Often times people are too quick to say others hate freedom but in the American political discussion everyone thinks they are for freedom and just believe certain conditions are necessary for freedom to survive.
A good summary of the American political discussion as I see it goes like this…
The left believes that a free society to exist and thrive needs the basics (healthcare, housing, education) so expects government to ensure the provision of these things.
The right believes that a free society to exist and thrive needs security and order which is done by aggressive proactive protection from everywhere else and strictly enforced laws which they expect government to ensure the provision of.
Libertarians believe that a free society to exist and thrive needs liberty and that people in a decentralized, voluntary and distributed manner can provide and improve the provision over time of education, healthcare, order, security and everything else.
What makes libertarians different is we see freedom and the knowledge creation of free exchange as the necessary condition for a sustainably free society.
I elaborate on this on the next episode of ”Nice Guys Finish Free”, my podcast on The Launchpad Media Network (subscribe to their podcast feed).
A lot of people confuse the views of those who are for a minimal state or those who want no state and are quick to label them naive. (This Post is not about what the right size of a state is just understanding different perspectives)
Those who want a minimal state (minarchist) believe smaller and limited government is better. They generally believe there are a few areas to which government provision is necessary (primarily defense and a legal system). Some believe limiting this state requires a fairly rigid and unchangeable contract to bind the government (a constitution), others believe it just takes constant engagement and vigilance with or without a constitution. Some moderates may extend government’s role to light environmental involvement and anti-trust (these would be the most moderate classical liberals). Regardless, they all agree less government, largely free markets and civil liberties make a better society. These people do understand the state has a propensity to grow but believe with the right checks it can be managed.
Those who want no state (ancaps/voluntaryists) believe there is no good or service that requires state provision so even defense and a legal system can be provided by one or many non-states actors. Since the state has a propensity to grow and use it’s unique aspects to prevent competition (a monopoly on the legitimate use of force which is used to tax and regulate) they think that the state should be eliminated as soon as practical. To do this a mix of using politics to dismantle the state and creating market alternatives to the state to reduce demand for the state existence . These people don’t believe no order should exist merely that it can be provided by a decentralized network of institutions like everything else in a market economy. There is a great varying of difference in the time frame in which they believe this can occur and whether certain institutions and cultural norms are required for it to work.
Point is, both groups largely in good faith support free markets, peace, and less government than we have now, so I believe they should be able to work together to those ends without quibbling about their differences.
I personally have views that depart from both of these in different ways but once again have a high conviction in free markets, peace and more individual power in society so let’s all get along.
Too many people get wrapped in the wrong question when it comes to the discussion of borders. That question is “does the Nation State have the right or duty to enforce and protect its borders”. While it’s fun to discuss whether Nation States have legitimate claims to government land, it really comes down to a difference of whether you believe the autonomy and property of future generations can be bound by agreements and pacts over the autonomy and property of prior generations. Most people aren’t going to be on the absolute end of either side resulting in such a diverse discussion that it serves no purpose in resolving the policy question that is on the table.
“To the extent that Nation States exist whether you like them or not, what should border policy be?”
So my personal sentiment is that a more permissive policy with minimal barriers is better economically and in the long run creates a grander peace as cultures learn to coexist over generations (it’s not quick and it’s not pretty but does happen). Although this is the result of my more classically liberal and pluralistic values. It is totally rational and reasonable for someone to value the short run certainty cultural uniformity and limited labor competition can provide them at the expense of the grander but more distributed benefits of liberalism. (Basically some may prefer more for them at the expense of more for everyone).
So to the extent whether I or someone else believes a Nation State should exist, they do. They will employ some sort of border policy but should it be generous and welcoming or punishing, strict and limited. Depends on your values, but let’s have an actual conversation instead of shutting down conversation with words like Fascist, Communist, Racist, etc.
I will try to convince you to think my way and you are free to do you best to get me to think your way.
Set an example of peace with Non-Intervention
End prohibition of goods and services and the violence it brings
Reduce barriers to individuals cooperating in enterprise, charity and community
Reduce barriers and costs to opportunities for empowerment
Allow people to enter the contracts they wish with consenting adults
Reduce the cost of living by reducing the costs of intervention
Encourage voluntary aid through charity, insurance and family/community
Decentralize governance to allow all people to have a voice
Do we need to build the party identity/brand? Yes
Do we need to be bolder? Yes
Do we need more chapters and candidates to build out ground game? Yes
To be fair we have grown in many of these areas, but we need to keep doing so.
What I take away from this elections and the three runs I’ve made personally is the following.
– People vote out of loyalty, fear and hope and rarely out of ideology. I absolutely detest fear but I think we can do better on the other 2.
– You do need to be different, we do need to make the Libertarian brand distinct and disruptive, although this can be done without negativity and disruption doesn’t have to mean offensive. (This is a line I’m still trying figure out). People do need to feel that there is a tangibly different path that other parties don’t offer.
– The brand needs to be visible, we can’t control our media coverage but we can be out there in the community holding events that are FUN to build positive associations with the party and it’s boldest ideas regarding the things most people care about (education, healthcare, economy, sense of security)
– We need to take our ideas seriously but not take ourselves too seriously, I see many times people get turned off not by the candidate but by the supporters. This is minor as the greater issue is people even knowing that the candidate or party exists.
– Many people even at top of the ballot didn’t vote for the candidate but for the party, this is why community and membership building is key. We need to grow the base of people who believe in the party and what it represents and this can take a long time but like anything there are compound returns and as we grow we’ll grow faster. We ARE growing.