Recently, I (Kitty Antonik Wakfer) found myself at the website of Claire Wolfe, after following a link from Rational Review News Digest on 11/23 carrying a short excerpt from her blog entry of 11/22, regarding a friend's receipt of an herb gift to counter the effects of nausea producing chemotherapy. In her blog, Claire related her interpretation of the husband's brief remarks (to her own warning about possible problems with federal authorities despite local legality), "Oh, the feds" to mean: "F**k the feds. And all their dirty works. We'll live our lives and take care of our own, in spite of them." Claire then went on to explain how the giver of the herb had declined an offered payment from the grateful husband, saying. "She never charged for the good things she did, did she?" Of course, in actuality, the giver was returning value to the ill woman for the many times s/he considered hirself (him/herself) to have benefited (indirectly and from the longest range widest viewpoint) from the woman's activities of animal rescue work.
I especially agreed with Claire Wolfe's closing sentence - "This is why I prefer the world of real human beings and individual moral choices over the best 'system' ever devised". A society of individuals free to voluntarily interact for mutual benefit - including the giving of a payment, in any form of value to the receiver, in hopes that it will assist in preserving the continued highly regarded efforts of that person - is one in which there is no role for anyone who would initiate force to harm another. And government initiates legalized force to remove benefits, reduce choices or cause other harms in virtually every aspect of a person's life - from before birth until after death. While I had no disagreements with this blog entry, I found Claire's quote under her (mostly unidentifiable) photo on her home page to be very typical of many libertarians: "America's at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." She appears to give her readers only the choice of working within the current system or resorting to violence to remove....? Who? She doesn't say, at least not in this quote.
Some type of revolutionary action, almost certainly including violence, initiated at some point that is no longer "too early", is what many libertarians view as the logical chain of events needed to remove "the bastards". But who are "the bastards"? Is shooting them the only way to stop the initiation of force that is the hallmark of governments? And when that is done, how can a return to the same or worse situation be avoided? These are questions that libertarians generally fail to fully address. And without fully examining the crux of the current problem and detailing what is needed to eliminate taking a path that leads to it yet once again (America already had a violent revolution only to get to where it is now), the words of many libertarian writers are lacking in the value they purport to be providing their readers.
First, who are the real "bastards" in the system? (Those who are ultimately responsible for all the harm that is done.) Without those who enforce the almost limitless numbers of laws, edicts, regulations, etc. of all the agencies at the federal, state, county and local level in the US, there would be nothing more than worthless reams of paper stacked miles high capable of doing no harm (unless they fell over on someone). It is the individuals who are willing to initiate harmful force - and governments have decreed their employees its only legal initiator - who are the real "bastards". If those who would generally never initiate harmful force in their personal lives, would see the inconsistency of doing so when they are acting as government agents, then the politicians and government bureaucrats would have to either enforce their own edicts or face the fact of their impotence.
So in the current society of governments, what is the logical action to take by those who recognize and disdain the total distortion of the marketplace of voluntary interactions between people that these systems cause? First and foremost, do not be a government employee, especially not of an agency that regulates the voluntary interactions of others. One cannot be consistent with one's ideas of liberty and at the same time work for such government agencies, which are all, in one way or another, aiding and abetting the initiation of harmful force. And those who work for the government in any capacity would best - if they understand the value of being philosophically consistent - seek positions in private counterparts or a move into a new career/work field entirely.
Next, discriminate against those who are government enforcers! Don't include them in your list of friends, don't freely associate with them and don't hesitate to let it be known why you are doing so. Limit your contact with these individuals to that which cannot be avoided without risking physical harm. This is an example of what I (and my husband Paul Wakfer) refer to as negative social preferencing - the positive version describes such things as choosing friends and supporting valued actions of others. Changes can ultimately only be brought about by acting! An initially small but constantly growing number of people who practice what they or others are preaching can bring about enormous changes. Government enforcers of all types - military, various policing agencies, tax collectors, etc. - who have not faced the contradictions of their lives will find it necessary to do so when the majority of people refuse to freely associate with them or severely limit their interactions, especially once the subject of social preferencing has been widely publicized and discussed. Those who know government enforcers and understand and practice social preferencing will also let these individuals know that support (in the form of positive social preferencing) during their transition to ex-enforcer status will be available if such a move is actually taken.
It is not necessary - and definitely not desirable for many reasons - to "shoot the bastards". A large number of government enforcers would likely not remain so if they lost the current support of friends, including those to whom they happen to be biologically related, and if they were treated as the bastards they are by all non-enforcers with whom they interact. As the army of enforcers became drastically reduced by way of resignations and few replacements, the originators of the harmful force initiating laws and regulations - whether they be elected, appointed or hired - would find themselves and the paper they produce increasingly ignored - only those laws and regulations which people find to be of value would prevail in a voluntary manner. A ruling system that no longer has the power of coercive enforcement will shrivel, wither and die, like a weed that has lost its water supply.
Social order (absence of chaos) does not require government, a system that exists only by the initiation of force. I am not arguing that it never did, just that it no longer does. A society - a group of interacting individuals - can exist in mutually beneficial harmony by way of an agreed arrangement based on understood and accepted foundational principles. Current widely available tools of high speed communication make fluidity of information possible by which almost anyone can make assessments of all market commodities including goods, services and people. The characteristics of individuals which are important with respect to any interaction can be made available for evaluation among those persons who realize that making them known is a benefit, just as easily as can the characteristics of any goods or services in the marketplace.
The long term eventual withering away of the state and its agencies of force is the goal of the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, with parallel replacement by a self-ordered society operating according to the principles described in the Theory of Social Meta-Needs. Working within the existing system has never been a solution, since right from the start it contained the seeds of its own destruction which have been "coming to fruit" for over a hundred years. Belief by the majority that the current system is the best that can exist (mainly because technology continues to raise the living standard in spite of all the negative effects of government), despite its decline towards fascism in the past 40 years, has kept serious moves for change to relative murmurs of discontent. Few want chaos and the vacuum that "seeks" immediate filling by whatever faction has the most powerful guns. And so the many have been convinced by politicians and even some libertarians, that such would be the result of any major alteration of the current system - a kind of jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
What has been missed, however, is a third alternative besides working within the system and violent removal of "the bastards". That alternative is to not sanction, not fraternize with and to generally ignore the bastards, their supporters and the entire system they represent. Those who understand the principles of such non-sanction and of self-ordering social action, and are willing to practice them can begin their own society in the midst of the present. And they can interact to mutual benefit - increasingly so, as the state withers and dies of neglect.