Brian’s Column: Shlabotkian Agorism

Effective action to end the coercive state
by Brian Wright

ShlabotkianismMy seed words for forming. Decided I would go ahead and create a Group in Facebook for Big L Michigan Libertarians and small l Michigan libertarians, because I like to have a Group listed on my Facebook home page that is more centered toward the Libertarian Party as well as people from other aligned Michigan proliberty organizations. And makes it easy to post my own hot issues for liberty from the national front.

I seeded with only a handful of my 220 friends, most of whom I’ve seen in the previous Libertarian Party of Michigan Group. Will add more. No abusive infighting, this is for open commentary on political strategy for Michigan L/libertarians. Premise is that political activity—running candidates (in the existing coercive-state) system as Libertarians is acceptable behavior… or certainly can be. For the same reason a benevolent and wise teacher in the compulsory school system is better than a complete a***ole.

While practical focus will be on actions for Michigan liberty, I intend to keep it open for pointing out threats that are imminent from the 900# gorilla of federal tyranny. There is no higher priority in my mind than overcoming that threat of federal tyranny, and one of the best ways is to prepare and empower Michiganians for libertarian self-government at the local level up through the Michigan legislature. ASAP.

First Comment

Basically if any action involves working with government, it’s NFG:

I think Mark Baker could point out tyranny at the state level. Not to mention pushing ObamaCare exchanges, Medicaid expansions, tax victim funded private ventures, red light cameras, etc… The county and city levels are no better. Government is always evil as it exists through theft and violence. There is absolutely NO reason to keep the Great Fiction alive of try to improve it. — LG

Let me use a parable:

My basic counterpoint (which turned into this column) is libertarians are all in the struggle together, and to disdain people for going at the objective in a different way is self-defeating.

Thor and his pals and claim to hold the monopoly on physical force in the region in which you live and struggle. Thor isn’t some ordinary caveman, he realizes that his organization needs to have ‘legitimacy’ and popular input to a) keep everyone content (and in line) and b) avoid upheavals by other gangs. So his intellectual class creates a structure that provides for democratic sayso on personnel and the rules and writes a document that gives all individuals assurance that Thor’s Gang will not violate their ‘fundamental natural freedoms.’ [Aka Thor’s Assurances.] With one exception: no individual may opt out of the structure. Ergo Thor’s Gang is what we call a constitutional compulsive government.

This with a few additional wrinkles such as federalism—very important check on Thor’s Gang—is the current US federal system. The states represent a mini-Thor’s Gang, let’s call Michigan Igor’s Gang. And for the most part the mini-gangs are glad to cooperate with Thor’s Gang, until in theory Thor steps out of bounds and they spin off independently. Igor’s Gang and Hagar’s Gang, etc., each of them exhibit different behavior vis a vis the individuals in their region. What’s more, on the state and local level, these minigangs are closer to ‘the people’ and theoretically more responsive. But, yes, each of these minigangs are coercive governments, as well.

I’m Joe Shlabotnik just trying to get by. I have a sense that coercive government is fundamentally wrong, for the same reason that the Mob is wrong. (Putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t change pig fundamentals.) But it’s here and the rules of monopoly rule, so to speak, afford me as an individual–certainly in association with other likeminded individuals–some freedom of action in lightening the chains. [Nullification is an example, jury nullification another, initiative-referendum-recall another, exposing corruption another, withholding funding, agitating against bad laws, acquiring office and insisting on “Thor’s Assurances,” Ron Paul, Constitutional liberty activism, the Freedom Philosophy, the Libertarian Party (potentially), marching against Monsanto, forming a militia, etc., etc.]

The point is that I, Joe Shlabotnik–in America as of this five minutes–have a number of contextually effective actions available to me to lighten the load of compulsive government. Taking any of these ACTIONS in no way means that I am in favor of compulsive government. Further, as human consciousness matures to the next stage, it will become widely apparent that freedom of choice in acquiring all legitimate services historically provided by government (LSHPG)–police, courts, land use administration, infrastructure–empowers and liberates everyone. [Personally, I feel we need to move to noncoercive government alternatives sooner than later, and with a system in mind like Dwight Johnson’s Canton approach.]

So I Joe Shlabotnik put my shoulder to the wheel(s) of one or more of these contextually appropriate ACTIONS. For one thing, to mature into self-government, individuals who want freedom are going to have to understand how LSHPG is done, so that we may best recreate voluntary methods to supply the services. Now as the Joe Shlabotniks multiply, the Thors and Igors of the world–who have lost all connection to legitimate service and in fact have become 900# gorillas–will resist. But they have no chance against a motivated and enlightened citizenry WHO UNDERSTAND THE TOOLS OF THE FOUNDERS.

Another viable response besides the Shlabotnik Response exists: let’s call it the Agorist Response. Take a radical disconnect approach to the Thor/Igor system: go off the grid the best you can, grow your own food, use alternative (real) money, self-educate, home school, civil disobedience, learn to survive without the corrupt system, etc. Agorism is a noncontextual action that has its pluses and minuses as a strategy. But it’s a legitimate approach. No Shlabotnik worth his salt will say an unkind word (or aggress) against any decent, consistent Agorist.

By the same token, no Agorist worth his salt will demean or belittle the efforts of the Shlabotniks of the world who are engaged in contextual action to bring about the world of stateless (or minimal state) liberty. Our cause is identical, simply our strategies distinct.

When I was much younger, I was an Anarchist*—not a walk the walk Agorist—and it was convenient for me then to avoid taking any responsible role in the political system. In fact I left the LP with the attitude, “they’re doing everything wrong” because coercive government should not exist at all. Funny thing, I found that being critical of anyone doing something in the system—announcing proudly wrt one cause or another that ‘government is wrong at its core’—was not an action at all.

*In effect: what I’ll call a “Nihilarchist” (combination of nihilist and anarchist)

I was doing nothing. My judgments were like frozen abstractions, Plato’s ideal of forms of freedom, I was simply pontificating. I had some friends who I’d smoke dope with and drink beer with, and we did a lot of reading and talking. We had developed a comfortable mutual admiration society that didn’t entail a lot of, you know, work. Plus, I didn’t expand the message of liberty to the unwashed masses, never bothered to attend city council meetings, school boards, write letters to legislators, call the governor’s office, etc. What for? They’re all evil incarnations of coercive government.

Which is ironic because from my dad I inherited an easy gregariousness that would have stood me in good stead to connect with real people, many of whom did not understand the fundamentals of liberty or how knowing these fundamentals could lighten their load and improve civic affairs… ultimately of course ushering in the ideal of a stateless, cooperative society.  But I did get off my butt and get back into the LP (and was held up my other inner demons—long story). But we had a good run in Michigan because of some supervolunteerism on my part (and many others)… another dead end. But not for naught, as I was doing something and profiting from my mistakes. I became no longer afraid to make mistakes.

Because of what I’ve come to a realization of only recently, I see the spiritual solution… and politically it is the melding of authentically idealistic Shlabotnikism and honest walk-the-walk Agorism. By context and necessity, the overwhelming majority of us are Shlabotniks. We have tools of self-government—thanks to the Constitution, common law, and traditions of self-rule—available that can certainly be wielded to combat abject tyranny at all levels. We can cooperate with other likeminded persons and carry the field against the New World Order. Shlabotniks and Agorists of the World Unite! We have nothing to SunFLOWerlose but the Leviathan State… day after tomorrow.

Okay, more than a parable. Thanks, LG, for providing the grist.


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