Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Can An Anarchist Participate in Politics, Without Dishonor?

I am an anarchist who labors in electoral politics.  I do not believe that winning an office by electoral politics grants any magical powers to rule over others.  So why then do I participate in electoral politics as if intending to win morally meaningless offices?  Just the thought of such dangerous foolishness should make me feel icky.

It doesn't though, because I have learned the light art of holding two contradictory thoughts in my head at the same time.  Not the dark art.  The light art entails understanding arguments on both sides of a moral question, and using that knowledge to make peace and increase understanding of others.  The dark art uses that same knowledge to lead people astray and sow general confusion.   I intend only to shed light: on the one hand, seeking magical powers to rule over others is plainly off the mark for an anarchist.  On the other hand: the enlightened ones do not need to be taught what they have already learned.  It is those who have never understood the message of liberty who need teachers and leaders.  For an anarchist, laboring in electoral politics is missionary work.

The "we-run-to-win" contingent might be heard groaning here, if any are present.  Please be patient.  One can wholeheartedly run to win, while simultaneously believing that the office contested for is immoral.  Of course, others may believe that the office is moral and necessary.  Let's leave the issue of the morality of the office aside for now.  We agree that the act of running for office is not, by itself, immoral.  And we agree that if we are going to run, we should run to win.  Winning is the point of playing the game; if we don't try to win it won't be a game.  We are going to work side-by-side to win, and if we win, you are going to have anarchists in your government, and you are going to better understand and accept what it means to be free.  If we lose, you are going to better understand and accept what it means to be free.  In that sense of understanding and acceptance, you are going to have anarchists in your government either way.  As I was saying, it's missionary work.

A good missionary learns more from the mission than those who are ministered to, and learns it from those who are served.  It's not as if the anarchists have all the answers.  We believe in liberty, but some questions are not yet answered by experimental data, and some expressions of the new order will not be foreseen or planned.  The amazing new orders that will emerge will be informed by so many different people, including by you to whom we bring our message of freedom.  We will learn from you as you learn from us.  Just know that we will never stop pushing for more liberty and justice in human affairs, which will once perfectly achieved dissolve the power of every office of authority that any politician might ever seek.

This missionary work can be done in any political party, or outside of any party.  I labor in the Libertarian party, because I am a convert of this party.  It was not the Republicans, Greens, Democrats, Peace and Freedom, or any other party who converted me.  I did not learn much about liberty in public school.  It was the Libertarians, the people I met at their conferences and conventions, who opened my eyes.  Not everybody has the same motivations or experiences as I, and that's OK.  There are other mission fields to work in.  So thanks for giving me a break, my friend.  It's not easy, being a missionary.
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