Thursday, May 31, 2012
Ron Paul, Vets, Violence, and More
Well, I am back after another long hiatus. I made a vow to myself that I would not go this long again without posting, but that vow was again broken. I have been contributing to the liberty cause however. Most of my time has been spent posting links and photos on my personal Facebook page. I have been trying to reach out to people I actually know rather than hide behind the anonymity of a web handle here. This has been a blessing and a curse, but I have gained some more valuable insight into how I should proceed with things in the future.
Most of what I have posted on facebook has been links to various political stories, Ron Paul articles, and meme based photos. Now that the Ron Paul campaign is winding down, I feel confident coming back here and posting again. I think Paul could have won the presidency if he wanted to, but it seems like he has sabotaged his own campaign at a few crucial points (namely hiring Jesse Benton as his campaign manager) and this has led to his downfall. As I have stated in the past, I think a Ron Paul presidency would be a phenomenally bad idea right now. Economically, next four years are going to be even worse than the last eight, and Ron Paul playing the role of Mr. Fixit would not work. This thing has to bottom out before it can be rebuilt, so in a way I am happy and relieved that Paul won’t win.
I find it humorous how the establishment has fought so hard against Paul. The debacle in Nevada was a stolen election for sure. The GOP literally shut the lights off at the state convention to avoid seating Ron Paul delegates at the national convention. Paul’s delegate strategy was, by the book, legal. But that didn't stop the GOP from changing the rules. Just when the campaign started winning, and hopes of winning a brokered convention were on the horizon, Ron Paul quit. I think that was the plan all along. Baring some last minute shenanigans at the national convention, I would say its over. And again, I think this is a good thing.
What’s next for me? Well, I might support Gary Johnson if there is a possibility that he will be in the national spotlight. If he does not get any media attention, I will abstain from voting. Romney will be just as bad as Obama, and I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils. American politics is not the good guys and the bad guys (your team always being the good guys of course.) Rather it is the bad guys and the worse guys. I cannot support that.
Looking on the bright side, what good can come out of this? I touched on it in my previous post The Ron Paul Dilemma: “The biggest problem with the Ron Paul Revolution is that it is self defeating. While it is gaining disenfranchised Republican and Democrat voters on the front end, it is loosing them to voluntaryism on the other end.” This phenomenon could be seen throughout the 2012 Ron Paul campaign. Campaign staffers noticed that many of Paul’s 2008 volunteers refused to work on his campaign in 2012. This shows that the dilemma I described is true, and I think it is a move in the right direction. More people are waking up! These people will watch the following four years of an Obama or Romney presidency and transition from electoral politics to a belief in a voluntary society. I guess we, as an American society, are still not ready for any of this liberty stuff yet. But we are learning, albeit slowly.
In a small way, I hope Romney wins the national election. I think it will be interesting to watch all of the Republicans who voted for him lie to themselves the way Obama voters have been lying for the last few years. I think its going to take a few more rounds of madness before the majority catches on. I am excited to have the great conversation with Republicans now. I find it is much easier to talk to a person when their party is in power. The contradictions are much easier to point out when they are in the news everyday.
As stated above, I have been devoting a lot of time to posting on my personal facebook page. I went all in with ideas and waged my own private propaganda campaign. One of my favorite tools is the meme photo. A meme is the smallest unit of thought that can convey a concept from one person to another. Many of the photos I have been posting highlight the glaring contradictions in conventional political thought. They are all short and sweet, and they really pack a wallop. My intention is to force a state of cognitive dissonance on the viewer and force them to reconcile the contradiction. Here are a few examples.
Something I have noticed from this little public relations war I have been fighting is that combat veterans, by and large, are more receptive to these ideas than anyone else. The majority of people I have helped to wake up have been guys I knew from the Marines. I have a theory about the reasons for this, but to better explain it, I have to tell a story.
A few months ago I read, The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose. The basic premise of the book is that government, in objective reality, does not exist. It is just an imagined construct of humanity. If you have not read it, I highly recommend checking it out. It breaks everything down to a really basic level so it is easy to read. A lot of libertarian books are heavy on flowery rhetoric and technical jargon. This book has none of that. It is presented in a concise, easy to read format. I enjoyed the book so much, that I bought thirty copies to give away to family and friends. My reasoning was, why spend hours upon hours in conversation with people when I can hand them a book and give them the cliff notes on philosophical anarchism.
After the books arrived, I had a party at my house, and I gave the book out as a party favor to everyone who showed up. This prompted an ugly reaction from an old friend. She called me an asshole and said that my motives were not pure. To this I replied, “If you don't like the gift, throw it away. I can’t force you to read anything.” She read it. Then she emailed me and wanted to debate the topics covered in the book.
Bingo! I really thought I had a chance to reach out and change someone’s mind, but I was mistaken. This debate went on for the better part of a month, her arguing in circles, me arguing from the basis of the non-aggression principle. Her arguments changed, mine did not. When I realized that things were going nowhere, I switched tactics and started using the “gun in the room” argument. When I did this something happened that was totally unexpected. She admitted that she enjoyed supporting a violent system. She believes that violence is necessary. I didn’t see that coming! I ended things there, because I really had nothing else to say. I got her to admit that she supported violence, and she was happy with that. Where else can you go from there?
The inherent violence of all governmental systems was the foundational point that changed my worldview from conservatism to libertarianism. My mistake here was thinking that everyone else is like me. I believed that if I could show people, in laymen's terms, that they supported violence they would change their minds. But many people have a vested interest in continuing the violence. Its not that they do not understand. They understand it full well and they support it outright! Violence is the status quo, and it is hard to change a person’s mind if it is all they know.
So, why are combat veterans more receptive to libertarian philosophy? Because we have seen the true cost of violence. We have seen the extreme end result of unbelievably bad ideas. We, as veterans, have a unique perspective into the violence of this world. We have served as the Auxiliaries to Plato’s philosopher kings, and coming from that kind of background, it is much easier for us to embrace the ideas of liberty.
I will end this with a call to action for my veteran brothers who have embraced libertarian ideas. Stop worrying about explaining yourself to your friends and family back home. I know you care about them, but they may not have the background to fully understand why violence is immoral. It is all they know, even if they support it indirectly. Reach out to fellow vets. Call up that guy you fought with in Fallujah . He will listen better than an elementary school teacher with no military background. He has been there and done that with you.
Peace and Chicken Grease!
See you at Galt’s Gulch!