What follows is an essay I posted in response to a participant’s complaint at DailyPaul.com. The complaint was about quarreling amongst Liberty Movement people.
The problem you highlight is what I have been trying to point out all along, in one way or another. Those who are generally interested in the restoration of liberty and/or the Constitution are only in the very <b>beginning</b> stages of organization. When the Ron Paul campaign was underway and showing some signs for hope here and there, the “unity” in the movement seemed more obvious, but after his withdrawal, it became apparent that this “unity” was not unity at all, but a mere confluence of “best hope” ideas from a lot of people. Those who had clamored to Ron Paul’s side were quite divided upon his exit. Some chose a Paul-anyway (write-in) doctrine, while others split off to Johnson or Goode or whomever else.
As I have been saying all along, it will take a viable movement of PEOPLE to reform the nation, and not a mere campaign organization. This liberty movement, while promising, is not yet viable. By that, I mean that it does not yet have its <b>own</b> mind and heart and power and convictions—not as it will eventually have to have them in order to succeed. Rather, it clings to the most promising candidate, expecting him or her to be the champion who fills in whatever is lacking. This hope, however, is simply not based in reality, for it is impossible for a single person to do what all needs to be done.
It is a strategic question that has the misfortune of living in a field where all the players are only tactical thinkers at best. That is, it’s a “big picture” question posed to players who are much more comfortable with considerably smaller questions such as, “for whom should I vote?” Or to state it in yet one more way, so as not to be misunderstood, the deficit I’m highlighting is this: Billy supported Ron Paul, but Ron Paul’s campaign failed to make it to the general election, so Billy’s next step is to decide “who should I vote for now?” Billy does NOT concern himself with questions such as:
1. Why did the campaign fail?
2. What’s it going to take to get people’s attention?
3. How many more supporters would have been required for it to succeed?
4. What’s standing in the way?
5. How can those obstacles be removed?
6. What are the weaknesses of our existing strategy?
7. In what ways, if any, was the campaign or its message compromised?
8. What will I need to do to help?
9. How many other helpers will I have to recruit to get it done?
10. Are we just building a political campaign, or are we actually fortifying people into a self-existing movement?
We all tend to be “cognitive misers”, thinking deeply only when we think we have no other choice. It is very unlikely, therefore, that many liberty supporters would ever venture to explore this many questions on their own—especially when there are temptations to jump off that cognitive train. (For example, simply hopping onto the campaign of an alternate candidate without doing any of this “math”. Or even easier, putting things on hold in hopes that Ron Paul will run again in 2016.)
I maintain, however, that this sort of deep math is exactly what must be done if any viable movement is going to succeed. Liberty proponents often fall victim to a fundamental error as to the nature of this Republic. They SAY it’s supposed to be a government “by the people”, yet when they want reform, they don’t turn to the people for that reform, but to a single candidate, hanging all their hopes on his or her success.
I will say it again: this country is so far in subjection to the interests of the ruling cartel that there is no hope of reforming it if there cannot arise a viable PHILOSOPHICAL movement from among the people. This is because fixing the mess will be so difficult and detailed that cognitive misers (who lack the deep thinking and the deep CARING about the details) will be offered far too many opportunities to jump off that train before it reaches the desired destination. Just look at how many people in the “Tea Party” got co-opted by the RNC and didn’t even realize it was happening. They were given all manner of other choices that they did NOT originally have in mind when they first found themselves protesting in 2008/2009….and they were lured to be dissuaded from their original goals, while all the time thinking they were doing a good thing for participating.
There’s a certain irony in the cognitive miser fussing about liberty; by his own lack of cognitive discipline, he ensures that he will never attain to the liberty he extols, for he hopes that somebody else can secure it for him. Little does he realize that he himself is the primary problem—that his own attribute substitution (substituting easy-but-dysfunctional solutions for harder-but-functional solutions) is the number one bad habit that keeps America in its ugly status quo. He complains for liberty, but fails to free his OWN mind from the fetters of laziness and unreality—things he could do for himself.
We cannot be a great Republic in SPITE of our own people; only with the aspiration of the people to higher ideals can greatness be achieved. But there is NO viable movement to this end. Not one. Candidates, no matter how bright and promising they may be, simply run for office. They do not build public paradigm shifts, but rather, they appeal to the public AS IT IS wishing simply for a vote. Changing public paradigms is simply not their business.
Meanwhile, the churches, whose rhetoric SEEMS to be all about building a people of high ideals, constantly fail to inspire their own to break free of cognitive miserliness. For whatever the reasons may be, they are generally doing more harm than good in this regard, for their people generally deem themselves to be enlightened and well-informed when they are exactly the opposite. (“If you make people think they are thinking, they will love you, but if you really make them think, they will hate you.” Don Marquis)
Another prime example of this same phenomenon is the political talk audiences. They THINK they are thinking as they listen to their champions, but they are not REALLY thinking, for they rarely see the fallacies in the rhetoric.
And yet another example, ironically, can be found in many of the liberty supporters. Having attained a higher ideal than most, many fall victim to assuming that they have aspired far enough already, and that no further learning, growth, wisdom, etc. on their parts will be necessary for success.
And so sits America, puffed up in her own mind and doing not one percent of the thinking she THINKS she’s doing. She prides herself in finding a clever and easy way out—such as is promised by finding an exceptional candidate for office. But there is no easy solution to such a massive and complex problem. There are two ways out:
1. Change the paradigms of the people.
2. Find a benevolent dictator who will seize all control and rule the people justly, in spite of their own unwillingness to aspire to higher character in their own right.
Interestingly, the latter is almost universally deemed by Americans to be too dangerous as benevolent dictators seem unlikely to exist (for long, at least). And the former is rarely even considered for a moment. Hence, the quarreling you cite.
The stark reality is that the success of liberty depends on MUCH more than the success of a single political campaign, but most miss this fact in the excitement of the campaign. After a loss, they lick their wounds or complain for two years, and then they begin to look for a champion for the next go-round. They never realize that their own efforts are insufficient to achieve the goals they envision. It is, therefore, much more an exercise in wishing than in calculated building.