Pointless Proselytizing

January 18th, 2013

Definitions:

Proselytize

1 Convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.

Source: google “define proselytize”

Entrepreneurial Activism -  where people start and support businesses for the purpose of bringing about or preventing, a political condition.

Source: conceived

I am not using ancap (short for anarcho-capitalist) and libertarian interchangeably. See the about page for my definition of ‘ancap’.

Liberty or principles of liberty : See “freedom” on the “about” page.

Greetings.

I have been busy for a while with a great deal of business issues. I work for myself, so it is difficult to find time to do these articles and still remain on top of business. It is also extremely disheartening to watch thousands of dollars go toward many, many taxes. If you have been paying attention to the economic condition, you will understand why simply staying afloat for many economic sectors is a full time job. Furthermore, it seems as though I have to shift the development of the enclave project I was working on into high gear given the recent gun grabbing moves. Remember the historical process : Restriction>Registration>Confiscation>Tyranny, not that they actually need to confiscate guns to enforce a tyranny, but its better to be safe. I thought I had more time, but it appears this country is headed towards full tyranny earlier than I expected.

Nevertheless, I would like to write about an issue I have mentioned in the past that seems to have resurfaced. Every now and then, people get tired of posting on message boards and someone will start a post along the lines of “what do we do about it”. My answer to this question can be found under  “the enclave method”, but inevitably someone always says something along the lines of “we need to reach out to the masses and convince people to join us”. This is usually followed up by the question “how would a transition take place in the US”.  Or “What happens to government assets after the ‘revolution’?”. Or “How do we get from here to there?”, etc.  I have no desire to lord over or plot some kind of US revolution that somehow converts America into an ancap paradise. Frankly, I think those ideas are delusional.

I do not think that convincing a large number of people to abandon the state will work to create a stateless society, nor do I see the US or even small parts of it transitioning to some sort of stateless society. What follows is my reasoning.

I think this strategy has a lot of serious problems. Before I get into it, let me say that I am not knocking people who use the strategy, do whatever you think will work, it’s not like I have a proven perfect solution.

Point One

First, there is no “us” or “we”. I have stated before that without ideological sameness, the word ancap or libertarian does not mean much. A recent childish “controversy” that I won’t even bother naming highlights the fact that regardless of what people call themselves, there can be VERY SERIOUS , MATERIAL, AND IRRECONSILABLE ideological differences between two people who call themselves “libertarian” or “ancap”. There are socially conservative ancaps, and socially liberal ancaps. There are racists ancaps and devoutly religious ancaps.

Saying that “we” need to do this or that without a strong common ideological basis is as meaningful as saying that we “gamers” need to start bringing people around to our side. The term “gamer” simply means someone who plays games, and not necessarily video games. It doesn’t say anything about the plethora of other critical ideological positions someone may hold.

Point Two

Second, convincing masses of people to change their ideology (in some cases, lifelong ideologies) is extremely difficult, if not impossible, due to the size and scope of statism as well as the disposition it seems many people have. Also, for those who desire to live freely in their own lifetimes, I do not believe it would be necessary to convince a large minority or even a majority that ancap ideals were the best in order to establish a small stateless sovereign territory.(outside of the country)

Extremely Difficult

The so called “means of mental production”, to paraphrase Marx, are currently overwhelmingly controlled by statists. From childhood to old age, schools, TV shows, cartoons, magazines, billboards, and all other forms of media conceivable are used to promote the images and norms that those in power wish to portray.

In the 2012 presidential election alone, each mainstream candidate spent close to 1 billion dollars each. This is the most powerful office, with only two mainstream candidates.

Source: New York Times, http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance

With all their power and resources, the government still struggles to get just more than half of the eligible voters to actually vote, according to Statistics tabulated by George Mason University

Source: http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2012G.html, Top line

If they have all of this control and all of the military power, and the ability to literally print infinite money, and yet can only convince barely %60 of the eligible voters that an hour every 4 years is worth spending to decide who the next president will be, why oh why do you think your internet podcast or website will do anything to make the most modest dent in the minds of the masses?

Furthermore, a convenient modern experiment in libertarian mass appeal has been thoroughly conducted by both Ron Paul runs, and even by Peter Schiff’s Senate run.

IT  DOESN’T WORK. I do not think the masses, or even a large minority will ever turn their views towards libertarianism, austrian economics, and certainly not anarcho-capitalism. I will even grant you a %60 swing in popular opinion in total favor of abolishing government. Do you really think all of the king’s horses and men will simply shrug and file for unemployment?  What of the 40 plus million food stamp recipients? There have been mass public sector protests for even SUGGESTING budget cuts (See public sector protests in mass media in recent years)

Scope and Resources

Based on my experiences at libertarian events, most of the people who show up appear to be well below the poverty line. I have observed that self-professed ancaps seem to be a somewhat more accomplished crowd, as evidenced by their somewhat fancier and more expensive events. Even still, mass media appeal takes precious resources that could be used in projects that do not have such lofty goals.

Billions are spent in every election cycle. This rate simply can’t be matched by those who call themselves libertarians or ancaps. It would seem to me that when appealing to an audience that may be struggling financially, one who was serious about achieving success would want to focus resources on tactics that work or at the very least, avoid tactics that have been proven REPEATEDLY not to work.

The scope of the task of convincing even a large minority of people to just give up their statist mentality is daunting. Often, people focus on the federal government when they use the term government.  In my experience, it is the city, local, and county governments that hit people the hardest in terms of school board, property taxes, and other taxes and fees.(The federal government has never given me a 150 dollar parking ticket…)

There is one federal government in the US, but also 50 state governments, hundreds of county governments, and thousands if not tens of thousands of villages, towns, and cities. All of these entities have their own schools, media, and other means of mass indoctrination. Let’s just ignore the ridiculous military advantage the Federal government has over the states, the existence of state national guards, state police, county police, city, village, and town police forces, all of whom would bitterly physically resist, in and out of uniform, any movement to take their pensions and paychecks away.

Which goal do you think is more feasible, if not achievable in our lifetimes: Competing with entrenched interests with legal and monetary barriers and captured audiences and markets and media monopolies and tax funded schools OR working together to network in order to create a small sovereign ancap enclave OUTSIDE OF the US? I am convinced that the latter would take a fraction of the resources while being significantly more effective in terms of enabling the people participating to live freely.

Disposition that many people portray

Why is it that it seems that most people reject the idea of liberty?

Due to the failure of the Ron Paul movement, I am thoroughly convinced that it is not the case that people do not know about the principles of liberty (freedom is defined on the about page), but that the actively and consciously reject them. If ever there was a chance for the statists to save their system, or at least extend it significantly, the Ron Paul movement was it. The failure of that movement signaled to me that most people simply will not be receptive to the types of ideas prevalent in ancap and even libertarian circles.

I think that the ideology that leads to the ancap position is intellectually and emotionally challenging for most people, and runs contrary to the interests of many others.

An Intellectual Challenge

Based on my personal experience, my knowledge of the history of the ease with which the masses are controlled, and on many articles like this:

http://news.yahoo.com/people-arent-smart-enough-democracy-flourish-scientists-185601411.html

It seems to me that most people are not intellectually inclined. When a large number of people have no interest in reading books, let alone articles, no interest in acquiring a general understanding of the world, and no ability to sit still for more than five minutes, it is easy to understand why the libertarians movement is so sparsely populated.

Many of the arguments that are made in the libertarian tradition take 5, 10 or 20 pages to fully flush out and understand. Even those of us with higher level degrees have to reread such articles carefully to understand the arguments fully.

I think that when the uninterested person begins to try to understand why what appears to be beneficial to society (social welfare), is actually extremely damaging to it, they lose interest before they are able to grasp the issue. Understanding these arguments takes a lot of reading and critical thinking ability. There must also be a level of intellectual honesty to tell oneself that a long held position is false. I am not saying libertarians or ancaps are smarter than the average person, because I do not think this is the case. Regardless of your level of intellectual ability, one must have the desire to sit and read and think to even begin to entertain the ideas that are discussed in libertarian circles. Most of the people I have observed in the general public simply do not care about these things and thus, have not had much practice thinking critically about political matters.

An Emotional Challenge

Even those with the intellectual ability to work through the arguments in order to understand why solutions that seem to make sense at first ultimately do not, their emotional connection and their beliefs that the weak or poor or downtrodden would die in the street or be exploited prevent them from committing to the ideas. These people are addicted to a feel good sunshine and free hugs mentality. Working through these arguments requires a certain, and a level of emotional detachment, if only at first, to be able to understand the negative implications of feel good policies. The emotional types are more inclined to simply stop reading when they start to feel bad.

I don’t have any empirical data outside of my experiences or studies suggesting why this might be the case, or if it even is the case, but if what I have laid out here actually resembles reality, I have a theory about why it might have come about.

In biology class, my biology and genetics professors taught me that most organisms have evolved in a way that optimizes energy conservation wherever and whenever possible because organisms evolve in environments where food is often in short supply and hard to find. Furthermore, it is well known that animals seek to avoid pain and tend to pursue pleasure, especially when in direct response to a stimulus (see Pavlov’s dog). Finally, evolution tends to stop at a ‘good enough’ level. What I mean by this is that perhaps it is physically possible for a land animal to run at 150 mph, however, under what conditions(evolutionary selection pressures) would such an animal evolve? To catch a gazelle, you only need to be able to go 50-60 mph for short bursts. And so too, I think that people are only as skilled or intelligent as they need to be to survive and, thanks to technology, the capacity for incompetent individuals to survive has increased and therefore, the selection pressures for intelligence and other intellectual traits have decreased.  Finally, it is well documented that every animal has survival instinct that biases its behaviors towards those that will keep it alive over those that it knows or reasonably can guess will kill it. (Go along with the king vs. standing up to the king)

With these statements in mind, I make the following generalizations: People will tend to make choices based on the following criteria

Feel good over feel bad

Feeling bad is akin to pain, and it is well known that animals tend to avoid pain. I think people prefer things that make them feel good, even when obviously wrong or absurd, over truths that make them feel very bad. (Religions exploit this with afterlife vs perma-death)

Free rewards over work rewards

It makes sense that organisms, people included, tend to prefer lower energy activities over higher energy activities when it comes down to choosing between two or more activities that will achieve the same goal.

People will tend to choose handouts and free food and other goodies over hard work in order to get the very same goods simply because it is easier to do so. Furthermore, people will favor those who give them free handouts over those who demand they work. This should be a no brainer.

Simple over Complex  

Thinking consumes a lot of energy, and the brain is a calorie hungry organ. Thinking critically takes energy, and the less one thinks, the less unease is felt and the less energy one consumes.

Human beings are blank slates as children and will believe whatever they are told as the truth. To make it worse, the sort of “education” given to children, along with fairy tales and religious dogma effectively destroy the ability of most people to think critically from an early age.

Thinking critically for too long can actually cause great discomfort if not pain, which it is documented animals try to avoid. You know this if you have ever studied too hard or written too long, or concentrated on anything too much. Thinking critically also takes energy, and the less one thinks, the less unease one feels and the less energy one consumes. The ability to think critically is also tied to nutrition, both as a child and as the types of food and the amount of food one takes in as an adult. Obviously, drugs(such as prescription ant-psychotics or anti-depressants) and chemicals that interfere with body chemistry can affect one’s ability to think as well.  School lunch programs, the prevalence of pharmaceuticals ,water quality, GMOs, pesticides and food quality  as they currently stand do nothing to help people nurture the ability to think critically.

Easy and quick over long and difficult

When faced with a problem, since people want to minimize energy exertion and therefore effort exertion, people tend to take the easiest way out. It is well known that when given the chance, people will take shortcuts and use patches and quick fixes instead of long term fixes and long drawn out procedure. This is true in almost every field of work, not just political life.

When faced with a long and difficult repair that may be expensive but more permanent, or a fix that will do the job for now but will have to be reapplied, I think there is a tendency to go with the fix.

Deferment of responsibility over personal responsibility

It seems that people would rather push off an urgent matter or to have someone else manage an urgent matter that would be difficult for them to face alone, rather than to face the urgent matter immediately and to take full responsibility for their own well-being, success or failure, or the consequences of their actions. I think this can be tied to the energy minimization that organisms tend to prefer. Not only are costs spread out in a group, but it takes less effort to function when others are caring for you or making decisions for you.

Fear and tolerance over confrontation and revolt

This reflects the survival bias and presumes that people will value being alive, though oppressed, over being dead. Fear is an instinct shared by many species, and is tied to survival. Every animal I know of has a survival instinct, and it was well known, even by the founders of America, that people would rather suffer and live than revolt and die.

These generalizations are definitely not true for all people and since I have no statistical data, I cannot really claim that they are true for most people, but I do think that they hold true for ENOUGH people, whatever that number may be, to maintain the reign of the state and of religion over the masses.

Unnecessary mass conversions

I gave examples of small groups of people living as they see fit without mass approval in the enclave method article.

I have been doing a great deal of research, and I am close to finishing up and unveiling my own enclave project, but depending on my fortune it may well be some time before I can get started. (Again, the way things are going politically here, One might not have a lot of time left to act)

Case Study: Pitcairn Islands

Consider this Case study of a small society, isolated, which could easily become sovereign under the right circumstances. When I started looking at micro nations and micro states one of the many questions I set out to answer is “Can a small sovereign nation be socially, economically, and militarily viable?” and “How small can a small sovereign nation be and still be viable?”

Quick and dirty history

Source: cia world factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pc.html

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitcairn_Islands#History

This colony was founded by 17 people, it had around 250 people at the peak of its population. It was populated in 1790, and went many generations virtually unmolested by modern states. It later became a british colony (annexed, of coarse) when the anglos went on their world conquering crusades.

Take out your google map aps and type in “Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands”

As of 2011, there are 67 people on this island. There are many other micro colonies like this dotted all over the world.

Now, here are 67 people, with a whole island to themselves, living in de facto sovereignty. They are all seven day Adventists ( ideological sameness), and are descendants of british traitors and tahitians.

If these people can manage a de facto sovereign island nation with 67 people, us ancaps should be able to, at the very least, match this feat. All I ask for is just one, only one similar territory on the whole fucking planet for the few of us out of all the 7 billion people who want to live in a completely free market society.

At this point, I ran a thought experiment. How would I convert this island into a sovereign ancap nation? In this thought experiment, let us suppose that several ancap entrepreneurs come together, and buy the island from the british government and from the current inhabitants.  We would then have to determine how to prepare the island for colonization.

Infrastructure:

Even this tiny island has access to telephone, satellite internet, and television. There is a main road, which could easily be constructed or expanded with private funds. Common use objects such as roads could be funded by the interest generated from trust funds that were set up before colonization for that specific purpose.

Ports and airstrips could operate under similar rules and/or with similar funding schemes.

A well-known tactic that invaders use to demoralize a population under siege is to destroy central utilities to ruin the quality of life for people. If each house had its own utilities, this would be a difficult if not impossible feat.

For example, septic tanks are an alternative to sewers. Water towers and tanks are alternatives to central water processing. Incinolet toilets don’t even have to use water to get rid of waste, they only require electricity.

http://incinolet.com/

This only leaves us with electricity being centrally generated, and there are well known alternatives to this such as solar vacuum tubes, radio isotope batteries, wind power, solar power, gas generators, battery farms, biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells. etc etc etc

People will be free to procure as much or as little food storage as they wish, but it would probably be wise to have several months stored up in case of bad weather or misfortune. I don’t know if the acreage available would be enough to become food independent, but one could always put nets in the waters surrounding the island and farm salt water fish.

Military:

There is no british military presence, although responsibility for defense falls under the british armed forces, you know, because china is going to invade it any day now.

Still, if we wanted to be sovereign, we would need the ability to put up some sort of resistance against an invading or assaulting power. Picture an airstrip and several SAM sites around the island perimeter. The technology exists to enable anti-ship and anti-cruise missile systems such as a land version of the CIWS to be installed an maintained if the developers thought it was necessary. You would then have a reasonable defense capable of making any but the most dedicated attackers endure a great cost in exchange for their conquest or destruction.

See my article called “Defense is not a problem” to see a run-down of some solutions to defense of a small enclave.

Courts:

I would simply propose charter based law, wherein everyone who wanted to live on the island would sign onto a charter outlining what can and cannot take place. Then, any private courts could rise up and enforce the agreed upon terms based on the charter. There is a lot more about this topic that will be released later. A chart would essentially be a contract between all colonizers, similar to the contracts members of pirate vessels signed with each other before going on an adventure. (See: Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly )

Energy:

I would propose that the colony try to become energy independent ASAP for many geo political and practical reasons.

Something like this nuclear battery design would enable the island to grow rapidly due to the cheap energy available. http://www.gen4energy.com/

This power could then drive an electricity based machinery such as cars, construction equipment, and other tools necessary to build up the infrastructure and transport goods.

Even now, according to wiki, they are considering turning energy production over to wind power vs. gasoline generators in order to achieve energy independence.

Economics:

Money does not necessarily have to be locally generated. People can go off of the island and earn money and send it back to their free nation. With tools like bitcoin, and with out ability to transport physical money in and out at will, it would be feasible to erect a financial industry.

Their work force is listed as ’15 able bodied men’ and yet they manage to survive. If you look at the satellite images, it’s not like they are living it huts either.

“The inhabitants of this tiny isolated economy exist on fishing, subsistence farming, handicrafts, and postage stamps. The fertile soil of the valleys produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, sugarcane, watermelons, bananas, yams, and beans. Bartering is an important part of the economy. The major sources of revenue are the sale of postage stamps to collectors and the sale of handicrafts to passing ships.” From cia economics article.

The people also produce honey and trade it with New Zealand and England.

The number of products and services that could emerge without government interference are too numerous to count. You can use your imagine here. I would imagine a small agriculture and manufactured products industry along with a booming drug and sex tourism industry.

/end thought experiment

The very existence of this island proves a few concepts.

1 . Even very small numbers of people, less than 100, when working together and cooperating, can live in peace in a sovereign enclave. Furthermore, they can be somewhat economically productive all on their own.

2 . Settlements of this size are hardly worth the time and effort it takes to invade by those powers with the capability to invade.

3 . The island COULD be developed economically and I see no reason why it could not become at least energy independent. A small nation could produce agriculture, manufactured goods, and/or services, that could then be traded for other goods. However, even if the island produced nothing at all, so long as the inhabitants had income from some other source, they could arrange supply drops. Many people from outside countries send money back to their home countries.  Furthermore, without any taxes the colony would quickly attract money and people looking to live more freely.

My point is, that if 67 seven day adventists can run a de facto sovereign enclave in the middle of the ocean, then ancaps, who I would hope number more than 67 worldwide, should be able to figure out a way to create a similar sovereign enclave somewhere in the world within the next 20 years, especially if they have ideological sameness and come together now to invest wisely for a fund we can use in the future to pursue such projects.

Conclusions

If the generalizations I made are true in enough people, the state and organized religion will be with us for a very long time. Indeed, we see that the state and organized religion has a very long track record. Nothing you do, no logical argument, no moral argument, no facts you cite and very likely no act will ever convince these people to choose long, difficult, complex, expensive options that make them feel bad over easy, simple, free or cheap options that make them feel good regardless of the effectiveness of the former. Based on the failure of the Ron Paul revolution, my own observations of human behavior, my own experiences with statists of all stripes, the general trend in world history of people’s tolerance of government tyranny and genocide, and my own thoughts considering the aforementioned I am convinced that the vast majority of statists are ALL IN, Completely Indoctrinated, and heavily entrenched, or at best apathetic and uninterested in the reality of their status.

If you are an ancap or libertarian and are interesting in seeing the truth about the world, you would do well to realize that most people are not like you and will never be able to understand the world the way you do. Accept the fact that your view is now, and will always be in the hyper minority.

Only after realizing and accepting this can serious answers to the question “what do we do about it” be pondered and entertained. I have said it before and I would say it again, based on the influences I mentioned in the first paragraph of the conclusion section, most people would be fine under a north korea like dictatorship as long as they had a hot meal and could barbeque , watch sports, drink, and fuck.

Now, this does not mean that I think that those who take the information proliferation route should stop putting information out there. Even if I did, why the hell should they care about my position? Proselytizing is different from presenting. Presenting information and letting people make up their minds about something is one thing. In my experience, people who are skeptical about the status quo tend to seek new information themselves anyway.

Arguing, protesting, yelling, instigating state action, and grand standing is a completely different tactic, where you are actively trying to change people’s minds by assaulting their views. Challenging people’s views is seen as an attack and therefore elicits an emotional response. They will respond with hatred and vitriol to you AND your message.

I do not think the focus of those serious about liberating themselves should be on converting the masses or trying to convince democrats, republicans, liberals, or conservatives that their life long belief system is a fraud. (Similarly, this is why I find attempting to convert theists as another pointless endeavor. The few who are even susceptible to becoming atheists usually seek out information independently, based on testimonials I have seen of people who had questioned their beliefs and started to do independent research for alternative views.)

At this point, the information that supports the feasibility of the idea of a stateless society based on free market capitalism is out there, mostly for free and instantly digitally available. People who want to learn more about it can learn more about it with a few Google searches.

Instead of proselytizing, I think those serous about finding liberty in their lifetimes should focus on networking with people who have ideological sameness, and engaging in entrepreneurship and empowerment, so that they have the means to free themselves and to defend their free status and property.

I don’t know if this term exists, but I think what is needed is what I call “entrepreneurial activism” where people engage in businesses for the purpose of bringing about or to prevent, a political condition.

I am not out to change the world or to impose what I think would make the world or the nation a “better” place. I desire to live freely and to be productive MYSELF, and to enjoy the fruits thereof with those who also desire to do this. I have no desire to force liberty down anyone’s throats or impose some kind of benevolent worldwide ideological revolution.

I think those who dogmatically seek to bring about some sort of nation-wide ideological revolution betray a totalitarian, all or nothing, statist mindset, wherein the people who want to “spread liberty” are akin to the people who want to spread democracy or spread christianity or spread islam. Not everyone has to live under the conditions you value. I know this is hard for you to believe, but SOME PEOPLE ARE HAPPY LIVING IN NORTH KOREA.

Finally, there have been a flurry of new enclave projects arising; this is a step in the right direction. It would be good if every state had some such endeavor.

Newer wave of US based enclaves: Other people independent of me have come to the same conclusion that the enclave method is the way to go.

Liberty Fortress

“The Citadel will be a small planned community of 3,500 – 7,000 families of patriotic Americans who voluntarily choose to live together in accordance with Thomas Jefferson’s ideal of Rightful Liberty: Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

In essence, Rightful Liberty means that neighbors keep their noses out of other neighbors’ business, that neighbors live and let live.

Marxists, Socialists, Liberals, and Establishment Republicans may find that living within our Citadel Community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles.”

http://iiicitadel.com/index.html

Glen Beck want to start an enclave known as “independence park”. I don’t trust this mother fucker, but if we had a “glen beck”, an ideologically aligned billionaire or multi-millionaire, we would already be on the way to building a sovereign nation.

Belle Isle Common Wealth

This is less serious, but for kicks. It seems some US entrepreneurs have a taste for private cities as well, even after the Honduras charter city project failed.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130112/BIZ/301120319

Sovereign Valley

An enclave project in Chile

“• Has its own steady, robust source of organic food.

• Has multiple sources of water.

• Has several renewable energy options to generate electricity – hydro, solar, wind, geothermal.

• Is secure… located within a stable society, with healthy economic fundamentals.

• Is independent and isolated… but not remote.

• Is absolutely gorgeous, with excellent weather… where you actually want to spend time.

• Allows freedom to rule… where people can be left alone to act like grown adults.”

http://sovereignvalley.com/

These projects show that others have come to the same conclusion I have in the enclave method article: America is not going to change, and you need to focus on changing your circumstances yourself.

 

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