Any honest man who's found his way into dissident politics will admit that seeing the Left-Right paradigm he grew up with unmasked as kabuki theater was one of the hardest red pills to swallow. With the exception of the Zoomers, every living generation of Americans was conditioned to support the Red Team against the Blue Team or vice versa. Learning that Team Red was long ago paid off to take a dive came as a shock.

Finding out that Republicans are the Washington D.C. equivalent of Hollywood ninjas paid to take on the Democrats one at a time before taking a fall naturally leads thinking people to ask why. Pulling that thread enough unravels the whole sham of Conservatism and Liberalism as opposing ideologies. Liberalism attempts to enshrine freedom as an absolute divorced from objective good. Conservatism accepts the same basic premise but adds sundry temporary restrictions based on taste and social mood.

Thoughtful readers will spot the fatal flaw intrinsic to all Liberal ideologies, including Conservatism. Establishing personal freedom as the ne plus ultra of human action precludes any possible limiting principle on self-expression. Taking away objective value reduces everything to a matter of preference. 

You see this dynamic at work in the common internet straw man which reframes a moral claim as opposition to "something you don't like." It's a clumsy substitution of an arbitrary preference statement for a value statement, but most people are so mired in Liberal assumptions that they fall for it. That's how moral idiots reframe opposition to pedophilia as curmudgeonly hating on just another form of self-expression.

And it works, because by accepting the Liberal moral frame, Conservative objections to any exercise of personal freedom are automatically rendered arbitrary.

The shameless grifters of the Lincoln Project step up to provide a perfect example. Their tweet is a Frankenstein patchwork of anachronistic slogans. It's how you'd imagine a Current Year blue check with a time machine trying to blend in at a 1950s GOP convention. But that's essentially what today's Republican party is: conmen throwing rhetorical spaghetti in hopes of activating Boomers', Jonesers', and Xers' conditioning.

Unfortunately, that conditioning runs deep. A phenomenon that's been creeping into dissident circles lately is the sad spectacle of formerly redpilled folks falling back into Liberal modes of thought. A lot of these guys came out of Libertarianism during the Trump years, so their backsliding is understandable, even though they should know better.

Trump's failure to achieve much of anything may have driven many Ys and Xers into a form of nostalgic despair. Perhaps they're convinced that if they spout the same Barry Goldwater quotes they used to in high school civics class, Ludwig von Mises will appear and set the clock back to 1995.

It's magical thinking fundamentally no different from the cargo cultism of the Left. Like religious converts with buyers' remorse, relapsed Libertarians think that reciting the old formulas and performing the familiar rituals will deliver them into a promised land where they can homestead--and probably grow weed--far from the watchful eye of Big Government.

Of course, Big Government is no less an amorphous bogeyman than White Privilege. The former results from primitive speculation on cause and effect applied to the observed reality of the government perpetrating evil. "The government does evil. The government is big. Therefore big government is evil."

What you never hear from Libertarians is precisely what "Big Government" means. Nor do they propose any realistic means of making it smaller. They closest they come are pie in the sky allusions to rolling federal spending back to 1995 or 1985 or 1955 levels.

All of this is just smokescreen for the fact that government's size isn't the source of our woes. It's hard to think of bigger governments, in the sense of the scope of government power, than monarchies. Yet not even the most tyrannical king would seriously entertain the notion of replacing his subjects wholesale with a foreign people. A king ruled a nation, which was a large extended family. He had skin--and blood--in the game.

The scourge besetting the West arises from the fact that our leaders no longer have the least thing in common with us. The democracy hailed by the Lincoln Project has enabled the ruling class to insulate themselves from all accountability for their actions. After all, their logic goes, you voted for them, so you deserve the blame for their misrule.

It's not the size of the government that counts. It's the quality of the people in it and their degree of attachment to their constituents. Our corrupt oligarchs won't voluntarily part with one iota of power anyway, so the solution to the size and malice of the government is the same.

They seek to replace us, so we must replace them.

My military thriller saga Combat Frame XSeed gives a stark--and increasingly accurate--glimpse at a post-future where oligarchic tyranny has run its course. For a vision of what's to come, and the chance to claim some fun rewards, visit the XSeed: SS crowdfunder page on Indiegogo. Backers get a free short story and can claim discounts on my editing services. These offers are limited, so don't wait.

Combat Frame XSeed: SS - Brian Niemeier


  1. "What you never hear from Libertarians is precisely what "Big Government" means. Nor do they propose any realistic means of making it smaller. They closest they come are pie in the sky allusions to rolling federal spending back to 1995 or 1985 or 1955 levels."

    But, but, but...seasteading! :)

    1. We may laugh, but appealing to impossible fantasy worlds is Libertarians' go-to response when you point out reality to them.

    2. A rant: the A Beka Economics textbook, which purports to be Russel Kirk's (it's the zombie edit of his original edition), has a good business / bad business parable.

      The good business is literally a sci-fi seasteading, plankton-harvesting boondoggle relying on various government grants.

      This is provided without a hint of irony.

  2. "degree of attachment to their constituents" - this is an angle I had never thought of, but it's exactly correct. A ruler that loves his people genuinely is about the only kind that you can rely on to actually act as a civil servant (in the true sense of the word) rather than as a grifter collecting a paycheck. Now, he is not perfect - excessive love can blind a man to the point where he can place loyalty to his family or people higher even than God or justice, but that doesn't change the basic fact that to be a good ruler, a ruler has to genuinely love his people.

    1. If you have to change the rules of your system to rein in official corruption, your officials are corrupt enough to circumvent the rules.

    2. I have said many times it is a silly modernist notion that an elected representative who spends most of their time in a distant capitol is more responsive to the people than a landed noble who lives within walking distance of everyone in his domain.

  3. Libertarianism is utopianism so it fails right out of the gate.

    The instant you put your trust in people curbing their vices for "the greater good" in order to make a system work, you've already lost.

    1. And in this case, it's not even for the greater good. It's for freedom, which usually means tweaking on street drugs and banging hookers.

  4. I would say the evils associated with big government (at least in my American experience) are about the size of the bureaucracy rather than the power the government has. (To be fair, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by power: more bureaucrats translates into more real power to affect people's lives, rather than the potential arbitrary power to affect any given individual that a monarch might have.) If you mean potential power, I don't know that I agree with the point about a monarchy being more powerful than a democracy: modern democracies and republics seem to exercise much more control of their citizens' lives than monarchs of old could ever dream of -- especially when the monarchs were under the moral authority of the Church.

    Also to be fair I will not argue that a small bureaucracy always means better government. "Errors come into the world in pairs", and there is more than one way government can fail in its purpose.

    All this with the caveat that I am at a very early stage in my remedial reading of history and happy to be corrected.

    1. The reason you don't understand the post is because you're still viewing it through a Liberal lens.

      Yes, a larger bureaucracy can potentially affect more people. The point is that the moral character of the bureaucracy depends on what it does with that power.

  5. Okay, so here's my thing, and I've heard this from several sources relating to different contexts (government, business): If your plan depends on having the right people in whichever position, you are planning to fail, because at some point the wrong people will be there. You have to plan in such a way as to minimize the damage the "wrong people" will do. It seems obvious to me that minimal or no government is how that would work.