Friday, August 27, 2010

If Only People Would Listen to The Voluntaryists

More on Issue 1 of The Voluntaryist

Editorial: Neither Bullets Nor Ballots

I noticed that in this first issue Wendy McElroy is the editor. I’m not sure how long that lasts but we’ll see as I move through the issues.

In this editorial Wendy lays out the purpose and intent of the publication which is to reject the political process (electoral voting) and focus on non-political strategies. She states:

No one has the right to a position of power over others and that any man who seeks such an office, however honorable his intentions, is seeking to join a criminal band.

I bet when this issue first came out that this must have irritated a lot of folks who were trying to grow the Libertarian Party. Over the years, I’ve heard clever ways to describe the contradiction of using politics to get rid of the State. Someone just did this when commenting on my previous post by saying it’s kind of like drinking to cure alcoholism. Have you heard others? What’s your favorite?

Wendy makes the point that they are getting back to the original ideas of libertarianism, which she says was strongly linked to individualist-anarchism in the 1800s. Read her editorial yourself for more background and information.

One item I found particularly interesting when I read it is when she says:

Political offices ARE the state.

I have that exact line in a letter I wrote to my state’s LP leadership when I decided to leave the party and wanted to explain why. I now wonder if I came up with that on my own or if I somehow absorbed it. I don’t remember how much Voluntaryist information I had actually read before writing this letter.

I’m going to take the stand that I came up with it on my own, mostly because it makes me feel like I might just be a teeny-tiny bit closer to the intellectual ability of Wendy.

Books of Interest

In Issue 1, Carl Watner reviews three books by Gene Sharp, who writes about non-violent action. I am mad at Carl for writing these reviews because now I have even more stuff I want to read and I don't know if I'll ever have time to get back on my bike.

I was very encouraged to read these reviews because Carl describes how Mr. Sharp gives lots of details and examples of how non-violent action helped create major changes in the world. Many of us know about the bigger examples, such as the work of Ghandi, but in these books Mr. Sharp apparently goes into much more historical detail of other examples.

A method mentioned in Carl’s review that I found particularly intriguing was Lysistratic nonaction, which comes from a play where the women stopped war by refusing to have sex with their war-mongering husbands. And apparently there are two historical cases where this actually happened.

I’m glad my husband’s not a war-monger.

I also learned about a World War II resister named Corbett Bishop. I had never heard of him and as a matter of fact it made me realize that I never hear anything about World War II war resistance. As a matter of fact, in the past 10 years or so, there’s been so much glorification of it, especially after the term “greatest generation” started moving through our culture. The greatest generation idea always confused me somewhat because they always make it sound like there was not a draft and everyone just gladly went to fight.


I have one more item to discuss about this issue that hit me.

There is a little box at the bottom of page 5 that says this:

As Voluntaryists we unequivocally condemn the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the criminal acts which resulted. We look to other libertarian organizations, including the Libertarian Party, for similar condemnation of this brutal aggression.

After reading this, I looked it up and found out something very, very interesting in this article about Osama bin Laden’s 2004 videotape. Here’s an excerpt:

He said he was first inspired to attack the United States by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which towers and buildings in Beirut were destroyed in the siege of the capital.

"While I was looking at these destroyed towers in Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women," he said.

"God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind," he said.

Who knows if the guy is BSing or not. All I can think of is wow, and it makes me wonder how history would be different if people listened to the Voluntaryists, not to mention the individualist anarchists that were saying this stuff in the 1800s.


Ned Netterville said...

Bin Laden was not BSing. You can read his 1996 "fatwa" declaring war against the Americans on the Internet at Among numerous other abuses he claims Muslims have suffered at the hands of the "USA" is this one: "The horrifying pictures of the massacre of Qana, in Lebanon are still fresh in our memory." In many respects his fatwa sounds like the American Declaration of Independence wherein it cites a "a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinc[ing] a design to reduce [Muslims] under absolute Despotism."
(quoting the Declaration).

Perhaps even sadder than the fact that bin Laden's diatribe cites incidents in which US government agents did indeed murder Muslim, is the fact that in a later message, which I could not find in a brief Internet search, after 9/11 bin Laden opined that his war would cause Americans to lose many of their civil liberties at the hand of their own government, which of course has happened.

tzo said...

"...kind of like drinking to cure alcoholism. Have you heard others? What’s your favorite?"

I like the analogy of joining the KKK in order to try and reduce the level of its violence.

Jill said...

I had never specifically heard of "Lysistratic nonaction", but I can recall many times during my upbringing, my Dad would say that women could stop wars by closing their legs (not having sex). He said that sex is a powerful motivator for men. Since my Dad was always NOT mainstream, I just thought this was more of his talk. As I get older, I see the wisdom of his words and more greatly appreciate the fact that he was/is NOT mainstream. There were always interesting conversations in our home. Now I need to ask my Dad if he's aware of "Lysistratic nonaction" or the play that it was derived from!
Keep up the great work, Debbie! The more I read your writings, the more I believe that we are on the same page. We've definitely gone down similar paths on our journey of understanding liberty.