News & Politics
Should Libertarians Learn How To Fight? [PODCAST]
Are libertarians losing because their movement is a bunch of lame, whining, weak, neckbearded cucks?
Today's episode of the Freedom Report podcast is a speech given by Libertarian Party presidential candidate Austin Petersen at LibertyFest in NYC on October 10th, 2015.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to talk to you today about one thing: Fighting for freedom.
Now, I know, as libertarians, we're not used to fighting.
Not because we're wimps.
Not because we're neckbeards.
Not because we're betas and cucks.
Not because we're whatever the liberals at Salon or the white nationalists at The Right Stuff think we are.
No, because fighting is almost always irrational.
But my friends, we are up against irrational people.
And if you doubt that, you've only to look at the two major parties.
I always find it interesting to watch the difference between how those parties govern and how they campaign.
When they govern, they take an entire loaf of freedom that we used to have like it's nothing, and then, just to show how magnanimous they are, they toss a few crumbs back to us.
And then, when campaign season rolls around, you know what they do?
They say, 'Look at all these crumbs you have! If someone else gets elected, you won't have those. Isn't that horrible?'
And it works!
Because no one is standing there saying, 'Screw the crumbs! We want the whole loaf of bread back, and we’ll take it by force if we have to!’
All we do is mouth platitudes at them about how there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
Well, it's not enough to say 'There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.'
We have to stop these bullies from getting their free lunch by taking it from us!
Now, if we want to do that, we’ve got an uphill battle.
Because it is now crystal clear that we can expect no help from the two major parties.
Let’s start with the Republicans.
Now, I know a lot of people here probably think the Republicans are great because of Rand Paul.
But you know what? Rand Paul’s not leading the polls.
Donald Trump is leading the polls.
Now, Donald Trump’s a lot of fun. He’s a great entertainer.
But if you think Republicans have anything in common with libertarians, look at what Trump stands for.
He’s more socialist than Barack Obama on universal healthcare.
Elizabeth Warren loves his tax plan because it targets Wall Street.
And he wants to leave Medicare and Social Security untouched.
I thought this was what those ‘evil, socialist Democrats’ were supposed to be like.
So why’s Donald Trump leading in the polls?
I’ll tell you why.
Because he wants to round up every illegal immigrant in this country, deport them to Mexico, and build a wall to keep them out.
And that’s all you have to say to get the Republican base to love you.
They will sell our country out for socialism, just as long as they don’t have to dial “1” for English.
I guess hitting a button on your phone is a microaggression?
So while the Republicans might have helped us in the past, let’s not kid ourselves.
They may say they support innovation, but when a Muslim boy builds a clock, they try to shut down him down more fiercely than patent trolls.
They may say they support economic freedom, but when an immigrant wants to sell her labor for less than a white man, they complain about unfair competition louder than unions.
They may say they support the rule of law, but when a bigoted county clerk refuses to do her job, they talk like they’re defending sanctuary cities.
They may say they want the government out of marriage and family, but they cheer when Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee audition for the role of American Ayatollah.
Don’t mistake their opportunism for principle.
And the Democrats? Don’t make me laugh.
Oh sure, they’ll complain loudly about violations of civil liberties for terrorists, but then turn a blind eye to innocent college men convicted by feminist star chambers.
They say “do what you want with your body” when you want an abortion, but not when you want a Big Gulp.
They’ll let immigrants work on farms, but not as Uber drivers.
They celebrate the freedom to marry for gays, but then put the thumbscrews on divorced men.
They’ll complain about people being required to pay for costly, inefficient wars, but not for costly, inefficient health care.
They’ll tell us that black lives matter, and I’m sure they mean it, because Planned Parenthood literally makes a killing on the corpses of black children.
They claim to support blacks, women, immigrants, and peace.
The only blacks Democrats support are cop killers and criminals.
The only women they support are baby killers and false rape victims.
The only immigrants they support are the ones their special interests can exploit.
The only peace they support is bending the knee to fascists and Islamic theocrats.
The Democrats make the worst people in the Republican base look like they have a point.
Americans need a better alternative. We are that alternative.
But neither of these two parties will listen to us. Not unless we learn to fight.
I’m here to tell you how we can learn to do that.
Now, I’m not a violent man.
I’m a happy warrior, but war doesn’t make me happy.
But I recognize something that maybe not everyone does.
We libertarians must learn how to fight not just so that we can win, but also so that we can learn how to not fight.
Now, there are two ways to not fight.
One is to let the statists win.
And if you want to do that one, you’re in the wrong place.
The other is to make the statists afraid to fight us.
That’s the one I want to do.
An in order to do that, we need an army, and we need a strategy to defeat them.
Now, I own a website called The Libertarian Republic.
And a lot of people accuse me of running that website just to make money for myself.
They say, “Oh, Austin, you’re the Justin Bieber of libertarianism, you just want to get traffic, get money, and give us all a bad name.”
Well, not only is that not true, but I’d have to be an idiot to do that.
Because you know who the state loves to come after when there’s no one to fight it?
Rich people and libertarians.
So if I used libertarians to get rich that way, I’d be painting two giant bullseyes on my back.
And I probably wouldn’t get to keep my money for very long.
So if I only wanted to make money, no offense, but doing it through a libertarian website is the dumbest way to do it.
But I don’t want just money. I want people. I want an army.
And through my website, and podcasts, and public appearances, and through this campaign, that is what I am building: an army.
And I hope that by the time I finish this talk, you will want to join that army.
Because I’m gonna tell you how we win.
We win by being like two groups of people: George Washington and Saul Alinsky on one hand, and Bruce Lee and Sun Tzu on the other.
Now, you’re probably wondering: What the heck do George Washington and Saul Alinsky have in common?
Anyone here heard of a guy named Quintus Fabius Maximus?
Quintus Fabius Maximus was a Roman general who defeated the legendary Carthaginian Hannibal.
And he did it using a strategy that some of you may have heard of.
It’s called Fabian strategy.
What’s Fabian strategy?
Well, to quote that wonderful source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, Fabian strategy is a strategy where “Pitched battles and frontal assaults are avoided in favor of wearing down an opponent through attrition.”
And, and this is important, the side adopting this strategy believes time is on its side.
We libertarians know time is on our side.
Why? Rudyard Kipling put it best in his poem, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.”
In this poem, Kipling was making fun of people who thought they could build socialist utopias where the laws of the market wouldn’t apply.
And this poem was his way of saying, “Guess what, guys? You’re gonna fail.”
So think of this as my one and only shout out tonight to the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Here’s the final verse of Kipling’s poem:
“And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”
In other words, no matter how much you think you’ve built a socialist utopia, the laws of economics will catch up with you.
So time is definitely on our side, because the longer the modern state tries to survive, the more likely it is to fail.
Our job is to hasten that process.
Now, we can’t beat the state in a pitched battle.
It’s got more soldiers, who are better organized, with far superior weapons.
And that’s true politically, too. They have stronger political machines and more money than we do.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t win the war.
Because as big and powerful and imposing as the state is, there’s one thing its defenders are terrified of us figuring out:
The greatest weakness of big government is that it is big.
And as someone who’s done martial arts, let me tell you from firsthand experience, big things are slow, and they tire very easily.
You know, Grover Norquist talks about starving the beast?
I’d like to talk about starving the hambeast.
‘Cause that’s what we’re up against: a giant, fat, unwieldy state that’s been gorging itself on taxpayer money like a hypocritical body positivity activist at Ben and Jerry’s.
Well, we can beat something like that so long as we don’t let it sit on us!
And I’m not just saying that to be cute. Our last Secretary of State didn’t even understand how email works.
A Vice Presidential candidate in 2008 had her email hacked by someone with barely any technical knowledge.
The federal government still has trouble figuring out how to digitize huge chunks of its resources.
The fact is, the state is slow to change, and even slower to adapt.
We’ve seen this movie before during the American revolutionary war.
The British expected to meet George Washington in pitched, traditional battles.
They had no idea how to react when he started attacking them with guerrilla warfare.
And he was right to do so, because the British were slow, ponderous, and deep in enemy territory.
Well, right now, anything the federal government tries to regulate is enemy territory. And like most occupiers, they’re losing.
Uber shoved them out by being faster and more popular.
SOPA crashed and burned because Google and Wikipedia moved more quickly than lobbyists.
The FBI even had to tell feminists it lacks the resources to even begin policing Twitter, let alone the rest of the internet.
The state is a bear in a forest full of wasp’s nests, and we libertarians are the wasps.
All we need to do is figure out where best to sting.
That’s where Saul Alinsky comes in.
Alinsky came up with several “rules for radicals,” which are basically Fabian warfare applied to politics.
And at the risk of boring you, let me tell you what a couple of those rules are.
Here’s one: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. I love this one.
Ever argued with some statist who whines that you have some massive, rich, white, patriarchal system on your side?
You know what I love about those people?
Even when I don’t have anywhere near that level of power, they think I do, that means that if I fight them, I can win just by threatening them with it.
And that’s another Alinsky rule, by the way: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
I don’t know what statists think my supposedly all-powerful, patriarchal allies will do to them if we win, but I know it’s probably worse than anything I can dream up.
Which means whatever threat I make is one they’re going to take so seriously that actually getting off their butts and doing anything to me will take a lot of courage.
And I’m sure you all know, statists are not good at courage.
That’s why we’re going to demand it of them every chance we get.
‘Cause that’s another rule: Go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase anxiety and uncertainty.
Well, our army is going to give statists panic attacks.
For every time they try to regulate business, we’ll be waiting with the workers who will suffer.
For every time they try to regulate our bodies, we will throw those bodies on the machinery of the state until it breaks.
For every time they try to regulate our wallets, we will make that cash heard through ads, emails, direct mail, and every other weapon that Citizens United has placed in our hands.
For every time they try to regulate our internet, we will drown their servers in a flood of emails, texts, and Tweets.
And we won’t be gentle with what we say, either. Because that’s another rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
To all the Statists listening and thinking they can withstand our assault, I have just one question:
Do you even liberty, bro?
I hope you guys are having fun. Not just because I am, but because that’s also a way to win. Emma Goldman said she didn’t want a revolution without dancing, and you can rest assured that the Freedom Ninja army will be dancing and laughing all over the graves of our enemies because nobody puts Bieberson in the corner!
Some of you may not know this, but I actually worked at the Libertarian Party for a year.
And during that time, I had an internship team, and you know, most people assume interns are going to suck at their jobs.
But I didn’t.
I found out what they liked to do, and I made them do it as much as possible.
And guess what? They didn’t suck at their jobs.
That’s why there is a place for every libertarian in my army.
If you’re a policy wonk, I want you in my brain trust.
If you’re an activist, I want you volunteering, making calls, and knocking on doors.
If you’re a writer, I want you writing op eds and letters to the editor.
Hell, even if you are a neckbeard who lives in his mother’s basement, I’d be happy if you started throwing hot pockets at the nearest census taker.
We are libertarians because we believe in the power of the individual.
And an army that is made up of individuals at their best will always beat an army that doesn’t want to be there.
And if you’ve ever spent any time in a DMV, you know the real statists don’t want to be there anymore than you do.
There’s just one more thing we need to do, and that’s pick our battles right.
Alinsky says it this way, a tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
Well, we don’t have the luxury of picking fights that’ll be a drag on us.
And we’re not going to waste time when we do decide to fight.
When the time comes, we are going to strike hard, strike fast, strike first, and strike without mercy.
I’ve been blessed to have trained under many incredibly talented masters of karate, and all of them taught me that while Karate is for defense only, once the battle is engaged, the person who strikes first almost always wins.
And when you look at big government, it is so big, and so cumbersome, that if we don’t manage to hit them first, and hit them where it hurts, then we will have failed.
And once we’ve attacked, we’re not going to let up. We’re not even going to let them hit back, if we can help it.
That’s another rule of Alinsky’s I want to teach you: Keep the pressure on. Never let up.
But you know what? It’s not all destruction. We’re not nihilists, whatever Salon says.
I want to lead this country, and I’m under no illusions about what that means.
I can’t just tear down my opponents. I need to offer an alternative of my own that is better than what they’re offering.
So here are a couple of things I’m going to do differently when I’m President.
First, I am going to reduce our entire tax burden to a single flat tax.
Not just because the current system is unfair, or because a flat tax is better for the economy.
No, I’m going to do it for a much simpler reason:
I think the response to a political opponent should be a counterargument, not an IRS audit.
But right now, the tax code is so complicated that the IRS can audit almost anyone and dig up dirt.
Which is an invitation to tyrants to use it as a cudgel.
I’m not a tyrant. I don’t want that cudgel.
And speaking of failed Federal agencies, here’s an idea.
Let’s privatize the most insultingly incompetent Federal department there is: The Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
I think our men and women in uniform shouldn’t have to rely on the whims of career bureaucrats to take care of them once they’re wounded, or old, or sick.
I think instead of funding those bureaucrats, we should do this.
We should take that money we were wasting on the VA, and send our veterans a check every year as a thank you for their service. And they can spend it on the best health care for they choose for themselves.
Oh, and how about we make the EPA stop using force and start using persuasion?
And that’s not just rhetoric. I mean it.
President Nixon created the EPA to provide expertise and knowledge, particularly in court cases where judges didn’t have the type of complex understanding of the environment necessary to settle disputes.
I say, let’s move them back to that role. Let them study the environment, instead of trying to control it.
Let them explain the science, rather than forcing it down our throats.
Mind you, I wouldn’t necessarily listen even if that was all they did.
Because their credibility bled out along with the millions of gallons of toxic waste water they spilled into the Animas river in Colorado recently.
Those are just a couple of the solutions I’d like to see followed in Washington.
But if you’re a libertarian policy wonk and you’ve got others, I’m all ears.
So I’ve talked about the Alinsky and Washington part of my vision.
How about Sun Tzu and Bruce Lee?
Well, you know, Sun Tzu and Bruce Lee both understood the importance of something we libertarians are sometimes bad at.
I’m talking about flexibility.
Let’s be honest, a lot of us can be pretty rigid and dogmatic.
But you know what? If we can’t do this much, then we cannot defeat the state.
I know principles worked for a lot of us on our college debate teams.
But the fight with the state isn’t a debate. It’s a war.
So while talking about perfectly consistent, detailed principles might have won us points with judges, it’d get us panned by Sun Tzu.
Because Sun Tzu says all warfare is based on deception.
If we want to beat the state, it can’t know what we’re going to do.
If we’re going to beat statists, we can’t hand them weapons with which to attack us.
Instead, we have to confuse them.
So if they think we’re going to fight, we should lure them into a false sense of security instead.
If they think we’ve already surrendered, we should surprise them by attacking from the last direction they expect.
And above all, we cannot tell our enemies what our tactical plans are.
No advertising your delegate strategies on the Daily Paul.
No talking about detailed policy agendas in the Lew Rockwell forums.
No bragging about how many emails you sent on reddit.
Remember, we are the insurgents. We are the freedom fighters. The big government types will be watching us especially closely.
Because they know they can’t last long if we can make any fight with them go on.
Sun Tzu says there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
And while war might be the health of the state, it can also be its downfall.
Because a state that loses is a state that will be overthrown.
People will not bow before the tax-gobbling hambeast when a lean, libertarian fighting machine has it on the ground blubbering.
Which brings me to the final lesson, for which I have to give credit to Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee’s philosophy of fighting was simple: Be like water.
Why? Because water changes its shape to fit whatever situation it’s in.
Because the state is not a flexible, changeable institution.
The state is slow and porous as a boulder, and will always be that way.
But we can be like water in all its forms.
Like ice, we can immobilize the state.
Like water, we will erode it.
Like steam, we will rise above as it sinks below us.
Statists may think they can defeat us with their weapons and their political machines.
I say let them try.
Let them try to serve us fire and steel.
We will be like water.
We will douse their fire and let it flow to the ash heap of history.
We will rust their steel and toss it down the trash chute of memory.
Let them try to call us out by using shame or fear tactics.
We will be like water.
We will be the tears of rage they weep when their shaming backfires.
We will be the sweat that drips and burns in their eyes when their scare tactics fail.
They may be as mindless and selfless as worker ants serving their big, fat, government queen.
But we are the river that will drown their ant heap of totalitarianism. We will move to kill the queen.
My friends, my name is Austin Petersen, and I am running for President.
But more than that, I am running for Commander-in-Chief of the army of freedom.
The United States used to lead that army, but it did not lead purely with force of arms.
It led because its people were free.
Join me, and become that free people.
Join me, and become that free army.
Join me, and let’s fight for the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
It is Free