorite ruler monkeys versus your favorite ruler monkeys.”

Same old poison, same old results.

There are Jews at the forefront of the (insert nasty name) movement.

Marxism was a big one to blame on the Jews for a long time, but media, banking, and others are now vying for the crown.

The truth is that there have been Jews at the forefront of almost every new movement, including the liberty movement. We had Rand, Rothbard, and von Mises, didn’t we?

There is of course a reason for this: Jews survived for many centuries by getting involved in new things before the regulators caught up with them and forced them out. Over time, the strategy stuck and Jews internalized it. At this point in world history, new things simply attract more Jews than most other ethnicities. So what?

“You’re Just Pro-Israel!”

With us/against us
If you’re not condemning them, you’re supporting them

All of this, my friends, is binary thinking; all of it declines to the level of primate instincts. All of it is devolution.

Israel is a state and is therefore a geographic monopoly on the use of violence. And that’s not good.

But so is the Palestinian Authority a kind of state, and it authorizes violence too. Is that somehow okay?

  • The Israelis did some nasty things under British rule.

  • The Palestinians (and fellow Arabs) murdered lots of Israelis after the UN vote in 1947.

  • Israel forces many decent people through road blocks and puts them behind walls.

  • Palestinians have a long history of blowing people up, and now stabbing them.

So, who’s your favorite victim?

Which cause is the one to fight for?

Which side must be put down?

Which enemy do you want dead?

Does being in the area make someone guilty?

Does their religion make them guilty?

A Path Back to Barbarity, Back to Hate

That’s all this stuff is, my friends: It’s a path back into darkness. The stories that call you to walk it are poison.

And if you want to see the reality of life in the tiny piece of land these people are so obsessed over, take a good look at this.

Choose light, not darkness.

Paul Rosenberg

Get Ready for Adversity Now

adversityAdversity is coming. Get ready for it now.

I’m not pessimistic about the future, mind you, I’m optimistic. Once we get through the present transition (and presuming the world doesn’t descend into deep darkness), human life will massively improve. Our descendants will look back at our time as “the dark ages.”

All in all, things are going fairly well for us at the moment. The decade of government worship is falling behind us, the Internet remains, the NSA has been exposed as a criminal hacker collective, and Bitcoin has burst onto the scene.

Sure, there are the usual petty squabbles and distractions, but the younger crowd is learning to ignore them and to keep moving forward.

But adversity is coming. In situations like this, it always does. Forks off the main cultural line – which is what we are – are accompanied by problems from without and problems from within.

We’ve all seen libertarian movements and projects that shot themselves in the foot. For whatever reasons, that’s just part of the current landscape. We’ll see more of it.

We’ve had attacks from the outside also. And while the state is generally declining in potency, they still have millions of employees who are willing to authorize and/or use violence on their behalf.

Learn to Take the Blows

There will be blows, and they will hurt. I wish I could assure you that all will be sweetness and light, but I’d be lying.

The first big blow is rough. It leaves you questioning what you really believed. It may also leave you afraid for your own reputation, and even your safety. Probably the deepest issue is shame: a dread of people ridiculing you and casting you out.

I’m sorry that these things are so painful. None of them will be as bad as the first big blow, but we live in a screwed-up world at the moment, and these things happen.

Such things also happen to people who hide in the corner, obsessing over every rule and assuring their rulers that they love them. The difference is that they are given crowds to hide in – we stand by ourselves.

Then What?

Once you’ve taken your first big blow, you are left with a choice: What to do next.

You’ll have to make your own choices, of course, but I know I didn’t start caring about liberty because I was hoping to get rich out of it or to find the easiest path through life. I was interested because it was good and true. I wanted to learn and to grow.

So, if liberty is the better way, what else is there for us to do? Shall we try to forget everything we learned and recondition ourselves to passive state worship? Shall we go back to believing lies and repeating vapid slogans for the rest of our lives? Could we, really?

We are building a better world, person by person, piece by piece. What else is there for us to do? Should we deny our own minds because people think we’re weird? Should we disregard the value of lives because people are terrified of ideas that lack an official stamp?

Liberty requires you to value yourself. Shall we pretend that this is a bad thing?

Huge numbers of people are sure that leaving the approved path will call punishment down upon them. They are terrified of being different and doubly terrified of being different and better. Bad new ideas may bother them, but when a clearly better new idea comes along, they fall into an existential panic.

Jesus wasn’t killed for being a bad man, after all. He was killed for being better.

In the end, this is about living and thriving. Everything else is merely a means to that end. We’ve chosen life, and if we occasionally suffer for it, our only real alternative is to walk away from ourselves.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes, from Helen Keller. These are true words, and worthy of your consideration:

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

To Freedom in 2014!

Paul Rosenberg