Sunday, January 24, 2021

Further Thoughts on Libertarian Strategy and Tactics


There are some interesting comments at my post announcing my appearance on a FOX show.

One commenter wrote:

[Blacks] would aggressively oppose doing the same for whites because they understand that whites' taxes pay for black benefits.

Trying to convince blacks is ridiculous strategy to advance liberty, even more quixotic than Trump's constant appeal to blacks which won him barely 12%. It's absolutely ridiculous, and we should heavily criticize anyone who suggests it...

[I]t would be a move designed to gain further support for an oppressive state with a specific group (blacks).

When the US military occupies a country with various warring factions, privileges are given to the faction that sides with them. For example, their poppy fields will be left alone while their enemies are destroyed with air-dropped herbicides. This allows the occupation to cement its control by currying favor with some part of the population. It has zero to do with the liberty of the favored group.

After I commented that I was going to respond is a full post, the commenter added:

Well, of course we understand that's not what *you* were trying to do by putting forth those ideas on the show. My point was that that's what the state would be trying to do by giving blacks a special tax exemption. Because this would strengthen the state, not weaken it, it cannot be considered libertarian.

I think it's important to understand the difference between liberty and a granted privilege. In the US, being able to used the taxpayer funded roads is not a liberty, but a granted privilege. So long as you stay within the state-defined rules of the privilege, it *feels* very close to liberty. You can get in your car and go anywhere you want. However once you step out of those rules (for example, by failing to pay state-mandated child support, or not paying licensing fees) then you see the truth - that this privilege is actually used as a mechanism of control.

As the US continues to move further away from liberty, expect more and more of these conditional state-granted privileges for those who toe the line. They aren't libertarian and should be opposed. I look forward to your separate post.

First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with advocating for the shrinkage of the state. And that is exactly what a call for the elimination of income taxes on black people is about. Now, whether one should put that on the front burner as I did is a different question. But think about it. To argue that such a call will only strengthen the black community in support of the state is absurd. The black community is now mostly supporting the state. They have been bought and paid for a long time ago.

My goal on the show was to make clear that I was not anti-black after making comments that were pro-gentrification. I quoted Malcolm X favorably and then later in the show came the call for the elimination of income taxes on blacks. These kinds of comments on positions which I strongly believe in were simply designed to complete an overview of my thinking when at other times, as one commenter at the post put it, Wenzel was triggering hand grenades in there.

The goal was to get the attention of the audience and the other guests who were making very predictable remarks. They had to pay attention to me because they had no idea what direction I was going to come from next.

During one of the commercial breaks, the host said, "Robert, you are blowing up the chat rooms."

And during the next break, she said,  "I hope my mother is watching tonight."

My deep goal was to catch just 1 or 2 people from the audience who might be curious about my views, and to the degree they are superspreaders of intellectual ideas, all the better. Judging from the emails that I have received this appears to have occurred.

As I have stated before, strategy and tactics are something that libertarians do not think about enough. It is not tic tac toe and the idea of converting the black masses overnight. It is, and I hate to use this term because it is so much abused, three-dimensional chess. You really have to go into a situation knowing what you can get out of it and how to present yourself in different situations while being hardcore about libertarian principles.

There was a lot I was doing with every answer I gave. If you watch the show again keep in mind that with every comment I made I was thinking at many levels not just the surface answer level. Including: Keep it simple and entertaining, wake them up without being offending, get them curious about why I think a certain way about something, present a libertarian angle, attack the state, etc.

Again, for most, it is not going to have any long-range impact, if any impact at all, but this is about fishing and when you go fishing you don't try to catch every fish in the ocean or even every fish of a particular species. I was fishing for the curious who have some degree of intellectual super spreader capability.

And one last point. Let's suppose the state does eliminate income taxes for blacks, how do you think that income taxation of whites is going to sit with whites? Do you think outrage about their income tax burden and a new movement? Three-dimensional chess.



  1. Thank you for the detailed response to my earlier comments. To be fair, I think you performed admirably on the show in an environment where the other guests were barely willing to give your ideas a fair shake.

    I do think you are on to something here with the strategy of being willing to appear on a hostile platform in order to perhaps reach one or two 'super-spreaders' of ideas. Since almost all platforms are hostile to liberty, your approach is necessary if we're to get any coverage on mainstream outlets at all.

    I still think there is value in exploring the way power and control works in the modern state, and how we should adapt strategies for liberty to these dynamics, but I (and all your readers) appreciate your tireless efforts to spread the message.

  2. I believe that it was Ron Paul who once responded to a remark that 53% of Americans don't pay income tax with a quip along the lines of "Great, only 47% to go then."