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.
So when are you a Libertarian?
A question that is debated when people discuss the idea of ”thin” versus ”thick” libertarianism. Those in the thin camp argue that libertarianism is simply a rejection of the inititiation of violence. (you don’t think the worlds problems are solved by having someone else hurt others and take their stuff to force your ideals). While those in the ”thick” camp argue that libertarianism should go further into stronger advocacy for the oppressed, multiculturalism, essentially really advocating that people can and should make an effort not just coexist but thrive together.
I agree with both, I just feel they are answering very different questions.
The ”thin” crowd is arguing for a strict and clear definition of being libertarian as a view on the use of violence in governing society (violence is bad). They don’t want other virtues or social values to be added in because then it becomes unclear and drives people into a neverending fight on definitions. This bothers the ”thick” crowd because someone with social or cultural views they may abhor can fall within the libertarian banner as long as they don’t think violence and especially violence through government is the answer to bringing upon their worldview. Although we can’t redefine every aspect of ourselves to reduce commonalities with those we don’t like. I’m a male, and there are other males who’ve raped, murdered, etc. but I don’t suggest people redefine male to exclude those who do those things.
Although I do think the particular social virtues and values you promote play a role in building a world where Libertarianism can grow and thrive. One of the things that brings many to look into libertarianism is when they begin to see the effects that individual freedom has on general welfare. Many of these effects come from the network effects of markets, the exchange of good, services and ideas that create wealth and innovation. The smaller that network of interacting individuals the smaller these effects may become.
So to illustrate when I’m getting at I’ll make use of a rhetorical tool called a ”reductio” (taking things to their extreme). Let’s imagine a world where everyone rejects violence but their personal values and virtues still lead to isolated communities that voluntarily don’t trade, don’t travel, don’t talk. Many of the most positive effects of the market may not quite play out leading to less prosperous communities which can lead to an environment where the isolation and struggle leads to a reversal on the use of violence. (it’s easier to use violence on people you don’t know and especially when your struggling)
Throw in tolerance, forgiveness, empathy and pluralism in the virtues we promote, it may be beyond the scope of libertarianism but would contribute to an environment where libertarianism can sustainably be a value that travels generation to generation. The market network effects will create prosperity and non-violence that would reinforce continuing down that path. The interaction of individuals makes calls for violence that much more difficult.
Will the world hit either extreme, probably not. Although in the hopes of a sustainable libertarianism it seems valuable to want to push in the direction of the later extreme.
I guess the global trend of nationalist populism is still going. This talk of a strongman leader who is going to tell the rest of the world they can no longer tell their Nation what to do while focusing on national security and economy is a message that plays to the anxieties of a world plagued with terrorism still feeling the anxiety from a global economic crisis.
The problem is many of those trying to defeat this trend try do so by telling people their anxieties are wrong and they should feel ashamed for having them and vote for traditional leaders instead. (this does not work, you need to provide them a better solution)
Nationalist Populism is the wrong answer but so is the traditional establishment corruption. The Libertarian message is a message of individual empowerment that allows each of us to provide our own security, prosperity and virtue within each of our lives without looking at it as having to come at the expense of the rest of the world or a particular class. Individualism has room for everyone and I hope more the world discovers this message sooner than later.
Metaphors play a large role in how we view problems and solutions. One of the most consequential metaphors I’m aware of is the difference between looking at society and the economy as organic vs mechanic.
Those who take a more organic approach see the society, economy and the institutions within it as disparate parts of a larger co-dependent body or ecosystem. Often times when your body exhibits symptoms such as fevers or colds it’s the result of the body adapting and healing making it a temporary discomfort that usually doesn’t require intervention which can often make it worse. Also as bodies and ecosystems heal they adapt and change to deal with similar events in the future without any central dictation to do so. This approach of seeing society leads to a more free market approach and thought process.
Those who see society as mechanic see it as co-dependent parts of something that had to be designed. Like a machine if left alone it’s parts don’t improve. Even worse, they depreciate overtime, so it’s up to its owners to replace parts when necessary and designers are needed to create better ones when faults are identified. Since the machine can’t fix itself this requires much more external intervention to maintain, this leads to a mindset much more willing to see governments intervene in society.
This is merely one example of how metaphors influence how we see the world around us. A metaphor I quite enjoy and use in explaining good vs bad regulation/rules is board games. When you look at simpler games with less rules like UNO it’s easier to catch cheaters, need less enforcers, and allows for more to be willing to play. While games with much more complicated and discretionary rules (dungeons and dragons) make it hard to catch cheaters, need people to be designated enforcers/adjudicators, and are so complex many people get discouraged from playing.
Another great metaphor geeks like myself usually enjoy is seeing our lives like a Role Playing Game where doing things earn you experience points so you can level up and be more effective. This metaphor often leads people to embrace human capital without ever being aware of the concept.
Metaphors make a difference. Develop, disseminate and use them carefully.
The left recently complained about “whataboutism”, the pointing out that left administrations did many of the same bad policies as the current right wing one. (Cronyist trade dealings, mass deportations, global intervention, massive deficits, accommodative monetary policy, etc.)
This is Important because why should I listen to someone telling me to vote differently if what they are telling to vote for will get me the same? I vote Libertarian in the hopes of actually electing someone that will do something different such as intervene less in the affairs of other nations, promote actual free trade, balance the budget and let interest rates be set by markets.
The odds may be high, but if things go my way, even a little, at least there will be genuine substantive change versus merely a change in tone, rhetoric and in whose cronies get political favors.