“Well, I’m not going to get into the classic insanity mode – doing things over and over and expecting different results. I’m done with this whole political shit. It was fun for a while and I met a whole bunch of great people in the liberty movement. Let the crooks and the deviants have it. I’ve withdrawn my consent and am turning my back to them all.”
This is good. This is someone waking up. This is someone – and there are many of them – who has put a real effort into changing things for the better through the political system. Many have been doing it since 2007, some even longer. And while some will continue the fight, continue working to get “good people” into bad offices, others are starting to look a little deeper, are starting to recognize that it is the system itself that is broken, not the particular individuals who happen to be heading it up at the moment.
I shouldn’t be, but I am still surprised when I hear people urging me to support Romney because Obama will be so much worse, or Obama because Romney will be so much worse. I hear this from smart people, people I respect, and I have to do a double take because I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I can’t believe they can’t see that both of these people – or more accurately, the interests that support both of these people – are phenomenally evil and that to support either one is to support driving our country further toward a police state, aggressive military adventurism, economic cronyism and ultimately bankruptcy.
Yet people are so tribal, and so ruled by fear. I don’t know where the tribalism comes from. Some of it is learned, but I fear some of it is innate, and it still astounds me to see how powerful it is, to watch otherwise intelligent and caring people throw their support behind what can only be described as a fascist dictator, all because he’s “one of them”. “He’s a Democrat and I’m a Democrat and Democrats are good!” Or “yes, he’s awful, but the other guy is so much worse!” It is such a powerless position to be in, and is precisely how the power elite maintain their control over our lives – through fear. Fear of the terrorists their own policies incited; fear of “rich” people; fear of “illegal” immigrants; fear of the other guy who might win if you don’t throw your support behind our equally awful candidate.
What struck me, in reading the Tweets of those watching the proceedings, was this: Those who today were cheering because now “Ron Paul will finally retire and we’ll be done with him”, or berating him for not falling in line and supporting Romney like a good Party Member, really don’t get it. It’s not that they don’t “get” Ron Paul, it’s not that they don’t agree with his message or don’t understand why so many people are so passionate about him. It’s not even that they don’t “get” that Romney and Obama are essentially the same. What they don’t get is that the point of the liberty movement is not simply to win elections, and it is certainly not to win elections just for the sake of winning them. The point of the liberty movement is to bring about liberty. And after witnessing the corruption and dishonesty of the 2008 election proceedings and now the 2012 elections so far, it just may be dawning on more than a few in this movement that participating in the establishment’s rigged game is not an effective way of bringing about a free society.
If there is anything good that comes out of the Republican National Convention of 2012, it will be this: That the Republican Party leadership’s blatant disregard for its own procedures, its willingness to change the rules at the last minute to prevent an outcome it does not want, will be instructive to those who still believe in “working within the system to change the system.” It will push more liberty activists to start thinking of more creative ways, more productive ways of bringing about a free society. And it’s about time.
Many of us were cynical about building a free society by using the machinery of the state all along. But we supported Ron Paul because we had to say we tried. For myself, I felt that if his presidncy was even a possibility (even though I don’t even believe in the office of the presidency) I had to do what I could to make it happen, for the sake of the lives that would be saved by reining in an aggressive foreign policy if nothing else. And I did, and I don’t regret it. But now it’s time to get serious about building a free society. The illusion that we can do it through the voting booth should by now be thoroughly discredited. Our focus should now be on building the society we believe in – one that is based on peaceful, voluntary interactions, where violence is only acceptable as a response to violence. The coercive system is failing, and it will only get worse. It’s time for us to get to work.