Action Outside of the State

From Gary North’s Small Beginnings

[My comments in brackets.]

The political liberal wants to achieve his goals through political action. His religion is the religion of politics. He is skilled at gaining favors by the State for pet projects. His answers for almost every problem are political: pass a law, enforce a law, get a grant. He enjoys politics. He see politics as the central activity of a civilization. The State is the central institution.

{“Holy and Almighty is Our Only True Lord, the State!”

“Exalted is the People In Whose Name the State Rules!”

“The Greater the Power of the State, the Greater the Liberty of the People!”]

The political conservative tends to regard politics as simply one activity among many, and the State as one institution among many. His interest in politics is diluted, unless he is a professional whose calling is politics. The strength of the conservative movement lies outside of politics, unlike the strength of political liberalism.

[Conservatives serve a different Lord and God than liberals do.]

When something needs to be done, the conservative tends to ask himself, “How can it be done at a profit?” A second question is: “How can it be done on a tax-deductible basis?” The third question used to be: “Can it be done locally?” The fact that the third question is not usually asked by conservatives today indicates the extent to which conservatism has been influenced by the reigning political errors of the day.

[Localism is going to make a strong comeback, when the cheques from High Up stop coming…]

This leads me to the topic of this essay, namely, the advantages and weaknesses of the non-statist approach to social problems. If we reject the premise of the statist, then we should have confidence in non-statist approaches to problems. But to overcome the statist ideology of our age, we have to be confident in our ability to succeed without appealing to the State.

[Or, rephrased, “Conservatives are expected to acquit themselves like men, and not like needy, bleating children.”]

Non-statist movements start small and poor. They are decentralized. They must compete for the financial support of a limited number of donors. Most donors are on several mailing lists, and many ideologically conservative groups appeal to them for funding. They have to pick and choose among a large number of ideologically compatible organizations.

This competition tends to keep the conservative and religious groups lean. They cannot afford much waste…. if they have no message, no packaging, no mailing list, and no distinctive program, they are unlikely to survive, let alone prosper. This keeps them sharp. It keeps them relevant.

There is a price to pay for these benefits: uncertainty. Nothing is guaranteed. There is always the threat of disaster looming ahead….

Small religious and conservative organizations are for years confined to a state of total dependence on voluntary contributions. They struggle just to stay alive. They come and go. They frequently do not survive the death of the founders. But they leave behind a legacy of dissent, and this legacy eventually makes itself felt when the bankruptcy of the existing establishment becomes obvious, when the State can no longer supply the vote-getting special privileges and funds.

[Christians must get ready, for the day when the enemy falls. This takes work, money, time, brain-sweat, guts… and faith in the unstoppable power of God, who will get His victory in time and on earth, as well as in the afterlife. Also needed is patience, and the ability to put up with lots of frustration: even the totally incompetent, deeply oppressive, and bone-evil Soviet Union took 70 years to die.

Seventy. Years. Just think about that for a bit.

Personally, I don’t think our Secularist Welfare-State Paradise is even going to last another 20 years… but it’s still going to be a long row to hoe.

If you want to have the biggest voice at that time, you need to start planting your seed and tending your crops now, today.]


The strength of the non-statist groups, above all, is the commitment of their supporters to the cause. These people are willing to take their hard-earned and highly taxed money, and send it to a ministry they approve of. This is not characteristic of their opposition. They have real reserves — reserves of dedication, commitment, and the habit of regular financial sacrifice. The supporters are willing to take a stand. More than this: they are willing to finance a stand.

These groups stay small. They get their message out “by hook or crook,” but seldom with support from the established intellectual and religious opinion-makers. But the real opinion-makers are not those who are most visible at the end of a civilization. They are the people in who are hidden in the historical shadows, working patiently until the day comes when a cultural crisis creates demand for new opinions.

[Hard work builds muscles, determination, character, and stamina. All of which will prove very useful in an era when they are as rare as gold – even rarer!]

Grass-roots organizations are all around us. Not one; many. They may co-operate with others for limited ends, but they have their own timetables, resources, and goals. They are competitive. Not all will survive; some will. Those that do survive will replace the existing structures of society, all over the world. Humanism is a worldwide phenomenon; it will collapse as a worldwide phenomenon, to be replaced by numerous alternatives.


The apparent ineffectiveness of small, underfunded ideological or religious organizations is deceptive. All long-term social change comes from the successful efforts of one or another struggling organization to capture the minds of a hard core of future leaders, as well as the respect of a wider population. There is no other way to change a society. The hope of stepping into power overnight is naive, let alone the hope of getting financial support from the existing leadership.

The Hebrews of Joshua’s generation wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until their parents died. They had to prepare themselves mentally and organizationally for the battle to come. They certainly did not bother to court the favor of the king of Jericho, nor did they worry too much that the Levites had not graduated from fully accredited Baal Theological Seminary.

[Why beg for the favour of Masters who always have, and always will, hate you and yours?

Especially as they are increasingly, visibly more deluded, more pathetic, and ever declining in power and vigour?]


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