Sunday, September 1, 2019

Should Libertarians Support Street Revolutions?

Mao: Street Revolution leader
At the post, Police Fire Tear Gas and Water Cannons as Hong Kong Protests Erupt, a commenter writes:
I do like seeing these large, in-the-street protests going on around the world. As a libertarian, I'm constantly amazed at how accepting civilians are of their rulers' edicts, and the more passive the ruled are, the more the rulers will try to get away with. So seeing some resistance is encouraging.
The movement towards liberty has two parts, rejection of the status quo, and a change of direction to more liberty. Perhaps when folks are in resistance mode, some of them, even if only a small number, will be more receptive to different ideas.
This is extremely dangerous thinking. The mind revolution must come first before the street revolution.

Cheering on street revolution without the proper foundation simply because it is "rejection of the status quo" makes no sense. Zero.

Would the commenter cheer on the October Revolution in Russia or Mao's Cultural Revolution is China, because they were rejections of the status quo?

A properly driven street protest in the direction of freedom is fine but not street revolution in nad of itself.



  1. Has there been a tally of revolutions that actually resulted in more liberty versus less liberty throughout history? It would be fun to have a percent probability in mind. On the other hand, the result would vary wildly based on whoever is providing the yardstick of liberty for the calculation. I would look for freedom from coercion rather than the liberals' freedom from responsibility.

  2. Well, since this "street revolution" is financed and instigated by the CIA, I can't imagine anything good will come of it.

  3. The chicken must come before the egg... Must it? Sure, it would likely be more peaceful, ideal, convenient, and with fewer Keynesian broken windows... but must?

    The quoted post just seems to be a literary equivalent of the semi-common grab the popcorn gif from Seinfeld.

  4. In less than 3 years or so after the American Revolution, the founders had passed the Alien and Sedition Acts restricting free speech and the father of the country led a national army to forcibly put down a tax rebellion in Western Pennsylvania. It's been directly downhill from there.

    1. It was during Adams administration, but, you would support a large part of the Alien act, wouldn’t you?

    2. Good point.
      Even here in America, where Americans had a pretty good idea of what they were revolting against and striving for (thanks to the steady efforts of propagandists and agitators like Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine and others), the final product sort of went sideways a mere 7 years later: Americans fought for sovereign, independent states, and they ended up with another centralized, over-arching government lording over them.

  5. RW, it was pretty misleading to leave off my first and last sentences in the prior post that is the basis for this piece; they essentially make the same points that you are making. Sure, it's your blog, and you can do what you like, but why would you treat a frequent reader and commenter like that?

    1. Sorry, I don't see it that way.

      The rest just looks like you are talking in circles.

      I link to the full comment so anyone can look at it to determine for themselves.

      I just wanted to address the specific part I quoted.

  6. The mind revolution is not possible so long as government has the schools. If the government loses the schools then it will simply slowly fade away. Otherwise there are only two possible routes and both of them street revolutions. The first is what is going on in HK the government has boiled the water too fast. People get angry. The other is that the government collapses under its own weight and people become upset they are not getting what they believe is coming to them.

    Now government can collapse under its own weight and fade away but that's only after it has been useless for so long that people no longer expect anything from it. Like the soviet union. It always requires people in that government to simply let it go and not respond with violence.