From L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise:
I was having a conversation with somebody on Facebook the other day, when I became aware that he didn’t know about, or understand, how political progress really gets made. Yet another failure, owing to the libertarian movement’s utter lack of an internal education system. He seemed to believe he was imparting “mature wisdom” when he criticized my advocacy of lofty, long-range, radical goals, in particular, my insistence that all taxation is morally unacceptable, a danger to world peace, and must therefore be abolished. He seemed to think this progress would somehow happen by itself, or in slow, microscopic increments, as long as people like me didn’t spoil it.
It reminded me of the 1990s, when the Republican congressional “revolution” began to fail and fall apart, due mostly to that party’s typical stupidity and cowardice, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had led the “revolution” tried to deflect the criticism by genuine conservatives and libertarians by quoting that sad old bag Voltaire: “The perfect is the enemy of the good”. I, who had a much shorter soap-box to stand on in those days, nevertheless responded, “If it weren’t for those of us who insist upon the perfect, there would never be any good.”
Later, the magnificent and courageous Libertarian Party National Platform, of the late 1970s, originally put together by David Nolan, Murray Rothbard, Williamson Evers, Reichard White, Michael Grossberg, myself, and many illustrious others, got assaulted and demolished by the same kind of cowards and fools, totally ignorant of how political progress is historically made, that still plague the GOP and the LP today. A concerted effort has been made to drive out those in the LP with any ideas and principles, and it has largely been successful.
Do not be deceived: the current popularity of the LP has nothing to do with the feeble efforts of Gary Johnson or William Weld. It is due solely to the revulsion people feel when they contemplate voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It will evaporate shortly after the election.
I have long been a close student of the way Great Britain was converted to socialism, and have always believed that the same strategy, first explained to me by the great freedom educator Robert LeFevre, will work for making America libertarian. To understand it, you have to know a little history.
In the 19th century (the 1800s), socialists like George Bernard Shaw, H.G Wells, and others formed the Fabian Society, based on a misunderstanding of the tactics and strategy of the classical Roman General Fabius Maximus “the Delayer”, who stopped Hannibal from conquering Rome. They adopted secret long-range goals and made sure they were seen as the “good guys” in the social revolution that was going on in England at the time. Whenever someone like the communists frightened conservatives by demanding, for example, that the workers be handed control of the means of production (or something equally unthinkable), the Fabians rushed to the rattled traditional pillars of the community, saying, “There, there, all we on the left really want is a minimum wage.” Or workman’s compensation. Or an eight hour day. Or a five day week. With each “reform”, the hard left felt emboldened to increase its demands, and the Fabians did their thing again and again. In addition they took certain members of Parliament under their tutelage, issued “White Papers”, and so on. Bit by bit, Old Blighty got dragged left, because their opponents didn’t really understand what was going on, and had no counter-strategies.
Now note the two-part nature of the dynamic: the Fabians would have gotten nowhere without the communists, and others, to provide the energy that frightened the Establishment. The commies would have gotten nowhere without the Fabians to let the right wing surrender to them a bit at a time. It’s important to understand that the Fabians and the communists didn’t have to conspire together, to like each other (they didn’t) or even to communicate. The Fabians just used what they found, and turned Britain into the collectivist pesthole it is today. The communists were the engine and the Fabians were the train.
The whole thing worked because the Fabians had the brains to pretend to be aghast at the communists’ radicalism (when in fact they shared the same goals), but not to interfere with it. No such brains exist within the libertarian movement. The “Establishment” sincerely, if stupidly, denounces radicals, sneers at them as “purists” (as if there were something wrong with that) and, like jihadist vandals blowing up historic Buddhist monuments, actually sabotages and destroys what radicals achieved in the past.
And so fear and ignorance—and statism—win the day.
What can be done? In the 1980s, there was some sort of intellectual property dispute over the concept of The Ghostbusters. One side produced a cartoon series they called The Real Ghostbusters with the middle word written in red cursive and inserted over a carat. Maybe it’s time for The Real Libertarian Party. It could threaten to divide the LP’s minuscule vote by nominating its own candidates, pursue Fabian tactics, and take more time and effort to explain fundamental libertarian ideas like the Zero Aggression Principle to the voting public. I can hear the shrieking from National Headquarters now, can’t you?
So get on board the neoFabian train to freedom. Otherwise, we can all just passively sit on our thumbs and watch the commies in the DNC fight it out with conservatives and populists. Thomas Jefferson would have been so pleased.
Publisher and Senior Columnist L. Neil Smith is the author of over thirty books, mostly science fiction novels, L. Neil Smith has been a libertarian activist since 1962. His many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE “Free Radical Book Store” The preceding essays were originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. Use them to fight the continuing war against tyranny.