Adam Kokesh vs Graham Smith Debate – Revisited

Adam Kokesh (@adamkokesh) -affirmative

Graham Smith (@kafkanarchy84) – negative

 

Introduction


Let’s complete the setting.  We live under constant tyranny in every form imaginable. A voluntary society on a national level doesn’t exist and the people are under attack by their governments worldwide. The “State” is not going to sit back and just watch local communities grow independent anymore than they’ll allow someone to become President and eliminate them.  This is no joke, humanity is in a lot of trouble and it’s just getting worse by the day. The debate has zero meaning if not considered in relation to the real world.

The video is broken down into several clips. You can just read the words underneath each video. They are important points, not a complete transcription, nor are they always word for word what was said in that particular video.  I tried very hard not to misrepresent anything but the video is right above the words to satisfy anyone’s concerns in that regard.

This was a lot of work but I felt it was important enough to take the time to do. There’s a rift between Adam Kokesh and some anarchists. I’m thinking we could use all hands on deck working together to attack the state under the circumstances.

 

Adam’s running NOT to be President.  Government relies on public consent through the electoral process.  He thinks every way that we can attack the state is essential to moving mankind forward. When  you develop public consensus through the voting process that government is illegitimate, we will not support its existence any longer, it will no longer be allowed to exist one way or another.

We are going to bring people together, wake up more people than ever before because we want to make the world a better place for people because we care about people and bringing people together around the message of freedom is what it’s going to take to bring about a voluntary society.

 

“We need property norms to minimize violent conflict.” Graham

According to the Voluntaryist property ethic there are really only 3 ways by which you can legitimately acquire property:

1. first use or initial possession

2. trade

3. inheritance

Graham’s problem with Adam’s platform: Legitimate ownership of land and resources and authority over people can not be acquired via political mandate or via U.S. majority electoral processes.  The reason being there is no connection to individual self-ownership there and Libertarian property ethic.

Not everyone will consent to the plan.  It doesn’t matter if Adam’s intentions are good. The principles of property, self-ownership, and the free market remain the fairest of all arbiters.

Adam’s plan is not practical, trying to change the world’s largest crime syndicate from the inside by being a vocal opponent of the syndicate and assuming a high seat of power assuming that they’re are going to let you voluntarily by their own mechanisms  destroy themselves is totally stupid.

Graham’s solution is voluntarism and the free market. Poly-centric bottom up  change is how change really happens and innovation.

Forty-three pct of people didn’t vote in the last election.  I don’t think we should try to get people back into politics now. Politics won’t save you.

 

The idea of change from the inside and we’re assuming a position of power within the gang – absolutely not. I think it’s a really bad misrepresentation of what I’m proposing.  We are changing things from the outside using the electoral process as a way to get people to withdraw their consent. This is not from inside the system, I’m not taking a position of authority within the system to bring about change.

The change happens in the paradigm. The change happens by changing how people think and that’s what this campaign is about first and foremost, changing the paradigm of the American public to say that we don’t need a big centralized government.

If enough people demand an end to government and they drop the wallet (property stolen by government from the people) on the street, we still get to pickup the wallet and do our best to return it to its rightful owner. It’s not going to be a perfect redistribution of wealth but we can’t be so concerned (materialistic) that the process won’t be perfect that we don’t even try to do what everyone would agree is the right thing and return stolen property to its rightful owner to the best of our ability.

National Parks: What I have in mind and this is a proposal and I’m welcoming anybody to weigh in on what they’d do. I’m glad that the Grand Canyon is a national park with broad based public ownership. And there’s a general consensus that it shouldn’t be parceled out into development.

 

First of all, the main point of my argument wasn’t addressed that by definition it isn’t a voluntaryist plan because elections via the state don’t grant legitimate authority. Voluntaryism, Libertarianism is the only ethic that protects the smallest minority, the individual.  (inaudible) a plan they don’t agree with forced on them and illegitimate authority, it doesn’t matter if your intentions are good or not. The best arbiter of these resources would be the free market… which can’t be done by a central planner.

The market’s real change happens from the bottom up always. Adam’s plan is trying to change the system from the inside. Adam’s analogy about the founding fathers doesn’t apply because they didn’t draft an executive order to King George in an attempt to become the king in order to set America free.

Politics is not going to protect you. Our communities… might protect you.  I just see it as a shame that we’d be diving back into this political circus and this illegitimate way of doing things.

 

Adam:

Getting back to the National Parks, I just want to finish my point there. What I would want to see is that there is a way for the market to provide a way of preserving large national resources for that greater value, that not everything has to be parceled out to the individual in order for the individual to have a legitimate stake in it.

The change happens from the outside, we are turning the American Presidential election into a referendum on whether the Federal government should be allowed to exist at all. The executive order by which this will be achieved will be online before the Libertarian national convention in 2020 which would be the first point I’d ask anyone to vote for this platform. And when the American people go to vote, they’ll know exactly what they are voting for and it’s not for someone to be President, it’s not for someone to have illegitimate authority over others.  It is for someone to pickup the wallet and do the best we possible can to repay the American people, the true creditors of the Federal government. The plan is not perfect but don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.


Graham:

I just want to re-enforce, legitimate authority and ownership or custody control can not be granted by a U.S. presidential election.  (Adam in the background saying, “It’s not.”)

Graham quotes Adam: “Maybe I wouldn’t swear on it all, maybe I’d just walk up at the inauguration and say No, I decline to take the oath of office and instead hereby, by the power invested in me by the American People through the American electoral process declare the Federal government to be of no authority and I hereby (inaudible portion) declare myself to be custodian of the Federal government.” ~ Adam

This is something diametrically opposed to voluntaryist principles. So my thing is as per the revolution resolution, this is not a legitimate plan according to voluntaryism and I would be happy if Adam would stop using the label of voluntaryist because it’s not legitimate. “By the power invested in me by the American people through the American electoral process has zero meaning to a voluntaryist. (Adam in the background, “I agree”)

The fact is Adam’s plan whether it deals with natural parks or any of the other resources and getting back to the wallet analogy here.  He doesn’t have that authority to do that and majority consensus can’t grant that authority but second he’s forcing them who might not want to abide by that plan. Do they have to follow this new ruler and his friends, these custodians and the non-profits they personally choose to put into power.

I guess I will just yield my time here with a question for Adam.  Can the U.S. electoral system grant legitimate authority to enact plans and practices that a non-violent minority does not consent to?

 

Adam:

No, and if you have a legitimate property rights claim to something the Federal government has had custody of, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. This is not going to be forced on anybody. If you can help me in developing this platform to make sure that it is inline with stolen wallet analogy and it isn’t forced on anyone, then I’m open to those suggestions. I want the help of the community in developing this.

I’m not saying that I have any authority. I’m going to pickup the wallet and if no one stands in my way and no one says they have a legitimate property claim but the other property that government just put down that’s been stolen from the American people if no one stands in my way if the American people want this and they withdraw their consent from the existing authority then this is how I going to return the stolen goods.

The real value of this campaign is that Adam gets to use this platform to spread this message to wake people up to change the paradigm to change how people act so by the time he wins, the Federal  government is already irrelevant. And I’m just going to pickup the pieces and cleanup the mess at that point.


Graham:

Adam just said to my question, “Can the U.S. electoral system grant legitimate authority to enact plans and practices that a non-violent minority does not consent to?”

He said, “No”, straight up. So, if nobody has to abide by your plan (inaudible) I think it would be a waste of time as far as getting the message out. I was a Ron Paul supporter and it helped me along that path to saying that I don’t need government or the constitution or anything.  Ron Paul didn’t claim everything he did was inline with voluntaryism. Ron Paul woke a lot of people up

In light of recent confusion and I feel still unsatisfactorily addressed concerns about your campaign’s handling of bail donations as well as some abusive $100 self up voting of vitriolic comments aimed at other steemians (inaudible), why is anyone supposed to trust you to handle supposed to trust you to handle these resources? Aside from that, even if you’re this super perfect guy,  why should you be able to force your plan on anyone and if you’re not forcing it on anyone then who cares, we can all just disregard it, that’s fine with me.  But to ask someone to you have to trust my plan because I have the majority consensus of the American people (meaningless to a individualist) seems very strange to me.  If your plan is not backed up by force, then aren’t we all just free to ignore it?

 

Adam:

If you want to accuse me of incrementalism, a kind of compromise, sure.

When you talk about my plan being forced on people, I really do take issue with that because the only people it’s being forced on are the ones who are illegally, unlawfully, unethically, being the mafia that is the Federal government itself.  I’m forcing the mugger to put down the wallet, that’s the only person that it’s being forced on.

As for the trusting me part, when the American people assert irrefutably through the electoral process that they’re not going to put up with the Federal government existing any longer, it’s not going to matter who I am or what the plan is, it’s simple going to be impossible to be president. It’s going to be impossible for anyone to try to keep the institution going because that consent is gone.

It is the point of the campaign that it’s the American people building consensus that NO ONE is allowed to have presidential authority at all. If that happens and the property is sitting there, I’m going to say this is generally the will of the public, this is the best that we can create as a general market consensus to say that Adam can go in as a bankruptcy agent, we’re going to have this plan, we’re going to do this with the stolen property, this is the best consensus that we have. If we have this consensus, this is perfectly inline with voluntaryist property ethics and market ideals because if you had say a corporation that everybody had a share interest in, then they would get to vote, at least based on how much has been stolen from them. It’s not going to be perfect, so we have to do the best approximation that we can in order to carry out something that gets us away from the existence of the Federal government entirely, that you as a shareholder gets to vote on what the bankruptcy plan is.

I’m an incrementalist, I’m a compromiser and no plan is going to be perfectly inline with voluntaryist property ethics that confront the state, even the free market ones. I think that what I’m presenting is at least the closest practical way of applying voluntaryist property ethic. We have an opportunity to bring humanity closer to that.


Graham:

This whole mischaracterization of what I and several others are saying as if we’re searching for some sort of utopia really blows my mind every time because that’s not what anyone is talking about here.  We’re talking about the most practical thing there is which is the free market. I agree that it can never be done perfectly and that’s my whole point. The free market is the most fair arbiter there is. One man, one group of custodians, one government, can not calculate prices, can not measure supply and demand. Let the communities and market of property owners work it out from the ground up work it out for themselves. It’s going to be fair because it’s going to be based on principle and not just one person’s plan. No one is saying the result’s ever going to be perfect. Human nature dictates that there are legitimate ways to acquire property and illegitimate ways, this way we don’t have people becoming king no matter how well he does.

I appreciate that Adam has said that he’s an incrementalist because the plan violates violates voluntaryist principle and I don’t agree that it’s okay to violate it a little bit for the greater good because you say things like the American people and you say you would have the consent of everyone. How do you know, there’s millions of people. Maybe some people want to do things in a different way. This whole metaphor of bankruptcy agent doesn’t hold because with a bankruptcy agent, you contract with them for a service and no one has contracted for one.

The goal is a noble thing one its face to get rid of the Federal government. You can imagine you’re going to change the state via the state, it’s the largest crime syndicate in the world, it’s not going to voluntarily put itself out of business through its own political mechanism, that’s just common sense.

 

Adam:

I fundamentally disagree. I see that the voluntaryist property ethic is still consistent in a bankruptcy proceeding in a custodial plan. When you say that it’s being forced on people who do not consent, that’s not true because no one with a legitimate individual property right will be denied.

I’m all for community buildup, I’m all for that. The problem is that you can not end the violence of the state with Agorism unless you have 90% of the population on board because if even 10% of the population believes in statism and the rest of us are going Galt, they’ll still be able to hire men with guns to point them at you, control you, and steal from you. I’m not willing to let that continue. I’m not willing to let the drug war, the war on terror, the military, the CIA, the FBI, and the IRS continue for another day.

Yes, if enough of us withdraw our consent eventually the system will collapse. What I’m saying is let’s avoid the collapse, let’s have a peaceful orderly transition instead. I’m not telling people to put faith in elections, I’m telling them the exact opposite. If we can do this before the system collapse, this is going to be the last Federal election you’ll ever have to vote in. And the cool thing about this is that it sets off the domino effect. People all over the world are going to be looking at their central government and asking themselves, “Do we really need you?”.  And the answer is heck no, you don’t. You can do the same thing all over the world. You can get government down to the community level. I think it’s already possible.

A lot of libertarians and people taking your perspective are quick to say that we have to build from the ground up, we have to change the paradigm, we have to get community involved and I agree and I think it’s done. I think we’ve gotten to enough of a critical mass that we can apply this to the political process and say, “Let’s withdraw our consent now, we don’t need government.”  I talk to average Americans and in the age of the internet, you can say, “Is there anything that the Federal government does better than the state government other than murder and kill and steal from people?” And they go, no. I guess we don’t need it. People have done the work already because activists like you who have spread the message enough and done the work and shown that we don’t need government. So, let’s withdraw our consent in a way that allows us to say that the big guns of government can’t be pointed at anyone any longer.


Moderator: Graham has asked Adam a couple of questions, does Adam have question for Graham?

Adam: Since he went the personal route, I’d like to ask him a couple of questions about posts he made about me.

The last 1:22 is easier just to watch.

 

Adam calls Graham out for making posts implying that there’s something unethical about his campaign before all the facts are even known. Why not do the research first instead of implying the worst. Adam called Graham an annoying, ignorant troll. It’s best just to watch this one.

 

Adam:

Incrementalism doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not voluntaryist. If what I’m proposing is not perfectly inline with what I’m suggesting and being inline with voluntaryist property ethics based on the concept of a bankruptcy agent, based on every shareholder voting based on their stake. Fine, criticize me for that.

The foundation of it for me, the primary motivator is voluntarism. I am a voluntarist. I believe that all human relationships should be voluntary, should be free of force, fraud, and coercion. I believe that this is the most important message that we can get before the world today to stop the pain and the suffering of statism.

I’m not willing to wait, I’m willing to compromise and say, “alright you can keep that one tiny gun pointed at people. I’m going to get to that next, we’re going to get to that one next, that one is just as wrong but we need to get the big guns away from people. We need to end the major suffering associated with statism. I’m not willing to wait for the building of the perfect market from the ground up when there’s clear consensus already. The market has spoken.

The work has been done. Let’s collect on it, let’s end this big statist entity and and let’s bring people one giant step closer to voluntaryism that’s going to have so much momentum that we’re going to get to that utopia relatively quickly. This is the most effective way of spreading this message because it’s the one that results in the most immediate reduction of coercion in the world.

And Graham, I’m never going to stand in the way of anything that you’re doing that’s voluntary and by the way, you know that everything I’m doing is fundamentally voluntary. I’m not pointing guns at peaceful people, I’m not making illegitimate claims to individual private property that’s been legitimately acquired. I’m using my words. I’m talking.  I’m getting the message out.


Graham:

I’m not willing to compromise on the rights of the smallest minority which is the individual. That’s why I’m a voluntaryist.  This doesn’t mean that I’m waiting for utopia. We don’t believe in utopia that’s why we’re voluntaryists, we know that one man can’t centrally (inaudible)

There’s no way to get the consent of everyone this legislation is going to affect. If we can ignore it, if I can do whatever I want, if everyone can homestead all the lands and not keep them open to the public because no one has gone out there and homesteaded it and it’s open, that’s great. If communities decide how they want to divide it up locally, that’s great as long as it’s voluntary but it’s not voluntary if it’s done centrally through an elected leader who (inaudible)

It has to come from the ground up because it’s an individualist philosophy. I think the best way to stop this violence is to stop participating in … you’ve made the claim that it doesn’t legitimize the state. I take issue with what is being done now to make the political system look like there’s still some hope there.

 

Summary

I believe that Graham’s perspective is clouded by the insult he received from Adam calling him an annoying ignorant troll. I’ve watched this video many times and I’ve had conversations with Graham and it appears that Graham’s vendetta is going to prove the insult true.  I don’t think he can stop himself.  In any event, I’d like to call attention to the illogical arguments Graham is making as I feel it’s a disservice to anyone reading his slanted views regarding Adam and his campaign.

Graham has attacked Adam personally calling into question his integrity, attacked his campaign with various accusations.  The problem is that he never really acknowledges the answers he’s given. That way he can just keep repeating them as if he didn’t hear a thing.  That’s what he did with me as well. There was 1 question, 1 answer given and try as I did, I could not get him to address the answer, he refused.  That’s dishonest.

Using the righteous principles of self-ownership and voluntaryism to protect the state from Adam serves no good.  How many times does Adam have to reiterate that there is no coercion in his platform, everything is voluntary.  Do what you want, that’s liberty.  The accusation that Adam is attacking the state from the inside is another lie.  If successful, he’ll be on the inside from the time he’s elected till he signs the order to render government obsolete and bankrupt. How long does it take to sign your name.  After he signs, there is no more presidency. His goal is the peaceful orderly dismantling of a corrupt and bankrupt government that’s murdering people across the globe.  What kind of anarchist exactly doesn’t get behind that program?

But the ends don’t justify the means, right?  We’ve known that saying forever but stop and think.  What means and what ends are we talking about in this instance?  The ends is the elimination of government, the means is public education and solidarity to withdraw our consent to its existence.  And that’s bad how, that violates what, that’s force on who besides the state?

The wallet analogy: It doesn’t matter if it’s one wallet with a known owner or a million wallets without IDs in them.  Once anyone picks up one or more wallets, they have at that instant assumed authority and control over that wallet(s). Both Adam and Graham believe there is no perfect solution to returning all that government has stolen to the American people.  Adam wants to pickup the wallets and do the best we can to return the stolen property and has rightfully asked for help on the fairest way to accomplish it.  Graham says that’s violating property ethic principles and the only way it can be done is by local communities dividing it up because only they know best since only they have a connection to the property.  Adam’s said he’s going to honor any request from anyone with a legitimate property claim.  Oh.. never mind, just ignore it like he never spoke the words.

Graham said: “I appreciate that Adam has said that he’s an incrementalist because the plan violates violates voluntaryist principle and I don’t agree that it’s okay to violate it a little bit for the greater good because you say things like the American people and you say you would have the consent of everyone.”

He might want to check with the greater good crowd. I’m guessing they’ll tell him what he can do with his principle. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” ~Adam Kokesh

While the anarchists lay the ground work at the community level and show the people how we can live better without government, Adam’s campaign message is to bring people together to withdraw their consent from government. That’s where the demand comes from because power will concede nothing without it.  All hands on deck, work together to crush the state, our survival depends on it.