We have said from day one of this project that work is the currency of the caucus. If you have been involved in libertarianism for a long time, you know how it always goes: Libertarians get into a group, then develop into a massive debate club, and nothing actually gets done in the real world. Whoever has the freest time at work to tweet or post on Facebook dominates the conversation, and like the obnoxious dealer at The Oriental, wipes out the high-class play.
We wanted to make sure that would never happen to our project. A key component of our protective measures was to prioritize work above talk. In our estimation, a member who has gone to a single county meeting or state convention has more to say than someone who has never done anything. At some point, if you are truly an activist organization, you must value experience over theory.
Sometimes people are highly committed to promoting their theories more than they are doing action in the real world, because, of course, social media commentary is far easier and cheaper than doing things in the real world. When people behave this way to excess, or to the point of saying our project should not exist (more on this later), they sometimes are physically removed from our community.
The bitter refrain that follows—often months or years afterward, like someone who can’t get over a breakup—is that we are the same as the establishment we are in the process of upending. They haven’t actually participated in anything, but they have perhaps witnessed enough social media skirmishes to know the general contours of how our opposition talks to people and defends itself.
It is a frequent form of defense by an establishment to say that you haven’t done anything or you don’t have any experience. And so their claim is that we are hypocrites because we are overturning an establishment that says the same thing that we are about: work, production, and experience.
Like most criticisms of what we do, this is shallow. The difference between the Mises Caucus and some established people is that they make a pretense of work and results to gatekeep and remain a closed loop, but reject it in practice. We actually support and promote work and results even from people outside our in-group. Our track record of electing non-caucus members to office in the party and nominating non-caucus candidates as well as supporting them is unassailable. These same critics will go on to use this use this fact that contradicts their one argument to make a different one that we are too soft, a topic for another day.
If someone in the party tells you that you cannot be elected to some internal office because you don’t put in work, and then you get together a sufficient number of people to overthrow them at a state convention, you have demonstrated that they are incorrect and you have demonstrated that you are capable of performing work superior to theirs. Otherwise, why are the members of the party removing them and replacing them with someone else?
If we were the same as the people that we oppose, we would bend over backward to defend inferior performance, and play all kinds of legalistic games to avoid the consequences of incompetence, laziness, inferiority, or avarice. And yet, we haven’t played any of these games. We win fair and square, we lose fair and square. Now, anyone who knows a little bit about the reform effort in the LP knows that sometimes we don’t lose fair and square because of the behavior of our opponents, but how we deal with that is a separate issue from the topic at hand.
The bottom line is that this complaint is brought to us by people who cannot outperform us and who are not interested in really doing what it takes in the activism world, which is the real world. Real-world action demands results. These people have none. They have no excuse for having none. And yet, they still bark about how they are the most realistic people.
Believe it when you see it.