Should Libertarians be More Like Frank Underwood?
I think it’s safe to say that if the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) was ever a worthwhile publication, that time has passed. From giving leftists like Cathy Reisenwitz a platform, to the most recent idiocy from Jeff Tucker, surely this institution could sink no lower, or so I thought. But every bottom has a basement, and every basement a trap door, and every trap door a shovel, there really is no limit to how low one can sink, apparently. As if your average libertarian politicos like Julie Borowski and Rand Paul aren’t bad enough, Elijah O’Kelley at FEE is actually calling for a libertarian Frank Underwood.
If you’re not already familiar, Frank Underwood is a character played by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix original series “House of Cards”. The show is wildly entertaining and if you haven’t seen it, go get your Netflix free trial and watch it today. It is truly one of the greatest productions in the history of video. I think the show is especially good if you’re a libertarian, because Frank Underwood is a morally bankrupt Democrat who is hell bent on seizing power through violence and deceit. Surely we see enough of that on MSNBC, but the writers for this show are far more creative, and there are sex scenes.
Here’s a snippet from Elijah’s piece at FEE;
Imagine if instead of education and entitlement reform, Underwood had pulled strings, twisted arms, and manipulated politicians in order to pass something like a repeal of the Federal Reserve Act or a decriminalization of drugs. It might be hard for libertarians to be smug. The bottom line is that Underwood’s talent for increasing his own power could be very effective if modified and applied by a real life counterpart trying to create libertarian change.
A mental exercise like this one doesn’t typically mean much in reality, but the truth is that it offers insight into the current direction of the liberty movement. There are two main methodologies that people subscribe to for creating libertarian change. One relies mainly on educational efforts, sometimes even abstaining from voting or any political activity, to create gradual change toward a freer society. The other emphasizes political activism to sway elections and build alliances with different groups in order to pass libertarian legislation. Both are vital for a movement and some libertarians effectively use a combination of both approaches. But if we picture the effect a libertarian Frank Underwood could have on the direction of the country, the superior approach becomes obvious.
(Emphasis added by me)
I should start by saying, I get the temptation here. Freedom is extremely important, and the “by any means necessary” approach appeals to me. Hell, my last article called for killing people. The willingness to get one’s hands dirty is important when you are dealing with the type of scum that currently infests Washington and every State capital from coast to coast. I’m certainly not some fucking hippie that thinks we’re just going to love our way out of this mess.
It’s also pretty much a prerequisite in politics to be an unscrupulous, conniving, unrepentant manipulator. People simply refuse to elect anybody who tells them the truth, being honest in Washington is like being naked in church, and let’s face it, if you’re going to “help” people by stealing their money and forcing them to do things under threat of imprisonment and death, honor has pretty much been removed from the equation already. So why not go balls to the wall and (spoiler alert) kill reporters and cheat on your wife and take bribes, and steal the presidency? I mean, this is liberty we’re talking about! Whatever it takes, right?
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the thought process above is why Elijah’s assertion of superiority for the political approach is undeniably, and unforgivably false. To participate in politics, you do have to behave like Frank Underwood. You do have to lie to people and commit acts of initiatory violence. You do have to take bribes, pay bribes, twist arms, and swindle. You must, from the outset, discard the core foundation of libertarianism, the non aggression principle.
What happens when you do this? You become Dan Halloran! Dan was a New York City Councilman from Queens. He said all the right things you would expect to hear a limited government libertarian say. He was cross endorsed by the Republican, Conservative, Independence, and Libertarian parties. He had the largest constituency of any elected libertarian in the United States.
He was gearing up to run for the US House of Representatives, but then he got indicted on corruption charges for taking bribes and trying to rig the NYC Mayoral race. As I said at Anarchy in the NYC, he’s the perfect picture of why political libertarianism will always fail. Dan told us what we wanted to hear, and then he lied, he cheated, and he stole, just like every other politician. He accomplished nothing, and in the end, he was taken out by a larger gang of crooks, the feds.
I know it’s sacrilege to criticize Ron Paul, but the way he was able to stay in Congress for all those years was by using earmarks to spread money around in his district.
Granted, the corruption skills of Dan and Ron pale in comparison to the depravity of Frank Underwood, but I am beginning to doubt that Rand Paul will let us down on that front. I mean, somebody who has so mastered the art of political doublespeak as to have neocon warhawks and antiwar libertarians drinking from the same trough, is sure to be one of history’s greatest conspirators. Whenever you pander to polar opposite sides of an issue like that, somebody has to get screwed.
Only time will tell, but my study of history leads me to believe it is liberty that gets screwed by politicians. So if you want to make a movie about a libertarian Frank Underwood, go for it. I’m sure it will be very entertaining. Just don’t ever try it in real life, because just like House of Cards, using government to find liberty, is pure fiction.