16A036 The Kokesh Phenomenon by Jim Davies, 10/11/2016    


Monday, October 3rd dawned like any other, though with low cloud obscuring the mountain - and I had no idea what a treat it had in store for me.

After breakfast I did a little innocent surfing, and happened upon the Liberty Hangout, well worth a visit, and noticed there a mention of the name Adam Kokesh. I'd heard it before but could not place it. The Hangout writer deplored the LP's nomination of Johnson/Weld but added that Kokesh might, in 2020, trigger a revival of the LP; that is, to bring it back to the kind of party that was guided for so long by Murray Rothbard.

To that, I paid attention - and found my way to Adam's web site, the Freedom Line. I found it replete with forthright calls for the total abolition of government, with videos, articles, tales of civil disobedience and imprisonment, and of a book, prominently promoted: FREEDOM! Apparently it's been downloaded two million times already, in 5 languages, so I parted with 99 cents for its Kindle version to draw down the 2,000,001st - and am enormously impressed.

More below on that, but under the site's "Calendar" tag I learned that Adam is touring the country to explore whether to run for Prez in 2020, and by an amazing coincidence that he was to hold a meeting in nearby Manchester, NH that very evening! So I ripped up all my plans for the day and plotted a route to the meeting venue. It was good, with a modest house being crowded with liberty lovers, many of whom were smoking. I dislike the smell of cigarette smoke, but mysteriously the scent that evening was not offensive. And best of all, I met the man himself; the young and dynamic Adam Kokesh. I found him passionate to remove the curse of government - his passion honed by experience as a Marine in Iraq, where he found the US as occupier was making more enemies than it was killing, and where he was even taking part in torture, on orders from the Liar in Chief.

Now here's a short review of the book, FREEDOM! - and I strongly recommend downloading a copy, it costs virtually nothing. Its very first words are:

Freedom is what you have when nobody is forcing their will upon you.

and so he had me at Hello, despite the questionable grammar, for that is the best definition of freedom I've ever seen. It continues, the first chapter outlining the philosophy of freedom clearly, succinctly, emphatically and without compromise or qualification; it is magnificent! Government is rightly and simply called a "racket" throughout the book, and chapters 2 through 7 describe some of its specific rackets: power (what it's for), war (murder), taxation (theft) and so on. It is a devastating demolition of everything the State pretends to be, and cannot fail to shake to his core anyone coming to libertarianism for the first time. Chapters 8 and 9 relate government to personal lives - love, family, health, work etc. - showing how a measure of freedom can be enjoyed immediately, even before the State evaporates.

Kokesh covers a great deal of ground in those chapters, and sometimes I felt he was too brief in the treatment of difficult subjects, for example of intellectual property. The book is intended to be short (103 pages) and simple, so perhaps it would have been better to trim the number of issues discussed, while discussing each in slightly greater depth. But that is a minor defect.

Chapter 10, the final one, is called "The Future of Freedom" and proposes that thanks to modern communications technology it is becoming increasingly difficult for statists to continue to lie to everyone and get away with it; that hence there is a kind of "asymptote" by which government will be squeezed into ever smaller significance. It's an encouraging perception, an optimistic antidote to the gloom sometimes found currently. Adam does, however, stress that action is needed to supplement this inevitable trend, and the specific action he names is the one place in FREEDOM! where I think he is mistaken.

His prescription he calls "Localization", whose idea is to abolish the Federal level of government in total (which he said he could accomplish if elected) leaving the lesser components for everyone to participate in with much greater clout. This seems to me a considerable error, for it just does not follow from the whole of the book that precedes it. If (as he repeats and demonstrates many times) government is so evil as to deserve outright abolition, what possible virtue can lie in deliberately allowing half of it to stay in place, even temporarily? - the tin gods in Town Hall are just as ruthless and arrogant as the one in that D.C. mansion, and the whole tenor of the book is otherwise about demolishing government, not helping it improve or reform.

Rather, the prescription should be that each FREEDOM! reader, having become convinced that government is a totally evil racket, should resolve never to work for it at any level and, if currently so employed, to quit. That is the solution proposed in TOLFA, and it could very well take its place here too; given that change, Adam Kokesh's remarkable book could, for many, do what the Academy does, much faster and arguably more simply. By asking every reader to persuade some of his or her friends to download it too, it would become a worthy (and friendly) rival or alternative. That solution, or method of causing the dissolution of government, is the only one that can possibly work; for it can get along without every kind of support by its ruled victims except one: our labor. Upon that, it depends absolutely.

Perhaps Adam will re-write Chapter 10, to incorporate that vital fix. If he does, this little book could be a government-buster, a history-changer. Do read FREEDOM! - and if you agree, let him know.

During his remarks in Manchester, Adam mentioned that FREEDOM! has been banned by the Department of Justice, from being sent into its prisons. Thus, he is unable to send a copy to any of his friends still behind bars. He asked the DoJ for the reason; which part of the book was objectionable. Answer: "Every part of it!" This alone is powerful endorsement, but Adam sees an extra advantage; he's thinking of having a chapter tattooed on his body, so that next time some judge is poised to sentence him to prison for committing a victimless crime, he'll be able to remove his shirt and say that is not allowed, for he is a banned book!

Adam Kokesh is a breath of fresh air, a passionate advocate for zero government. In its present incarnation I'm not sure the LP deserves him, as its next nominee; but if his book (with the modification suggested here) were to spread like wildfire as it might, it's just possible that the 2020 election cycle may not even take place. So: read and promote it, and if reference to that Calendar tag shows he will come close you where you live, go meet him.

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How Government Silenced Irwin Schiff

2016 book tells the sad story and shows that government is even more evil than was supposed