Essay:Ironies of libertarian activism

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  • If you pursue the abolition of a minor injustice, people say "That's too petty to be worth worrying about." If you pursue the abolition of a major injustice, people say "That's too big of a problem to try to change."
  • If the government is only mildly oppressive, people say "Don't try to fight the government; it's really not that bad." If the government is extremely oppressive, people say "You'd better not mess with the government; who knows what they'll they do to you if you get in their way."
  • If you haven't been in trouble with the law, you lack the experiential knowledge and (in many cases) the motivation to try to change the law. If you have been in trouble with the law, people say, "Because you've broken the law, you have no credibility as a social reformer."
  • If you are extremely concerned about, and work hard to abolish injustices, people say "You're obsessed; that's not healthy." If you are only mildly concerned with abolishing injustices, you won't put in the necessary effort to get the job done.
  • If you tell a low-echelon government worker that he is contributing to oppression, he'll say, "Lay off; it's not like I'm Hitler's Reichsführer-SS; it's more like I'm Hitler's janitor." If he's a high-ranking government worker, he'll be part of a small, select group that has been chosen for either being extremely reliably and steadfastly statist or for believing in selling out or compromising all values in order to (supposedly) achieve a small, marginal change for good that somehow tends to never actually materialize except in response to pressure by those libertarians who opted to work outside of the system.
  • If you advocate the abolition of some government program from which you personally benefit, people call you a hypocrite. If you advocate the abolition of some government program from which you don’t personally benefit, people call you selfish.