Dr. Paul’s Limited Potential

January 17th, 2012   Submitted by Seth King

As I sat and watched tonight’s GOP Presidential debate in South Carolina it became clear to me that despite much greater name recognition than four years prior, Congressman Ron Paul’s message of non-interventionism will continue to fall on deaf ears. As a minarchist this phenomena was both infuriating and incomprehensible. As an anarchist, however, it makes perfect sense.

Large swaths of the American public have reason to favor military adventurism abroad. Perhaps they hold evangelical beliefs that the state of Israel must be defended at all costs to life and treasure. Or maybe they legitimately fear nuclear weapons in the hands of suicidal madmen. Regardless of their reasoning, or lack thereof, they genuinely desire to wage war in the middle east and around the globe.

On the other end of the spectrum there are many who favor, possibly naively, diplomacy and trade over sanctions and war. Perhaps they feel that pre-emptive war increases the number of one’s enemies instead of reducing them. They may also feel they can no longer afford the costs of slaying dragons abroad.

But no matter where one finds themselves in the political spectrum concerning foreign policy there will be winners and losers. An either/or decision must be made at the federal level. The problem, however, with this winner-take-all system is that there will always be differences of opinion in the course of action to take. And it will necessarily cause much strife among the populace as it does so clearly today.

What minarchists fail to understand about this paradigm is that even under the most favorable conditions, a popularly elected President Paul, there will be losers in the political system: the individuals who desire to wage war abroad. One must account for the fact that the righteousness of their cause is completely irrelevant in this hypothetical scenario, just as it is when the political losers are the non-interventionists. Such is the nature of representative democracy.

A much more reasonable approach in dealing with conservative hawks would be to offer no resistance to their crusading, but that any attempt to forcefully extract resources or human labor from unwilling participants to wage said war would be viewed as an act of war itself. This ultimatum gives the opposition an out. It allows for a win-win situation for all individuals of a geographical area, such as the so-called United States. Individuals eager to fight can do so, whereas those who do not may abstain.

Attempting to use the political means to convert hawks will always be a fruitless venture. They outnumber the non-interventionists in both major parties, among independents, and even in corporate lobbying power. So long as they have this sort of influence in the halls of Congress they will unabashedly require dissenters to fund their foreign aggression.

But as minarchists are keenly aware of the risks to both liberty and treasure in funding and fighting foreign wars, so too are they ironically unwilling to accept the risks associated with disobedience to the war machine. It is clear to minarchists that the United States is on the brink of bankruptcy and gaining no ground fighting foreign wars. They refuse to admit to themselves, however, that the federal government would be powerless to simultaneously wage an all out war on the very people that are currently financing the losing wars abroad.

Congressman Paul will never be able to convert the mass of conservative hawks, or the liberal spendthrifts, to change their ways. Only individuals willing to add an even greater strain to the already unstable system by withdrawing their financial and moral support can create genuine reform.

33 Responses to “Dr. Paul’s Limited Potential”

  1. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    Never be able to convert the mass of hawks? Did you also say that the Berlin wall would never fall? Did you say that the USSR would never collapse? Would you have said that the mass of people who were bigoted towards racial minorities and homosexuals will never change their views regarding them? Never is a very long time.


    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      Umm, with all three examples there you are proving my point. The Berlin Wall did not come down because the government voted it down. People disobeyed en masse and destroyed it with their own hands.

      The USSR collapsed due to financial strain. If you want the USSA to collapse your best bet would be to stop supporting it financially.

      Racial segregation ended because of disobedience, not because the blacks gained a popular majority in voting.

      The government will shrink, and eventually disappear, not because of popular elections, but because of disobedience from the populace.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        You misunderstood my point. My point was that there have been times when many people have said something would never happen and it did eventually. As for the Berlin wall you are wrong. The Berlin wall fell because the gov’t of Eaat Germany announced that East Germans could leave and go to West Germany. As for the physical fall of the wall that was started by East German people but the gov’t of East Germany destroyed much of the wall as well. As for the USSR you are partially right. Prior to the collapse of the USSR the gov’t allowed people more freedom and allowed for openess. The reforms that were made had a snowballing effect which lead to more and more freedom. The reforms began from within the state and te man most responsible for this was the head of state himself. Btw, I was specificly refering to the masses you mentioned. When the masses or even just a large number of them embrace liberty things will change.


        • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

          I think this article explains pretty well what happened in order for the Berlin Wall to come down.


          I stand by my point that it was not an election-style coup, but a mass movement of dissenters and disobedients.

          • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

            The 4th paragraph on the page you linked states what I did. It states that the East German gov’t announced that East Germans could leave and go over to West Germany. That is what began the mass exudos to West Germany. Do you recall in 1987 Reagan visiting the wayy and saying, ” Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall”? I reall that.


            • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

              It was the inevitable reaction to what was going on. It was either that or start mowing down tons of people with machine guns. They chose the saner option of the two.

  2. derickNo Gravatar says:

    As long as government has a monopoly on education, media, money and over 300 million people willing to participate in their crimes, it will never change. It is time to pull away from the system, stop trying to save it or change it.

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      300 million willing? Are you part of that group?


      • derickNo Gravatar says:

        How many of them have drivers licenses, Social secerity numbers and work jobs that taxes are taken from them before they see their check? How many of them have permission from the state to run a business or permission from the state to do anything? All of these are optional participation. I have removed some of these contracts but not all of them yet, how about you?

        • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

          I don’t like limiting my options. I like being able to travel via the highway system and don’t want to limit employment opportunities. I don’t want to cut myself off from the rest of civilization and live in a cave somewhere. There are promoters of anarcho-capitalism and liberty who have obtained degrees from state schools. So keep that in mind. I do however make a point to mail packages via UPS, FedEx, etc…


    • PericlesNo Gravatar says:

      Let me correct you here.
      299 million are willing to participate in their crimes.
      It is absolutely stupid to believe that Democracy is going to free you…similar to believing in a sky-daddy.
      But some people are just too weak minded to think otherwise.

      Democracy (gang violence) always ends in destruction. Where hasn’t it?
      You will never be free in a violent Democracy.

  3. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    Another fine article Seth; I too have questioned advocates of political action: “if we don’t want the bully pulpit of the presidency used to force an ideology on us, how can we justify using it against those who disagree with us?”

    The majority of americans are not ready to be free and fully responsible for their own lives, the only way to change that is to raise the next generation with a keen sense of sovereignty. Like Max Planck said “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

    We must outgrow the state.

  4. serhatNo Gravatar says:

    Seth –

    I thinks your should read Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty”. In the last chapter he talks about how to get there and draws analogies from bolshevik “right opportunist” and “left sectarian” concepts and explains how these wings, let’s say, could end up being counter-revolutionary. Being anarchists, we should always seek to abolish the state, but in the meantime we should use any means necessary to weaken it, make it smaller, etc. The wrong approach is to theoretically limit us with just a limited government approach. Well, like I said, read it. It’s very instructive.

    Take care.

    • JohnNo Gravatar says:

      “any means necessary”

      I don’t know if I on board with you there…

      Isn’t that kind of like the Marxist “let’s give the state absolute power to create conditions where we don’t need a state”? I’m not really of the central planner persuasion, so I don’t fantasize about changing ‘society’ at large; my plan looks something like this:
      -raise children without a desire to rule or be ruled though peaceful parenting
      -socially ostracize parent who use aggression against their children
      -use every chance I get to talk about objective morality and the immorality of the state

      When I rest my head on my pillow every night, I recite a little poem to myself:

      “Bob, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      I have read “For A New Liberty.” In fact, that was the book that converted me to anarcho-capitalism. My question for you is, have you read Samual Edward Konkin III’s “The New Libertarian Manifesto” or “An Agorist Primer?”

      • serhatNo Gravatar says:

        Like I said, I don’t like to discount any tool that is available to us; we don’t have that luxury. A lot of people, including myself, got familiar with these ideas through Dr. Paul, but most of us kept going further. Civil disobedience is also a perfectly legitimate tool which could also take more power away from the oligarchy. It is not about hoping that Dr. Paul would bring us the paradise we all hope for, rather, it is just a stepping stone to spread the message and maybe build a bigger base to build a viable agorist society.
        Thomas Woods, also a known anarchist, is busting his brain promoting state nullification all over the country. I’ve been to one of his speeches, and you wouldn’t believe how effective he is in delivering the message of freedom and gaining people. He is simply pushing in another direction, and I can’t imagine he would be against any of the agorist ideas you advocate.

        • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

          I am a fan of both Dr. Paul and Dr. Woods. This month I will vote for Dr. Paul in the primary election in the state I live in. No I don’t live in SC.


  5. RaleighNo Gravatar says:

    I agree, the only proactive way forward is to withdraw consent and not participate carrying out unjust laws that criminalize citizens behavior while absolving corporate fraud, crime, abuse and wars for the benefit of the military, medical, media, industrial complex. We must withdraw our consent or fall into slavery and bondage. A country left by and of liars, thieves and whores… If you want a better life for you and your children dissent NOW, while you still can before they use the NDAA to detain or KILL you for speech crimes and behavior they want to suppress like oh, writing or having blogs like this…

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      If you needed an ambulance to take you to the hospital and the ambulance service and the hospital were state run to some degree or other wouuld you not consent to their services?


      • derickNo Gravatar says:

        HRearden, you have picked a great name for yourself. Did you ever wonder why John Galt didnt talk to you first?

      • TonyNo Gravatar says:

        If someone gives you the option between severe torture and mild torture, and you choose mild torture, are you not consenting to mild torture?

        Can you stop making flawed arguments? Consenting has nothing to do with it; it is merely *settling* for the lesser of evils that are forced upon you.
        You are using excuses.

        • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

          Good point.
          A point that is not well
          taken by those who claim
          \to be principled but are

  6. “Only individuals willing to add an even greater strain to the already unstable system by withdrawing their financial and moral support can create genuine reform.” Very good ending point, Seth. I’ll elaborate on a method of “support” that most people do not realize they are giving and how relatively easy it is to withdraw it.

    All of the laws/regulations/edicts/mandates/directives/rulings/etc of the State are simply WORDS until those willing to threaten and initiate physical force do just that! None of the legislators, executives (President included), judges and bureaucrats get out into the cities, towns, villages & farms, on the highways and byways, the rivers, lakes, waterways etc to put their own words into effect. NO, they have enforcers to do just that. AND these enforcers are key to starting, maintaining and growing government – everywhere!

    A very important point that most forget is that there are far more non-enforcers than enforcers in the US and in any other location. Therefore it is quite possible for a large number of non-enforcers who cease voluntary association with these enforcers to have a persuading effect on them, if reasoned logic doesn’t do it first.

    For all who disagree with their various harm-causing actions (or simply the act of enforcing government at all) don’t voluntarily associate with these government enforcers – no sales, no service, no camaraderie, no anything! And do the same to anyone who you know is a direct supporter of such enforcers. This is shunning and ostracism, used down through the ages with considerable success towards modifying others’ behaviors viewed as unacceptable.

    Make the position of government enforcer one that is truly unpopular and there will be a lot fewer of them. Stop enabling/supporting government enforcers in any manner and they will cease to exist. With fewer enforcers to obey their orders, governments can’t do the amount of harm they get away with now. In fact, with only just a few enforcers, governments will also cease to exist.

    In the meantime as this process proceeds – and it will take time and should since any very rapid (especially violent) change will enable a strongman/warlord to fill the vacuum – become informed on social order without government: “Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Interaction” easily accessible online.

  7. Elections? Who gives a rat’s ass about elections?

    As for Paul, I’d say he doubled his followers in four years. I have no doubt he will triple it when the economy again takes another horrendous dump soon after the election. Will it be a majority? Nope. But it will be large enough to go our own way and insist on being left alone…if we are intelligent and stubborn enough to take our lives back.

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      Followers? Who? I have not heard anyone say that they are a follower of Dr. Paul’s. Dr. Paul has campaign supporters not followers.


  8. We know that the military and those people runing our military industries are not out for profit, but only want what is best for the country. We also know that they believe in leading by example. And we all know that peace is better, and that war requires “sacrafices”.

    So, all senior managers and members of boards of directors who work for companies that supply military equipment shall have their total compensation limited to $100,000 as long as the US is at “war”. War is defined as that situation where casualties to armed forces or contractors are in excess of 100 per year, and not occuring in the US. Also, all members of congress and the senate who have voted for the war shall have their total income for that year also limited to $100,000

    How long do you think it will be before we have peace.

  9. TomNo Gravatar says:

    Once the Mullahs in Iran are wasted, then you can go non-intervention.
    It is important to allow the terrorists in DC to exterminate the terrorists in Tehran before electing a libertarian. They are the last danger to the world besides the Fascist psychopaths in DC. SkyGod as God is worse than State as God. I think that’s what voters want.

  10. dissidentXNo Gravatar says:

    Limited whatever… Dr. Paul has awakened more people to liberty and has inspired more people to read our favorite books than anyone else in my lifetime. If you think that the majority of non-voters are anarchists “protesting the man” you are sorely mistaken. The majority of non-voters are fine with being ruled over, the easiest conquers of a dictator, and have no fucking clue what is going on around them.

    I’m voting for him. The moment he takes office and doesn’t start dismantling things or un-enforcing victimless laws then I’ll join you to this extension of non-participation. Most of us participate in the system to some extent. My vote for him is a more positive act than paying my taxes/fines is. Supporting a man that wants to end these taxes/fines vs giving blind legitimacy to the system by paying these taxes/fines. It’s a no brainer.

    Sure there are a few braver people than me that don’t pay these taxes/fines. They are a minority among the volunteerists. Most of us are willing to pay in order to not be murdered or tortured if we are forced to do so; which we are…