David R. Henderson  

A Little Optimism from Walter Block

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This is part of economics professor Walter Block's answer to someone who expressed deep pessimism about the prospects for liberty in the future:

I agree with your negative assessment of short term success. It is due to biological hard wiring, in my view. However, the fight is so much FUN! So, forget about whether we win or lose. You're right, we'll probably lose, at least in the short run. In the long run, who knows?

I urge you to focus, instead, on the sheer pleasure of undermining the world view of the mainstream media, and all those other blowhards in the pulpit, in academia, etc. Don't you just LOVE it when Ron tweaks their pompous noses?

I tell you, I've been in this libertarian movement since 1962. Then, there were but a few of us, a very few. We were fully, totally, and completely ignored by mainstream media. Nowadays, libertarianism is all over the place. We are EVERYWHERE. No longer are we libertarians confused with librarians, libertines, etc. Thanks to our man Ron Paul, we are acquainting millions of people with the freedom philosophy, and converting thousands, no--tens of thousands, no--hundreds of thousands of people to our banner.


I've noticed what Walter talks about in the last paragraph also. It seems as if libertarians have become the "Loyal Opposition," to take a phrase I learned growing up in Canada. One measure of our power is the frequency with which we are attacked: it's much higher now than a few decades ago.

Like Walter also, I think you need to have fun fighting against state oppression. In this series of three articles I wrote in 2004 (here, here, and here: read in order), I talk about how I had fun fighting against a local sales tax increase.


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COMMENTS (8 to date)
infopractical writes:

It's easier to be the loyal opposition when your an Econ professor. I don't mean that to take a swipe at Block -- just that his perspective may not scale. He has just enough respect to be sure that there isn't much the government will do to silence him (unless it's already really hit the fan).

However, it feels like there is a good chance that all these crazy new terrorism laws have a chance to be used against libertarians and patriots with fewer measures of defense. Obama's justice department did take the moment of the SOPA/PIPA protests to bloody our noses by taking out a "pirate" target.

Will we see members of Anonymous tortured in Gitmo?

There is some fun to be had, but...

Brandon Berg writes:

I don't know why so many people have a problem with libertarians. As long as you guys let me eat my steak in peace, you can eat books all day long, for all I care.

Speedmaster writes:

Thanks for posting that. Dr. Block is one my heroes, his Defending The Undefendable is an all-time fav.

It's definitely tough to stay positive when we see what's going on in the news and the political economy. But I guess he's right, at least we're on the radar screen now.

PrometheeFeu writes:

Wait, somebody in Canada actually thought that enslaving every young person for a year would be a good thing?

joeftansey writes:

I look forward to blog posts and maybe even books about Internet Warriors.

On my facebook page, if someone says something unlibertarian there's usually at least one (sometimes two or three) libertarians who jump on it and win the argument.

Leftism is basically taboo in public internet areas.

Ken B writes:

Fun is important. Hitchens had a lot of fun, we should all be that effective. In Canada I had the art of getting dippers (nickname for the NDP: socialism-lite, anti-liberty-heavy) foaming at the mouth down to an art.

Cannot agree about Ron Paul. I realize I have stumbled into a Pauline nest here, but he harms the cause.

David R. Henderson writes:

@PrometheeFeu,
I don’t get it. Please explain.

Ken B writes:

PrometheeFeu: I have had more than a few conversations with Canadians who think a year or two of compulsory public service at age 18 (a la Europe) would be a fine idea. I have had quite a few conversations with Europeans who think so too! I know very few volunteers though.

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