Writing Back: Paul Darr’s “Open Letter To Anarchists”

Writing Back: Paul Darr’s “Open Letter To Anarchists”

Apparently, anarchists are making a difference. There are enough of us that a substantial amount of people that should be fighting by our side have ditched the pleasantries, and written “open letters” like the one below, which amount to nothing more than a series of loosely strung strawman attacks and passive-aggressive sideswipes  at our strategies. Well, cheers to that! It’s good to know that, simply by withdrawing from it, we’re a significant enough threat to establishment politics that we get peoples’ emotions to be at the forefront of their rhetoric.

About time, really. If politicians and their supporters, even those supposedly closest to us, can dispose of niceties, so can we. Let’s get started writing back. Paul writes:

I understand you all are afraid of the LP becoming more than a social club and actually causing an impact in a large election which will draw more attention to the spectrum of ideas in libertarian thought.

You are afraid that those in the minarchist wing of the LP will somehow dilute your message. That is not the case. Anarchists primarily share their message in on(sic)-on-one conversations or sharing of media on the small scale. Libertarianism as a mainstream concept will allow further opportunities to share with people the many different philosophical schools you feel are better. Much like extreme liberal or conservative ideals grow in bastions of those ideologies, Anarchism/Voluntaryism will have a better chance to grow in an environment which is more generally accepting of libertarian ideas.

If you are opposing the LP because you want the system fail and for there to be a reset, I think you are extremely optimistic. It is far more likely that something far more authoritarian would arise when the majority of people have only experienced lesser levels of authoritarianism and don’t know of other alternatives. The spreading of these ideals is so small scale currently that even as the total number of those that identify as libertarians grows, proportionally they are shrinking by the far larger growth rate of those outside that ideology.

Something needs to change. Currently the Republican and Democrat parties are running two of the most hated candidates yet. A majority of the population still supports either candidate but it does give an opportunity for the LP to act as a disruptive force in the normality of this election. The LP has chosen Gary Johnson for this time around. He has worked the past four years trying to get us into the Presidential debates to bring further exposure to libertarianism. He was also the only candidate that we had which could mount a serious campaign and fight for less harm to be done if he were actually elected.

This is an opportunity to share your message and most Internet Anarchists are missing it. Instead of focusing on fighting minarchist LP members (who already know who you are) it would be better to reach out to the public. Otherwise the public just sees a bunch of infighting and miss your message completely.

That’s just my opinion. You can miss your opportunity by continuing to fight with minarchists and get nowhere or share your message more generally, it’s your choice.

[archive source]

Thank you, Paul, for your utter nonsense.

Your first mistake is obvious in paragraph one, when you say that libertarian thought has a “spectrum”. Didn’t you intend to contend with an entire branch of libertarian thought simply by writing this? Odd. Could’ve sworn that the title and content of this piece were designed to engage people interested enough in liberty to attempt abolishing of the institutions that both historically and fundamentally threaten it the most. You are talking to anarchists, right? Antistatists? Just checking.

And let’s also dispose of your “understanding”; you have no idea what “all” of anyone wants – you’re too used to generalizations. Suffice it to say, you only mean ‘right’ anarchists (to stick with your obvious attachment to party paradigms), because otherwise, anarcho-communists, mutualists, and syndicalists would completely invalidate your “well, LP is sort of like you guys” absurdities. They picked Gary Johnson! There isn’t enough weed that man could grow to possibly cover his stench to literally most extreme leftists. This is an obvious oversight on your part, and it’s a shame, because the rest of your letter is really just ~so~ spot on. Let’s move on.

We’re not afraid, at least not most of us, of you, or anyone else, ‘diluting’ our message.  If we were, it would be a bit like being charged with a knife, and this letter would have already made a cut; the fear of the thing is much stronger than the emotional reaction of actually experiencing whatever that thing is, and we have no reason to be afraid of this, as it’s clear it amounts to nothing more than a papercut. This also implies that you’re the first one to come by and try something like this, or that the LP is, and it isn’t. The LP has been diluting anarchist messages for years, and this scam of a convention was no exception, especially with Petersen windbagging on about ‘his’ libertarian slogans, that have been being said for years. If we were afraid of a philosophical 9/11, the plane has been hijacked, and it’s in the building.

And then you presume to tell us what we share with you. Ha! You have political solutions, and we don’t. This is the actual, irreconcilable difference. Libertarianism, if it is to be authentic, is not a “mainstream concept”, it’s a radical concept, and always has been. Even at, say, ten percent, it is not enough to go toe to toe with the forces of mainstream politics on their terms, and you know it. You’re still relying on a counterculture, and the point of your letter is to appeal to  the most radical aspects of this counterculture, and you still deem it fit to patronize us. Not wise, Paul.

And yeah, anarchism has better chances in a libertarian environment, but that presumes that this environment can be created and fostered by the LP. It’s also easier to grow plants in fallow soil than on bedrock, but it’s still better yet to plant in a fertile environment, which is something you refuse to admit once in this piece. We’re trying to make better soil, before attempting to garden, and you’re accusing us of being obtuse. You want to change the “lesser of two evils” paradigm from the way it exists now, into LP v. the Two Party System. Maybe your tagline should be “Yeah, we suck, but not as hard as they do!”. Weren’t you on about us being “afraid” of a watered-down message just a moment ago? And you’re trying to ‘win’ us with this? Sounds like fallow soil. Good luck with that.

And we don’t simply want a “reset”. That would imply that we want a different government. Statism is the job of politicians and their supporters, like you, not us. That’s the premise of your piece, remember? And then you whine about… what? That if there’s not enough tyranny, people will forget what tyranny is, so we should maintain the system, for liberty? How much booze did it take to wrap your rhetorical car around that philosophical tree? And the spreading of these ideals is small-scale, because the actual mainstream, not your version, has the masses convinced that people can’t live without the state. You aren’t helping. If the amount of people who support the mainstream are growing more rapidly, it’s because of people haven’t been disabused of the notion that there are many more that “three options” for how society can be structured and operated, and guess what? You’re not helping, Paul.

Something needs to change? Absolutely, but it needs to change fundamentally, not incrementally, because even if a LP president were “in charge” (Ha! A president! In charge!), the population of Rs and Ds would just grow, when the entire weight of all scandal was heaped onto the one manufactured “utter failure” of a “Libertarian Presidency” (which is fundamentally oxymoronic) the same way it’s been heaped onto every other administration in the past, and the dog-and-pony show of electoral politics would continue without a hitch. And you want to talk about what Gary johnson  does for libertarians? He gets pieces like this in the mainstream. And while the guy missed some things I might not mind discussing later, it’s a scathing diatribe against his watered-down message, and it’s mostly pretty fair to Libertarians, in general. I guess you might call this “watertarianism”. Heh… I like that.

This is an opportunity, yes, an opportunity to share our message, not yours. In your ill-fated attempt to show us that LP activism could get anarchist or libertarian ideas just as much traction as nonvoting activism, you’ve only solidified in my mind that you have no idea what anarchism stands for, and that you don’t “understand” a thing. We have practical solutions, like agorism, and voluntaryism, but you’re so obsessed with your angle that you’re missing the punches at others. You’re blind to our fight, and you forget that many of us filtered through LP politics long before coming to the conclusion that it’s not for us. Then you presume to lecture us about it, and then take the stance of rogue ally, only to prove that there’s nothing radical about voting, no matter who one votes for. Sad, really.

That’s just my opinion. You can dismiss your opportunity for real freedom by continuing to fight with anarchists and get nowhere that counts in the end run, or share our message more specifically, and actually fight for real liberty. It’s your choice.

Of course, as your thinly veiled ad hominem states, I’m just a lowly “internet anarchist”, running a site for the rest of us peons, and I’m obviously also running this country and this world into the ground with a naievete thick enough to guard from atomic blasts. We are nowhere near as “enlightened” as the gods at the LP, not even enough to have a seat at the table, and maybe say that you can’t be libertarian while running on a platform that endorses restricting peoples liberty in any way (they rejected the NAP for a reason, so leadership could be aggressive, and not removed), and we certainly only infight and never reach out to the public, video evidence on Youtube and elsewhere be damned. We should obviously apologize and grovel, but we don’t, and that’s our major malfunction. We just like liberty s’darn much that we don’t even know what’s good for us anymore, and we need you to tell us. Thank you for bequeathing your wisdom.


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A cynical, pessimistic skeptic, and anarchocapitalist libertarian blogger. I support #Gamergate, and write for The Fifth Column News.

  • Kelli J. White

    Linked this post on my blog, ART in ANARCHY’s “The Anarchy List” – ARTinANARCHY.wordpress.com – Keep up the great work! Strength in solidarity! <3