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A Libertarian Society: How Do We Get There From Here?

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Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.

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There are plenty of blogs, articles and books explaining why there are not now, never have been and never will be any libertarian societies and some will even attempt to explain what the parameters are for having such a society.

It’s simple to define: Maximize freedom and minimize government to the furthest extent possible, including abolishing “governments” and replacing them with “governance.”

The hard part is to figure out how to get there from here. That’s because there is no single way of getting there and because there is no single “there” to get to.

The Modern American Libertarian Movement is, as a philosophy, still in its infancy, having only really been around since the early l940s. That means the idea of “getting there” might need to wait until some of the “theres” have been more widely identified.

The Free State Project wants 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire and take it over. Attempts have been made to create libertarian enclaves in Europe (The Free Republic of Liberland), the ongoing Mu Aye PU project in Southeast Asia, a libertarian startup city in Honduras and seasteading on the waters of the world.

This last is just one variation discussed in Titus Gebel’s book on the subject, Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete For You. His "free private cities" are based on the idea of explicit contractual agreements between residents and the city government, making the government a “service provider" rather than a politically imposed power source.

The Beginning has already Begun

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Gebel is founder, President and CEO of Free Private Cities Foundation. A review of his Free Private Cities at Books That Can Change Your Life offers an in-depth summary of Gebel’s basic approach, that “governance,” as opposed to “governments,” between city and citizen is a new form of market. The review then goes into some detail in discussing Gebel’s concept, creation and vision for the future of his free private cities.

But his is only one of many approaches to creating a future free society. The question remains, what about the “getting there” part? The long-term process is to devolve everything governmental into the private sector except law courts, cops and military and find ways to fund them voluntarily, then abolish even those vestiges of government and create a mutually voluntary post-statist society.

The short term goal this early in the movement is all about numbers. It’s all about spreading the word. It’s all about advocating and promoting and publicizing and proselytizing and teaching and preaching and campaigning and educating and persuading. It’s all about growing the relatively small pond of libertarians into an irresistible tidal wave of conviction.

The Convictions Have Already Been Chosen

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As a fun metaphor picture a group of libertarians; American libertarians and all those around the world who accept the Non-Aggression Principle against initiated force, intimidation and fraud, who at least accept the Golden Rule, the Live and Let Live tenet, the Good Neighbor policy.

This milling mass of activists represents all of those types of libertarians: Libertarian Party members, minarchists, agorists, voluntaryists, individualists, mutualists, Constitutionalist libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, post-statists, Left and Right libertarians, and all other people who believe in non-coerced voluntary interactions.

All, again, who accept the Non-Aggression Principle and live accordingly no matter what they consciously or unconsciously call themselves. That is, after all, the way the vast majority of people try to live their lives today.

In this metaphor they decide to set foot on a path toward their ultimate goal. That goal is not some utopian fantasy but a realistic human-centric society founded on peace, prosperity and freedom where the only purpose of its form of governance is the protection of everyone’s individual rights, meaning there will be no such thing as a “victimless crime.”

The process will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary since libertarians will fail if they betray their own Non-Aggression Principle, even as they know they have every right to defend themselves against the coercive aggressions of others.

And that’s how they know it will be a Long road, full of twists and turns and potholes and mud puddles and hills and valleys and twists and turns while constantly being preyed upon by politicians and bureaucrats and law enforcers and ideologues and propagandists and endless hosts of self-serving manipulators and philosophical con artists and similar criminal mentalities of every kind.

And that’s how they will know that the goal at the end of this long road will likely be reached not by themselves but by their descendants.

Some advocates for a libertarian future think everyone must be libertarianized before it can work. But that isn’t true. There will be many others trodding the same path toward the same goal who don’t self-identify as libertarians. They will be liberals who want the freedom to create their own voluntary coops or communes or worker-owned businesses and traditionalist conservatives who plan on creating their own voluntary gated communities and religiously oriented enclaves.

They, like libertarians, seek to harm no one but just want to be left alone to live peaceful lives as they choose.

The Future Has Already Been Imagined

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So here’s the metaphor. A seething throng of libertarians are already trekking down the track toward Libertarian Land, picking up packs of other peaceful freedom-loving people as they go. But some will be dropping off before reaching the end of the road.

The early drop-offers are the Constitutional Libertarians and others who still believe in the idea of a democracy or republic or federation under an elected government. This may include advocates of the night watchman state such as conservative Libertarian Party members, libertarian minarchists, philosophical Objectivists and classical liberals in addition to quasi- and non-libertarian fellow travelers (pun intended) who want only to minimize government and maximize freedom.

But they will be replaced by even more libertarians linking up with those legging it further down the lane.

The march goes on until another batch detaches and settles down to found a town where every tax is axed and government is funded through voluntary means.

But still others will join the jaunt.

Eventually the post-statist voluntaryists vacate the venture as they reach their vaunted venue (avowedly after too much V for Vendetta viewing?) They have rejected the endless anarchy of The State and replaced it with consumer-controlled governance.

Yet the ramble resumes with other newly-enrolled road warriors swelling the swarm.

These are considered the ultimate radicals, the anarcho-capitalists, the agorists, the voluntary socialists and all left libertarians , anarchists, individualists and mutualists who explicitly embrace the Non-Aggression Principle that rejects initiated force, intimidation and fraud while accepting the use of defensive force as a counter against initiated force.

The important thing to remember is this: ALL libertarians who begin the journey, no matter where they drop out along the road, are helping all of the others reach their respective destinations. So everyone should continue to advocate their own personal preferences but should also refrain from bad-mouthing the others.

In other words, don’t forget the old Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." The anarchists of the thousandth mile should thank the minarchists of the first mile who helped them begin their journey.

Government is Humankind’s Biggest Killer of Humans

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All through this extended hike toward the ideal, but not “utopian,” libertarian society the act of educating others in this most humane of human philosophies should never cease. Concomitant to that is educating everyone about the unspeakable evil that is government. Since the earliest beginnings of humanity when some arrogated to themselves the power of governing others governments with their armies and their internal enforcers have been, second only to disease, the single biggest killer of human beings. Human-on-human predation can be considered humankind’s vilest mental disease.

war a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations.—Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Democide is the murder of any person or people by their government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder.—Wikipedia

Yet many still dream about a limited government. But limited how? The only legitimate government does nothing more than protect everyone’s individual rights. That means enforcing the non-aggression principle. That means no laws or regulations that create victimless crimes.

Many people mock the idea of a libertarian country or society by pointing out that none has ever existed. But of course nothing, such as steamships and powered flight, has ever existed until it did. But what about a limited government? It did exist when the United States of America was founded; it had a government that limited political participation to white males; it limited women as non-voters; it limited black people to three-fifths of a person as slaves on white-owned plantations; it limited Native Americans to reservations after near genocide; it limited Americans of Japanese descent to concentration camps during World War II.

But even as great strides were made to reverse all of those unconscionable limitations the government itself grew more and more powerful and authoritarian while engaging in wars and democides along the way until today we live in a coercive collectivist corporatist-statist ant hill.

And somehow some people think living under an authoritarian regime is better and safer than a free society.

For all libertarians of every definition there is clearly far more educating left to be done.

References and Links

The Plan “to create a libertarian America in as little as ten years” was introduced in 2019. It includes The Libertarian Census, an effort to locate “the 30-60 million Americans who already self-identify as libertarians or who hold mostly libertarian views.” A must read for all libertarians.

A Mises Institute Article, “Local Nullification: A Way to Fight Both State and Federal Despots” explains how states can nullify bad federal laws, how cities and towns can nullify bad state laws, how even smaller localities can nullify those unwanted laws, leading to local self-governance.

Where Do Libertarians Go From Here?: the LP should focus on the local level, building from the bottom up. National candidates can educate but locals can actually get elected and demonstrate what they can do. And it’s easier to monitor local politicos and keep them true to the NAP.

Forget Politics and Forget The State. In “A Policy for Forcing the State Back” the author advocates creating local or neighborhood networks for self-reliance by creating “local production facilities and markets with no effective State regulations and without the State’s knowledge.”

Free Private Cities: A Step Toward a Voluntary Society

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