Statism: Our Condition

We are coerced by our fellow human beings. Since they have the ability to choose to do otherwise, our condition need not be this. Coercion is immoral, inefficient and unnecessary for human life and fulfillment. Those who wish to be supine as their neighbors prey on them are free to so choose; this manifesto is for those who choose otherwise: to fight back.

To combat coercion, one must understand it. More importantly, one must understand what one is fighting for as much as what one is fighting against. Blind reaction goes in all directions negative to the source of oppression and disperses opportunity; pursuit of a common goal focuses the opponents and allows formation of coherent strategy and tactics.

Diffuse coercion is optimally handled by local, immediate self-defense. Though the market may develop larger-scale businesses for protection and restoration, random threats of violence can only be dealt with roots of mysticism and delusions planted deep in the victims' thinking, requires a grand strategy and a cataclysmic point of historical singularity: Revolution.

Such an institution of coercion, centralizing immorality, directing theft and murder, and co-ordinating oppression on a scale inconceivable by random criminality exists. It is the Mob of mobs, Gang of gangs, Conspiracy of conspiracies. It has murdered more people in a few recent years than all the deaths in history before that time; it has stolen in a few recent years more than all the wealth produced in history to that time; it has deluded - for its survival - more minds in a few recent years than all the irrationality of history to that time. Our Enemy, The State. [2]

In the 20th Century alone, war has murdered more than all previous deaths; taxes and inflation have stolen more than all wealth previously produced; and the political lies, propaganda, and above all, "Education" have twisted more minds than all the superstition prior; yet through all the deliberate confusion and obfuscation, the thread of reason has developed fibers of resistance to be woven into the rope of execution for the State: Libertarianism.

Where the State divides and conquers its opposition, Libertarianism unites and liberates. Where the State beclouds, Libertarianism clarifies; where the State conceals, Libertarianism uncovers; where the State pardons, Libertarianism accuses.

Libertarianism elaborates an entire philosophy from one simple premise: initiatory violence or its threat (coercion) is wrong (immoral, evil, bad, supremely impractical, etc) and is forbidden; nothing else is. [3]

Libertarianism, as developed to this point, discovered the problem and defined the solution: the State vs the Market. The Market is the sum of all voluntary human action. [4] If one acts non-coercively, one is part of the Market. Thus did Economics become part of Libertarianism.

Libertarianism investigated the nature of man to explain his rights deriving from non-coercion. It immediately followed that man (woman, child, Martian, etc.) had an absolute right to this life and other property - and no other. Thus did Objective philosophy become part of Libertarianism.

Libertarianism asked why society was not libertarian now and found the State, its ruling class, its camouflage, and the heroic historians striving to reveal the truth. Thus did Revisionist History become part of Libertarianism.

Psychology, especially as developed by Thomas Szasz as counter-psychology, was embraced by libertarians seeking to free themselves from both state restraint and self-imprisonment.

Seeking an art form to express the horror potential of the State and extrapolate the many possibilities of liberty, Libertarianism found Science Fiction already in the field.

From the political, economic, philosophical, psychological, historical and artistic realms the partisans of liberty saw a whole, integrating their resistance with others elsewhere, and they came together as their consciousness became aware. Thus did Libertarians become a Movement. The Libertarian Movement looked around and saw the challenge: everywhere, Our Enemy, The State, from the ocean's depth past arid outposts to the lunar surface in every land, people, tribe, nation - and individual mind. Some sought immediate alliance with other opponents of the power elite to overthrow the State's present rulers. [5] Some sought immediate confrontation with the State's agents. [6] Some pursued collaboration with those in power who offered less oppression for votes. [7] And some dug in for long-term enlightenment of the populace to build and develop the Movement. [8] Everywhere, a Libertarian Alliance of activists sprang up. [9]

The State's Higher Circles were not about to yield their plunder and restore property to their victims at the first sign of opposition. The first counter- attack came from anti-principles already planted by the corrupt Intellectual Caste: Defeatism, Retreatism, Minarchy, Collaborationism, Gradualism, Monocentris and Reformism - including accepting State office to "improve" Statism! All of these anti-principles (deviations, heresies, self-destructive contradictory tenets, etc.) will be dealt with later. Worst of all is Partyarchy, the anti-concept of pursuing libertarian ends through statist means, especially political parties.

A "Libertarian" Party was the second counter-attack of the State unleased on the fledgling Libertarians, first as a ludicrous oxymoron [10], then as an invading army. [11]

The third counter-attack was an attempt by one of the ten richest capitalists in the United States to buy the major Libertarian institutions - not just the Party - and run the movement as other plutocrats run all the other political parties in capitalist states. [12]

The degree of success those statist counter-attacks had in corrupting liber- tarianism led to a splintering of the Movement's "Left" and the despairing paralyzation of others. As disillusionment grew with "Libertarianism," the disillusioned sought answers to this new problem: the State within as well as the State without. How do we avoid being used by the State and its power elite? That is, they asked, how can we avoid deviations from the path of liberty when we know there are more than one? The market has many paths to production and consumption of a product, and none are perfectly predictable. So even if one tells us how to get from here (statism) to there (liberty), how do we know that's the best way?

Already some are dredging up the old strategies of movements long dead with other goals. New paths are indeed being offered - back to the State. [13]

Betrayal, inadvertent or planned, continues. It need not.

While no one can predict the sequence of steps which will unerringly achieve a free society for free-willed individuals, one can eliminate in one slash all those which will not advance Liberty, and applying the principles of the Market unwaveringly will map out a terrain to travel. There is no One Way, one straight line graph to Liberty, to be sure. But there is a family of graphs, a Space filled with lines, which will take the libertarian to his goal of the free society, and that Space can be described.

Once the goal is fixed and the paths discovered, only the Action of the individual to go from here to there remains. Above all else, this manifesto calls for that Action. [14]


[1] I am indebted to Robert LeFevre for this insight, though we draw differing conclusions.

[2] Thank you, Albert J. Nock, for that phrase.

[3] Modern Libertarianism is best explained by Murray Rothbard in For A New Liberty, which, regardless how recent the edition, is always a year or more out of date. Recommending even the best writing on libertarianism is like recommending one song to explain music in all its forms.

[4] Thank you, Ludwig Von Mises.

[5] Radical Libertarian Alliance, 1968-71

[6] Student Libertarian Action Movement, 1968-72, later revived briefly as a proto-MLL.

[7] Citizens for a Restructured Republic, 1972, made up of RLA members disillusioned with revolution.

[8] Society for Individual Liberty 1969- . Also Rampart College (now defunct) and the Foundation for Economic Education and Free Enterprise Institute all who were around before the libertarian population explosion of 1969.

[9] Most importantly, the California Libertarian Alliance, 1969-73. The name is still kept alive for sponsorship of conferences and in the United Kingdom.

[10] The first "Libertarian" Party was set up by Gabriel Aguilar and Ed Butler in California in 1970, as a hollow shell to gain media access. (Aguilar, a Galambosian, was staunchly anti-political.) Even Nolan's "L"P was mocked and scorned by such as Murray Rothbard in the first year of its existence.

[11] The "Libertarian" Party which eventually organized nationally and ran John Hospers and Toni Nathan for President and Vice-President in 1972 was first organized by David and Susan Nolan in December 1971 in Colorado. D. Nolan was a Massachusetts YAFer who had broken with YAF back in 1967 and missed the 1969 climax in St. Louis. He remained conservative and minarchist right up to this first edition.

Although the Nolans were rather innocent, and other early organizations and candidates often so, the debate on the "Party Question" began immediately. New Libertarian Notes attacked the "L"P concept in Spring of 1972 and ran a debate between Nolan and Konkin just before the election (NLN 15).

By the 1980 presidential campaign, the Nolans had broken with the "L"P leadership of Ed Crane and his candidate Ed Clark who ran a high-powered, high-financed, traditional vote-chasing and platform-trimming campaign.

[12] Charles G. Koch, Wichita oil billionaire, through his relatives, foundations, institutes and centers bought or set up or "bought out" the following from 1976-1979: Murray Rothbard and his Libertarian Forum; Libertarian Review (from Robert Kephart) edited by Roy. A. Childs; Students for a Libertarian Society (SLS) run by Milton Mueller; Center for Libertarian Studies (Rothbard-leaning) and Joe Peden; Inquiry edited by Williamson Evers; Cato Institute; and various Koch Funds, Foundations and Institutes. Named the "Kochtopus" in New Libertarian 1 (February, 1978), it was first attacked in print by Edith Efron in the conservative-libertarian publication Reason, along with allegations of an "anarchist" conspiracy. The Movement of the Libertarian Left cut away from Efron's anti-anarchist ravings and rushed to support her on her key revelation of the growth of monocentrism in the Movement.

In 1979, the Kochtopus took control of the National Libertarian Party at the Los Angeles convention. David Koch, Charles' brother, openly bought the VP nomination for $500,000.

[13] Murray Rothbard broke with the Kochtopus soon after the '79 LP Convention and most of his close allies were purged such as Williamson Evers of Inquiry. CLS was cut off from Koch funding. The Libertarian Forum began attacking Koch. Rothbard and young Justin Raimondo set up a new "radical" caucus of the LP (the first one, 1972-74, was run by progenitors of NLA as a recruiting tactic and to destroy the Party from within).

Although Rothbard was moved to ask "Is Sam Konkin right?" in his July 1980 speech to a RC dinner in Orange County, the RC strategy is to reform the LP using New Left and neo-Marxist tactics.

[14] I hope subsequent editions may omit this note, but in the present historical context it is vital to point out that Libertarianism is not specifically for the most "advanced" or enlightened elements in North America, perhaps typified by the young, white, highly-read computer consultant, equally feminist mate (and 1/2 children).

Only the freest market can raise the "Second" and "Third World" from grinding poverty and self-destructive superstition. Compulsory attempts to critically raise production standards and associated cultural understanding have caused backlash and regression: e.g. Iran and Afghanistan. Mostly, the State has engaged in deliberate repression of self-improvement.

Quasi-free markets, such as the free ports of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai (earlier), attracted floods of upwardly-mobile, highly motivated entrepreneurs. The incredibly highly developed black market of Burma already runs the entire economy and needs only a libertarian awareness to oust Ne Win and the Army and accelerated trade to annihilate poverty almost overnight.

Similar observations are possible about developed black markets and tolerated semi-free markets in the "Second World" of Soviet occupation such as Armenia, Georgia and the Russian counter-economy.

[15] Note to Second Edition: The above note is still, sadly enough, needed.

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