Laugh at the State, Mock the Regime

Kathryn Muratore, James Ostrowski and I were recently discussing over email one proposal some people are bandying about as a response to the TSA naked scanner abomination (see Kathryn’s blog Stop TSA Scanners). The proposal is to serve the TSA by filing some kind of “Show Cause Order” in federal court, to demand the TSA “give a reason for them to continue to do these searches which are clearly unconstitutional”–thus you bury the TSA in paperwork and back them into a corner using this “Show Causes” maneuver. Now this sounds a little desperate and crankish to me, sort of like all these “common law court” nuisance liens the gold-fringe-on-the-“admiralty”-flag crowd like to file (which may be heroic, though futile, since the states just criminalize it).

But I don’t know; I’m not a litigator. Ostrowski’s view was: “I’m a big believer in direct action and not litigation. The best way to stop this is through a boycott and/or street theater–make fun of this odious practice.”

He has a good point. Earlier this year I was on a panel (discussed here) with Hoppe and DiLorenzo. In response to a question about the prospects for liberty, I noted the importance of economic literacy, in part to deflate the mistaken belief on the part of decent people that the state is necessary and legitimate. Without the tacit support of the state’s legitimacy, it could not exist. And this is why it is important to laugh at the state.  Hoppe agreed, saying he has actually considered featuring a libertarian comedian at an upcoming  event, and DiLorenzo explained that one reason he often mocks the state and its media cheerleaders is for this very purpose–he gave the example of ridiculing Rachel Maddow in a recent LRC post where he referred to her getting her “panties in a knot”. We need to show these people as buffoons and clowns and to make people take them less seriously. (See also the Mises Daily article Laughing at the Regime.)

So: laugh at them, mock them, ridicule them, jeer them, scoff. Do not take them seriously.

[Cross-posted from LRC]