Written by Francois Tremblay, and reprinted at The Radical Libertarian.
Original can be found here.
Most of you have staked all of your hopes on Ron Paul. He has been defeated, during the course of the popularity pageant we call the democratic process.
The Libertarian Party has existed for more than thirty years, with no concrete results under its belt except a few local, irrelevant posts. Perhaps you believe it is the only solution. Perhaps you believe that the sole alternative to political evils is a violent revolution, and thus prefer the evils to violence, and call it “necessary” (as if anything evil could be necessary).
Suffrage is… powerless and unreliable. It can be exercised only periodically; and the tyranny must at least be borne until the time for suffrage comes. Besides, when the suffrage is exercised, it gives no guaranty for the repeal of existing laws that are oppressive, and no security against the enactment of new ones that are equally so.
Or perhaps you may now be coming to the same realization that Anarchist writers have written about for centuries:
No political means have ever produced lasting freedom. Political means can engender nothing but the sustenance of political means. Only disengagement and principled resistance can produce lasting freedom.
With very few and very temporary exceptions, no government has ever been made smaller by political means. No successful movement for freedom in history has ever been guided by any other principle but disengagement and principled resistance.
From Étienne de la Boétie, 16th century precursor of the modern Anarchist movements, to Murray Rothbard, founder of the modern Market Anarchist movement, all are in agreement: disengagement is the best way to oppose the ever-growing State.
The surest sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Libertarians, is what you’ve been doing working, and if not, why do you keep doing it? Has the constant compromise of your principles (culminating in the nomination of Bob Barr for candidate, who is about as libertarian as George Bush) resulted in any success?
Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice.
William Lloyd Garrison, on the emancipation movement
You believe in smaller government. We are on your side. But libertarianism cannot be fulfilled by political means, and it cannot be fulfilled by violent revolution. The only way through which libertarianism can be fulfilled is disengagement. This is the method that Market Anarchists have always preached and followed.
How can disengagement succeed where political means and violent revolutions fail? Because the State can only survive when we, the people, believe in its legitimacy and treat State law, State “justice,” war, taxation and democracy as “necessary evils.” If a mere 10% of the people in any society refuse to vote, refuse to pay their taxes, refuse to recognize the legitimacy of State courts and the State police, establish their own voluntary courts and security, and promote a peaceful, voluntary way of life to the majority, then the State will be exposed as the criminal gang that it is.
If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, ‘But what shall I do?’ my answer is, ‘If you really wish to do any thing, resign your office.’ When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned his office, then the revolution is accomplished.
Henry David Thoreau
But most of you do not want Anarchy. This is well understood. However, some Market Anarchies in the past have had a legislative or law enforcement structure (e.g. the well-documented example of Iceland). I would like to submit to you that the establishment of such a structure is far more likely than any Libertarian political victory. Once the State is dissolved, I believe that most people will readily join the principles of freedom that you espouse: “as long as you don’t harm me, I won’t harm you.”
Ron Paul had a lot of good ideas, but he was wrong about one thing. He believed that the “role of government” was to protect and serve us. No government in history has ever done this. The role of government is to cheat, steal, and kill, for the profit of its members. We constantly observe this to be a fact in all its actions.
Hitch your wagon to ours. We have the ideals, the arguments, and the methods to change society forever. With your help, we cannot fail.
Francois Tremblay, in the name of all Market Anarchists