Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.
Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer
Caitlin Johnstone is a self-identified “Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerilla poet and Utopia prepper” who sees the world with both eyes unlike the mass of left-right political partisans who see only through one eye at a time, all the time, either left eye or right eye.
For years she has been trying to wake us up with videos like “How To Win A Grassroots Media Rebellion“ (recorded at a Ron Paul Institute Conference), “How To Defeat The Empire” and even more pointedly “Those Who Control the Narrative Control the World.”
If that isn’t enough Johnstone has also penned a couple of books, Woke: A Field Guide For Utopia Preppers (“An illustrated poetical guide to reclaiming the earth from the forces of death and destruction”) and Poems For Rebels (“Select poems from journalist, essayist and digital street philosopher Caitlin Johnstone”).
Controlling the Narrative
So what exactly is all of this about?. Consider the title of her article at caitlinjohnstone.com, “Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems.”
“As I never tire of saying,” Johnstone has never tired of saying, “the real underlying currency in our world is not gold, nor bureaucratic fiat, nor even raw military might. The real underlying currency of our world is narrative, and the ability to control it.”
(She continues by saying “As soon as you really grok this dynamic, you start noticing it everywhere.” The fact that she knows “grok” immediately endears her to every Robert A. Heinlein libertarian.)
Propaganda means controlling the narrative. What everyone knows with both of their eyes and especially their minds wide open is that “The mainstream media and its partners in government want to silence any non-regime voices.”
The narrative in the world in which we live today is almost entirely controlled by a multinational gang of coercive big governments, big corporatists, big media, big tech, big banksters, big billionaires and big military power. This needn’t even be called an organized conspiracy, just a horde of ruthless psychopathic control freaks who have all seen an opportunity to expand their craving for unlimited power, wealth and egomania for themselves.
Can we fight back? And if so, how?
Caitlin Johnstone: “What I do advocate, over and over and over again in as many different ways as I can come up with, is a decentralized guerrilla psywar against the institutions which enable the powerful to manipulate the way ordinary people think, act and vote.”
By psywar she means all of us can take back control of the narrative through grassroots guerilla psychological warfare.
So Who Is This Caitlin Johnstone?
Johnstone is an Australian political blogger, but a quick look at a few Goodreads reviews tells us a lot more. One reviewer rhapsodizes over her style and brilliance, exclaiming emotionally that “This is the kind of work which inspires, which illuminates, which transcends.” But more immediately for libertarians and all freedom-loving people he also urges us to understand that “Caitlin recognizes, more clearly than anyone else seems to recognize, the situation as it now stands, and appeals to our better angels to rise above the miasma in which we find ourselves.” Then to further punctuate his assessment he adds, “Caitlin sees the darkness and danger quite clearly.”
The darkness and danger of course refers to the “Democratic Socialist” global-wide effort now in full swing to impose authoritarian control by the ultra-powerful over America and the world through intimidating, publically shaming, culture-cancelling, deprogramming, Deplatforming and even perhaps forcibly “reeducating” anyone who opposes them.
While another reviewer calls Woke: A Field Guide For Utopia Preppers “Poetry for survival in the modern world” a third encourages us all: “If you need motivation because you gave up on the world then you should read this book.”
Johnstone herself tells us how to fight back as a part of her grassroots guerilla psychological warfare against this ongoing descent into the coming tyrannical collectivist hell in her article “Be Your Own Revolution.”
When we engage the enemy in online social media groups we mustn’t let ourselves get sucked into sectarian bickering with what she calls “the Left Twitter faction.” When we identify with a group or a movement, like “libertarian” or “voluntaryist” or “Constitutionalist,” we almost instinctively feel compelled to defend the group itself. But all too often that sectarian bickering pulls us away from our purpose in pushing back against the evil itself and we get lost in the “ego-sparring,” leaving us frustrated and lost.
The answer, she says, is to “just blast off on your own and fight your own revolution in your own way.” She urges us to simply “focus on becoming more sane, and then act based on that sanity.” The result, she promises, is this: “If you shine brightly enough, the others may follow when they are ready.”
Or they won’t follow. But that’s up to them. We are all just one person, so all we can do is just keep blasting off on our own, ignoring the Twitter Twits and the Facebook Fools and Hashtag Haters while concentrating on becoming our own Rebels for Freedom.
Becoming a Lone Wolf Libertarian Rebel
So how can a lone libertarian, striking off on one’s own, become an effective political, social, cultural and philosophical “Rebel With a Cause?” Johnstone comes to our aid in yet another article, “How To Get Your Dissident Ideas Heard In The New Media Environment” in which she offers seven general tips on how to hopefully convince people that “it's wrong to manipulate public thought with mass media and drop explosives on children.”
But let’s get specific. It’s time to consider how Non-Aggression Principle libertarians can translate these ideas into lone wolf activism, not only online but offline as well. So here are a dozen do-it-yourself endeavors you can pursue all by yourself, just what every individualist libertarian wants.
1. Begin with the obvious online outreach efforts: Blog, Tweet, YouTube chat, be a Facebook poster, submit articles to libertarian websites.
2. Are you a talker? Do your own podcasts. Don’t even need YouTube or Vimeo for that, just an online radio website.
3. Artistic? Become a Mad Memer and post everywhere you can.
4. Drop in on discussion groups where people are dissing libertarianism and give them a drive-by logic lesson in libertarianism.
5. Read online articles, newspapers, magazines, web pages and drop a pro-libertarian critique in the Comments section.
6. If you’re into local politics attend city and county council and school board meetings and advocate logical, rational, sensible, non-coercive policies.
7. If you want to affect national politics join Downsize DC and become an Agenda Setter.
8. As a Libertarian you’re an individualist but nothing prevents you from joining the Libertarian Party and becoming a candidate for political office and go it on your own like in 9 or 10 below.
9. Once approved by the LP you can become a paper candidate on the ballot for publicity and to increase the number standing.
10. Be a lone wolf candidate who walks your own precinct and hands out LP literature.
11. Still want to get involved in LP electioneering but don’t want to leave the couch? Get out your laptop and volunteer to create and run candidate websites.
12. If nothing else just put a freakin' libertarian bumper sticker on your vehicle.
Educating Ms Johnstone
When Caitlin Johnstone self-identifies as a “Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerilla poet and Utopia prepper” it’s the “Bogan socialist” that sets off the car alarms for libertarians.
“Bogan” is a benign Aussie/Kiwi word:
Bogan (/ˈboʊɡən/ BOHG-ən) is Australian and New Zealand slang for a person whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour are considered unrefined or unsophisticated. Depending on the context, the term can be pejorative or self-deprecating.—Wikipedia
So bogan is cool. But unfortunately we almost never know exactly what “socialist” means since there is no such thing as “true socialism” or “real socialism” or universally agreed-upon socialism since, as Wikipedia’s entry for Types of socialism” confirms, “There are many varieties of socialism and no single definition encapsulates all of them.”
So adding “bogan” in front of “socialist” like adding “democratic” in front of “socialist” serves only to further disfigure rather than define what sort of socialist she is. But more on that a bit later.
In a recent article, “Lessons From Wall Street: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix” Johnstone proudly proclaims “Ideologically I am first and foremost a truth and transparency advocate.” Further down in the same article she elaborates: “I have other ideological preferences (I'm way down in the left-libertarian corner of the political compass).”
So as a “left-libertarian” she still identifies as a collectivist who rejects individualism. She made this explicitly clear in a 2019 article, “Rugged Individualism Cannot Save Us. Only Enlightened Collectivism Can.”
“Individualism cannot save humanity from the crises it faces. It's not the right tool. There is a widespread belief that if we just eliminated all collectivist impulses within our society, we could eliminate all our problems.”
The problem for American libertarians again is definition of terms. Every country in the world since “collectivism” became a political concept has had collectivism coercively imposed on its population from the top down by a government controlled militantly elitist clique of psychopathic powercrats. Most libertarians will agree with this definition found in the Corvallis Gazette-Times Mailbag: No one has a right to use coercion:
“Socialism falls within the more general category known as collectivism. Collectivism exists whenever individuals are coerced to serve interests other than their own. Collectivists always claim the individual is serving society, but this is a fantastic lie. Collectivism is a depraved scheme that allows some privileged individuals to victimize other individuals.”
Since American libertarians embrace the non-aggression principle against coercion there can be no such thing as “enlightened Collectivism.”
One eye must have been half-closed when Ms Johnstone looked at American Libertarians. But she is Aussie after all, so let’s be charitable and recognize that she perhaps isn’t all that familiar with the philosophy vested in The Modern American Libertarian Movement.
She refers to “Rugged Individualism” but that’s a conservative John Wayne concept. Libertarianism is an individualist philosophy that recognizes the inalienable right of individual self-ownership. By our very nature each of us owns ourselves. That means two things:
1. Every individual can do anything they wish as long as they do not coerce, intimidate or defraud anyone else in the process.
2. Libertarians are just as sociable, interactive, cooperative and supportive of working together as anyone else in society. Absolutely nothing prevents an individual from voluntarily joining, participating in and leaving group activities.
So returning to Johnstone’s earlier quote, If she had said “if we just eliminated all coercive collectivist impulses within our society and embraced voluntary cooperation” she would have the full support of virtually all American libertarians.
Hopefully then Caitlin Johnstone is a “voluntary socialist.” Perhaps she’s familiar with Marley James’ article “Voluntary Socialism” in Nations of Sanity where he concludes with these incredibly insightful statements:
“Socialism as it currently stands is inherently immoral and will remain so unless it becomes voluntary.”
“Capitalism is potentially dangerous unless it is bound by common law or the Non-Aggression Principle, where the power of money is not allowed to overrule the basic right to freedom.”
“So let’s discard what is wrong, keep what is right, and build a new society that more resembles sanity.”
In which case every American Non-Aggression Principle libertarian should welcome Caitlin Johnstone as a “truth and transparency” fellow travelers on the road to a free and open society.
But for now we can only feel how sad and quixotic it is that even as the people of Russia and Hong Kong and Myanmar are fighting for their freedom by rebelling against their own despotic statist socialistic regimes mindless young Americans want to impose their own despotic statist “Undemocratic Socialism” on all Americans.
References and Links
The Advocates for Self-Government says the most effective outreach is to lead by example. “Don’t worry about word choice, which book to recommend, or how you will answer a tough question. Start by being a shining example of what a libertarian is.”
Free the People asks you to educate yourself about libertarianism first! “So you’re not a Democrat or a Republican? Good news, you don’t have to be either! Take this quiz to see if you might be a Libertarian.” That’s “inreach” before “outreach.”
The Zero Aggression Project is an opportunity for libertarians who can’t “do” to donate. “We have a goal to share the Zero Aggression Principle with all 300 million Americans. Help us do that by making a donation or starting a monthly pledge.”
The Libertarian Coalition with its following of 8,785 people invites all libertarians to contribute their own ideas to its open forum of “every type of Libertarian; Anarcho-Capitalists, Minarchists, Classical Liberal, or Right-leaning.”