Robert Ringer

Who’s the Purist of Them All?

By Robert Ringer - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today’s galling criminal behavior in Washington has brought back some old memories for me.  With the publication of my book Restoring the American Dream, which openly promoted the Libertarian Party, I created quite a stir in libertarian circles.  So much so that I was asked to give the keynote address at the 1979 Libertarian Party Presidential Nominating Convention.

Ed Clark was the Libertarian Party presidential nominee that year and David Koch (of Koch Brothers fame) was his running mate.  The master of ceremonies was actor Orson Bean, who years later would become the father-in-law of Andrew Breitbart (who was ten-years-old at the time!). Small world, indeed.

All the attention was pretty heady stuff for a young, newly minted anarchist like me.  There was no doubt in my naïve mind that it was just a matter of time until the Libertarian Party would overwhelm the Demopublican Party and put an end to government tyranny.

It was also at the 1979 convention that a young medical doctor by the name of Ron Paul introduced himself to me.  Little did I know that he was to become a beacon of hope for millions of Americans over the next three decades.

A few weeks after the convention I invited a number of noteworthy libertarians to a dinner party at my home.  With my newfound enthusiasm for libertarianism, I wanted to pick the brains of some of the smartest libertarian minds in the country.

At one point, I said to John Hospers, the Libertarian Party’s first presidential candidate back in 1972, “Given the realities of human nature, even if the Libertarian Party someday got control of the government, wouldn’t libertarian officeholders become just as corrupt as Democrats and Republicans?”

To which he responded, “Yes, it’s human nature.  But it might give us twenty-five years or more of much smaller government and more freedom before they reached the level of corruption that the Democrats and Republicans are at today, which would give us time to try to come up with a better system.” 

It was refreshing to hear an ideological giant like Hospers talk in realistic terms.  But, unfortunately, the Libertarian Party never got off the ground, so my hypothetical question became irrelevant.  And that very night, as I listened to the heated intellectual sniping and debating over dinner, I began to suspect, for the first time, that the Libertarian Party might not make it.

At one point, in response to one of my guests extolling the virtues of Murray Rothbard’s anarchist beliefs — specifically alluding to his advocacy of private police forces — Nathaniel Branden tersely shot back that Murray Rothbard would be the first one to complain about a lack of police protection if he were in trouble.

As I’ve watched the Libertarian Party struggle to survive over the years, I’ve often thought about that evening back in 1979.  Even in 2012, when probably half the population had awakened to the reality that the U.S. government was an out-of-control criminal enterprise, Gary Johnson — a two-time state governor — garnered only 1 percent of the vote for the Libertarian Party.  That was just shy of Ed Clark’s 1.1 percent three decades earlier!  Talk about stagnant growth.

I have long believed that 40 percent or more of the voting public is, at heart, libertarian, even if they aren’t all conscious of it.  But the problem is that the message never gets through to them because both uppercase and lowercase libertarians are too busy bickering over who is the most pure.

Like children throwing temper tantrums, they constantly attack other libertarians for not being true libertarians — or true anarchists.  To hear many of them talk, they would have you believe that only they are ideologically pure and that every other libertarian is flawed.  Their childish arrogance sometimes makes me want to yawn.

Which brings me to the political bomb John Hospers dropped on true-believing libertarians, just prior to the 2004 election, in the form of an “Open Letter to All Libertarians.”  Said Hospers, in part:

The American electorate is not yet psychologically prepared for a completely libertarian society.  A transition to such a society takes time and effort, and involves altering the mind-set of most Americans, who labor under a plethora of economic fallacies and political misconceptions. …

If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical “Battle Ground” states and therefore the presidency itself.  That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004.  And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.

Hospers’ words caused self-anointed “purists” to go ballistic.  But even though I, too, disagreed with his position, I resisted the temptation to fall into the “not-pure-enough” trap.  I mean, if you label a liberty legend like John Hospers impure, who in the world qualifies as being pure enough?

From my firsthand experience, the answer is no one.  We all make mistakes, but if we bring out the guillotine every time a strong advocate of liberty says or does something ill advised — or that we don’t agree with — who will be left?

As Hospers pointed out in his letter, even the mother of objectivism, Ayn Rand, once opined that she wouldn’t mind if taxes were 80 percent “if you need it for defense.”  Was Ayn Rand impure?  Yes.  But so is every other liberty advocate I’ve ever met.

And how about those two young fellows at the 1979 Libertarian Party convention — Ron Paul and Robert Ringer?  I have it on good authority that both of them are strong pro-life advocates.  Does believing in the sanctity of life, which is a basic tenet of libertarianism — qualify anarchist-leaning libertarians to challenge their ideological credentials?

In a perfect world, I’d be an anarchist not only in theory, but in reality.  But the rational side of me tells me that anarchism would open the door to my being victimized by the same criminals who now rule us.  With anarchism, there would be no laws to even slow them down.  That’s why I reluctantly believe that we need laws to protect our lives and property.  Unfortunately, most of today’s laws violate our lives and property.

The real issue is man’s imperfection.  It is important to be vigilant about reminding ourselves not to inadvertently stray toward tyranny.  But, while doing so, let’s not label those who are 90 percent in agreement with us as “not pure enough.”

Lambasting bootlickers like John McCain, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, or Orrin Hatch — sure, they’re fair game.  But accusing people like Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, or Allen West of not being pure enough is fodder for the barbarians.  Give me a break.  If someone favors getting rid of unemployment benefits, food stamps, minimum-wage laws, and the income tax, I’m happy to have them on my side.

We can debate things like Roe v. Wade and how to best provide for a national defense at a later date, but right now those who sincerely believe that liberty is preferable to tyranny would do well to join forces and focus on the important job ahead — destroying the moral barbarians who have pillaged America.

The habit of trashing people because they don’t meet one’s arbitrary standards for purity is a result of both arrogance and ignorance.  And arrogance of the ignorant is a human flaw that I, for one, am incapable of tolerating.

You have permission to reprint this article so long as you place the following wording at the end of the article:

Copyright © 2014 Robert Ringer
ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times.


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73 Responses to “Who’s the Purist of Them All?”

  1. Phil says:

    Nicely said.

    • Daniel Joseph says:

      I continue to strongly believe that the enemy in this nation is its naivete. Specifically, people believe that the politicians are telling us the truth. This is clouded by the fact that a small portion of what politicians say is true.

      The voters voted in 2012. They apparently believed that the government is here to help them. Before things can get better, the voting public needs to outgrow its naivete.

      Your first book was about each reader outgrowing naivete in business. One reader at a time. “How things are” as contrasted with “how we want them to be”. “There are only three types of business people” in your book could be replaced with “there are only three types of politicians”.

      If you want to think about ways to make a contribution, figure out a quick way to get people to outgrowing naivete in their beliefs about government. Presenting people with facts doesn't seem to be working.

      I suggest that you forget about selling the Libertarian Party and just focus on reducing naivete. As naivete dissipates, people will gravitate toward Libertarian ideas in an attempt to reduce what’s not working (big government) and replace it.

  2. shadowy thoughts says:

    I've observed libertarians on the internet for a while now, and they do exactly what you describe – they tear each other apart for not being pure enough. And so it's difficult for them to get taken seriously.

    • reunion says:

      lol….

    • GrayCat says:

      Maybe you need a better definition and criterion by which to know what is truly libertarian?

      It is this very thing that you see being contested.

      And which political party or philosophy have you observed not "tearing each other apart" over differences of "purity"?

      Should everyone agree? How would that be a tenet of individual freedom and laissez-faire capitalism?

      Yet shouldn't definitions be agreed on before any discussion can take place and be in any way rational?

  3. reunion says:

    "I have long believed that 40 percent or more of the voting public is, at heart, libertarian, even if they aren’t all conscious of it. But the problem is that the message never gets through to them because both uppercase and lowercase libertarians are too busy bickering over who is the most pure."

    well, that's the problem with a rationalizing faith, isn't it? despite all evidence to the contrary, the "becauses" never stop, & mountainous oxymoronic contradictions will be moved, someday.

    NAP (non-aggression principle), yes, or no? it's that simple. nothing to "bicker" about. does "political man" violate the nap? yes. immediately & always, & at pervasive institutionalized levels, no matter the "party" name.

    too bad actual anarcho-capitalist rothbard, which is to say a gestated libertarian, wasn't at your party to answer "charges" – assuming branden had the balls to call hypocrisy, face to face. did you, "newly minted anarchist", even invite rothbard, i wonder?

    the "purity" of fiat cupro-nickel coinage does not retain value like anarchic gold & silver, does it?

    not exactly what that old new ager jung had in mind, but collectives – lynch mobs, voters – are 100% unconscious, oblivious.

    mccluhan said the "medium is the message." collectivized, deindividuated massman is the medium for the authoritarian message. individuals are the medium for the anarcho-capitalist message. the implied beginning of this essay, "dear graycat", juxtaposes the two mediums nicely.

  4. John R says:

    Well stated.

    This is the long, corkscrewing road to irrelevance the rank and file GOP is spiraling down now in my opinion. Too many in the party have decided that if one does not pass the ideological acid test, then one is no longer welcome in the party. Is the RNC corrupt? To be sure. But there are within the GOP (and the Democrat Party and the Libertarian Party) those who, as the person above put it, 'Do far more to advance the Liberty Movement than to retard it.' The party, currently know or on the horizon, that can build a tent big enough to include all those who seek to advance the cause of Liberty will be the party which will be unstoppable in American politics. And the GOP and the Democrat party will consist only of the corrupt, non-Liberty, power hungry, big government types so prevalent on the political seen today.

    Everyone is fair game.

  5. ellis baxter says:

    One issue is that many of the almost good candidates do things to make themselves less electable. Ron Paul is a nutty guy and is pro choice. He can not answer the basic points in economic monetary policy. We have many problems but we have to unwind the system. The bast way to do so is to pass the FAIR TAX with the resulting growth as a buffer we might be able to start slowing down the spending. And we need to start now.

    • Geno says:

      You haven't listened to Ron Paul lately. He is pro life, and has a pretty good handle on what monetary policy should be.

    • GrayCat says:

      You are just plain wrong.

      And you believe that the "system" is necessary.

      And you believe, as a necessary part of that system, in taxes.

      These are gross errors.

  6. john says:

    Bottom line is the same as past articles- "we need laws" and we just need to elect the right guy to have our property protected. This is a false premise and will never be attained because property protection and freedom are not a derivative of political action. Enough laws have been passed and plenty of politicans elected and the problems still persist, maybe the means are incorrect and need to be changed.

    • Dan says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, John!

    • reunion says:

      yes.

      this false premise is a conditioned response that the "doctors" tap with plexors (reflex hammers) over & over again. individual health & health of the state are inversely proportional to the presence of the knee jerk response….

      see franz oppenheimer's contrasting of the economic means & the political means.

    • GrayCat says:

      I echo the sentiments! The statement of FACT!!!!

      There is no "fixing" or "reforming" or "inventing" a new state. By its nature it is a monster, by whatever name it goes!

  7. Dave says:

    It was Robert's "Restoring the Amercan Dream" that convinced me that I was a libertarian and not a liberal. I voted for Ed Clark. I voted for Reagan in 1984 as the most libertarian of the viable candidates. I have since become completely disillusioned with all political parties, and almost all politicians, and even the electorate, which has discovered how to vote themselves subsidies.

  8. Lawrence Ekdahl, says:

    The trouble is not who is pure. Theproblem is that the American people have become morally corrupt and therefore incapable of keeping a republic.

    • RJR says:

      You are absolutely correct.

    • Dan says:

      Agreed. It's not Obama and Reid alone… It's our neighbors.

    • reunion says:

      a shark rots from the head down.

      a fish is smarter than its tail fin, but if the tail fin were smarter, then the tail fin would wag the fish.

      you are blaming the lesser accomplice, functionally more a tool than an accomplice – & guaranteeing just what the shark needs: perpetual motion. but no evolutionary progress. status quo.

      Duuun dun duuun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun BOM BOM dun dun dun dun dun dun doo dedoo doo dedoo dede doo dede doo dededoo ♪ ♫ ♪

      • Dan says:

        reunion: in your opinion, can "the neighbors" ever stop being a tail fin?

        BTW watched V last night for first time. had reoccurring thought: reunion is V.
        also noticed the word, reunion, came up once in the script. just sayin… :-)

        • reunion says:

          lol…when i bought "V", it came with a guy fawkes mask, so i'm ready!

          the process can never be about the neighbors, collective action dreams. if the process is not personal, individual action, then it morphs into mechanism, machinery, ends justifying means…which is all dehumanized & dehumanizing crap, illegitimacy. the true "social animal" aspect gets twist-contorted into "social contract" bondage nonsense – & persons are replaced by 'the people'. bye-bye dan the individual, hello dan the mobecule in the borg collective.

          i have to sing now (lol!):

          I'm just another node and everywhere I go,
          People know the part I'm playin'.
          Pay for every dance, sellin' each romance,
          Ooohh what they're sayin'?
          There will come a day, when youth will pass away,
          What will they say about me?
          When the end comes I know, there was just another node's
          Life goes on without me.

          'Coz I… Ain't got nobody and there's
          Nobody cares for me, there's
          Nobody cares for me
          I'm so sad and lonely, sad and lonely, sad and lonely
          Won't some sweet mama come and take a chance with me?
          Cause I ain't so bad. { um, you're a node dude, & that IS bad…}
          ~ louis prima, "i'm just a gigolo"

          • reunion says:

            there's a line in yalom's book, attributed to viktor frankl, "rewards ensuebut cannot be pursued".

            i learned that as a kid, on motocross tracks. if its all about "winning", you're doing it wrong, & you're a loser whether you get the checkered, or not; those kinds of trophies are devoid of meaning. legit wins are side effects. how matters, not what. a great movie that dramatizes this perspective, almost perfectly, is "without limits"; it's about steve prefontaine, who was a foot-racer.

            understood?

          • Dan says:

            yep. and saw without limits. excellent story.

    • GrayCat says:

      You are absolutely wrong.

      The problem is the immorality of the state, because it is a state, no matter if it's a "republic" or anything else.

      No one should be forced to "keep a republic." No one should be forced to have rulers.

      Your neighbor's morality is none of your business, as long as he isn't harming you or anyone else. THAT is the essence of morality.

      Murray Rothbard — the libertarian and one of the co-founders of the Libertarian Party who wasn't invited to RJR's dinner party and who was gratuitously and cowardly attacked in absentia at that dinner party — described the government/the state as "a gang of thieves writ large." And he was right. Government is by any definition a gang with a monopoly of force in a given territory. And Rothbard was against that.

      Too bad Franklin and the other "framers" of the U.S. Constitution weren't. Too bad our "free" government public schools don't teach this truth.

      But if they did, there wouldn't be any "free" government public schools because there'd be no government/state.

      I can dream, can't I?

  9. Geno says:

    Loved the last line. Keep the humor, Ringer; we are all going to need for the coming years.

  10. reunion says:

    "90%" sounds quantified. reality is, its padded, the line items rarely sum. expediency is the systemic norm; it levels down & away from liberty. and it stocks the warehouse with a never-ending supply of enemy inventory.

    so the test is pass / fail. "political method" is fail.

    Imagine a happy group of morons who are engaged in work. They are carrying bricks in an open field. As soon as they have stacked all of the bricks at one side of the field, they proceed to transport them to the opposite end. This continues without stop and every day of every year they are busy doing the same thing. One day one of the morons stops long enough to ask himself what he is doing. He wonders what purpose there is in carrying the bricks. And from that instant on he is not quite as content with his occupation as he had been before. I am the moron who wonders why he is carrying the bricks.

    This suicide note, these last words written by a despairing soul who killed himself because he saw no meaning in life serve as stark introduction to a question that is, indeed, a matter of life & death.

    ~ yalom, “existential psychotherapy” ch. 10, “meaninglessness”

    • reunion says:

      try to be out of harms way, but let it come, let the long night conclude.

      remember barnes from "platoon"?

      Chris Taylor: Any way you cut it, Barnes is a f***king murderer.
      King: Right on.
      Rhah: Taylor, I remember when you first came in here telling me how much you admired the bastard.
      Chris Taylor: I was wrong.
      Rhah: Wrong? You ain't never been right about nothing! And dig this, you a**holes, and dig it good… Barnes been shot seven times and he ain't dead. Does that mean anything to you, huh? Barnes ain't meant to die. The only thing that can kill Barnes is Barnes.

      the only thing that can kill the sole surviving superpower beast is the same thing that killed its cold war accomplice: its own internal contradictions. let it.

    • Reality Seeker says:

      Reply to reunion,

      You are quite correct, reunion, this is why the Machiavellian, political cycles continue; however, RJR is also correct inasmuch as he and I both believe that the greatest flaw of anarcho-capitalism is that everybody has to be willing to coexist and abide by Natural Law, or that form of governance just won't work in the real world. If, for example, just one collectivist group forms and arms themselves with nukes, they then could overrun and make extinct all others. Anarcho-capitalism is an all or nothing proposition. That's why anarcho-capitalists like Doug Casey agree that we will never have a "purely" anarcho-capitalist society. Both Doug and I will settle for a governmental framework whereby a military provides for a national defense. I doubt that we will ever see it because the bend-over people love to be collectivised and screwed by their sugar daddies.

      I clearly recognize that the bend-over people can't break their symbiotic relationship with government hand-job artists. The politicians kiss(sometimes not) then ask the bend-over people to bend over, and you know the rest of the lurid story….. So, as for me, out of a desire to survive and buy some time on this prison planet full of bend-overs, I look for some common ground with some nuclear armed gang.. This, unfortunately, means I have to join with or at least support the least damaging gang I can find. Currently, that's the Paul Gang.

      Yes, I admit it, I'm a gang member ; I'm a lifetime member of the NRA and the GOA. I'm a member of Prison Planet TV and many other gangs…….having admitted all my many faults, I hope that you, reunion, never give up pointing out my many flaws and your criticism of the current system. I love well thought out, hard hitting, crushing descent.

      • reunion says:

        some big ol' holes in your net, rs. the sharks are gonna' keep swimming right thru you.

        i'll be back……

        • Reality Seeker says:

          Note: my above post was somehow jumbled.

        • reunion says:

          i forget to strip out notes to self, ideas, possibilities for inclusion in posts sometimes, too (if that's what happened to you here); an edit function is on at least a few wish lists here.

          am nursing a cold & may have already expended my energy allotment for today & so you may need to exercise a little patience…but i do want to perform your refraction, maybe to "i can see clearly now" – the johnny nash version, of course. mood music is so important. ☻

          but, for now, one magician to another, think about about this bit of slip in your sleight of hand: natural law is not nature's law. i am tentatively diagnosing hobbesian astigmatism. we can fix that.

  11. Liberty Boy says:

    I may NOT be a pure libertarian. But I am NOT a waffling wuss Republican or Democrat.

    • GrayCat says:

      No; you're just so believing that rulers, as long as they're "Libertarian," are necessary.

      Right along with those Republicans and Democrats . . .

  12. will276 says:

    if there is one thing for sure it was that ronald reagan was contrary to the media not a
    purist or an extremist……he freely set aside attempts to tinker with social security,he
    praised fdr at times, etc..and responded mildly to vicious attacks …he also was able to bring together different people with a liberterian bent..what puzzles me is that he was a success,he did stand for something,
    and handed the gop a winning blueprint for ;political and leadership success that did not require genius…..he won by landslides….why did the gop ignore this role model of success..? reagan won by landslides…..dubya a good campaigner won by the skin of his teeth…flopping as a leader…

    and yes many were naive among the gop…….to believe that dubya was more conservative than his father…rush limbaugh notably voiced this opinion… what is more disturbing is the nomination of
    romney showing a lack of a learning curve…and then jeb bush's name floated by gop people right after romney's defeat!

    we need a reagan revolutionary who stands for something..freedom…free markets
    and he can be imperfect
    but he must have a proven winning game plan…
    hopefully those who believe in freedom and free markets won't get fooled a third time…

    • GrayCat says:

      As long as "those who believe in freedom and free markets" believe that those things can exist in a political system, they are fooling themselves.

      Reagan was a "perfect" politician who fooled lots of people, including Ron Paul, until Reagan actually got into office and betrayed every libertarian principle he had claimed to espouse. And Ron Paul left Reagan's company because of it, explaining in a letter to Reagan outlining why. Didn't change Reagan, but no matter; enough people were fooled that he was elected again because he appeared to be publicly what he was not and never had been. And his legend has succeeded in fooling people to this day.

      He was nowhere near a believer in freedom or free markets.

  13. Smucko says:

    Ok, so if “most” Americans realize that the leadership of both parties is corrupt beyond redemption, and give our Congress a single digit approval rating, why haven’t these freedom-loving citizens abandoned the two parties and recaptured the spirit of the Tea Party that should have stayed focused on “taking our country back”? Answer — lazy.
    The Baby Boomers have a lot of explaining to do as to how they went from the Me Generation of the sixties to the Not Me Generation in the following decades. This generation’s mantra of “God just wants me to be happy! Bring me more goodies! Not in my backyard!” allowed them to lead a leisurely life, but now that the government that they didn’t want to have to watch over is stealing their way of life, they want to holler “Hey, where’s my stuff? I played by the rules!” I deserve those things!”.
    Well, as Mr Ringer has pointed out before, the Great Pin-Spotter will see to it that you get what you deserve. Therefore, it is past time to stop whining and start winning your country back. And you wont get it back by supporting two corrupt political parties. So get over the notion that voting Republican will save the country. Start a new party, focused on Liberty.
    Oh, and God does want you to be happy, but only if you follow His rules. One of the Founding Fathers supposedly said that a democracy can only thrive with a moral and enlightened citizenry. We are neither. Obama is just a symbol of what we have become.

  14. Rand says:

    Ah…those old libertarian names of the past gone by. How time has flown since the 70's when I believed real change was at hand. A true future of "Freedom" on the horizon…only to now see how we've moved even closer to enslavement. And another proponent of the libertarian philosophy that shaped my mind forever more was the late Harry Browne. RIP.

  15. Tuvstil says:

    Tom Wolfe in an interview in GEO MAGAZINE in 1983 said, regarding intellectual movements, "It's as it is in any religion: you constantly have to purify, cut ties, to maintain the integrity of the religion. That's why I like to use the term `clerisy' instead of `intellectuals.' The clerisy is a nonreligious clergy."

  16. bev says:

    Robert, to me, the one gem in your blog is when Hospers says, " which would give us time to try to come up with a better system.” . I'm so happy that someone out there agrees with me that our system is deeply flawed, that even putting libertarians at the top wouldn't fix the system, and that a better system is possible.

    However I disagree with Hospers that we need to be in power in order to come up with a better system. I think we ought to do that now. Well, to be honest, I mean others besides me ought to start thinking along those lines now. I've been beating this drum for years and it's discouraging to keep hearing about our failure to convince others as the reason we're on the fast track to slavery.

    Robert, you're in the perfect position to start and host this discussion. We need to talk about what, exactly, are the flaws in the system and how to build one without those flaws? I'd be happy to open the discussion with my views, which everyone can then refute to my chagrin.

    Our system doesn't work. It has several fundamental structural flaws. These flaws guarantee that the power-mad will eventually annex all power into governmental hands. As an engineer I know that thinking, up front, about failure modes is one of the controlling factors in any design. It is my contention that we can and must design a system in which the main failure mode, human nature, is the primary focus in a new design for a political system.

    • Dan says:

      Bev: I for one would like to hear your thoughts.

      • bev says:

        Dan, you’ve inspired me to start a group where those interested can discuss this subject. It’s a google group called Back2theDrawingBoard. I put the setting such that everyone can read and post to it (I think). You can join the group if you want to. Nothing is there yet, but I’m writing the initial post now. Anyone who is interested can join and contribute. If no one does, I’ll just write some stuff myself. I need the practice writing anyway.

    • GrayCat says:

      The problem IS political system.

      The problem is the state.

      The problem is people who think other people should be ruled and robbed to pay for a political system.

      What you're looking for we already have, in abundance.

      And that's why it's a problem.

      • bev says:

        GrayCat, with all due respect, you're wrong. In a purely anarchistic society, the power-mad would (and have) ruled more completely than in any other type of system. Look at the post-USSR society in the 3-5 years following the collapse of the State. Russia was ruled by a few large crime families whose penchant for violence and destruction quickly became legend, and a state of terror existed in Russia.

        If there is no power to oppose the power-mad, the most violent brute will rule. There are good reasons for having *some* state, and for people to band together to use their combined force to oppose the rule of brutes. The key is to keep the power-mad out of that state, and the method is to keep power from accumulating in the state.

        Providing state protection against the rule of brutes is not 'ruling' in the sense you mean. We're not 'ruled' by a police force. I completely agree that we don't need or want 'rulers', but that is not the same thing as not wanting and needing some kind of minimal state.

        • john says:

          Bev – the Cat is not wrong, you just have not acquired the knowledge to understand how things could work without the state. Having a little bit of the state is like having a little bit of cancer, it's always looking for ways to expand. The alternative to the state is not anarchy as most people think, the rational alternative is capitalism where your property is completely protected by a profit seeking business with proprietary interest in your well being. The state has no such interest and by the way how can the state protect your property and steal it at the same time? Freedom does not require the state.

          • bev says:

            Hi John, with all due respect, you have no idea what knowledge I have or haven't acquired. Everything that you have stated above I've read and debated over 25 years ago. The issue of financing of police etc in an anarchistic state is very old. Russell even discussed it in the '20s in "Proposed Roads to Freedom". There are many reasons why what you propose wouldn't work, not the least being jurisdiction and the favoring of clients over non-clients. Also, your 'little bit state' objection is not only mere speculation, since there has never been a 'little state' designed to stay that way, and it won't be able to happen in a state specifically set up in such a manner that there are no rulers or means to increase governmental power. In the state I envision, anyone proposing new laws would be committing a crime, and there won't be a body to able pass new laws in the first place.

            Anarchism *has* been tried, many times by default, and the result is always the same. I note that what you are proposing *has* a non-anarchistic system designed and set in place, since what you propose has never, and *can't* self-generate. Capitalism can't work without a society in which all entities aren't answerable to an authority outside of their control. In your proposed society, all entities with sufficient means would set up their own 'police force' which would amount to little more than an army aimed at others. This is what, in fact, always happens. These privately owned armies never police the people paying their salaries.

            Your fears are based on types of states that have previously been set up by assumptions about a state that must be discarded.

            Why don't you join the discussion group I just set up and we can discuss it more there? This is not a good place for long discussions, and much gets censored.

          • Dan says:

            non-anonymity of google would keep me from playing.

          • bev says:

            Dan, OK, but are you sure that there's no way to post anonymously? That's news to me. But I respect your fear of google and their joy of selling their customer's info all over the internet.

            I wonder whether there's an easy way to start a discussion board that isn't google, facebook, or some other net predator? I'll check.

          • reunion says:

            john sez "Having a little bit of the state is like having a little bit of cancer"

            bev sez "that's ok, i'm the oncologist!"

            still under the weather, but couldn't resist…..

          • bev says:

            Not that I said anything remotely close to that, of course. But, hey, reunion, under the weather and all. :-)

            I've missed your blather, dood. You're one of my favorite people here.

          • reunion says:

            lol is medicinal, after all….☻

            that's often what comes of even vague (or couched or subconscious) arguments from authority… oncologists can be conceived of as cancer engineers ("demolition of cancer" engineers, according to the glossy brochures).

            when i'm back, maybe we can get into the engineer/technocrat at state idea. engineers work from principles. unfortunately, they are often wholly ignorant of first principles in the human realm (so they substitute with which they are familiar & comfortable – physics, principles of inanimate objects – which does not apply).

            blather on reggae ♀ ♪ ♫ ♪ ☺

          • john says:

            Well you are right about one thing – its hard to have a long discussion here and this would require a very long discussion. You basically said a free society can't operate for this reason or that reason without some form of coercion. This just means no one has done it before because they didn't know how. Nobody knew how to fly in 1900 but that didn't mean it was not possible, it meant nobody had the technology available yet. We can live without the state and without coercion, its not impossible just very difficult.

          • Reality Seeker says:

            This is not a good place for long discussions, and much gets censored, Bev said……

            Lol…….

  17. GrayCat says:

    I wish I could agree with you 100%! I usually do.

    Maybe 1% disagreement is permissible? ;-)

  18. Teri says:

    Maybe if more libertarians actually lived the lifestyle of a libertarian and were successful, the movement would catch on quicker. As in taking no handouts, not robbing from their kids and their grandkids (taking only what you put into SS), working 2 or 3 jobs instead of standing in the employment line and whining.
    Seems to me you can't be a libertarian and be lazy and cry all the time.

    • GrayCat says:

      Maybe if more anti-libertarians learned more, and actually read and learned about the libertarian and Austrian school scholars publishing and blogging, this stupid myth would be corrected.

      If one is forced to pay taxes, why wouldn't one be entitled to everything everyone else is allowed to access by the state, along with the rest of the truly lazy bums who make up that portion of the population who truly are the lazy, whining bums?

  19. reunion says:

    lets say rr, prezidente of this site is like rr, once prezidente of amerika.

    the doddering latter was surrounded by "advisors", delegated "deciders" (aka directors, producers, sound & light men, etc), just as here {benefit of the doubt possibility for all you cognitively biased optimists out there…}.

    lets say it because some here have asked that rr r-run,r-run & because he conditionally accepted. lets say the local masthead / totem pole is r-re-engineered (get it, bev?) into a stump which is wielded successfully in the beating of the "electorate" about the head & shoulders: another rr in the big house.

    does laissez-faire finally come to life then, or does graycat go to gaol on alien & sedition charges?

    place your bets.

    • GrayCat says:

      I think our bets on the gaol are demonstrably safe. ;-)

      LOL!!!

      They censor you for inexplicable reasons, too, and even more than me. And you're even gentle and complimentary toward RJR, even when you point out the errors of what he writes!

      • reunion says:

        omg…i like mencken & rothbard and you're saying i'm a kindler gentler a/c (anarcho-capitalist)! i can only hope you've confused me with reality seeker…except that the machete was (& has been) taken to him, too.

        diff between us, graycat, is the whole salt-lick, thing…i wait for the game, mostly, you shoot at everything, including the salt. lol…….do you have a selector-switch & is it in full auto, by any chance? ☻

        • GrayCat says:

          Yes, rs is really who I was thinking of as I wrote, sorry. ;-)

          But as here, you're not beyond being kind and gentle — and that's not an insult!

          Rothbard never was anything but kind and gentle, even when he showed up Rand for the inconsistent hypocrite she was. Firm, resolute, direct and rigorous in his thinking, refutations and criticisms, but never maliciously vicious or sniping at people when they couldn't defend themselves. I don't think he would ever have done what RJR reported the "refreshing" Hospers doing here.

          I hope you're feeling very much better today!

          Yes, I try to address as many points as I can, to try to counter as much as possible the fatal errors of statist-conditioned thinking and its incessant propagation.

          I'll try to avoid shooting the salt; didn't realize I had . . . thought I was using salt in the shot . . . how do you tell if it's really just a salt lick, here? Set in full auto when truth, freedom, anti-state are at stake. I have a sense of urgency, that time is very short and getting shorter, and if statist thinking is left unchallenged we're all going to have a much harder time of it when TSHTF.

          V was eloquent but he never hid behind obfuscating words — or even his mask; he used words directly, to reveal unadorned, undeniable points of truth. That is why the mask is so effective. It's the words and their meanings that matter, not how pretty or ugly the one who uses them. And those who "didn't get it" or didn't like it had only themselves to blame for the consequences.

          [sigh] :-/

          • reunion says:

            i am better, thank you. one more day should put it paid.

            can't dredge up examples right now, but rothbard could cut, too…maybe a light sabre to mencken's katana. has to be kept in mind that when rothbard called rand's tune, branden was still her disciple/lover, probably puts his comment into the "little bitch" category (despite the comment being made years later)…..

            all sites are salt licks. salt lick mfg's (lickees?) have game-attracting (lickers) agendas of their own, & it rarely includes two-way channel discourse, or appreciation at being called (rand/rothbard/branden again….). effective city hall fighting is necessarily guerrilla & 4G…float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…lol

            time, actually, was up long ago. fait acompli. and v did his own thing, by himself, for many years after the false flag events had brought about the total police state that amerika is on the cusp of becoming (& which will not be stopped). the venison requires that marinade time; us tender types should avoid the soak, however. ☻

          • GrayCat says:

            Yes. Thank you.

  20. Reality Seeker says:

    Reply to Bev:

    Bev, nicely written comments, and I enjoyed reading them. The solution begins on the individual level. Enough people need to become educated, verbally assertive and commit to action by supporting the Liberty Movement.

    And there is some good news regarding how some people and not only waking up but they are growing up, too. Take Glenda Beck (aka Glenn Beck) for example, Glenda is finally showing signs of becoming a man. If he continues to mature, I may just have to support him. Glenda is becoming more and more of a libertarian every day, and he is currently suggesting a course of action that will really shake up the corrupt system. Bev, just read the above interview which I posted between Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent that took place today.

    • reunion says:

      "The solution begins on the individual level."
      ends there, too. alpha and omega.

      "…becoming a man. If he continues to mature…"
      well, male, maybe. a/c's have belly buttons, libertarians have umbilical cords, & the rest are, at best, zygotes, but more often than not, dysplasias……

  21. GrayCat says:

    RJR wrote: "The habit of trashing people because they don’t meet one’s arbitrary standards for purity is a result of both arrogance and ignorance. And arrogance of the ignorant is a human flaw that I, for one, am incapable of tolerating."

    Being willing to make Faustian bargains isn't a virtue, and being intolerant of those who won't isn't exactly claiming the high moral ground.

    Being content with the status quo and throwing bricks at brick walls isn't a virtue, and being intolerant of those who don't is disingenuous.

  22. reunion says:

    "All they are is about winning and that’s why they’re losing every time."

    and even if that sort wins, s/he's still a loser. the "best of the best" of that sort are called sociopaths…..

  23. JFF says:

    “In a perfect world, I’d be an anarchist not only in theory, but in reality. But the rational side of me tells me that anarchism would open the door to my being victimized by the same criminals who now rule us. With anarchism, there would be no laws to even slow them down. That’s why I reluctantly believe that we need laws to protect our lives and property. Unfortunately, most of today’s laws violate our lives and property.”

    Ah, the good old “anarchism means no laws” fallacy. Plus, “the warlords would take over” fallacy, another great one.

    ::rolls eyes::

    Wenzel has more:

  24. reunion says:

    I think this is an example of how cities in the future can be organized. It surprised me that this town had grown to almost 100,000 people and has developed business and industrial areas on the same model of governance. It is more than disappointing that the state of Texas doesn’t have any way to allow independent developments, like this, to remain independent. The presumption that government is the only means we have to maintain order, is so ingrained in the culture, that no one who wants to live outside the box can do so indefinitely, even if almost 100,000 people choose to join him outside the box.

    who is presuming this?

    the hbo series "deadwood"… creator/writer david milch is a fascinating character. i paraphrase because faltering memory obliges me to, but in the running commentary option, on the dvd's, you can hear him characterizing the requirements for "order" as being to facilitate, expedite, make possible & efficient, the robbing of the "hoople-heads" by the al swearingen types. just so. and that has always been the purpose of states & govs.

    security & justice are side effects of the nap. nap & states – monopolizers of force in a geographical area – are antithetical.

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