I'm often asked something along the lines of the following: "If you're not voting to buck the system or have thrown the towel in, what exactly can you do to change the system in an equal or more effective way."
This is the hardest thing to get people to understand when I bring up non-voting. Especially to politically active people, because "politically active" is usually defined as trying to change the system in some way or another.
I'm not interested in changing the system.
It is futile. The country has the system wanted by the majority of voters, and I don't have the skills to change that many people's minds. Few people do, and an individualist, market and freedom-oriented mindset is incompatible with that ability. The system operates collectively, only collective action within it can be effective, but a message of individual freedom cannot be effectively forwarded by collective means.
The country has the system the majority of voters want, and I don't want to try to force them to change what they want. Even so, this system can't work for much longer anyway, the best way to convince people to stop wanting it would be to stop trying to make it work.
Working within the system in any form strengthens it. I don't want to strengthen it. To the extent that I want anything at all to happen to the system, I want it to starve. But mostly, I don't want to be a part of it anymore.
Let's get one thing out of the way: the system has no right to exist in the form it is in today. Those voters have no right to the system they're voting for. The burden of "love it or leave it" is on them, not me, and it applies to the entire planet, not just the USofA. If they don't like my way of individual freedom, free markets, and personal responsibility, they can leave, because I'm going to do all I can to take it back.
Technology, communications, and mobility, coupled with the core values that are still held by the majority of Americans and the unintended consequences of the system's own contradictory premises, combine to make avoiding, evading, and bypassing the system easier than it has ever been. Those same things continually erode the system's ability to compel submission, tribute, and collectivization, even as it appears to strengthen the hand of oppression. That disparity is likely to continue growing in our favor.
My goal is to use those to build a life outside the system, markets outside the system, interacting with it less and less as I build the means to do so. As a secondary goal, I hope to convince others to do the same and abandon their abusive guardians. The better the technology gets, the easier that is, and the harder it is for the system to stop it. The more people doing it, the larger the free market grows and the more resources it accumulates, the easier it is to convince others to do it, and the harder it is for the system to hold them. Eventually, the system fades into irrelevance. Whether it also fades from existence or not matters less and less.
It's a long, long process, to starve the state and let it wither on the vine. It will take generations if it happens at all, but it's no more of an inter-generational long shot than doing it politically is to even the most optimistic of realistic activists. Fortunately, that is not a criteria for success, merely a bonus.
There are, however, a few key advantages this agorist approach has that point hopefully to a systematic weakening of the system, purely as a side-effect of pursuing the primary goal, that of severing the relationship on our terms.
The political method requires complete success to realize any meaningful freedom; the agorist approach sees incremental increases in freedom with each incremental success.
The political approach puts success and principles at odds, requiring one to be compromised to the other; the agorist approach aligns principles and success. Success is defined as the extent to which principles are lived by.
The political approach strengthens the system by feeding it with activism, money, and moral sanction; the agorist approach removes activist energy, money, productivity, and moral sanction with each new advance.
The political approach requires the best and brightest, the most committed, to sacrifice to the system; the agorist approach withdraws the best and brightest from the system, accelerating its decline.
The political approach leaves no alternative in the event the whole thing collapses before political success can be achieved; the agorist approach is all about creating an alternative, whether the system collapses or not.
Simply abstaining from the ballot box is not enough, nor is it a firm requirement. The agorist approach does not preclude political activism, it merely puts the focus outside the system. There can still be benefit from strategically, or tactically, trying to intervene in the system against carefully selected targets. So long as it is approached as intervention not participation, ways of doing so effectively and without contributing to the system can be imagined. Several such plans have been forwarded that, while not explicitly so designed, can easily be fit into an interventionist framework as opposed to a participatory one. The two prominent Free State movements are both examples.
Nor is convincing others not to vote a requirement. The agorist approach does not require that it be exclusive, only that it be present as a viable alternative. It assumes the system as it is, complete with over one hundred million willing and active participants. Getting a few of them to stop in and of itself will not have significant effects. Offering them an alternative that will improve their own lives will have significant effects on them, and that is what matters.
The political divide among freedom activists is between those who want to save the system, and those who are willing to let the system fall. "...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it ..."
Well meaning people can have honest disagreements on which of those two alternatives is the best to pursue. However, from the moment of Hamilton's Whiskey Tax and Washington's quashing of the righteous rebellion it spawned, there has been no chance of altering it. Those Founders made it crystal clear that taxation with representation was not to be challenged, and that our representatives would do as they pleased, whether we individually chose them or not, whether they acted on our behalf or not.
Like it or not, the choice is between trying to save the system (and ultimately failing), or trying to save ourselves. I choose the latter, and it requires that the system be, not necessarily abolished, but banished from our lives.
Your comments and feedback are welcome! Now PoL has its own forum at The Mental Militia! Check it out.