My journey as a libertarian has seen me through a gun rights activist who looked at few other political issues, to a Constitutional libertarian who believe most of societies ills would be fixed by strictly adhering to the United States Constitution, to an anarcho-capitalist, and finally to an anarchists (without adjectives). During this journey I’ve come to many conclusions and learned many lessons. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that statism, regardless of its form, will always take the shape of an oligarchy. This is why I’m an anarchist. If nobody rules then everybody rules. So long as any individual enjoys privileges above another individual then the disease of statism will spread. By leveling the playing field, by ensuring nobody enjoys privileges above another the foundation for a free exists.
My journey has also seen me drudge through the political system. During my time in politics I believe I learned my most valuable lesson: freedom cannot be had through political participation. This realization has lead me to pursue agorism. Through counter-economics, that is performing as many transactions within the untaxed “black” market, the state can slowly be starved and the services it provides can be replaced by voluntary alternatives. The agorist community in my area is slowly growing as more people face the realization that freedom cannot be had through politics. By participating in agorism they are taking the first step in separating themselves from statism. They are abandoning politics. Abandoning politics is something I urge every anarchist to do. Why? Because it is the antithesis of what anarchists fight for.
The political process is necessarily hierarchical. Participation means you are either running for a position that will grant you power over others or are helping somebody else gain a position of power over others. Worse yet, the system is rigged in such a way as to make radical change impossible. Preventing radical change is the only activity for which real checks and balances exist in the political system. Demonstrating this fact is as simple as looking at the history of America’s political system. When was the last time you can recall an actual radical change, that is to say when power was taken from the political elite and their cronies, happened through the political system? Although every rule has its exception you’ll be hard pressed to find one for this.
Besides being the antithesis of anarchism, participating in the political process has another problem: dependency. I have seen more friends succumb to political dependency than I care to admit. They live for politics. It consumes them. In fact I can think of no less than five marriages that were destroyed because one of the two spouses became politically addicted. I have other friends who even depend on politics for their livelihood. Recently one of my friends has begun shilling for a local political campaign. I’m not talking about a little promotion, it was as if my friend was being paid to shill for this campaign. This seemed odd to me because he had been discussing his disgust of political campaigns and continuously described himself as an anarcho-capitalist. After looking through financial records for said campaign (thanks to the Internal Revenue Service for publishing that information, it is the only thing I will ever thank it for) I saw that $4,500 had been paid from the campaign to my friend over the span of roughly two months. Suddenly his advocacy of this candidate made perfect sense. Getting paid approximately $2,250 per month just to shill for a candidate isn’t bad money. But he is now dependent on the political system for a good chunk of his income. The main downside to such a dependency is that eliminating the state has become the antithesis of his survival. If the political system went away he would be out roughly $2,250 a month.
Putting yourself into a position where you are dependent on your enemy to survive ensures you will probably never make a real attempt to defeat your enemy. Consider the average political addict. They often depend on one or more campaigns for their financial well being. Their friendships begin to revolve more and more around politics. As their time in politics increases their interest in non-political activities decreases. I’m sure you have or have had a friend who attempts to bring up politics at every social gathering. Such behavior tends to push non-political friends and friends with differing political views away. From my observations this has a habit of not only creating an echo chamber around political participants but makes them almost entirely reliant on politics for their general happiness. For an anarchist this becomes a vicious cycle because they don’t want to destroy the political system as it would also destroy their primary source of happiness.
Politics also has many similarities to cultism. The longer somebody is involved in the political process the more they push away non-political friends and friends who have differing political opinions. Cults tend to isolate themselves from outsiders. This isolation reinforces dependency on the cult. Social circles hold a lot of power over us. At some point most people want to fit in with some crowd. Even rebels tend to want to fit in with their fellow rebels. So if your only friends are fellow members of your cult you will likely attempt to appeal to them by being a good cult member. Failing to abide by a political party’s, campaign’s, or candidate’s beliefs can lead to ostracization. Again, this is another thing political participation shares with cultism. I’ve seen this happen numerous times. For example, anybody who espoused a belief in public schooling at a Ron Paul gathering tended to get humiliated, shouted at, and shutdown rather quickly. Seeing a majority of participants disagree with somebody espousing public education wasn’t surprising but seeing how zealous they were at ensuring the heathen wasn’t heard was frightening. Needless to say such people quickly learned to keep their dissenting opinions to themselves less they be ostracized by their friends.
If your goal is to abolish statism then you should abandon the political process and find a more radical way of pursing your goal. Political participation will only lead to ruin. In fact it is designed to lead to ruin if your goals are something other than further empowering the oligarchs. To paraphrase a famous saying, if politics could change things it would be illegal. Always remember that the political process is the system put in place by the current rulers. Nobody is going to give their enemies an effective way to defeat them and anarchists are the enemies of the current rulers.