|15A026 White House Dreams by Jim Davies, 4/11/2015
As a method of bringing about a free society, how about running for the top spot?
The question was prompted by the appearance of Rand Paul on the scene this month. His credentials are good; he had a fine upbringing and his mother says there is no difference between his world view and that of his father Ron, and Ron is by far the most courageous and principled elected politician of our generation. He had a couple of serious errors in his 2012 platform, but it's fair to say he's three-quarters a Libertarian, and 100% sincere. His refusal to help expand the power of government is legendary; he is America's Doctor No.
Rand is courting Conservatives by rattling sabers at Islamic militants and by swearing he opposes abortion (fine, but will he make it illegal? - that's one acid test, to reveal whether or not a person is a true libertarian) so it's not clear to me that he's the man to do it; but imagine a genuine anarchist in the Oval Office. Two questions pertain:
Getting there is especially tricky. Unless a majority of voters is already anarchist (in which case why are they still voting, and how did they get that way, and why don't they simply withdraw all support from government, thereby simply pulling the rug from under it?) the candidate will have no option but to solicit votes from people who are not. Just as Rand, this month, apparently flipped from his staunch anti-interventionist stance into an anti-ISIS crusader - so as to attract support from a large part of the Republican base.
He'd also have to attract truckloads of money, and that's done by promising a handsome return on investment to businesses able to contribute. The return sought is favor; laws that limit competitors, contracts to supply government, etc. A true anarchist would be unable to make those promises, so he would not obtain that money.
He or she would have to do that so much, in the campaign, that I'm not at all sure success is possible; if he wins, he won't be an anarchist any longer, or if he stays true to his principles he cannot possibly win. Ron Paul demonstrated that clearly in 2012. His guns were not all well aimed, but he stuck to them faithfully; and lost by a mile.
So there's the first paradox; I see no way that a zero-government advocate can possibly get elected. The very nature of politics demands lies, contradictions, compromises, forked tongues and flip-flops, to succeed. Principled consistency is fatal.
Action on arrival comes next; what exactly would an anarchist president do? He cannot much affect what State and local governments do, they are outside his domain. He cannot change any laws - that's a power reserved to Congress. But he does head the Executive Branch.
So he could demolish the FedGov, brick by brick. He could issue pink slips to every employee of every member of the "alphabet soup", starting perhaps with the DOS (when the Department of State is no more, no foreign interest will be aggrieved at the USA, so all motive to do us harm will vanish) and the DOD ("Defense" being the enforcer of foreign policy) and the whole DHS, since security at home will no longer be at risk. Its TSA subsidiary will have an especially welcome departure. So will that of the world's largest terrorist organization (Ron Paul's description for it) - the IRS.
Then will come - or rather, go - the rest of the hundreds of agencies, listed here, in such sequence as the President sees fit, every time by the same method: firing its employees, which as Chief Executive he'd have power to do. Depending on how fast his computers crank out 3 million pink slips, and how fast the USPS delivers them, the FedGov will lie gutted, in quite short order. The only agency he'd be wise to keep for a while would be the SS, since the Secret Service provides him with bodyguard protection; it's not impossible that some of those 3 million will try to do him a mischief.
In his second week, perhaps, he will order the release of all Federal prisoners guilty of victimless crimes - notably, drug traders and tax evaders - so as to restore some degree of justice in the land. So he'll have a really busy first month.
Then will come the backlash, assuming he survives the assassination attempts. Congress will be furious, and will have a powerful case to impeach him: for as head of the Executive Branch he is supposed to execute the will of the legislature, yet here he is, deliberately frustrating the will of Congress! I see no reason why that move would fail. Well within six months, he will preside no longer, and then the task of putting Humpty together again will begin. It may be slow and clumsy, but nearly all of the 3 million former employees will be only too glad to get their jobs back, for at first they will be very uncomfortable with real-world work.
On the anniversary of our imaginary first anarchist president, it will all be over. The FedGov will be back in business. This "top-down" imposition of liberty will just not work. It's impossible, and it's a sad waste of resources to try.
The alternative is the one developed as shown here, and the sequence of events is visualized in Transition to Liberty; it is bottom-up. As everyone comes to understand the essential evil of all government they will choose not to work for it, and so it will evaporate. There will be no need for pink slips, and the evaporation will apply not just to the Feds but to the whole, putrid lot of it, liberating society from coast to coast and beyond.
There remains a kind of post-script; very well, it may be said, perhaps it's not feasible to get a zero-government Prez elected, or at least sustained in office, but won't the whole exercise of making the attempt provide a huge amount of education? - and that is all that the many Libertarian Party candidacies since 1970 have actually achieved: publicity, or education, that might not otherwise have been won. Face time, before network cameras.
That is a fair question, for it acknowledges that education, alone, is what will liberate society from the curse of government. Fully agree. So now we are comparing two kinds of education delivery mechanism: the very expensive and hazardous one of running political campaigns, versus the organic-growth method used in TOLFA. The LP has now had over 40 years to try its method, and its history shows that the votes captured by Ed Clark in 1980 (nearly a million) were exceeded only by Gary Johnson in 2012, with 1.28 million. That's a growth of less than 1% a year. TOLFA's aim, based on very credible assumptions, is of 100% a year and virtually zero cash cost. Case closed.