After my move to New Hampshire fell through, I thought, why don’t I just do here what I planned to do in the free state? I considered all those people that are in the same boat as me – aching to work effectively towards liberty but lacking like-minded comrades and, in some cases, even an idea of how to proceed. So when Joel Laramee announced his desire to free the entire Philadelphia metro region, it catalyzed my thinking.
It’s Not Enough to Downsize One State Government
We need 6 billion Free ___ Projects. Replace ___ with your favorite entity: states, townships, counties, boroughs, companies, neighborhoods, streets, other people … ME. The Free State Project is great idea, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough just to downsize a state government – or even all of them. We have to eliminate the concept that aggression is morally acceptable in the minds of 6 billion individuals. That’s the lofty vision I call Worldwide Open Source Peaceful Evolution.
But HOW Do We Do This?
So when I heard about Joel’s idea, I thought: PERFECT. But then I wondered: How? Electoral politics is easy: you campaign, you vote, you lose. But “outside-the-system” work is less clear. How do you de-legitimize the state? This is where concepts like peaceful evolution and a master plan for liberty come in. In order for the former to happen on a large scale, we first need the latter.
Keep it Local, Libertarian
While my first urge in response to Joel’s project was to think on a grand scale, I’m now convinced that we peaceful traders need to prioritize our local communities. Credibility is required to sell original ideas, and when your neighbors see you living the zero-aggression principle next door, it transforms abstract principles into a plausible third way. We’re not politicos, so we can’t rely on elections, protests and parades to show off our ideas. We use love and reciprocity. There’s a lot more room for that with your neighbors than with distant strangers.
No Market Anarchists ‘Round Here
No, I don’t know any market anarchists around here where I live. So I’ll be testing a controversial hypothesis of mine – that if we liberty-lovers just got out in the streets there’d be more of us. In other words, since I believe in the moral superiority and enormous practicality of liberty as well as the innate goodness in all people, I am confident I’ll encounter like-minded folks eager to beat their own evolutionary paths to liberty. If nothing else, it will be interesting.
Open Source Insurgency
I’m really talking about a kind of open source insurgency. This is very different from the Free State Project, which is about electoral politics (with market anarchists awkwardly tagging along). In order for an open source insurgency to work, we need, first and foremost, a plausible promise, which has three parts: adversary, goal and demonstration.
Adversary, Goal: Easy
Our adversary is not people (since people can always change their minds). It’s an idea: that aggression is necessary. Our adversary is NOT the people who commit aggression – they only require our obstinate, truthful, direct love. Our goal is a world in which aggression is never acceptable. We can’t banish aggression entirely perhaps, but we can make it so socially unacceptable that it becomes highly exceptional. Our goal is not the end of government (a negative) but a reign of peace (a positive). Does that goal motivate you? What would?
The Demonstration is the Proof that it Can be Done
The demonstration? Now that’s the hard part. The demonstration shows that your effort is viable. It’s an operation where you best your opponent. If your opponent previously seemed unbeatable, the demonstration removes that illusion. It can become a call to arms, like “Remember the Alamo”, that motivates more people to our cause. I don’t know what the demonstration will be yet, but it has to happen soon.
There’s more to come and your feedback is greatly appreciated.
Photo credit: Bohman. Photo license.