With Propertarianism becoming a larger and more widespread movement it is time we developed a pragmatic strategy to take back our freedom. Much of this work has been done by the great intellectual Hans Hermann Hoppe in his work What Must Be Done. In this post, I would like to take and expand Hoppe’s view of what a propertarian strategy should look like.
The propertarian’s have four tactics to achieve our overall goal. Of course the ultimate end goal is to create a propertarain society of our own, and the four pillars to bring that society into reality are organization, education, national politics, and local politics.
Organization is key for the propertarian movement. Propertarians need to create their own organizations, clubs, events, think tanks, etc. We can no longer rely solely on mainstream libertarian outlets to help and support us. One look through either the Young Americans for Liberty or Libertarian Party’s comment section will show these groups are anti-anarchist and in some cases really rather statist. Also mainstream libertarianism is not going anywhere, and it does not really stand for anything, but I will cover that in a later post.
Separating from mainstream libertarianism and uniting under propertarianism would be beneficial for our movement. First of all, it would allow us to form a community of actually like minded individuals to support each other, and to break the isolation of being on the ideological fringe. In addition, a unified and organized front does lend legitimacy to our cause because most people are more likely to listen to ideas if these ideas has a following. Having our own think tanks and political organizations would allow the propertarian message to be clear and unadulterated because we would not need to alter our message to appease some shaky coalition that is not going anywhere e.g. libertarianism, and propertarians would be able to lobby for a freer government on their own terms if they were independent.
Organizing the propertarain movement helps with the second tactic of education. Obviously education is very important for our ideology to flourish because without the ideas of Propertarianism being known and understood it is hard to bring a propertarian society into reality.
Propertarianism, now more than ever, has the ability to make a great impact on the American political scene. Americans are tired of the two party system, and we saw this during the 2016 presidential election. There were many democrats who wanted to promote a candidate further left than Hilary i.e. Bernie. Many groups throughout America, like the antifa crowd, would be happy with someone further left than Bernie!
The same phenomenon happened to the Republicans. Sure some Republicans wanted a centrist candidate, but it was still Trump who won the Presidency despite all of the establishment’s whining. This is not an endorsement of Trump because his platform was never ancap and not even mainstream libertarian to begin. What this does show however is that people are tired of the political establishment.
This anti-establishment sentiment is great for groups on the political fringe because it gives them an opportunity. The people realize something is wrong, but they are not sure what exactly it is or what to do.This is where we come in. We need to get the word out as best as we can to show the American public there is another way.
Of course we cannot work within the establishment framework which rules out mainstream media and academia. This means our own propertarian think tanks and foundations need to be started. There are some intellectuals who are propertarians, or at least sympathetic to its ideals, and they need to be united under one roof to maximize their output and effect. Foundations such as the Mises Institute need to be promoted and contributed to more often by propertarains. Propertarian media outlets could be estabished to report news from the propertarian point of view and give people a view different from CNN and Fox News.
Just because propertarians are locked out of the classroom does not mean we should not have a presence on college campuses. Propertarian student unions and propertarian events on campus can be very profitable to spread liberty like was seen during the Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders phenomenons.
Not only is getting our message out important, but so is how we put that message. Even though much of the population is open to try something new it cannot come off as some half baked idea since that will still turn a lot of people away. It is important that propertarians show Propertarianism’s deep intellectual tradition. This does not mean that we must water down our principles, but simply to put them in a way that is more palatable to the public. Naturally not everybody will be attracted to Propertarianism. Those on the far left or neoconservatives will probably not be interested in what we have to say regardless of how we say it. But there is a large sect of the population who, I believe, would be interested e.g. libertarian conservatives, anarchists caught up in libertarian parties, and others.
It is the purpose of this website to help with these first two tactics of organization and education. Propertarian HQ is a place for propertarians/ancaps to get together and support each other. To form a community in order to help educate each other through debate, and to be a place full of resources and original material to help bring people into the propertarian fold.
Organization and education are the foundations for what are the third and fourth steps in our strategy. This is the topic a politics, but I am breaking it down into two sections because national and local politics will need to be treated differently.
As propertarians we do not want to expend too much time and energy on the national stage. Not because we do not want to see the entire United States embracing our ideals, but because we do not believe our party will profit much from national politics since places like New York and California are not very receptive to the idea of Liberty. Of course for those who go into national politics abolishing taxation and regulation should be a goal, but their main focus should be to work with other politicians to bring about political decentralization and secession around the country. Actually, I believe the best way for national politics to help our party is by using debates, commercials, etc. as a platform to spread our message with special focus on the importance of decentralization.
Finally, the last part of this discussion is the most important. This last tactic is how we handle local politics. Propertarianism is really a local grassroots movement with the motto, “think locally act locally”. Since the goal of our party at the national level is political decentralization, it is important that we have a plan for once we become politically autonomous. We need to look at this part of our strategy in a little bit more detail namely 1) what will happen in the locality specifically, and 2) how to deal with higher political authorities.
We will first discuss what to do in a specific locality. Of course the first goal is to get propertarians elected into office. I know that some anarchists have issues with voting. They believe, voting gives legitimacy to the State, and that voting is a coercive act. However I do not believe this is the case. Voting is often a defensive action to minimize the damage that democracy causes by voting for the lesser of two evils. Also voting in local elections is the best way to repeal and abolish the government peacefully, and I do believe that this processes has the best chance of success if it is done peacefully.
But once the officials are elected then what? Well that is when the elected officials must build a propertarian society. Taxation and regulation should be abolished, and all government property should be privatized. Hoppe lays out a fairly good strategy of this by restricting the right to vote to those who are net taxpayers. This group generally boils down to property owners, and this policy excludes welfare recipients and government employees who have an incentive to increase taxes and government. Government officials would still have to be careful because property owners can still be lured into the siren song of corporate welfare/protectionism. As tax revenue would inevitably decrease because most taxpayers would want to lower their tax burden, and the propertarian elected officials would seek to lower taxes anyway on economic and moral grounds, this would cause a funding shortage in the local government. The lack of funding will create the incentive for the local government to privatize assets which the propertarians would be doing anyway. I would recommend that this privatization start out small by privatizing parks, lands, and other recreational government areas and working up to schools, courts, police, etc to minimize the shock factor. I believe this privatization would occur by giving out shares in proportion to the taxes paid over a persons lifetime. These shares could be bought and sold just like any other shares in a company so these functions would concentrate in the hands of entrepreneurs.
At the same time the propertarian officials could be repealing all laws that interfere with the Nonaggression Principle (NAP). I believe this would occur naturally in a propertarian society, but until all government property is completely privatized and all taxation and regulation is abolished the more NAP is the dominant ethical and legal code the better. This step would also help to make a smooth transition from the public statist courts to a private court system based upon NAP and propertarian values. Some examples of laws to be repealed, besides taxation and regulation, would be: all drug laws, eminent domain and civil asset forfeiture, minimum wage laws, etc.
How would the propertarian society deal with the upper, i.e. state and federal, levels of government? Well it could go one of two ways, 1) the upper levels of power would renounce control of the propertarian society leaving it free to do as it wishes, or 2) the other governments would still try to enforce their rules over the propertarians. If it is the first scenario that is great because the state and federal governments are not an issue. It is the second case where things are a little more tricky.
If the upper levels of government want to try and hold onto areas that wish to secede, it is obviously not desirable to directly confront those governments. What would be best is to simply ignore the federal and state governments. There rules, regulations, and taxes would simply not be enforced in the seceding areas. The federal government and state governments would have a hard time enforcing their laws because without the aid of local law enforcement their ability to enforce federal law is greatly diminished. It should come as a surprise to no one that federal and state funding would be cut off, but this should not be a problem since the local government would be dissolved, and the propertarians would not want any funding from any government.
In conclusion, propertarianism needs to move out of the theoretical realm and into reality. This strategy is a good start to get us there. Of course this is not a step by step guide, and it may have to be adapted along the way. It is also important to remember that all four of these tactics can be carried out at the same time. They do not need to be done one at a time. It is best to get officials into local government sooner rather than later before it is too late.