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The False Dichotomy of Political Activism

July 20, 2011 - 9:24am
Nick Coons by Nick Coons

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To say that not being involved in the political process or not supporting a candidate is equal to giving up or doing nothing is a false dichotomy.



I've written several articles so far about not supporting Ron Paul, and why we cannot attain freedom through the political process. Each time, I am attacked as someone who gives up, or who has a defeatist attitude, or I'm portrayed as suggesting that we should all just sit back and do nothing. This, to anyone not stuck in the false dichotomy mindset, is obviously not what I'm doing or recommending. It would be hypocritical of me otherwise, as it wouldn't make sense to engage people through articles, the radio show, and a myriad of other activities and suggest "You shouldn't do anything," all while being relatively active.

It's easy enough for anyone to look back through history and see that political for freedom action does not work. Political libertarians have been at it for 150 years. After their efforts, is the government bigger, or smaller? Is it more intrusive, or less intrusive? Does it steal more of our productive labor, or less? It doesn't cost a lot of brain cells to answer these questions.

I submit that engaging in activities that don't work is not simply neutral, but that it's actually detrimental to the cause of freedom. Imagine, if you will, that there's a disease that you're trying to cure. You believe that you have a remedy, so you administer it. However, everyone that receives your treatment does not get better. In fact, because the disease is progressive and the treatment does nothing, they actually get worse. Now certainly if you had not administered the treatment, the patients' disease would have progressed just the same, so you aren't causing them any additional damage, but you're not helping them either.

But it's worse than that. Not only are you administering this useless treatment, but you've convinced other people that this treatment is useful. So now other doctors are also administering this treatment, not causing their patients harm, but not helping them either. However, and here's the big point, while you and other doctors are going about administering the standard treatment, which doesn't provide any benefit, what are you not doing? Any guesses?

Well let me tell you -- You are not pursuing an actual cure! Human resources (like the time you have available in your life) are limited. Any time you spend doing something that doesn't work is time you are not spending doing something that does work.

So what does work? That's a big question. For some insight into what does work, you can find other articles here that go into those details, and listen to the show of course. However, even if you are finished reading this article and full of doubt about what does work, you are at least better off than the person who is "certain" that supporting Ron Paul is the right strategy -- Just like the doctor who doesn't know the cure is in a better position than the doctor that is "certain" about the wrong cure, because the former is going to continue searching for an answer while the latter thinks he already has the answer.

And yes, I know I'm going to get blasted on this article too by all the Ron Paul supporters who are adamant that Obi-Wan Kenobi... err... Ron Paul is "our only hope." You just can't get through to some people.



Related Content:

Gary Johnson, the Lesser of Three Evils - Nick Coons
The Republican Party Fails to Embrace the Paradigm Shift - Jim Iannuzo
Quartzsite, Mayor Foster, and Ron Paul - Nick Coons


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