[Rejected for posting by Strike-the-Root 02-05-2013]
[Rejected for posting by Strike-the-Root 02-05-2013]
An Open Letter to Alex Knight Regarding His Open Letter to Philip Baruth
At the risk of seeming like an ass-hat...
You don't vote. You urge others not to either. And, you live in a de facto one-party state entity. So bearing all that in mind, it seems unlikely to me that your Internet column here, or your previous one, (in re Vermont state senate majority leader Philip Baruth), will have much impact on him. While posting your objections to his anti-liberty, anti-gun legislation to STR surely doesn’t hurt your cause, might I suggest some additional tactics that have worked for me, on the local level, in my neck of the woods, whose politics are quite similar to Vermont’s?
If you really want to influence Mr. Majority Leader you should try and enlist the help of a dozen or so of like-minded friends and set up picketers everywhere Mr. Majority Leader shows up for a public appearance in order to get noticed by your fellow citizens and the media. You should call in to radio and TV shows that take live callers and complain about him, and bonus points if he’s live on the program and so has to listen and respond to you in real time. You should offer to contribute work and/or money to groups or coalitions that oppose him on this issue. You may have to start such a coalition on your own. Don’t be afraid to accept contributions or help from someone who you have disagreements with on other issues. That’s for another day.
Pass out some well-written, single page leaflets with your contact info around gun & knife shows, target ranges, outdoor expos and other places or events that likely supporters might be. Just knowing such opposition exists out there will have some influence on Mr. Majority Leader. You and your friends need to be the stone in Mr. Majority Leader’s shoe that he feels every time he moves.
I see from the biographical blurb on your STR profile that you are a former Libertarian Party communications director, and so I have to believe that you must already know these two key points, but let me remind you; one, that reality-based, street-level politics is the art and science of applying political pressure toward achieving a specific goal; two, that there are really only two kinds of political tactics: Those that work, and those that don’t. If the tactics that you use aren’t working, then you have to try something else.
I have noticed for long time now an air of derision about any kind of participation in the political process - not just party related stuff or voting - for fear of being contaminated by it from writers and bloggers of the libertarian and anarchist bent. I find this strange too. As philosophers from the time of Aristotle onward have noted, human beings are born “political animals” and of necessity must be so in order to live peacefully in groups larger than family size. Being “political” is the same thing as “being human.” Being one implies being the other said the old Greek.
That doesn’t mean we should all become Democrats or Republicans though. I completely agree with the sentiment of “a pox on both their houses” when it comes to conventional party politics. Gore Vidal was quite apt when he noted that the two-party system in America is a deception, and that we truly have only one ruling party that presents two faces in order to deceive us. This situation is, sadly enough, just how it is, and so that‘s what we have to contend with, like it or not.
I don’t want to join up as a party member, a nomenklatura, or a mindless dupe, for the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Working Families, Progressive, Constitution, Green, Bong Hits for Jesus, or any other political party. However, that said, I have no problem at all participating in an ad hoc, united-front coalition with any or all of the above mentioned to protect my family and myself from the machinations of statist entities and their apparatchiks, and lackeys. To paraphrase that famous Old West scoundrel “Canada Bill” Jones, I know the political process is crooked, but “it’s the only game in town.” And until the state is seriously diminished or destroyed, if it even can be, I’ll have to play those games out of necessity. The only other realistically achievable alternative would be to find a very sparsely populated desert wasteland somewhere and just hide under the state’s radar and exist and on my own terms for as long as I can, which some groups have successfully done, more or less, until they find me out, or I pass away. That is the reality of trying to be a free man in an un-free world.
Engaging in effective, non-violent, and non-partisan Saul Alinsky-style tactics, or even in civil disobedience, in order to preserve my life, liberty, and happiness is not without some consequent mental turmoil, but it also may very well be worth enduring in order to prevent our being disarmed, regulated to death, snooped upon, and otherwise being continually held in a permanent, and ever worsening condition of anxiety and fear. Whether these uncertainties and doubts are worse than the hardships of living in a cold, damp teepee out in the desert, but with as many AR-15s, untaxed liquor, tobacco, cannabis, raw milk, or wives as I care to have, are worth it in the end, I can’t say for certain just now. So let me say in closing Alex that wish you good luck, and I hope I’ve provided you with some food for thought with this letter.
All the best,