Sunday, January 17, 2021

The State of the Crisis

 I continue to see confusion about the state of the crisis.

At the post, Getting Real About Libertarian Strategy and Tactics, The Contractor writes:

[L]et's say we can fill their empty heads with a few liberty slogans, what gain is this without having done more to help people understand the root cause of their dilemna? They will still be prey to the next clever opportunist. If we really want to change the world for the better, we need to help ourselves and each other. We need more rocks, not more empty shells.

This completely misses the state of the current crisis. The totalitarians are at our doorstep. The long-term educational advance of liberty is extremely important, however, this is not the time to rest the entire movement on long-term education. This would have been the equivalent of Ukrainians deciding the best effort would have been to try and educate Stalin's Russian soldiers about the beauty of liberty rather than their stealing all the harvest which led to the Holodomor.

The Left is not interested in education they are interested in power and they will use every strategic and tactical weapon to expand their power and crush liberty. It is dangerous to hold the view that the immediate battle can be one with long-term education. Again, long-term education is important but short-term strategy and tactics must be also be used now or eventually, the long-term liberty institutions will be shut down.

That is, at this time, I will take those who support liberty only based on a shallow understanding. The Leftist advance is extremely powerful today. It must be stopped now, even if we use allies with a limited understanding of liberty. If they will battle with us, we need them.

Donxon writes:

If you want to change how people think the first step is to understand the world as it exists in their mind, convince them that you understand it and do so without using the opportunity to give them shit for it. Most libertarians lack the social skills to do all three.

This is another long-term perspective that fails to understand the current state of the crisis. It is a very narrow view of changing "how people think." If we have neighbors around us who will drop a dime because we aren't, say, wearing a mask then there is zero wrong taking "the opportunity to give them shit for it."

If they understand that there will be resistance to their reporting, some of them will stop.

In my confrontation with the mask Nazi, not only did I offer to show him what the San Francisco public health codes really said but I asked him if he was a "logical person or an emotional person," he rejected all of this. He was not interested in a discussion. The only lesson he learned was that if you harass some people, you are occasionally going to get shit back. I am perfectly happy teaching him this lesson especially after attempting to logically reach out to him more than once.

Scoot O writes:

There is much more to libertarian strategy than one-on-one encounters, but for those who have the gumption I would suggest engaging younger, influential people...

This completely fails to understand the current crop of younger people. They, in general, are the most closed-minded, risk-averse. 

Consider what the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt recently said about who has the most fear of COVID-19 and why:

Gen Z has been protected from hardship much more than previous generations... The survey data I've seen so far, shows that elderly people who are the most at risk of dying are least afraid of the virus, and young people who are at least risk are most afraid of it.

 So I don't know if that would have been true 50 years ago. So I don't know if it's an age effect or a cohort affect. But I suspect again, because when you protect people from risk, they lower their threshold for what's threatening. And so as you say, it's like now they're much more sensitised about contamination, and and other people are dangerous.

I have a friend who walks the East Bay shoreline in Oakland and he tells me the occasional person he sees who does not wear a mask is always an older person.

But it goes well beyond COVID fear. It is the entire safe space mentality. The young, in general, are just going to shut down anyone that advances a pro-freedom view.

The idea that we can just have college-style debates with most of these kids is a utopian dream.

Yes, the long-term promotion of education projects is important to educate the few independent young thinkers that will be the intellectual leaders of tomorrow but libertarians need to study up on strategy and tactics that aren't necessarily about deep education. This is the only way to derail the socialist totalitarian freight train that is headed right at us right now.



  1. I always try to phrase the advance of progressivism and liberal democracy as "politicians and bureaucrats making more and more decisions about your life". It's true, it's not derisive or insulting, and no one likes politicians and bureaucrats, and people in general want to run their own lives and not have someone else run it and least of all a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats. I believe that it plants the seed that what's really important is making your own decisions about your own life (liberty), and other people - especially those of ill repute - should not be doing that for you (tyranny).

  2. And that's why it was so important, short run, to support Trump, warts and all. The never-Trumpsters and naive (politically and strategically) libertarians and dated Reaganites (like Stockman) have gotten their entirely predictable result: President Biden and non-stop economic and woke interventionism. Wonderful.

  3. RW, I understand your point about how the long-term approach alone is no longer sufficient and there is a need to focus on the immediate threat to liberty in the short-term. But I'm not clear what strategy you are advocating libertarians take.

    What I've gotten from your posts to date is about pushing back in daily engagements now, when there is little risk. This is to (1) understand what works vs doesn't with different groups of people and (2) to demonstrate to the "shallow thinkers" there will be resistance.

    Point #2 isn't going to amount to much as you've pointed out before our numbers are few and engaging on an individual basis is not going to result in the significant changes needed in the short-term. And point #1 is just informational knowledge for ourselves. It might be useful information later, but it needs to be paired with an action.

    So what should we be doing to affect the big picture? You've commented not too long ago you did not believe it worthwhile for libertarians to get into politics. But the marxists are using it to great effect, so what are we supposed to be doing?

    What actual actions are needed in our strategy that are likely to result in meaningful impact for resisting/overturning the current state of crisis?

  4. That's advice for changing people's thinking. If you're trying to do something else, go ahead and give them shit. Don't argue with bullies. Defy, confront and humiliate them.