Friday, December 26, 2008

On "leadership"

Over the past few months I've observed the state of disintegration into which the Libertarian Party has fallen (for the latest on that, see Brian Miller's piece at Delaware Libertarian), and have also had discussions with activists who wonder why the Boston Tea Party's national committee isn't more proactive.

It is my considered opinion that libertarians of both parties (or either, or neither) would do well to take their cue on the subject of "leadership" from America's socialists of the early 20th century, in particular Eugene V. Debs:

I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the Promised Land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition.

When it comes to political activism, committees (especially national committees) are best structured as gateways, not gatekeepers -- central planning is much more likely to manifest itself as obstructionism than as facilitation.

Stop waiting for "leaders" to tell you what to do. This whole "leader/follower" thing is ass-backward. Political committees shouldn't be leaders that you follow, they should be tools that you use ... when, and only when, they're the right tools for the job.

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