Essay:Required level of support for implementing libertarian ideas

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Much has been written about the required level of support for implementing libertarian ideas. Murray Rothbard notes its importance as a strategic concern: "After education, what? What then? What happens after X number of people are convinced? And how many need to be convinced to press on to the next stage? Everyone? A majority? Many people?"[1] It seems fairly clear that in a democratic system in which the statist minority were willing to go along with the majority, all that would be needed to prevail would be majority support for libertarianism.

An intriguing possibility is secession, in which a freedom-loving minority could exit the state. This could theoretically give the secessionists what they want without forcing an state of affairs upon the statists that they do not want — other than the fact that they would no longer be able to forcibly impose rules on those who have seceded. There have been many attempts to secede from the U.S. Government, the most large-scale effort being that which led to the American Civil War. The Philippines was released from U.S. governance in 1946, so there is some precedent for gaining independence from the American empire. However, the Philippines was never a U.S. state; no U.S. state or part thereof has ever been released from the Union.

A determined campaign of civil disobedience by a political minority could grind government to a halt. The prospects of success of an armed revolution would probably depend greatly on the armaments available to each side. Most successful rebellions have had foreign support. However, this need not necessarily be support funded by a government; it could come from a private defense agency based outside the territory of the country from which the rebels are attempting to secede. For example, Sandline International indicated a willingness to support "genuine, internationally recognized and supported liberation movements."[2]

Successful guerrilla warfare would also be aided by choosing the appropriate methods; Rothbard notes that "since guerrillas rely for victory on the support and aid of the civilian population, they must, as a basic part of their strategy, spare civilians from harm and pinpoint their activities solely against the State apparatus and its armed forces. Hence, guerrilla war returns us to the ancient and honorable virtue of pinpointing the enemy and sparing innocent civilians. And guerrillas, as part of their quest for enthusiastic civilian support, often refrain from conscription and taxation and rely on voluntary support for men and materiel."[3]


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