I mentioned this in a comment on another post but one of the biggest strategic flaws in the libertarian movement was the belief that right ultimately triumphs over wrong regardless. Because of this libertarianism must be spread on the “right” grounds using logic, reason, stats, data and other empirical evidence.
This contradicts the natural order of things, which decrees that might triumphs. It sounds very obvious when you think of it outside of politics. The bear doesn’t have the right to kill the salmon, but it does because it can. No amount of persuasion makes a difference.
To put it in more appropriate context, during the Dark Ages monks no doubt prayed to God to protect them from Viking invaders who raided their monasteries.
They prayed to God not just for religious reasons but practical; they realized no appeals to the Vikings on grounds of morality or ethics or logic or reason would deter them. The only thing to prevent the heathen warriors from killing them and stealing their wealth was either divine intervention or superior levels of violence. The monks went for the former.
Might does not make right but it still wins because right does not make might.
Being Right and Might
However, the Vikings probably never bothered to raid a Knights Templar castle or fortress. The Templar Order were monks like those in the monasteries but unlike their unarmed brethren they were master warriors.
The Templars had it so that they were right and might.
It would have been appropriate for a Templar monk to use morality or reason as a means of interacting with a Dominican monk because they both agree to the same Biblical principles and came back similar backgrounds.
But it would made no sense for a Templar to try to reason with a Moor soldier on the battlefield. Right mattered in the afterlife but it did not matter in combat. Might makes might.
Likewise, you discuss and argue and debate with those of whom you have some commonality or mutual goals. You cannot do this with someone whose objective is mutually exclusive of yours.
Furthermore, the idea that people are innately drawn to the most logically sound or reasonable idea contradicts reality. People are persuaded and seduced by appearances and emotions and feelings more than the facts. You can only engage in this kind of conversation with those who agree to these rules but those who haven’t feel no obligation to make the “wisest” choice.
A huge mistake libertarians make is that they try to convert or reach out to people whose goals are contrary to ours or they have strong incentives through the state not to give up the benefits it offers. They do not argue in good faith and all the pleas in the world to do right when it does not make might won’t work. Yet we believe with just the right amount of reason, with just enough evidence, they will come around and see things differently.
What’s made this so devastating is when fake libertarians entered the movement and then tried to politically cuckold real libertarians by telling them they had to accept government policies clearly intended to increase the power of the state in order to abide by the non-aggression principle. Again, these people did not argue in good faith and it was evident in their arguments because they simply ignored real life observations that contradicted their viewpoint.
Debating hypothetical situations is a favored pastime among libertarians but this intellectual hobby becomes totally worthless when trying to deal with those who hate liberty and want to use the state to force their views onto other people even if they were to be left alone by others.I can give some leeway or make an exception for those who do so out of desperation.
We have to accept that there are those whose vision of the way things should be contradict the natural order and consequently require the state to directly and indirectly intervene in order to bring about the desired outcomes.
These people do not and will never respond to appeals to morality or fairness or logic or the non-aggression principle – unless of course they happen to hamstring libertarians by forcing them to abide by a code they themselves ignore.
As long as they can get their way why should they change?
The only thing they understand and respect is superior violence or threats thereof.
Libertarians have to come to terms with this. Some can be won over peacefully but if libertarians are not willing or capable of defending themselves by appropriate levels of force then they will always lose against a foe that is not constrained by such reservations and know in advance that they will not be opposed.
Some people will only abide by the NAP or respect our rights because it will cost them if they do not.
If libertarians are to survive they must learn to be might as much as they are right because if we do not then we will always be conquered and defeated by an enemy that always has might as its highest moral code.