Not Kokesh for "Not President" (Part 1 of 2)

in #anarchy6 years ago (edited)

For a long time I said very little about Adam Kokesh’s presidential campaign, in order to avoid the inevitable drama (which we’re seeing now). Even if something is a bad idea, as long as it’s harmless, why bother to stir up an argument about it? However, at some point something can move beyond being merely pointless, and become genuinely counter-productive. I believe that is the case now with his campaign.

Click on the link above to view a debate Adam and I had about this, hosted by Jeff Berwick (of Anarchast). The purpose of this article is to more thoroughly examine what things, good or bad, Adam’s presidential campaign is likely to accomplish, politically and philosophically, to determine if the whole endeavor is useful, useless but harmless, or actually destructive. (After this and the next article, I will be done spending time and energy focusing on it.)

First, let’s set the background. As I explained in my other recent Steemit article (https://steemit.com/anarchy/@larkenrose/voting-for-anarchy), I think that a political campaign by an anarchist could potentially do some good, if (and only if) the entire goal is to demolish the legitimacy of politics, mock the process, and to spread the ideas of self-ownership, non-aggression and voluntaryism. But as it stands now, Adam’s campaign does nothing of the sort. Instead, it puts peoples’ hopes in the outcome of an election, and the possibility of President Kokesh signing an “Executive Order” to make the U.S. “government” cease to exist. To be blunt, never in a million years will that happen, and having that be the stated goal is both philosophically hypocritical and tactically delusional.

Mind you, in the past Adam has done a lot of things which have done a fine job of spreading the concepts of true liberty. But this campaign isn’t one of them. I suggest he drop his political aspirations, and get back to spreading the pure, uncompromising message of self-ownership, non-aggression and a stateless society.

QUESTION: POLITICALLY and/or LEGISLATIVELY, what will Adam’s campaign accomplish?

ANSWER: Absolutely nothing. There is exactly no chance that Adam will be elected President. None. Nada. Zip. To pretend otherwise—to think that someone who identifies as an anarchist is going to have sixty-some million Americans vote him into the White House—is just absurd.

For starters, the electoral process is massively rigged, to the point where Ron Paul, who is far more popular, well-known, likable and trustworthy than Adam, and who had massive genuine grassroots support, never had a prayer of winning. Both parties, the establishment and their lapdog media, did everything imaginable to ignore, squelch, ridicule and/or demonize Dr. Paul, to the point where he never had a chance. Can you even imagine what they would do with a candidate who has called himself an “anarchist”?

And even if the game wasn’t rigged, there is still no chance Adam would ever win. Even most anarchists (myself included)—the people who should theoretically be his “base”—would never vote for him (because we know that voting for a master is pointless and contrary to everything about voluntaryism). And obviously statists won’t vote for him either. To most Americans, anything slightly outside of what they are accustomed to, with Ron Paul being one example, is viewed as “extremist.” It is downright silly to think that the same population that voted Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump into office is going to turn around and vote someone into office who promises to do away with the entire federal “government.”

(Since there is exactly no chance of Adam ever being elected, I don’t need to explain in great detail his profound misunderstanding of federal law, and how Executive Orders work. Suffice it to say, no, you can’t dissolve any governmental department or agency, or undo any legislation—much less dissolve the entire federal “government”—by signing an Executive Order. In fact, other than pulling troops out of combat, by himself and without the cooperation of Congress, the President can do damn near nothing of any significance.)

BUT ADAM’S CAMPAIGN ISN’T JUST USELESS; IT IS HARMFUL.

Pushing his political/legislative agenda wouldn’t just do nothing; it would be hugely counter-productive, because, to whatever extent he was successful in duping well-meaning people to throw their time, money and energy into his campaign, he would be using up massive amounts of resources from decent people in a completely futile effort. And if he gets their hopes up with his ridiculous predictions that he might actually win, all it will do in the end is leave a lot of freedom advocates disappointed, frustrated, exhausted and depressed (not to mention poorer).

That is what the political system is designed to do: give the people a completely useless outlet for their discontent and righteous indignation, letting them pointlessly bang their heads against the wall, voting and petitioning and campaigning, while never getting themselves an inch closer to true freedom. To try to drag freedom-lovers back into the circus known as “politics” does a huge disservice to those people.

QUESTION: PHILOSOPHICALLY, what will Adam’s campaign accomplish?

Let me again stress that, if he was using the campaign to spread the principles and concepts of voluntaryism, bashing and de-legitimizing politics entirely, I wouldn’t be criticizing it this way. But his main campaign website (www.kokeshforpresident.com) says little to nothing about the concepts and principles of self-ownership, non-aggression and a stateless society. Instead, it is full of mushy, vague, unprincipled, semi-statist rhetoric, and is all about trying to get votes, hoping (and apparently expecting) to actually get himself elected, in order to implement his plan. As such, the entire campaign is not only a waste of time, but a giant philosophical contradiction and distraction from what actually matters: getting people to give up the belief in the “authority” of the state.

Let’s consider an average statist who visits Adam’s campaign web site, and consider what impression that person would get, and what, if anything, he might learn from it. Ironically, the first thing the visitor would see is a picture of Adam doing a military salute: the universally recognized gesture symbolizing subservience and obedience to authority. And, of course, the visitor would see, loudly and boldly, that this person is trying to get elected President of the United States.

After the politician-esque, substance-free introduction, the average statist would then go look at Adam’s “platform.” This is what they would find:

Notice the complete lack of any mention of anything about the philosophy of voluntaryism/anarchism. Instead, it’s all about his master plan for when he gets elected. Again, since he has no chance of winning, I won’t bother covering in great detail all the ways in which his plan is inherently bogus, such as:

  • To become President he has to swear to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” even though he admits that his Executive Order is “absolutely unconstitutional … it is a rejection of that authority entirely.”

  • An Executive Order cannot abolish the federal “government.” (E.O.’s can do one of two things: carry out power which Congress has already delegated to the President, or create dictates applicable only to federal employees.)

  • The President can’t just resign and fabricate a new office called “Custodian of the Federal Government,” any more than he could resign and appoint himself Supreme Ruler for Life.

  • To think that he personally gets to decide how to divvy up both the stolen loot and the power and control, including some power being “in some ways transferred to state governments,” is ignorant, arrogant and statist all at once—not to mention dictatorial.

And if, after examining his “platform,” the average statist then proceeds to the page “About Adam,” he will again get no lesson in the underlying principles of voluntaryism, but will instead read about Adam’s upbringing, his military background, and his activism, including his radio show and book, and the fact that he has managed to get “arrested over three dozen times.” That page ends with “Famous Kokesh Quotes.”

On the bright side, this includes saying that taxation is theft, and that “government” is “fundamentally immoral because it is based on violating the rights of individuals.” But that is as close as it gets to explaining anything like a voluntaryist philosophy, while also throwing in vague, contradictory mush like this:

We don't have to be forced under a single government to be united in American values.

The way that we move forward is by localizing government down to the community level.

And the page ends with a video of Adam explaining how he wants the “movement” to go from being a “debate club” to being a “political force.” His comments here sum up everything wrong with his campaign: “Stop arguing philosophy. Stop arguing ideals. Stop being that debate club. Instead, say we are going to create practical policy that immediately improves everyone’s lives based on our principle.

From all of this, it is obvious that the focus of his presidential campaign is not about the principles or the philosophy, but is first and foremost about himself, and getting himself elected, and trying to implement his political/legislative agenda, by trying to seize the reins of authoritarian power himself, in order to (supposedly) free us all.

As such, his campaign and his related message are beyond a waste of time—they are delusional, self-centered, confusing and contradictory, and at their heart, do little more than reinforce, strengthen and legitimize the notion of political “authority,” in the name of using it to free the people, using a plan that has no chance of success on a practical level, and (as it is now, anyway) no chance of success when it comes to changing people’s minds. As I said in the debate, no, we don’t need Emperor Kokesh riding in on his white horse, whipping out his magic pen to sign a magic executive order to free us all. That will never happen, it doesn’t need to happen, and getting people to focus their time, money, energy and hopes on that is the exact opposite of what will actually serve the cause of liberty.

(In part two (https://steemit.com/anarchy/@larkenrose/not-kokesh-for-not-president-part-2-of-2), I cover some of the things that came up in our debate, because some things were said which should throw up red flags for anyone paying attention.)

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The bottom line is that re-enforcing the idea that the slave master must grant us freedom contradicts what freedom really means. We don't need the permission of anyone to be free, and it doesn't need to be declared that we are free by placing a signature on a piece of paper and showing the world. This is the entire point.

Beyond not being productive, this campaign will be counter-productive because people who may have never heard of Anarchism/Voluntarism will associate it with only being legitimate through the political process and needing to vote in order to dissolve Statism. It's actually really funny the blatant contradictions of Kokesh's ideas here. His ideas aren't based in reality or any principle.

This. Exactly.

This is so spot on! You hit every nail on the head, thank you Larken 🙏 This campaign is nothing more than an episode of the Adam Kokesh show

Thank you, this is the most refreshing perspective I've read on Kokesh for not-president so far.

I know many of my friends like and support him. However, to me, he seems to be little more than a self-appointed guru looking for groupies. I'm generally not a fan of people like that.

he seems to be little more than a self-appointed guru looking for groupies.

Nail on head.

"Stop arguing philosophy" is the most offensive thing you could say to an anarchist or libertarian. Worse than "I love the IRS". Just an observation :)

"philosophically hypocritical and tactically delusional."

I think we have a new campaign slogan for Kokesh 2020!
That sums it all up right there.

The fact that Adam is not a stupid man and certainly must know that his "campaign" has no chance in hell should be evidence enough for anyone to discern his true motivation.

Whatever happens with Adam's campaign, a lot more people will be questioning the necessity of having a centralized federal gov. I can't see that as anything but positive.

I'm not sure why you would assume that a lot more people will be questioning the necessity of having a centralized federal government.
In my opinion, any statist will dismiss his or any anarchist's campaign as a joke. And anyone who is not a statist already has decided that having a centralized authoritarian government is unnecessary.
So, who would those questioning people be?

It would be those people who fall in between the statist and the anarchist. That is probably the majority. Dots don't connect without critical thinking and how many are really doing that? How many have thoughtfully examined the question of government's legitimacy?
DOIsuffer.png

and his "Freedom!" book will get serious distribution numbers!!! And what if he garners 15% in the polls and gets on the debates stage like Perot? hmmmm?

I fully agree. If we come to the point where 50% of the voters have realised that government is useless and still all voted for him, why again should we want him to control the process of dissolving the government? That idea is completely opposed to our ideas. Voting means nothing, If anything dissolves the government than this will be all our combined actions.

Bam.

To think that he personally gets to decide how to divvy up both the stolen loot and the power and control, including some power being “in some ways transferred to state governments,” is ignorant, arrogant and statist all at once—not to mention dictatorial.

Yep. And he also plans to keep national parks “open to the public,” while assigning them to non-profit organizations of his choice, while simultaneously allowing them to be freely homesteaded private property. When asked about the contradiction here one gets no answer.

It really is the “hero messiah” type thing you mentioned and I’m fucking sick of it. It’s immoral, antithetical to voluntaryist principles, and delusional.

Thank you for writing this.

Okay, I've said what I needed to say. Have fun tomorrow.

https://steemit.com/anarchy/@larkenrose/not-kokesh-for-not-president-part-2-of-2

Stay tuned for Part 2.

you people, as a result of your belligerence, will simply see Adam shift over to the Minarcho side. All he needs to do is recognize the validity of this vid by Andy "petition" Jacobs of the Libertarian Revolution YT channel.

And to assure no local monopoly on any WELL REGULATED MILITIA, we can simultaneously implement something the Oath Keepers.org have through the Volunteer Fire Department.
https://www.oathkeepers.org/cpt-community-preparedness-teams/security/

The LP and the minarchos are NOT going away, in spite of your presentations. Many see the need for public ownership of "cops, courts and clerks", whereas the anarchoVol THEORETICAL prescriptions for these services have not been enough to convince enough libertarians any sort of justice system will be adequate to replace the English Common Law model.

Now you can pick on Adam all day long, in regard to your take on his personality and his alleged personal ambitions. But what he proposes could be promoted with any personality type.

you people, as a result of your belligerence, will simply see Adam shift over to the Minarcho side.

If he shifts....it's his own choice. One can not make others responsible. He's a grown man and responsible for his own choices.

An example how mere words can not make a person responsible for the deeds or actions of the other;
If I punch you in the face it's your own choice...then you should have not make me feel angry with the words you said.

All he needs to do is recognize the validity of this vid....etc

Recognize the validity? According to who?

All actions have consequences. Consistency matters too. It may have been painful, but I've pointed out inconsistencies before. Some "friends" were lost because of it too. This isn't about anyone, not any individual or group of individuals. This is about individual liberty instead! If you do something contrary to it, you are being inconsistent. I'm not saying this about any particular person either. No one needs "the English Common Law" model. The concepts we support are pretty simple: Do not harm others, do not harm their property, and keep your word.

Do not harm others, do not harm their property, and keep your word


and when someone decides to violate the above, then what? And I am not interested in arguing. Just be quiet and show us. Build a community and just show us. Thanks.

It has been explained numerous times already by thousands of people.

There would be common law courts made up of volunteers from the community. They are not paid and they have no special protections. There are no double standards between them and the rest of the people. Those people hold law breakers accountable, and the people who refuse to abide by their rulings lose the protection of the court.

Those people become outlaws and would be hunted as such. There are not that many predators among us, and the system we have now allows those predators to take positions within the system to rule over others. Haven't you ever wondered why so many police abuse their spouses? How so many religious leaders abuse their followers? How many politicians abuse their power? The pattern is pretty clear to me.

Governance without government and rules without rulers is the objective.

what part of SHOW ME; DON'T TELL ME is that difficult to comprehend? All you do is provide WORDS. Anyone can contrive things with words. Show me what you mean. Show us how this works. I know what the objective is. Can this objective, once put into practice actually protect private property and life, itself? Now please. Don't continue attempting to persuade me by more words. SHOW ME. Until you do, your political THEORY shall continue to be discussed by a few in the midst of the Grand Canyon, all by yourselves. Is that your desire?

Anarchy is all around us. 99.9% of human interaction is voluntary and peaceful. What's not to see? You must be blind. Do you think countless laws are what keep people peaceful and their interactions voluntary? Go to any crowded place, and look for yourself. I don't need to show you a damned thing.

no. you don't. In either case, at least the convo is over. Thanks for the interaction. It was fun.

lol @ “you people.”

Nobody is “picking on Adam.”

The plan has serious flaws and elements of the campaign are seriously questionable.

Also, there is nothing “THEORETICAL” about ISO. Any more than air, water, mountains are “theoretical.”

your guitar playing really sucks when outside your "specialty" zone. And hey, it might even suck there, too. Who knows? How did you get into the Blues, originally?

Think you may be on the wrong thread.

thank you. very good point many of which I have been wondering about. I have been thinking about how one man thinks he is gonna be in charge of dividing and destroying? Doesn't that go against what Anarchists stand for? Number one in charge of myself!

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