I’m going to return to what I feel are effective strategies, but the original point of my blog was, and is, about how we win hearts and minds. I want you to read that again. Hearts and minds. Americans use those words often, and I feel that there is a truth to them that is deeper than we realize. I want to delve into the single biggest failing that i see in the Libertarian party. We can really be jerks.
The secret is simple, the reason we say hearts and minds, is because hearts come first. We Libertarians love to take pride in our logic, in our superior arguments, in our moral high ground. We also rub it in the faces of anyone who will listen, and sometimes people who won’t, that we have all of those things. We laugh at “snowflakes” on both sides, we insult people’s feelings, and we talk down to them. We also get lucky when we hit 5% in any election, because nobody likes us.
This is not to say that there are not those who really get it. Mark Wicks, who garnered 6% of the vote in the special election for Montana’s lone House seat, ran a campaign based on positivity and good will. I recently spoke with Jared Hall, a campaign volunteer, about how the campaign unfolded, and he told me that the direction from Wicks was to play nice, and run a clean campaign. This allowed him to get the highest vote total for any Libertarian in that voting district. Sen. Laura Ebke knows how this game is played, that’s why you do not see her going around acting like a jerk. In a recent post she made in a discussion group she posed the following: “Win their hearts, and then we’ll work on their minds. And while we’re winning their hearts, we’ll start winning some elections, which will make it easier to win their minds”
There seems to be a revolution taking place within the party. After the recent statements from certain members, which I’m done talking about, there has been a swell of positivity, led by movement leaders like Sen. Ebke, C Michael Pickens, and Larry Sharp. This is very encouraging. These are people who really understand how humans work, which is something that the party has been lacking since I joined in ‘07.
So in order for you to understand where I’m coming from with some of my tactics, I feel that I should give you some background on who I am. When I was 15 I was already training and studying to be a pastor. By the time I went off to bible college, I was already mostly trained to be a youth minister. I’ve learned ministry and outreach from some very successful church builders, and I’ve also seen a lot of outreach tactics that do not work. I come from a mental place where I want to see the LP embrace tried and true outreach tactics that successful modern churches have. I am not trying to mix religion and politics, but rather, shamelessly steal ideas that work to grow a movement that expands personal freedom.
So how do we do that? Mike Knebel put together volunteers from District 1 and District 2 to do a home build for Habitat for Humanity. Trevor Reilly and the Lancaster LP has put together a group to do park cleanups in their community. This kind of outreach is huge. We should be focused on winning chunks of the community by proving that we care about them more than the other parties, because we do. We are Libertarians not because we are selfish, but because we want the best for people, and we think we have that answer. Work in a soup kitchen. Volunteer at the local Humane Society. Show people that freedom looks like good people helping each other, and they will listen to your arguments.
May your liberty grow,