June 8, 2015 by Liberty
This is a question that I got recently that I thought was rather interesting. I was already talking with this person for a while when the question was asked. It was originally asked through instant messaging. I’ve added a few lines to help clarify the context. I figure that will be better than posting a whole conversation.
(You’ve written hundreds of thousands of words on libertarianism. You’re still writing more. That being said, your blog appears to dismiss virtually every possible means to a libertarian world. You say voting is a waste of time. You talk down about civil disobedience. You even down talk trying to convince people to change.) So, what the hell do you want people to do? What’s your take home point?
I love this question because it really does cut down to the root of this blog.
I spend a lot of time suggesting that people don’t waste their time on ineffective methods of spreading libertarianism. For example, with something like voting, the odds of your vote changing the outcome of the election are worse than your odds of winning the lottery. Now call me crazy but I have a feeling a winning lottery ticket will improve your life dramatically more than a few libertarian politicians coming into power (because really, even if libertarians got elected, they’d miraculously need the whole country to stop being selfish to prevent rioting in the streets.) Your time would be better spent doing something other than voting.
I feel similarly about civil disobedience. Sure, getting arrested publicly gets people to notice you but 99% of the people that notice you find it mildly amusing. Most people are really too self-absorbed to care at this point. Your arrest is dramatically damaging your own life to try and change other people. Usually civil disobedience won’t do a thing. While there is a time and a place for civil disobedience, it’s generally the time when civil disobedience isn’t a term used because everyone is doing it.
Changing people’s minds is usually a fruitless pursuit as well. Sure, if you have some kind of a gift of communication, perhaps, investing some time in changing minds is good but even then you’re fighting an uphill battle. Virtually every study has shown even contradictory evidence just pushes people deeper into what they already believe. Again, it’s mostly a waste of time.
After all that, it probably seems like I’m awfully negative about the prospects. I knock down a ton of ideas to solve our problems and at no point do I offer any better solutions. I seriously hate when people do that. This question got me wondering if I failed to make a very important point clearly.
The reason I don’t offer specific solutions to statism is because there are so damn many to list. I couldn’t possibly offer a list of all the ways you help fight towards libertarianism. I personally lean towards inventing our way around government. (Good luck regulating guns if 3d printing goes mainstream. Good luck regulating money if bitcoin goes mainstream.) That being said, all methods of getting rid of statism are slow and unlikely. That’s the nature of dealing with millions of minds. The reason I like some methods more than voting, civil disobedience, and changing people’s minds is that some methods actually improve the do’ers life. If you invent something, your life improves. If you don’t pay taxes, odds are, your life gets worse.
Libertarianism isn’t as much of a masochistic pursuit as much as everyone likes to act like it is. Hurting yourself is not the point. The point is making the world a better place. Libertarians can not sacrifice themselves to bring libertarianism to the world because that’s a contradiction in itself. (You own yourself! Oh yea, but you own me to because I want to improve your life.)
What do I want people to do? Nothing in particular. Do what makes you happy.
What’s my take home point?
You shouldn’t try to sacrifice yourself, your happiness, and your future for anyone else. If your life is so valueless that you’re willing to give it up for everyone else then how can you possibly expect them to value your life anymore than that. (You want to give up your life to make my life better? Okay. Pay for my healthcare and shut up.)
Heck, you don’t even have to try and bring libertarianism to the world. You could sit on your butt all day soaking up welfare checks for all I care. (Heck, you’d be helping collapse the system.) You should only do things that actually bring value to your own life. If spreading libertarianism brings value to your life then damn well enjoy it. If you find yourself getting frustrated and depressed about it then get the hell away from it for a while.
So, do you want to vote still? Okay. Go have fun. Still want to get arrested? Again. Have fun. Want to debate with idiot? Have fun. Notice the words “have fun.” They’re fundamental. If you’re not having fun then you’re probably getting absolutely nothing from these pursuits.
In a perfect libertarian world, all supporters of that world won’t need to be activists fighting for libertarianism. They don’t need to be experts in the philosophy. Once you understand the basics, you can go back into the real world and do something else valuable with what you learned. The world will always need scientists, engineers, porn stars, and dog walkers. It’s okay to do what you do and stay off the front lines. (Using a war metaphor for libertarianism is stupid but I’ll keep it for entertainment value.) While you may not immediately see how you’re still fighting for libertarianism, you virtually always are if you aren’t using violence.
Take home this: Your life is way too valuable to sacrifice in hopes to change the world. Do what you love.
Did you enjoy this post? Then please share this post or donate a little bitcoin to help support the site. Also, check out the archives for hundreds more articles.
Bitcoin Address: 175GUagTitf4zFXKywNoSSHhZtc5E2HPnw