Nothing Beats a Weekend of Civil Disobedience.

So what did you do this weekend?

Well I lived free.

For four days I honestly felt free. I was in a peaceful community filled with loving people who made the conscious decision to live a life of non-coercion against other people. It was also a weekend filled with firearms, alcohol, debates, campfires, a tattoo artist, and drugs. There were Christians and atheists, anarchists and politicians, people of every conceivable background, but there was no violence. Everyone got along just fine without the state.

Imagine that… hundreds of armed people in an area and the government was not needed. Not only was it not needed, it was not wanted. Whenever a police officer did arrive (which only overtly happened three times that I recall), people immediately used radios and voice to alert that “5-0”was on scene. This notification of an agent of violence was not to hide victimless, consensual acts illegal activity but served as a reminder that while we were free for now we must remain vigilant.

It can become difficult to remember what we are actually fighting for. A free society can sometimes feel like such an abstract concept that we forget that part of libertarianism is actually living our ideals. That means proving to people that the state is not necessary for consensual adults to engage in trade. That means proving to people that the state does not have authority over what we ingest into our own bodies. That means proving to people that every operation of the government would be handled more efficiently, more fairly and more ethically without the coercion of the state. But mostly, that means proving to people that libertarians are happy, loving, peaceful people.

This weekend I did those things. I got married without the states permission and not on the states terms. I walked around with a pistol on my hip and a beer in my hand, this was not an irresponsible act because I know my own limits and when I reach that point I put my weapon away. Amazingly, everyone else at PorcFest also knew there own limits. Literally hundreds of armed men and women walking around with copious amounts of drugs and nobody was hurt, nobody was threatened and nobody was afraid.

I would encourage everyone to live their lives as a libertarian, and that means doing a cost-benefit analysis and breaking bad laws when you can. Some people are more risk adverse than others but we should all work to sell and buy without paying taxes (agorism, craigslist), meet our neighbors, volunteer to work with local charities, and do what makes us happy. Whenever you do violate the law in a way that harms nobody or help a neighbor make sure people know who you are and why you do it, take a principled stand. Fighting for freedom loses its appeal if all we notice in life is the encroachment of the state, but we are still sovereign individuals and we must live our lives as such every moment we can… plus, the state is a self-defeating institution. Princess Leia is right, the more they tighten their grip, the more people will slip through their fingers. It may be a rough road ahead and there will be many casualties but tyranny will fall as long as we continue to live free.

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4 Responses to Nothing Beats a Weekend of Civil Disobedience.

  1. Thank you for defining for me what Libertarian is. I’ve been wondering for some time- and reading yor blog- I am getting educated.

    Now, with what I know so far- can I ask you a question?

    Why don’t you leave?

    If you’re so unhappy with how things are here- why don’t you leave?

    What’s the problem otherwise? Do Lib’s not have enough members? to effect a change in government I mean? Or is bitching and moaning the libertarian way? Do nothing- but bitch and moan about it? I’m curious, really.

    I especially like the part in this entry where you say the 5-0 came around… and how you don’t see the fact that because theyre around- it deters anyone from acting stupid whilst enjoying your “liberties”.

    I mean, we can go back and forth I’m sure- for hours on end in a debate- but all I can think of reading this is- when someone does get out of hand- what’s a libby gonna do? Not call the 5-0, right? Then what?

    Did you pay for your gun or was it “liberated” into your posession. Did the gun company charge you taxes or say no, hey, youre so cool and it’s your right to bear arms- so you’re tax exempt?

    I’m not downing all you believe in- I think lib’s have some cool ideas that make sense- but what I am successfully making fun of here is- how obvious it is that idealism can only exist in a void. You write as if you actually COULD live in a world without rules and without laws or a governing power that needs sustainability.

    And again, if its too much by your opinion- then DO something about it. Stop making yourself sound like an idiot.

    • Prodigal Son says:

      I should probably head Rex’s advice and just end this debate, but alas, I feel the drive to respond.

      First, and most importantly, I do not define what libertarian is. I only speak for myself. I am not a member of the collective. In fact many (most?) self-described libertarians would probably disagree with many of my views. I am often considered extreme in my own circles and I am okay with that. You can always ask me a question about my views, but just remember they are mine and represent nobody else.

      So why don’t I leave? I guess the easy answer is that I don’t want to, but secondly, why should I? I am not the aggressor, I am a peaceful person who lives a life of non-coercive interaction with others. If I have done nothing wrong why should I leave my home, loved ones and job? I now have a question for you, what gives one person the right to a piece of land? You are implying that if I don’t like this land than I should leave because it belongs to another, that I do not have a right to maintain myself in a geographic region. The only consistent answer you can give to the question about land acquisition is that you believe whomever has the biggest guns have the right to a piece of land and the inhabitants of that land. Because the federal government has the most guns they have some sort of mystical right to everything in an arbitrary geographic region. Maybe that is what you believe, but if you believe something else I would love to hear your reasoning. If you really are interested in how property is justly acquired and alternative views on that one of the authors over at Center for a Stateless Society has several short essays (here, here, here).

      You make the assumption that I am unhappy here. I never said that, I love it here. I am an extremely happy person who lives and loves every moment of my very finite life. I am happy.

      One of the problems is that the current political system is controlled by two parties, neither of whom represent libertarian values. Many people actually have libertarian tendencies (socially liberal, economically conservative) but must choose between the lesser of two evils every election. Plus, as Rex explained, getting people together is exactly what the Free State Project is all about. It is about moving and changing things from within the system. Not all members of the project believe in changing the system from the inside but they do enjoy gathering in locations with like-minded individuals.

      I don’t believe that the police deter much crime. In fact they are mostly a reactionary tool that responds to crime instead of preventing. Two things at PorcFest prevented crime. First, nobody wanted to harm another person. The vast, vast majority of interactions with strangers in our daily life are peaceful, not because the police were around but because most humans have no desire to harm another person. Second, people worked together to solve problems peacefully. You do not need the police to solve problems, in fact I think the way policing is done in this country adds to the problem at all levels.

      Many writers who are more skilled than I have talked about how a libertarian or anarchist society would deal with crime and violations of individual rights. David Friedman in “The Machinery of Freedom” and the Tannehills in “The Market for Liberty” stand out the most. It is important to note that most libertarians believe the state should maintain control of the police, in the grand scheme of things only a small amount of people think the market can provide for law enforcement. (As a matter of fact, if you would like a copy of either of these books I would gladly send you one).

      Daniel, I am doing something about it. I spend my life trying to spread the ideas of freedom and living free. This previous weekend was akin to a religious person going to church… sometimes it is nice to surround yourself with similar people, celebrate your victories, assist each other with their troubles and discuss the finer details of our philosophical views. That is why I shared about this weekend, in hopes of inspiring others to live a life as free as they possibly can and unite together with fellow lovers of liberty.

  2. With all due respect, Daniel, you’re making a bit of a shotgun argument. Firstly, some people do leave. It’s called voting with your feet. Essentially it’s the civil equivalent to companies that are headquartered in the Bahamas, or Hong Kong, Macao, or other tax shelters. Correct me if I’m wrong, Prodigal Son, but I believe that the PorcFest is largely a promotional event to raise interest in the Free State Project, a libertarian movement which does exactly that – inviting libertarian-minded folks to congregate in New Hampshire, and aims to enact change through several channels, including supporting a state with more liberty and to concentrate libertarian voting influence. So your charge to “do something about it” comes mostly from a misunderstanding of the project and the movement, which is one of the most active and persuasive libertarian movements right now.

    One criticism of foot voting and the free state act, which is I think is legitimate, is that the vast majority of libertarians don’t participate… And why is that? Simply put, libertarians are the most economically saavy, and if there’s one thing that economic minds do, it’s cost-benefit analysis. Unfortunately, picking up the kids and moving to Singapore is usually not the utility-maximizing option. Even for a Manhattanite that passionately embraces libertarianism, it would be very difficult, and ultimately irresponsible, for her to leave her job, friends, and lifestyle.

    I will also point out that clinging to a police force for safety is essentially the equivalent of a child clinging to a safety blanket. Social justice is far more common in the United States than the use of law. One of my college professors conservatively estimated that the police are called for less than 10% of violent crimes, and only 10% of those end up with a completed police report. If that is true, police are only 1% useful. In my personal experience, cops are more interested in scolding me for jay-walking or reprimanding me for giving a girl a piggyback home from a bar, than they are, for instance, investigating two break-ins into my college apartment (all true stories). Additionally, police forces preclude other, less expensive, enforcement options, such as contracted security firms. I will also point out that libertarians generally agree on the enforcement of contracts and Tort law, which creates a precedent for enforcing infringements on liberty, to answer your ‘then what?’ question.

    That being said, you make several logical jumps in your response, and tend towards the condescending (see your pejorative use of quotes around liberties), rather than the informed. Also, to call the author an idiot, and to hubristically claim that you are ‘successfully’ making fun of libertarianism as an impossible utopia is simply naive. There are several options for liberty-enthusiasts, and in the future, there will be even more, and as freer states compete with bureaucratic states, they have a backlash effect (see the link about tax shelters above).

    I don’t think this debate (as you called it) should continue, because it seems that your main intent in your response is to hurl insults based on misunderstandings about libertarianism, economics, and government.

    • Aaron says:

      Well and thoughtfully put, Rexy. I have two things to add.

      First, a quote from possibly our greatest President:

      Human nature is a very constant quality. While there is justification for hoping and believing that we are moving toward perfection, it would be idle and absurd to assume that we have already reached it.

      –Calvin Coolidge, Arlington National Cemetery, May 30,1924

      And second:
      Obvious

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