Does the road to liberty look like an impossible dream?

Way back when, I dreamed of electing some smart, nice people to congress and the presidency. Other movements have had their political successes, so why not? As I got a bit more sophisticated, and tried convincing voters, I began to realize that the way the system is set up makes that unlikely. Liberty doesn’t do well in standard coalitions. Impossible.

What might make it possible? We can just reform the system! Except no one cares about our reforms, for the same reasons above, plus the reforms are “untested” and no one wants to try them. Impossible.

I never bought in to the idea of trying to start a violent revolution. I read Sun Tzu’s Art of War before I got serious about liberty, and violence plays to the government’s strength. What sense would it make to force someone to be free, anyhow? If enough people supported liberty to make revolution possible, voting or reform or something peaceful ought to work even better. Impossible.

What would make them possible? If a critical mass of people agreed with us, that would make progress possible. We could vote or reform or fight our way to what we want. So maybe we can educate and persuade people. But even if you make optimistic assumptions about our persuasive powers, many people oppose liberty as “untested”, and others have accepted ideas that blame liberty for all sorts of problems. Yet others have too much invested in the way things are to risk change willingly. Impossible.

What if people could see liberty being tested? What if we had our own Hong Kong showing them what they’re missing, accepting the defectors who get sick of the old system? What if we could show them instead of just telling them? Yeah, that would be great. But it’s impossible.

What would make it possible? What if someone just created such an autonomous zone, a Hong Kong of the
west, or a San Francisco for liberty lovers, and people felt like tolerating it to see what happens? Impossible.

Or rather, I can think of lots of cynical reasons why it will never happen. But if you read my previous article about how we got here, you know that I thought many of the most interesting and important innovations of the past few years (bitcoin, for instance) had no chance of success. Maybe I haven’t completely shaken off the habit of dronethink quite yet. Maybe life will surprise me again.

So, what might make it possible, this willingness on the part of ordinary persons to allow someone else to try something new and different? Maybe some of them have gotten to know us and like us. Maybe others would be happy to get rid of us. And the rest just don’t care. Can they talk the others out of crushing us? How could that happen? Is that impossible? How can we make the dream not just possible, but actual?