The Fairy Tale of Changing the State From Within

Recently, someone presented us with a thought/question through our Facebook Page. We addressed this through some private messages and by letting our page fans discuss it. This idea of changing the state from within comes up from time to time. Frankly, it will be easier for us to just link to this blog post from now on, rather than constructing the answer all over again and again. So let’s put this persistent fairy tale of changing the state from within to bed, once and for all.

The Fairy Tale of Changing the State From Within

The Fairy Tale:

“The state is so large that it’s unreasonable to assume it can be ignored or reduced in any reasonable way by being ignored, therefore disarming it from the inside is the most realistic way of fighting it.

If there were a bunch of anarchists and libertarians in the administrative branches of government, surely it would be a much more limited government, if not on the verge of eventual non-existence.

Sounds good in theory, right? And as they say: in theory, theory and practice are the same.

Unfortunately, in practice, they are not.

The Reality

My lips are moving, I must be lying.Getting yourself into one of the branches of government is a process that you don’t just wake up one day and decide to do. Actually, you could wake up one day and decide to do it, but it has the same effect as deciding to be a banana. The process that you go through to get elected will destroy your anarchist/libertarian credibility (*cough*Rand*cough*). Even more if you are going to get appointed to your position. You will have to make promises (lie), fight politically (cheat) and get funded (steal) to get into that that office.

And once there?

Now you have promises to fulfill.

Now you have enemies to ward off.

Now you have debts to repay.

“But wait!” you say. “I am a principled anarchist/libertarian! I won’t play those political games! I won’t fulfill those promises (that would make government bigger). I won’t repay those debts (with government contracts) Now I’ve achieved my goal of bringing down the state from within! Now I’m going to launch my state-ending policy agenda! Muahahahaha!”

At least I have no cape1Good for you, Super Anarchist Politician (SAP). How are you planning to get your government limiting bills to the Floor for a vote? Might be that you need a co-sponsor or some other champion to help you out. Who have you got? The senior members from your State want nothing to do with you. In fact, nobody does after they found out you lied, cheated and stole your way to get in. And you didn’t even have the common courtesy to pay back your campaign contributors (tsk! tsk!). Do you really think anyone is going to jump on your bandwagon?

“But wait!” you say. “I was swept in on a massive wave of anarcho-libertarian voting. We have a solid caucus in both the house and the senate. We can join our voices together to co-sponsor bills and champion our own policies!”

Awesome, SAP! Did your wave of anarcho-libertarian voters give you chairmanships on the Way and Means Committee? The Budget Committee? Appropriations? Energy & Commerce? Rules? Finance? Judiciary? None? I mean did you even take over the Indian Affairs committee? No? Oh…. So how are you going to get your government shrinking bill to the Floor again? Are you a banana, yet?

I'll do what I have to do...Ok, you are starting to look lost. Let me tell you how you are going to do this. You are going to make promises – and, by God, you are going to keep them this time. You will promise to vote for the Senior Member’s appropriation bill with a payout to his campaign contributors back home. You will promise to pass a subsidy through for the big industry in your state (your phone has been ringing off the hook for that one anyway). And you will not fail to cast those votes or your bill will never see the light of day. Count on it.

So there you are, growing the government and influence of the state, you libertarian SAP, you. You’ve successfully entered the belly of the beast to kill it from within and whaddayaknow? You are going to have to grow it if you want to get any power to kill it. And the more you grow it, the harder it will be to kill. You are literally making it harder for other people to bring an end to the State by being a part of its government.

“But you don’t understand! I’ll slow down the rate of growth. I’ll vote “No” on all spending or increase in regulations. And since there are so many of us now, we can really help to bring down the State apparatus!”

The Fairy Tale dies hard.

What You’ll Have the Power To Do.

Ok, it’s time to put up or shut up. As a Representative or a Senator you have a staff that is feeding their families based on working for you. Without them, you really can’t get any bills drawn up or keep track of the appointments with the portion of the 45,000 members of your constituency that are writing, calling, emailing and showing up at your door during dinner. Without them, you will likely miss the call from that senior member you need to co-sponsor your bill. But so what, you are here to bring down the state.

I hope Justin cuts my social security benefis!So… Let’s make the easy cuts first and cut your staff. I’m sure you are running at least as anarcho-libertarian an office as the beloved Justin Amash. So, there are 15 welfare recipients you can cut out right now for a savings of just about $1,000,000 per year. It’s not much, but it’s a start. And it should be easy to cut them. All these people ever did was volunteer their time to run your campaign and get you into office. They’ve probably only worked 18 hour days, 7 days a week for 15 months… walking every precinct, knocking on every door, calling every voter… to get you elected. Taking their salary away should be easy as pie. Go ahead, you don’t need a co-sponsor to conduct that meeting. Just call it and look them all in the eye and tell them their child’s next meal is going to have to come from somewhere else. C’mon, do you want to bring down the state or not?


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11 thoughts on “The Fairy Tale of Changing the State From Within

  1. A mentor of mine used to say, “Why not join the mafia and reform that from the inside too?” Same principle. The mafia and the State are both in the business of hurting people; that’s what they do, that’s what they are for.

    • Exactly. The idea that you can change the biggest mafia ever known by becoming a part of it is ridiculous. The truth is most anarcho-libertarian political activists can’t change the precinct or district of a single political party where they live. But somehow they will change the concerted effort of both parties backed by the military industrial complex and the welfare-financial complex at a national level?

      • I believe most people never really think deeply about these issues. They’ve been conditioned to have reflex answers like “If you don’t like the laws you can work to change them.” And, “If you don’t like this country – leave.” Those answers trip off the tongue so frequently for a reason – they were put there be people with an interest in the status quo.

        Unlike most people – even those who would read this blog – I believe the long term answer lies, not with mass education, but with a very small group of people (thousands) creating a better social system and using it amongst themselves. The success and Freedom they have will attract more people over time. Not many people drove cars or flew in planes at first, but the benefits became obvious and people (who were technically clueless) adopted better transportation methods. The same logic applies to adopting a better social system.

        • This highlights the importance of projects like the Free State Project, Free Detroit and Bitcoin.

  2. Woah, didn’t expect a whole article from that question I asked! Safe to say I’m convinced against political activism though haha.

    I enjoy the site and the facebook page you lot run, thanks for (state free) brain-food.

  3. excellent post. and in case anybody is still not convinced, have a read through the “how much did i accomplish?” section of ron paul’s farewell address to congress. of note is this paragraph:

    “In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.”

    and ron paul is by far the most principled proponent of liberty to have been in congress within the past few decades. i doubt that any sap will make it as far as he has, or be as effective as he was, again. and what has he achieved via the political process? in his own words – absolutely nothing!

    • maybe he didn’t change the state – but he changed many many people who are outside the state. He was my one of many stops down to Rothbard and his The new Liberty manifesto. Though of course he could always accomplish changing minds from outside the US Congress – and I don’t doubt that such an amazing person could. If he had time and money to deal with it- now there is somehow easier thanks to the internet to spread the news through non-mass media and to collect funds – easier than in the late 70 or even 10 years ago.

      I would join the opinion of one of the commentators here – that we – who don’t want to play dirty games, steal and force – should go about our lives and steadily build a network of mutual services among anarcho-capitalists. We should connect, make a deal and pay each other – no taxes, no federal regulations – only mutual agreements regarding the terms. Thanks to the internet we found each other – I see a big chance that i.e thanks to the p2p network we could post ads regarding jobs, products, services – outside the state’s eyes ( and to use various kinds of loopholes in order to not be jailed)

  4. Pingback: The Marketplace of Ideas | Escape Velocity

  5. Does anyone know of any Agorism groups/organizations to join, local to south east Florida (Dade/Broward counties)?

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