The political means of achieving liberty cannot succeed because the deck is stacked too thoroughly in the state’s favor. This isn’t surprising since the political means is the state’s tool and the house always has the advantage.
Many cards are in the state’s decks from election regulations to controlling who can and can’t run for office. One of the cards seldom discussed is the dependency card. Possibly the most powerful cards in the state’s desk, the dependency card allows the state to get popular support by making people dependent on it. Dependency comes in many forms including welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and state-enabled monetary gains. Ron Paul’s campaign wasn’t just a victim of Republican Party shenanigans, it was also a victim of state-enabled dependency on behalf of those working in the campaign:
Jesse Benton, married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter, ran the Paul campaign and ran it badly, failing to take advantage of opportunities in states like Virginia where Ron might have actually defeated Romney head-to-head if a minimum of support had been forthcoming from the national campaign. Benton explains to The Times how he has had to reject those who “dress in black, stand on a hill and say, ‘Smash the state.’” Benton, who reportedly has morphed into a multitasking paid political consultant and deal-maker with several businesses registered in his name including offices in Washington, D.C., generously paid himself $586,616 along the way while keeping the revolutionaries in check. He also confuses passion with craziness, possibly because he lacks the former. Most Paul supporters that I have encountered are completely rational and dedicated to turning our country around. They support the message of small government, non-interventionism overseas, constitutionalism, and sound money policies all because they make good sense. But I suppose Benton would argue that he is, as The Times adroitly puts it, “balancing pragmatism and principle.” Too bad pragmatism wins out every time for those who are ambitious.
Benton is a skilled operator when it comes to lining his own pockets. He understands that his salary, $586,616 in the case of this election, is dependent on the political process. Rational self-interest will lead him towards supporting the current state as it is allowing him to collect a six figure salary. Furthermore, he also has a reason to make other politicians, such as Mitt Romney, happy since Benton may find himself in the future employ of another politicians who he made nice with.
Ron Paul’s message, reducing the size and power of the state, directly threatens the income of people like Benton. Notice how Benton said he had to keep out those “dress in black, stand on a hill and say, ‘Smash the state.’” Obviously he was referring to anarchists such as myself. What’s a bigger threat to his salary than those of us who want to eliminate the creature that enables him to collect a six figure salary? Ron Paul, anarchists, and everybody else attempting to take power from the state are a direct threat to those who are dependent on the state.
How can anti-statists run a political campaign without worry about creating state dependents? They can’t. Once people begin deriving their income from the state or from activities that result from the existence of the state there’s little hope of stopping them from sabotaging an anti-statist campaign. Benton did an excellent job of stifling Paul’s campaign, probably because he was more concerned with setting himself up to enter the employ of other politicians than liberty.
Ending or just weakening the state is an extremely difficult task. The political means can’t accomplish either goal because the political means enriches people involved in the political process. It’s a tactic that is doomed from the beginning because it requires overcoming individuals’ self-interest. Since all human action is a result of self-interest you can see the problem.