This post begins my immersion in Issue 3 of The Voluntaryist. This issue begins with an excellent personal history by Burgess Laughlin, a fellow who was involved in the Libertarian Party from 1979 to 1982. His story is titled “Why I Quit the Libertarian Party.” He’s another person like me who just got the hell out once he realized the futility and inconsistencies involved.
(I found Mr. Laughlin online and he has written a couple of books since publication of this essay. He's also involved in a couple of blogs.)
In his introduction to the Voluntaryist piece, Laughlin mentions reading several authors who made him seriously consider a stateless society even before getting involved in politics. However, he still fell prey to the idea that he needed to “do something” and ended up in the Libertarian Party.
One of the authors he mentions reading early on was Lysander Spooner. My experience was the other way around - I got involved in politics before I heard about Spooner. Thanks to the internet age, at the time I did hear of him, I was able to download and read NO TREASON.
I was completely enthralled. I remember being so surprised that someone was writing this stuff in the 1800s. Why hadn’t I ever heard of these writings? Why didn’t anyone tell me about him? Why had no one else I knew heard of him either? How could a man with writings this interesting, this important and this intriguing be so completely hidden from my view?
This only added to my frustration about our educational system of course.
But back to Mr. Laughlin. In a section where he explains his insights into electoral politics, he talks about the inherent make-up of the audience for a political campaign. He writes:
“Electoral politics is an ineffective educational tool because the people in the electoral audience are most likely to be statists. They pay attention to electoral politics because they think they benefit from government coercion. The people who are disgusted with government in general and electoral politics in particular are unlikely to listen to campaign speeches and ads. Promoting libertarian ideas to most voters is like advertising milk to alcoholics.”Yeah, and if they even go for the milk, they'll end up adding the government alcohol right back in so they can make White Russians. Sure they taste good, but they don’t solve the problem of the political alcoholic, do they?