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!”

Us/them
Friend/foe
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
www.freemansperspective.com

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
FreemansPerspective.com

Liberty And Art: How And Why Libertarians Have Failed

liberty artAs I have noted in my “Failure of the Libertarian Movement article,” libertarians have generally limited their activities to marginally useful areas like politics and economics but have seldom used them to illuminate and free the human spirit. Liberty is ideal for freeing the human spirit, but we really haven’t used it very well.

In fairness to the economic and political folks (and I’d have to include myself as one of the guilty), a lot of analytic ability was required to push through the thick web of statism that we grew up with in the 50s and 60s. Often, highly analytical people were the only ones who could push through it all without serious emotional damage. As a result, most of the early libertarians were moved, by both their skills and the situations they faced, into economics and politics.

But regardless of libertarianism’s unique past, politics and economics are not rich fields – they certainly matter, but they leave huge sections of the human experience unaddressed.

Music, on the other hand, is a much richer field, as are painting, sculpture, and a dozen other artistic endeavors.

Doing Art, Not Politics

There have been a few libertarians pursuing art (God bless them), but they have often felt a need to use the early libertarian model of political and economic analysis as fodder for their art. The results were not as good as they could have been.

Let me be clear about this: Mixing politics with art demeans the art. Actually politics plus art more or less equals propaganda. And it is not beautiful.

Mixing philosophy and art can be done, but it can’t be preachy, doctrinal philosophy. It needs to be immediate and real – the fruit of life lessons that you personally experienced – not someone else’s ready-made doctrine.

Art has to be fresh and exciting: authentic, soul-birthed emanations of light and love and passion. It can be wise passion, even intelligent passion, but it may NOT be formulaic or analytical.

There is nothing wrong with analysis, but it is not soul-breathed like good art. As much as I love passages from Rand, Rothbard, and Mises, they cannot be simply set to music and expected to take on a life-giving beauty.

Politics is external and economics is external; art is primarily about internal experiences and visions. Art is not at all mechanical; it is organic.

The Fields Are White for Harvest

The truth is that we libertarians hold the answer to the world’s problems in our hands, but we’ve never spread it beyond a few small and contained areas. There are vast areas lying open before us, and it is time for us to go out into them.

Liberty is the great handmaid of life and beauty on the earth. It is the great catalyst of new visions, the key that unlocks the barriers between people and their impossible dreams. Liberty empowers the life-force inside a billion individuals, and when touched by it they find new ways to release hidden talents, to remember lost epiphanies, and to reanimate their crushed spirits.

I am not trying to be poetic here – I am trying to describe the real situation that sits in front of us.

Let me say this again, in a slightly different way:

Liberty is really about life. The purpose of liberty is to allow human life to flourish. And it is art that reaches inside of people and touches the frustrated life inside of them, that draws it out of them and makes them believe that it can thrive in the world. Economics and politics, however necessary they may be, cannot do this.

What Now?

Here’s the great thing about art: There is – and can be – no plan.

Art is an expression of life. It must be planted and nourished separately in each of us. It grows differently in each of us, and it emerges differently from each of us and thus enters the world. We are each a unique womb of sorts, in which our art grows and matures.

It is our job as artists to take in the best seeds, to nourish them as best we can, and to be as purely honest with what we produce as possible.

When we create, we should not be focused on external things like approval, style or reward. (Though we must seriously develop our skills; they are essential to expression, after all.)

To create great art, we must focus on the thing itself: this new expression that is growing inside of us, the people we will give it to, and most of all, the unique nature of what we are producing.

Life improves every living thing it touches, and our job as artists is to birth these emanations of life into the world and to love the people we hope it will reach.

Each creation of yours will have its own nature and should be used in its own way, not according to anyone’s expectations. Plant and nourish the best seeds you can find, but let each thing that grows inside of you choose its own direction and nature.

But, most of all, go out and create. Don’t wait. Start small if you must, develop your skills at whatever pace you can, but do NOT sit still and wait for some magic day when “it happens.” Make passable art at first if you must start there, because passable art has a way of developing into good art, and that often becomes great art. But it will never develop at all until you are in motion.

And by all means, cooperate with other artists. Learn from them, teach them, collaborate. Think of this as cross-pollination: We are all unique, and we can pass those unique characteristics from one to another, and all benefit from the experience. To borrow a phrase from my economic training: Creation is positive sum game.

Creating art can be hard, frustrating and even disappointing. But if you give honest expressions to the things that really matter to you, to the things that mature within you, the effort will enrich you for life, and many others with you.

I wish you all the best.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

The Failure of the Libertarian Movement

libertarian movementTurn on a television after midnight some time and watch the churches that offer prayer for the sick, the depressed, and the overwhelmed. At first you’ll probably be put off by it and angered by hucksters who are selling things that they can’t possibly deliver. But if you stay with it for a few minutes, you may see something important.

Look at the people in the pews. Don’t just classify them as a group of stupid people – look at them – see the individuals. These are people who know they need help. They know that they are in pain, that they have failed to become what they should be, that they have hurt others, that they are lost in the middle of a confusing world, and that they don’t know a way out.

These people are not morons. They know that dipping slips of paper with their names on them into holy oil is silly. But they overlook the stupidity, because they’re desperate for help. And don’t kid yourself, they do get some temporary help from these places. Yes, they are also removed from their money, but if they go to that church, they will be surrounded by people who will try to help them. Humans are clever creatures, and when they try to help each other, they often succeed. (This help will come from the other attendees, not the guy with the holy oil.)

You can complain all you like about the huckster, but he’s only in business because people have nowhere better to turn. They’re sitting in front of the TV at 1 AM because they are depressed, guilty, desperate, and they need something.

SO…?

So, what if there was a group of people who had the answers to these problems, who knew how to eliminate the pressures that caused them? And what if those people didn’t have the sense to recognize it and spread it? How would you describe them?

Well, take a look in the mirror, Mr. and Ms. Libertarian, because that’s you.

I was one of the early libertarians. We were engineers and analysts and financial experts. We knew math and analysis, science, and the intricacies of law. If you wanted to know how property rights led to increased financial output, we could tell you immediately. If you asked aloud why central control of commerce led to shortages, five of us would turn around to enlighten you. But we were insular; we were contained. We didn’t appreciate that we held the world’s cure in our hands.

I’m not trying to be critical here; I was a part of it all. But the truth is that we missed the biggest philosophical opportunity of the century; we failed to see how our new truth applied to millions of people who needed help so badly that they’d put up with TV hucksters.

Our Enemies Judged Correctly

We really should have known. We’ve all had the experience of people embedded in the state system flying into a wild rage upon hearing our ideas. We thought we were just talking about economics, but they acted as if we were trying to destroy everything they loved.

Our enemies thought our ideas were far more powerful than we did.

And they were right; we didn’t appreciate what we had.

If our message is ever understood by average people (and it isn’t hard to understand), the systems that treat them like farm animals will simply vanish. They have a stunning amount to gain from our discoveries, and whatever pain they take along the way would be a joke compared to what the existing system lays upon them.

So, yes, our enemies’ judgments were right when they flew into malicious rages. And if we are grudgingly accepted by them now, it’s because we’ve been limited to abstract and confusing areas like finance and politics.

Simple Truths

How many personal problems do you suppose thrive on low self-esteem?

How many personal disasters happen because people are afraid to act on their own judgment?

The answer to both of these questions is “most of them.”

So, why are self-esteem and judgment at such abysmal levels? The answer is simple: Because the state and its agents are dedicated to this result. They’ve been doing this since their inception, and they have no other choice. Can you imagine trying to get tax money out of people who felt perfectly confident in themselves and their own judgments?

Governments are necessarily against human will. If they can’t make us feel that our desires and judgments are shameful, their entire operation will collapse. Their game requires Joe Average to feel insecure and flawed.

Our enemies were right to freak out. Now it’s time for us to agree with them, and to start fixing the world.

We hold the cure in our hands. It’s time to break out of our bubbles and start distributing it. Once people see that the pressures crushing them are artificial, they will begin shrugging them off.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com