Nick Bravo

Nick Bravo

More About: Activism

Eating each other alive: Dividing and conquering a movement from within.

    Grassroots movements are often hotbeds of strong ideas, opinions, and personalities. Unfortunately at times those personalities clash and the movement can rip itself apart before it has a chance to spread its wings, I can say the same of people within a movement. On a larger scale we have Neo-con Republicans like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck doing their damndest to hijack the tea party movement. For them its about the left/right paradigm, they don't care if the country's in trouble as long as their guy is in charge.
    Sidenote, anyone else weirded out by both Republicans and Democrats wanting to attack Iran? Anyone else weirded out by the fact that Obama is following Bush's strategy of warmongering? That in of itself should tell you there are larger forces at work, such as the global banking cartel.
    I digress, When you stand up for an ideal its harder to do than if you're standing for some particular candidate. A candidate can be bribed, threatened, etc. An idea however, remains steadfast through the centuries like some bright star in the sky. You can choose to not acknowledge it but its still there and will be there long after your flesh has rotted and your bones have turned to dust. In fact an idea is unkillable, its immortal. I have to respect and admire those who stick to their ideals, and the ideas those ideals cleave to.
    True tests of strength are those in which you endure suffering for an idea. People have died for ideas, ideas of religious freedom, personal freedom, rights, independence, and a countless number of others. A Holy man once said to me "Even after all the believers leave this world, the belief remains".
    The CIA knows that the best way to destroy a movement is to get them fighting amongst themselves, often they don't even need to infilltrate because egos in the movement will clash and what can be termed as inter-tribal warfare will take place. You begin to have activists tearing each other down over petty bullshit that doesn't even matter in a larger context. Of course the victim can be mocked, but then can one then ever trust the one doing the victimizing? Yes, I know some would say there are no such things as victims. I can point out a few billion dead over the course of human history who could easily say otherwise. As much as your frail ego would like to think that one can make itself bigger by making another smaller, this is simply not the case.
    You have to hang your hat on your own accomplishments and abilities, make yourself greater by being great. When we in the movement decide to tear each other apart due to our own weak egos we not only hurt ourselves but each other, and most importantly the movement by which we can take back our world. Some may say that by sacrificing some activists one can get into a postion of power to change things. This is of course the justification of a weak character. 
    Do as you choose, can you sleep peacefully with so much blood on your hands? I can, and a few I know can. But only because it is their own blood, blood dripping from their hands as the savagely attack the obstacles in their way. Indeed when one is willing to sacrifice oneself to oneself then one is on the way to becoming a trully great human being. Then of course it is no sacrifice, for in struggling through pain to gain freedom you are giving up a lesser value for a greater value. I value myself, I value my character. I will leave you with a saying from a great wise man. "He who conquers himself is the greatest warrior".

6 Comments in Response to

Comment by Kelly Donoho
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 I enjoyed your insight very much. It still baffles me, but I've learned to never underestimate the depths of  pettiness that so many people seem to cling to.

Comment by Rainy Day
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You misspelled teach... :P 

Comment by Anonymous
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 I hate to say it, but I agree entirely with Don here.

I hate to say it even more, but the reason I agree with Don here is because, in this case, I believe it is due to the FP publisher's view on organizational dynamics and lifecycles.

I hate to say it EVEN MORE (no I don't), but it's for all of the above, why the #7 meetup is basically dead on the vine and why 90%+ of its membership is not involved.


Comment by Don Wills
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Nick - if you want more folks to read your commentary, you should learn how to make paragraphs.

Readers - Sarah P. and Glenn B. are not the only folks fragmenting the Tea Party movement. Anarcho-libertarians are just as guilty of trying to coopt the movement as traditional GOP folks like Newt and the neocons.

Successful movements work when there is a simple objective and philosophy. Think about the civil rights movement, probably the single most successful political movement in my lifetime. They were focused on a single thing - enacting laws to make the lives of those with different colored skin better. The anti-war movement of the 1960's and 1970's was successful because of its very simple objective - get out of Viet Nam.

So what's the Tea Party's simple objective? I'm not sure. It started out as a Taxed Enough party which had essentially three objectives - decrease taxes, decrease government spending, and End the Fed. And nothing else. No anti-war philosophy, no Christian overtones, no favoritism for any political party, no mention of the word libertarian, no discussion of social conservative issues like abortion...

But those days are long gone. In my neck of the woods, the Christian warriors have taken control of many of the Tea Party rallies. There is no more talk of End the Fed, but there sure is a lot of praying. Dick Army and Sarah Palin have become the face of the movement. That's bad, but it's not unexpected.

We small and big L libertarians should just let the Tea Party movement fizzle out of its own accord, and worry about trying to actually have an impact at the ballot box instead of doing navel-gazing like libertarians normally do (e.g. Nick's commentary). And if you don't believe that the Tea Party movement will fizzle out, IMO you will be sorely mistaken.

Comment by Anonymous
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 The comment below is not directed at the author of the article or his post but to readers.

Comment by Anonymous
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 As libertarians, whether small l or large L, I think we all believe in the free market, incl. the free market of ideas.

In the free market of ideas, some are objectively (I hate when I agree with Renzulli!) better than others.

For example, whether your objective is to generate votes, or educate, or open minds or whatever, if the idea is of any value it will produce measurable results.

Furthermore, of those idea (for any given objective) that produce measurable results, some ideas will produce MORE or BETTER results (for the given objective) than others.

If you believe in the free market, should "investors" invest in an idea that produces worse or fewer results than its next best alternative?

Would it be productive for an individual to invest their time in the least or lesser productive alternative?

(I can't believe I have to each Econ 101 and the division of labor to libertarians.  It's pretty freeking sad.)

If you disagree with the line of reasoning above, you are NECESSARILY a collectivist.  If you can follow the line of reasoning above, you are not necessarily a collectivist but you may be.  If you can follow the line of reasoning above and agree with its logical progression, you are NOT a collectivist and are necessarily a free marketeer.  There is one exception to the above analysis which is that you may be a religionist, which does not necessarily exempt you from being a free marketeer (though I think Renzulli would disagree with me there).

If you disagree with the last paragraph you are completely hopeless in your ignorance of free market economics and would spend your time better studying and not arguing or investing your time ANYWHERE else until you disabuse yourself of your own ignorance.


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