There is no acceptable level of state
You're right, but there's a difference of degrees. Elections can be likened to a master allowing his slaves to choose their driver; though slavery is a wholly unacceptable state, you can hardly blame the slaves if they vote to select a less cruel overlord. You should never stop fighting the state, and never
give it your moral sanction, but you can try to partially de-claw it.
The retort to this, is, of course, that voting is
giving the system your approval. I can certainly understand this point of view, but I'm just so desperate for a reprieve. . .
Besides, if Paul were to be elected and the state were less involved in people's lives, perhaps they'd start to see that it isn't such a great thing. Perhaps they'd be more and more receptive to the notion of abolishing it.
Am I dreaming? Probably.
Rothbard had some interesting thoughts that I think apply here.
If, then, the libertarian must advocate the immediate attainment of liberty and abolition of statism, and if gradualism in theory is contradictory to this overriding end, what further strategic stance may a libertarian take in today's world? Must he necessarily confine himself to advocating immediate abolition? Are "transitional demands," steps toward liberty in practice, necessarily illegitimate? No, for this would fall into the other self-defeating strategic trap of "left-wing sectarianism." For while libertarians have too often been opportunists who lose sight of or undercut their ultimate goal, some have erred in the opposite direction: fearing and condemning any advances toward the idea as necessarily selling out the goal itself. The tragedy is that these sectarians, in condemning all advances that fall short of the goal, serve to render vain and futile the cherished goal itself. For much as all of us would be overjoyed to arrive at total liberty at a single bound, the realistic prospects for such a mighty leap are limited. If social change is not always tiny and gradual, neither does it usually occur in a single leap. In rejecting any transitional approaches to the goal, then, these sectarian libertarians make it impossible for the goal itself ever to be reached. Thus, the sectarians can eventually be as fully "liquidationist" of the pure goal as the opportunists themselves.
I didn't want to make my post too
huge, so I just took a little snippet. The full text can be found at http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp
, the pertinent discussion being in the epilogue.