What does it take to build a friendship? Do you need to be the same race? Religion? Gender? Let’s be real, this is a silly set of questions. I have people that I consider friends that have very few of the same identifiers that I have. I’m willing to bet that you, dear reader, do as well. Sometimes we have friends that we met growing up, so proximity brought us together and we formed a bond. Other times it can be a mutual interest that brings us together. If there are so many ways to make friends and allies, why do Libertarians suck at it so badly?
If you have not noticed it already, you will pick up on it at some point, I’m rather fond of the phrase “self-inflicted wound”. If you stick around long enough, you will also notice me bashing my head against the desk screaming “stop snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”. We Libertarians are masters of destroying every bit of progress we make by saying the wrong things at the worst moments, insulting the very people that we are trying to reach. I’m not going to pile on anyone, that’s not the point here.
In Nebraska we have a unique opportunity because the Unicameral is non-partisan, technically. This means we have a better chance of running somebody who is strong on the issues and they can win because they do not have to have an R or D by their name. So we can put out a true small government candidate who has a real chance in a sparsely populated district. Most Nebraskans are going to be easy to reach with a message that focuses on lower taxes, religious freedom, and rolling back regulations.
That seems simple, right? It’s really not. We are Libertarians, so we will always ruin the bridge building by going into the weeds and talking about the NAP, taxation being theft, and any number of pet issues that we have that make us look fringe. Yes, those are part of our philosophy, yes, they are morally correct, but you don’t lead with the parts of your platform that are the furthest away from the mainstream. We do not have to hide these things, but we shouldn’t be so quick to bring them into the discussion. Save the deep issues for after you have been accepted as a legitimate voice. Claim a victory first! Become the face and voice of a winning movement.
If you are in a blue area, especially a city, you should focus on building bridges with criminal justice reform, individual rights for LGBT communities, and our shared love of immigration. Being more of a right leaning Libertarian, this can be difficult for me, but I have found that you can speak to people about these issues and they will come away feeling like you are on their side, and if you are doing this for the right reasons, you are on their side. Also, avoid using language like snowflake and triggered, those words are conversation stoppers, especially for people left of center.
If you are in a red area, focus on building bridges through lower taxes, 2nd amendment rights, and deregulation. Reach out to religious communities, all of them, and say something about how we Libertarians want to protect their places of worship from government intrusion, and want to protect their rights to free speech. If you are going to speak about veterans, focus on issues with the VA and how badly the government treats them, both in war and after.
Above all else, be respectful and kind to people. Libertarians on the internet can be jerks, don’t be that Libertarian. Be the kind of Libertarian who can tell people why liberty can work for them. Be a good person, and the people who are not on the fringes of the other two parties will respond in kind.
In my next piece I will be write about local races, such as school boards and city councils. Until then, dear reader, have a lovely, liberty filled life.
May your liberty grow,
Azaraptor (Zachary Taylor)