One of the recurring discussion topics common in libertarian circles concerns the question of political action. To some anarchists, in particular, politics is strictly forbidden. Arguments for this range from the lack of feasibility for achieving change to the assertion that attempting to vote amounts to violence; a vote for a candidate, policy, or other action inevitably brings the force of government to bear on others.
As we live in a world where political systems exist and are accepted by the vast majority of people, I see no way to exclude politics from any attempt to bring about a free society. The political arena is, at the very least, a place where new ideas and approaches can be communicated to a more willing audience. Absent the air of politics, few people appear receptive to challenges of their social beliefs.
Concerning feasibility, this argument is akin to sour grapes. Seeking a goal is valid regardless of the fruitfulness of the effort. If this were how all innovators thought, where would ever innovation occur?
With regards to the understanding that political action must result in government force, Murray Rothbard had this to say:
I see no other conceivable strategy for the achievement of liberty than political action. Religious or philosophical conversion of each man and woman is simply not going to work; that strategy ignores the problem of power, the fact that millions of people have a vested interest in statism and are not likely to give it up…
So, while politics may perpetuate violence against individuals, it is but one of the ways to move us ultimately toward liberty.
Protesting is one of several means for raising awareness of injustice. As was mentioned here before, it has recently been employed by professional athletes for that very reason. Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest police brutality against members of his race was a peaceful means of conveying the presence of injustice. One might argue with his position, his chosen means of protest, or his motivation, but none can claim that his actions were anything but peaceful.
When Donald Glover accepted an Emmy award, he thanked Donald Trump for “making black people No. 1 on the most-oppressed list.” In Mr. Glover’s case, he’s chosen to claim injustice as a means of advancing a political agenda. Since before taking office, Himself has endured innumerable unsubstantiated attacks from every corner of the social spectrum. While his policies are just as likely to perpetuate the injustices of this predecessors, largely because they will generally emulate those of his predecessors, Mr. Trump has done nothing specifically or in general against the black community, at least not to date.
Had Mr. Kaepernick been better informed and Mr. Glover not blinded by political ideology, they might have protested the primary source of injustice against members of the black community: the war on drugs. Regardless of its roots, which were themselves political, the war on drugs rivals the welfare state for debilitating impact on U.S. minorities.
One of the common defenses of the state is the assertion that things would run much better if only the right people were in power. While history is void of good examples, the ideological extremes will point to their favorite figures as supposed proof of the good that can result.
In the U.S., those on the right invariably point to Reagan’s term in power. While his rhetoric spoke of freedom and fiscal responsibility, his policies nearly tripled the federal debt, raised the drinking age to 21, and kick started the slide toward socialized medicine through the COBRA act. Those same people would have us believe that he is solely responsible for the defeat of communism through massive military expansion as though any sort of socialist scheme has much shelf-life potential.
Those on the left point to Barrack Obama and FDR, among others, as their progressive icons with Presidential credentials. Obama expanded wars in the Middle East, oversaw the growth of the surveillance state, and bailed out banks at taxpayer expense. The long list of civil rights and power abuses by FDR warrants far more space than can be devoted in this posting.
The fact is, there are no “right” people to lead; no one is above abusing power when it comes available to them. Even if there were, they can claim no right to rule that isn’t fraught with contradiction.