Should libertarians protest?
I’ve been to dozens of libertarian and freedom-minded meetups and groups over the years, and what I’ve noticed is that there’s almost always one or more individuals at these gatherings who are all about the protests.
Protesting, picketing, shouting, confronting. They want to “fight" the system and for them that means being annoying and confrontational, and if they get arrested they think that makes them “brave”, and they’re so happy to “clog up the system” with their pointless legal battles or by sitting in jail.
Every single one of them that I’ve ever talked to has tried to get me to protest, and they do it using fear and guilt. They make you fear that if you don’t go and protest this issue right now it’s going to be the end of the world. This is THE battle, the big one, the final one. One more step down this slippery slope and we’re doomed, and protesting at this next event is really going to show them that “we” won’t give in. And if you don’t go, you’re a coward who won’t stand up for your rights and freedoms. If you won’t stand up for this protest, you might as well just live as a slave on your knees.
This is the rhetoric of protesters - and I’ve talked to or heard over a dozen of them over the years. They all say the same stuff.
Do you know what else they have in common?
Almost all of them are childless, middle aged or older single guys living in trailers and vans. Sometimes it’s an older single guy who’s divorced and has kids somewhere he barely keeps in touch with. They’re almost always drug addicts. And without exception (at least in those I met) they have no real job, no responsibilities, and no ambition in life.
It’s ironic that the people who so loudly profess to want to change the world for the better have so utterly failed to build their own life into anything meaningful. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. I guess “be the change you want to see in the world” is not the rallying cry of these folks. Jordan Peterson would tell them to clean up their room first.
So why is it that these “warriors for freedom” who so valiantly champion libertarianism at protests, town hall meetings and in the streets seem to so often not be leading by example in their personal lives?
Because the people who are making actual change - who are building and improving - are too busy to go to protests, and they have far too much to lose.
How little must an activist think of their own life to take pride in being put behind bars to “clog up the system”? That’s an actual quote - a guy told me he was happy to clog up the system by sitting around in jail! And how little must they have to lose? Surely, there’s nobody who depends on them to put food on the table or ensure they have a shelter over their heads.
The libertarian parents out there aren’t running out to get arrested because they have kids that need them. And the people who truly value freedom (and not confrontation) are doing everything they can to stay out of jail, not to get arrested. The libertarians who want to be free are polite to cops at traffic stops, and then they go home to their wife and kids and do the real work of exiting the system and building alternatives.
The druggies who have nothing to lose and no dependents pick fights they know they’ll lose so they can get arrested and prove a point. What point? That the system sucks and you’re not free? We already know that. Why make yourself even less free? You think standing around at the DMV to renew your license for a couple of hours every few years is slavery? Try sitting behind bars for a few months or years while getting fed junk food through a slit and only seeing daylight for an hour a day.
Why someone who claims to love freedom would try so hard to have less of it in their personal lives by getting arrested is beyond me. Perhaps some kind of martyr syndrome?
What real change looks like
The fact is, the system loves protesters. It thrives on them. Cops know exactly what to do when confronted with obnoxious, argumentative, or violent people. As long as you protest you’re playing their game, by their rules. You’re throwing away your life.
Former U.S. secretary of state Alexander Haig said what every politician thinks: “Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes.”
Do you know who the government doesn’t know how to deal with? Peaceful people who stop participating in the matrix, reduce their tax contributions legally without getting arrested, raise peaceful and educated children, become independent and build decentralized systems, and don’t waste their precious time on politics.