Embrace the Libertarian Outlaw Future


Senator Charles Schumer
David Shankbone

I write a lot about people finding ways to live their lives, make a living and communicate with their friends without regard for the wishes of the control freaks who claim authority over us. Frankly, and happily, there's a lot of material with which to work. I'm convinced there's reason to be optimistic about a future that's reasonably friendly to libertarians — not because policy is necessarily moving in our direction (it is in some ways, and very much isn't in others), but because all signs point to a sizable portion of the population inclining to be free with or without cooperative government policies, and there's a growing arsenal of tools to help freedom-minded types achieve their goals.

Recently, I've written about the growing ranks of Americans slipping out of sight of tax man and regulators to make their living in the shadow economy, and about the long and proud history of defiance of gun restrictions. However people vote, it's clear that many of us like to hold on to what we earn, own the means to defend our lives and our liberty, and do as we damned well please in our off-hours. Good for us.

I've also covered new technologies, like 3D and chemical printing, that promise to make bans on guns, drugs and other physical items unenforceable, and encryption that can put phone calls and text messages beyond the reach of the snoopiest government officials. Throw in Bitcoin and  developments that have slipped my mind or have yet to surface, and the ability to ignore and even undermine the state is gaining some powerful weapons.

It's not hard to imagine a near-future in which a growing part of the population works part-time or full-time off the books, in businesses that don't officially exist, making payments in crypto currencies to fulfill orders made through encrypted connections. This parallel world will involve people enjoying easy access to illicit but popular goods and services and living much of their lives shielded from official observation. It's not hard to imagine that world, because it's an extrapolation of what has always existed, made more attractive by stupid and intrusive laws, and more possible by evolving technology. That's a largely libertarian vision by default, no matter the actual ideas espoused by its no doubt diverse participants.

This doesn't mean that this outlaw-libertarian vision will be perfect or risk-free. Operating in the shadows and under the radar, its participants will risk arrest and whatever escalating array of penalties the Charles Schumers and Lindsay Grahams of the future choose to inflict on their non-cooperative subjects in a never-ending societal game of whack-a-mole. But it's a game that the control freaks will ultimately lose, because they always have, as their grasping efforts drive more people out of their reach, and as technology becomes more liberating.

A better alternative would be a future that's free de jure as well as de facto, where policies are friendly to individual autonomy and tolerant of personal freedom. That future may come to pass, but the libertarian-outlaw future certainly will.

You don't need to wait for this libertarian-outlaw world, because it's already evolving around you. And you can extract some priceless entertainment value from that fact by simply describing its inevitability, in vivid detail, to a control freak near you. Have fun.