By Trevor Watkins
“The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.”
What does it mean to be a libertarian?. Not much, really. You probably have reasonably strong opinions on the non aggression principle and on consent. You are probably uncertain as to whether you would prefer a minarchy to an anarchy. You have been to a few libdins and a couple of libsems. if you are really keen you comment and post on various libertarian email groups & blogs. Perhaps you work for a libertarian think tank , but more likely you don't.
You are probably reluctant (if not outright embarrassed) to share your libertarian views with non libertarians in your family and amongst your colleagues. Your friends regard you as somewhat obsessed, a bit of a fanatic, perhaps even a geek. You would have trouble recognising another libertarian in a crowd. If you do encounter another libertarian you probably have major disagreements with them on many minor points of policy.
I would like to suggest that as committed libertarians we come out of the closet. That we proudly proclaim who and what we are and dare anyone to disagree. That we stop apologizing, stop explaining, and start proclaiming. I propose that we form a league of hardcore libertarians and start recruiting members.
Why? What would be the point? Libertarians are a fringe group, with no clear identity. Currently the best definition of a libertarian is an individual who favours Liberty. That includes just about everyone. Most of the time we say that we believe in individual Liberty without really understanding the full implications of that statement.
We don't belong to anything. We don't know who our comrades are. We don't know what we believe, much less what they believe. We have not fully thought through the consequences of our beliefs. We make no stand, we take no risks, we have no loyalties. We live in constant fear of the authority we so despise. And when push comes to shove, we stand alone.
What would this league involve? I'm thinking of a structure like a motorcycle gang. We would have a cool name. We would have a sexy logo. We would have challenging entrance qualifications. We would have an explicit and uncompromising statement of beliefs and principles to which members would have to conform. We would clearly state the implications and consequences of our beliefs without apology or embarrassment.
Membership would involve commitment and sacrifice. The entrance fee would be high. Members would need to get a tattoo, as evidence of membership and proof of commitment. . Members will be entitled to wear a cut (a denim jacket) with the League logo sewn on, and to wear a patch reflecting their status. Members must swear to come to the aid of fellow members in distress. Decisions will be made democratically but once made must be adhered to by all members. Failure to comply may result in expulsion. Owning a motorbike would not be obligatory, but would be way cool.
What are the benefits of membership? You belong to an “in” group, like the Freemasons, or the Skull and bones, or the Hells Angels. In theory, libertarians would not belong to any club that would have them as a member. While it is fine to be an unherded cat, it is lonely and sometimes pathetic. You get no respect. You have no back up. You are at the mercy of all the other better organised gangs, like traffic police, tax collectors, common criminals and the rest. You enjoy a strong sense of camaraderie. When you are attacked, you will be avenged. And, of course, membership is entirely consensual, like an anarchic covenant.
Full Disclosure. I have been watching the TV series Sons of Anarchy and this has certainly influenced my thinking. I do not endorse nor agree with the violent and psychopathic behaviour exhibited by some members of this fictional gang. However, much of their violence is in reaction to attacks upon the gang, and can be viewed as retaliation, rather than initiation of force. The gang is basically a business involved in the sorts of activities that anarchists and most libertarians would not regard as forbidden. They trade in guns, in drugs and in sex, with some automotive repairs on the side. These are activities which would be acceptable in a libertarian Anarchy, even if perhaps uncomfortable for some.
I have a charter, the Consent Axiom. I suggest an entrance fee of R1000 plus a photo of your tattoo, preferably on your right shoulder. The R1000 gets you a sleeveless denim jacket with the logo sewn on the back, and patches on the front, plus a T-shirt. It gets you a list of other members. It confers voting rights at gatherings. It also gets you a list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. It might even include a secret handshake.
There is already a Libertarian Motorcycle club, with chapters all over the world.
Would you be interested in becoming a CAL member?
- You may not take harmful action against others without their consent, unless they have already harmed others without consent.
- You must respect the property of others.
- You must not commit fraud.
- You can indulge in any activity you choose, which does not conflict with the 3 rules above. This includes
- Drug taking, sales and delivery
- Prostitution, pornography
- Gun ownership and sales
- Unregulated banking, insurance, etc
- No taxation of any sort
- No public social services
- No public state-funded judiciary
- No public state-funded police
- No public state-funded army
- No public state-funded diplomatic corps
- No public state-funded border guards or controls
- No limits on speech except for fraud
- No public state-funded roads or road regulations
- No intellectual property protection