This is the final article of my discussion with Adam Kokesh. Read the first, second, and third pieces.
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto
These are trying times for libertarians -- especially the orthodox sort.
With populism on the rise among both Republican and Democratic ranks, the Libertarian Party orbiting into near-electoral irrelevance, and seemingly little chance for change on the horizon, some might be tempted to give up on the liberty movement. (Read more here)
Adam Kokesh: I think the term "deep state" describes something very real, but there are also theories around it that are obviously false. If someone was asking me about it, I would tell them to do their research. It's all out there.
Cotto: Why, in American life, is the deep state so firmly rooted?
Kokesh: Because of the actual power it wields.
Cotto: Beyond any other reason, why might deep state actors be trying to sabotage Trump's presidency?
Kokesh: I don't think the deep state is necessarily trying to "sabotage" his presidency so much as preserve itself. It would rather co-opt it than sabotage it because it prefers the stability of the status quo. But for all I know, there could be deep state actors working on his impeachment now.
Cotto: Is libertarianism, like other political philosophies, a cultural construct, or does it speak to deeper, universal human longings that just so happen to be oft-described as 'libertarian' in character?
Kokesh: Because the word "libertarian" has caught the attention of the mainstream recently, it would be easy to mistake it as just another cultural construct from the way it is presented. In fact, it could be argued that what is sometimes presented as a political version of libertarianism, or a trendy way of describing the basic human instinct to challenge authority, IS a cultural construct. But even if you embrace that analysis, you will soon see that those relatively superficial ideas are built upon a much more fundamental philosophy that really boils down to just being a CONSISTENTLY ethical person.
As evidenced by the long term historic trends in reduction of violence, we are becoming more ethical over time. So this is intrinsically connected to a super-biological level of human evolution. At this point in history, we have generally embraced the things most of us were taught in kindergarten: don't steal, don't hit, don't kill. We have merely reduced our acceptance of these unethical behaviors to those who have government excuses: "Don't hit, unless you're a cop enforcing the law." "Don't steal, unless you're collecting taxes for government." "Don't kill, unless it's in a government-approved war."
Libertarianism, even at the level of just a political philosophy, is simply based on applying ethics to politics. Humanity progresses when we stop making excuses for violence and instead take a consistent stand against it to say that not only will we not participate, we won't sanction it with our votes, we won't lend our labor to the system, and we will do our best to avoid paying for it. Ethics is connected to the universal human longing to be free. We all have hopes and dreams and desires and unethical behavior is that which forcefully limits our ability to express our will.
When government is properly understood as a violent racket, politics is understood as the conversation to determine who the guns of government will be pointed at to "organize" society. The message of freedom is, "STOP! Put down the guns!" Libertarianism isn't even a political philosophy so much as an ANTI-political philosophy. It's about elevating humanity above politics.