I’ve been confronted with what I see as a growing image problem in the Libertarian movement. As the Party pushes into the 3% range in national elections, and while we gain ballot access here in Nebraska, we are going from a movement that is half internet trolls and the rest wishful thinking, to a movement who are able to gain traction on school boards, state legislative bodies, and city councils. The growing pains have been fierce. From every facepalm moment that the Johnson/Weld campaign gave us, to national social media volunteers attacking our highest elected official, to the hard core Ancaps telling us that the movement is on fire and that we should give up, we have so many self inflicted wounds coming out of the last election cycle, it’s a small wonder that we are even holding together as a party right now.
Yet, Liberty marches on. We are fighting heated battles on new media platforms, we are doing war in comments sections on social media, we are even getting small bites of airtime on old media platforms. Our collective activism is getting our candidates into debates and our ability to spend money on candidates has separated us from other third parties. As it stands now, there are the big two parties, then there is us, then everyone else is really a 4th party. We are changing the game, inch by inch, fight by fight.
That is all wonderful, it gives me hope that our fight is not futile, meaningless, or doomed. That said, I’m really not here to talk about any of those things. Any county LP Facebook page will try to keep you up to date on news, giving you “The Libertarian” perspective while doing so, but I sit here looking at all the Celebritarians, all the thinkers, all the leaders, and I’m forced to ask the question, “Who is talking about what it means to live like a Libertarian?”
I asked a couple people in the state party what that meant to them. I got a lot of “I have to think about it” answers. That’s fine, because I’m not sure if I can answer that question either. I do know one thing though, changing the world has never started because one person told another person the right way to live. The great social and political forces all sparked from a person, or group of people, changing the way they lived their lives, and that change creating something new, something meaningful. Most world religions preached “eye for an eye”, until Jesus came and said “turn the other cheek”. I’m no Jesus, or Ghandi, or MLK, but I think that we can come together and learn new ways to show people why personal freedom, responsibility, and individualism are the best way to live your life.
I do not think that victory for the LP will be won with some charismatic candidate, it won’t be won in some great meme war, and some law will not bring us the world we want. That world will only come when we show others, through our daily lives and actions, that there are no higher ideals. This may not be the most fun series. It may be contentious. You will not agree with everything I have to say (you wouldn’t be a Libertarian if you did). However, it is my hope that as iron sharpens iron so may we sharpen one another.
I have several topics in mind that I would like to tackle. Building bridges feels like the natural first topic to me. It seems silly to have to talk about the idea that we should be finding common ground and not making enemies out of friends, but we took another self inflicted wound while I was editing this first post and I really feel that it has to be talked about. I want to spend several weeks also talking about the need to be a good person, as that seems to be a lost art lately as well. After that there are several topics, from how to speak to people while avoiding jargon, inspecting your own beliefs for inconsistencies, and other things that will not always be fun to get into.
I want to have at least one blog every two weeks, so when this goes up, please bookmark it and check back for more thoughts. Also, please, for the love of liberty, stop fighting each other between now and then.
May your Liberty grow,