The answer isn’t as clear-cut as it might first appear. What’s more, there’s no one correct answer. But I want to tell you the conclusion I’ve come to for myself.
Many of my friends are committed activists for freedom. Because of that, some of them attend various protests and engage in provocative acts of civil disobedience. I have a lot of respect for people who take this route, and I understand why the make the choice they do. There have been times in history when such attempts have brought about change, such as during the U.S. civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s. I don’t happen to believe it’s the right approach today, though, so it’s not my way. However, I’m not going to tell other people what’s right for them, because a) it’s their choice and b) I might be wrong.
If the only way — or even the best way — of achieving a more free society was to get the state’s co-operation in modifying its rules, I might possibly choose their way. But I think it’s ultimately smarter and more useful to find solutions outside the state entirely.
The route I choose is to obey the rules as much as possible — out of pragmatism, not out of love or duty — and look for ways to legally and safely move beyond the statist system we’re a part of now. If I believed there were no alternative to the current state system, I might be frustrated and end up engaging in civil disobedience or protests myself. But I believe change is possible otherwise, so I think the pragmatic thing is to obey the rules to stay out of trouble — all the while looking for principled and pragmatic ways out.
With the growing “free cities” movement, there are going to be opportunities for change around the world very soon. I don’t know for sure where the first successes of that approach might be, but I believe building something constructive — within a framework where others have an incentive to allow it to happen — is a far smarter route to change than protesting petty rules.
If you choose to protest petty laws and petition the state to give you more freedom, I respect your choice and I support your right to do it. But it’s not going to be my way. I want change that’s much bigger than that.