Some Thoughts on Political Crusading

Note: The following is an article by TVP host, Kyle Rearden, published on his blog, The Last Bastille

For more information, listen to TVP #5.

Political crusading, also known as bullshit libertarianism, is synonymous with reformism, which is any attempt at working inside of the system in order to change it from within; in other words, reformism is applied collectivism. It operates on the presumption that individuals do not matter, and that therefore only what the collective wants is what matters, in the final equation. Ideologues believe in the sanctity of the centrally planned tragedy of the commons, and they falsely justify the precautionary principle to shun market options as any sort of viable response to tyranny, preferring instead the empty moral platitudes of democracy.

Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, Rayo expressed his utter revulsion with political crusading. Pointing out the despicable nature of reformist sophistry Rayo said:

“Objections of the political crusaders to self-liberation – mostly innuendoes, ex-cathedra pronouncements and misrepresentations – have been refuted by me (Spring Innovator, page 7 – 47) and others. But the crusaders have consistently failed to refute or even acknowledge serious objections to any would-be libertarian political movement…[b]ut while I reject political crusading as a strategy this does not mean I shun active resistance as a tactic…[t]he self-liberator has tactical advantages over a would-be insurrectionist of any brand. The political crusader who wants to take over or destroy a State, seriously threatens the rulers and will bring strong countermeasures. But the libertarian who is satisfied to ‘co-exist’ in protracted conflict with the State is merely an annoyance. The more-astute ruler is aware, as is the libertarian, that most people are sheep and will remain sheep no matter how the libertarian lives. Of course the Statist would still rather squash the libertarian if this were easy. So libertarian tactics must be such as to make counter-counterattacks ineffective and prohibitively costly.” [emphasis added]

Unfortunately, reformists are strategically incompetent, but that has never given the partyarchy of the anti-libertarian “Libertarian” Party (LP) any hesitation whatsoever. It matters not that the LP’s own founder, David Nolan, called the very monster he created as “a very timid organization” composed of “a little class of mini-bureaucrats.” Rayo also said:


“While seizing or destroying a State, even if possible, is usually worse than useless, selective-counter attacks may have value. In many ways a bureaucratic apparatus is like a simple biological organism. Pavlovian psychology is applicable. Cause a certain behavior (such as molesting a libertarian) to be ‘painful’ and an agency will ‘learn’ not to do it.”

Although those who are humping the Trump may imagine themselves as budding pseudo-revolutionaries, the reality is that bullshit libertarianism is thoroughly unconvincing because there is no integrity to it, since it imagines that coercive means can be used to achieve voluntary ends. Rayo continues:

“Now that a collective-movementism (also called bullshit libertarianism and political crusading) has been discredited as a liberation strategy, it is appropriate to re-examine strategies which treat freedom as an individually-achievable way-of-life and marketable commodity.” [emphasis added]

While detracters may say that Rayo’s approach here is indicative of “lifestyle anarchism,” or otherwise a form of defeatism, such couldn’t be farther from the truth. Recognizing bad strategy and then attempting to self-correct is indicative of the creative destruction within the free market itself. What is happening here is a natural cleaning out process, very much an evolution if you will, of those who falsely claim to be adherents of liberty from those who actually are, given that the latter exercise their freedom without asking permission; in other words, those freedom outlaws who practice direct action.

If political crusading is not a path to liberty, then what could be? Rayo observes:

“Political crusaders try to categorize all non-crusaders as ‘retreatists.’ The ‘retreat concept,’ as set forth by Harry Browne and Don & Barbara Stephens, means disaster insurance – preparations to survive an expected future politico-economic disaster without substantially altering one’s pre-disaster lifestyle. This is not the same as ‘self-liberation’ – a change in life-style is not predicated on coming catastrophe. While a retreater and self-liberator may use some of the same techniques, their attitudes and general approaches are different. I am here concerned mainly with self-liberation.” [emphasis added]

Obviously, the retreaters are survivalists and the self-liberators are vonuists, although I personally think that it is not necessarily a contradiction to be both if an individual so chooses, since they provide a valuable market selection of libertarian resistance to statism. Bouncing back and forth between disaster preparedness and reducing vulnerability to coercion is an admirable effort at increasing personal liberty, especially considering that I think survival and liberty are strongly correlated (survivability requires greater liberty), which is the polar opposite of how authoritarians view human survival (compromising liberty is “necessary” so as to increase survivability). So long as disaster preparedness is used to reduce one’s vulnerability to coercion (say, from looters), and not as a promotional tool for nascent statism (in other words, the warlord mentality), then I think survivalism and vonuism are compatible libertarian methodologies.

Even before I decided to become a vonuist, I inadvertently followed Rayo’s piece of advice here regarding both social ostracism and media outreach:

“A note to fellow self-liberators on this: Now that several good sources of educational services exist, I suggest a boycott of organizations which are knee-jerk hostile to self-liberation. This is not to suggest that educators must themselves opt-out or endorse any particular approach. But it is in our self interest to reserve trade and contributions for groups which (1) avoid categorical condemnation of self-liberation and (2) are open to advertisements of self-liberational media and ventures.”

The fact of the matter is the soapbox of the alternative media is more effective if the message of liberty is coherent by obeying Occam’s razor. Convoluting such a message, such as through political parties like the LP or presidential campaigns like Donald Trump’s “Making America Great Again,” is a sure way to discredit liberty. “Feeling the Bern,” much?

Spreading the message of liberty, as it were, is not supposed to be funneled through so-called “political activism,” which is all about prostrating yourself before those who falsely imagine themselves to be your rulers by making all sorts of concessions, compromises, and deals with the State for undue favors. Not only that, but just because an individual, or worse, an organization, takes up the label of “activism” does not therefore mean that such folks are sincere, if perhaps foolishly naïve, because they really do want to change the world for the better. Examples of disingenuous activists circulate throughout the activist milieu, sometimes outright expressing demonstrably fake grievances, so it is not entirely unreasonable to remain quite skeptical of wild claims, such as running for the presidency in 2020 in order to provide for an orderly dissolution of the federal government.

No wonder political crusaders, much like the oxymoronic sovereign citizens and their fake judges, want to put my head on a pike – I’m calling them out on their utter nonsensical diatribes. Their repetitive violations of argumentation ethics by way of using government elections in the attempt to seize coercive (political) power demonstrates that they are the intellectually dishonest enemies of liberty; at least with the fascist “conservatives” and socialist “progressives,” those authoritarians have the integrity to refrain from claiming to be my allies. Regarding the strategic implications of vonuism, Rayo comments:

“Libertarians are devising many clever schemes for fouling up the State. But rather than applying these erratically and willy-nilly, I suggest they be reserved for well-defined limited objectives beneficial to libertarians. As relative capabilities grow, libertarians may be able to realize the de facto immunity from conscription, social security, travel regulations and other especially onerous violations of liberty.”

Such is my hope for the future as well, however, it is going to require quite a bit of experimentation and transparency in order to gauge their true value. One place to start is by using any method of strategic withdrawal, such as that being promoted vis-à-vis Vacate the State, in order to revoke your individual consent to be governed to the extent that Leviathan will allow you to do. Once you’ve gone on a circuit (or two) of political fieldtrips in order to learn for yourself about the systematic wickedness of local government, then likely you’ll be emotionally ready to cancel your voter registration.


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