Recently Robert Higgs expressed some thoughts on his Facebook page. We at Bad Quaker recognize Robert Higgs as a primary leader in the liberty movement and felt his casual words should have as wide an audience as possible.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but one mistake I’ve never made, and never will make, is to give money to a politician. Nor, if I had been a passenger on one of the trains robbed by Jesse James and his gang in the 1870s, would I have seized the opportunity to make a voluntary donation to the robbers.
I think it’s important to recognize that silent withdrawal of allegiance from the state, although it may seem to be, and in a literal sense is, nothing, may yet prove to be the most decisive “action” in the end. When people act …overtly against the state, if their action truly threatens the state, the state comes down on them hard and violently. At the same time, it characterizes them as outlaws and troublemakers (terrorists, nowadays) and encourages the bovine masses to rise up in support of crushing them. Often this whole cycle of challenge and response accomplishes nothing but the creation of martyrs. In contrast, silent withdrawal, stealthy sabotage, well-concealed disrespect and opposition in a thousand different forms, can eat the heart out of the popular acquiescence the state requires to persist and function effectively. Something like this happened in the USSR. No bloodbaths, yet the destruction of a truly horrible apparatus of tyranny. (The tragedy there is that the people had no vision of a genuinely free society to establish once the old regime had fallen, so instead of freedom they ended up with merely a milder form of authoritarianism.)
Robert Higgs is an economic historian, Austrian economist, and a libertarian anarchist. He is a respected author in the field of economics and economic history.
Please see his page at The Independent Institute