Sean Gabb and I agree that this comment, reproduced below, on Sean’s piece earlier about hiding tobacco products that are on supposedly free sale, ought to be more widely shared. He and I and Ian B all agree that strategic direction of the fight for individual liberty is lacking. Perhaps it’s because we are all libertarians that we can’t cohere on a strategic platform in the way the Nazi left does – principally by discrediting (or killing, often) its opponents….Anyway, here’s Ian:-
Well, speaking as a smoker, I understand your point Sean but it’s not quite fair about the “sheeple” thing. You of all people know how hard it is for genuinely “outsider” movements to organise or gain any political traction; those nominally “grass roots” movements which succeed do so due largely to “insider” political sponsorship- gay rights, environmentalism, what have you. That is, although they may not be hegemonic at some point in history, they have a politcally inside faction who sympathise with them. If you don’t have that, your chances of success as a group are bleak. (Compare for instance the “sheepleness” of gays when they had no insider friends who would openly campaign on their behalf, in the 1890s).
The Proggies are insiders and are very good at what they do. They learned from the error of Alcohol Prohibition in the USA that decades of demonisation groundwork- so that nobody dares object- is the key to success, and they have pursued this ruthlessly with target number 2, the smokers. It is hard to know what strategy smokers could have adopted to prevent all this. I’ll be damned if I can think of one.
When a society decides to persecute some group, however numerous, there is generally very little they can do about it. Stalin was just one man, but millions upon millions of Russians and Eastern Europeans suffered under him. They were not stupid sheeple; they were simply vanquished by the application of power. A million smokers could amass in Trafalgar Square for a demonstration, and if the BBC bothered to cover it at all, it would be by simply filming anyone they could find coughing, or interviewing the least articulate and dim witted demonstrators. Nothing would change.
People don’t normally resist power because they recognise, correctly, that resistance is generally futile. We live in an authoritarian society; the brief semi-”liberal” phase of the post-war period is thoroughly over, thanks to decades of well organised reaction. Nobody found a way to prevent the reaction setting in. As a result, our country has been changed forever. Nobody found a way to stop mass immigration, or leave the EU, or relegalise drugs or even abolish the BBC. Who is to blame? Everyone, and no-one. We live in history, and history tells far more tales of oppression than of liberty.
We need a strategy for achieving liberty. This is far more important that discussions of what we might do if we ever got it; whether to be Anarcho-Capitalists or Syndicalo-Minarchists or whether to have a Gold Standard. The Enemy have all the wrong answers, but all the right strategic methodology, and that’s why they win and we lose.
If I knew the answer to this, I would give it. But I don’t.
Perhaps we spend too much time on trying to agree among ourselves that what we are saying is right, (and rfining our arguments in front of each other so that we are all sure that everybody’s position holds water, and too little time on killing all the GramscoFabiaNazi bastards untill they are all dead.
Of course, I’m not saying that all Libertarians all agree that we (or anybody at all for that matter) should be killing all the GramscoFabiaNazi bastards until they are all dead and no trace of their writings or thoughts infests any kind of self-respecting library for evermore. But there is a case for suggesting that the GFN-bastards have caused a deal of trouble and impediment to human progress and emancipation, and that “something should be done”. It’s hard to see what, though.
It’s like being asked the way by a lost traveller, and having to say “Well, if I was you, I would not have started to get there from here.”