I belong to a rather small club. While libertarians are rare enough in the United States I’m a member of an even more exclusive club, voluntaryists. Unlike constitutional libertarians or minarchists, voluntaryists oppose the state in its entirety. We don’t want a small state or a minimum state, we don’t want any state at all. This obviously makes me sound a little kooky to a majority of the population (and probably a great deal of my readers) and it would seem I’ve set myself out for failure as ridding civilization of the state appears to be an insurmountable task. As they say, nothing worth doing is easy. I do hold out hope because history has demonstrated that people will only allow themselves to be pushed around for so long before they fight back.
Let’s take a look at some groups that finally had enough and decided to oppose the status quo. One of my favorite examples is this very country I live in. At one point the United States wasn’t the United States, it was a British colony. The British king wasn’t a very smart man. A smart man that ruled over vast territories would have contented himself with mostly leaving people alone. Instead he kept pushing the colonists. Wanting to bleed the colonists for more money the British kind decreed that all published material in the United States carry an official stamp that had to be purchased. From there things just kept getting worse. The powder keg really started smoldering with minor acts of civil disobedience, such as throwing ship loads of tea into the sea. Eventually the colonists got fed up with the king and decided to toss him and his people out.
All was not well in the newly formed United States though. Regardless of the claims made by some during the early days of this country, all were not created equal. Slavery was still legal and women didn’t have the right to participate in political matters. Needless to say women eventually became sick of having all political decisions made by men and thus began the women’s suffrage movement. Members of the suffrage movement held massive demonstrations. Although it seems rather absurd today there was actually a very strong anti-suffrage movement during the time and opponents to women’s suffrage went so far as to physically attack demonstrators (it should go without saying that the police did little to prevent such attacks). In the end the nineteenth amendment was passed.
African Americans had a longer fight. Even though slavery ended after the Civil War the newly freed African Americans found themselves treated like shit. Jim Crow laws were passed that dictated public facilities could be separated based on race so long as they were “equal.” In reality facilities for blacks were seldom, if ever, equal to facilities for whites. Other laws dictated that blacks sitting in the front of the bus had to surrender their seat to any white person wanting it. Even interracial marriage was restricted. Like the American population and women before them, eventually the African Americans got fed up with the inhumane way they were treated and began the Civil Rights Movement. Though massive acts of civil disobedience the Civil Rights Movement eventually overcame the obstacles put in their way by the state. The Jim Crow laws were wiped from the slate, blacks were no longer required to surrender preferred seats to whites, and blacks were allowed to marry whites.
Speaking of marriage, we’re currently in the middle of another battle that revolves around the state’s control of the institution. Much like Jim Crow laws in the past attempt to treat blacks like second class citizens, bans on same sex marriages are attempting to do the same for homosexuals. The gay community has come a long ways over the years. Gone are the days when brilliant minds who reshaped the entire world were chemically castrated for being gay and police routinely harassed homosexuals. Things didn’t come this far because the state became benevolent and decided to stop harassing homosexuals, things came this far because the homosexual community decided they had enough. In 1969 the police decided to raid a gay club and the people at the club rebelled. They pelted the police officers with anything at hand and a riot broke out. Thankfully their battle is concluding and I suspect the idea of prohibiting marriage based on gender will become as an absurd a thought as banning marriage based on race.
My point in this post is that every battle, no matter how insurmountable it appears, can be won in the long run. Whether the battle for true liberty will be one by quick destruction of the state or through a slow and deliberate movement is unknown to me (although I’m guessing the latter). History demonstrates that people are only willing to take so much shit until they finally declare that they’ve had enough. Eventually people will tire of having their shit taken and violence brought against them when they violate random state decrees and will fight back. My desire is that when the fight comes it will be peaceful with counter-economics and civil disobedience being the primary tools. In fact part of the reason I write about such tactics is because those are the ones I want to see used. Violent revolutions seem to turn out badly in the long run while revolutions that take place through education seem to turn out well for everybody.