Securing a Libertarian Future
There is no doubt that 2016 was a pivotal year for the Libertarian Party. It was the year most Americans were introduced to the Libertarian Party in some form or another. Whether through the Aleppo comments made by Gary Johnson which forced the country to actually pay attention to our current foreign policy, or the introduction of the thought process that we do live in a government sanctioned duopoly, Americans now know what a Libertarian is and that their vote counts.
Here’s the real question: Are the Libertarians here to stay? Was this a fluke election caused by the Republicans and Democrats putting out the worst they had to offer or were people voting for the LP because they are finally fed up with the two party system?
To an outsider, Libertarians almost seem to be involved in a Libertarian “Club” instead of an actual political party. At least that’s how it comes across to most outsiders. When interest is shown in our party, most Libertarians tend to preach their ideologies instead of teach. The difference I saw this election cycle was that more Libertarians were willing to teach people, realizing that if we are ever going to get anything done, we need to grow our ranks.
Growing our ranks involves us securing our future. In order to secure that future, we must free ourselves from the constraints of the past. Some of our past actions have been, well, statist minded. We’ve been very forceful in preaching Libertarianism and shoving it down people’s throats as an all or nothing approach. We haven’t been good at weaning people into those ideas. We haven’t been good as a party at planting the seeds of Liberty. We expect an immediate harvest of those ideals and immediate results. As much as our culture tells us we must have things change now and that immediate results should be expected, this is not practical or logical. Once we can free ourselves from these constraints, we can empower ourselves in the present.
Once we empower ourselves in the present, we can secure our future. But empowering our present we must give up our fears. Fear is a word that most Libertarians will not admit to, but it stands in the back of our minds. Our fear of failure can hurt our future security. We must not be afraid to fail. Does that mean we put all of our eggs in one basket? No, it means that we take those small risks to grow, to stand apart. We are the party of principle and as long as we stand on principle we will not fail. It might feel as if we are failing in the moment, but if we hold strong for the long term, principle always wins out.
We cannot fear losing battles or people. Sometimes not fighting a battle will cause you to win the war. If we lose people and others cannot immediately replace, we have put all faith in people instead of an idea. Our faith should be in our principles, not in those who carry the torch. We should all carry the torch in some way. We should all have a mentor and someone to mentor in case we are lost.
We also cannot fear abandonment or losing support. Times will come when support will be lost, but to not act based on the thought of an indefinite loss of support is a futile attempt to predict the future. We will not know what we can accomplish if we don’t do it to the utmost of our abilities.
Fear of Death can keep us from acting when action is needed. Robert Greene said it best:
Additionally, we must learn to trust in each other. Yes, trust is earned. Blind trust is different than trust by faith. If we can give small amounts of trust and allow that trust to grow, this will prepare us for a secure future.
Certain trust can be detrimental. The trust in money will always fail us. Money is amoral. It is an object. It can be used for good and evil. But to put our faith and trust in money will ruin us as well as bring us further from our principles.
Securing our future will require us to renew our minds with new thinking. We must open ourselves to fresh teaching of materials already learned. Do we ever read a book more than once? Even in fiction, we learn something we missed before. Now apply that to something that matters. You can read something ten times and still not pick up every piece of information. We must renew our minds with novel and clear thinking, and do this continually. We cannot get comfortable to the point where we believe we have learned everything there is to learn about a subject. We must accept that we don’t fully understand everything. A level of faith and trust is required for all of us to be successful in areas where we don’t have a complete understanding. This thinking, right here, is truly liberating.
And finally, in order to secure our future as a party, we must sow seeds of liberty. We must sow good seeds today to secure a strong future. If we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly. If we sow bountifully, we will reap bountifully. If we sow trust, we will reap trust. Sowing seeds is multiplying. One seed could multiply into ten, a hundred or even a thousand! We must take what we have and give it. We share the duties of watering the seeds with renewing our minds in novel thinking. Then we can watch it multiply.
Our principles are our foundation. The rest we can build upon. Let’s build for the long term and have faith in each other and our principles. The rest will follow.
Cole Ebel is a contributing writer to the Whiskeytarian and Recuro.org and has been awarded the Keith L. Ware Excellence in Journalism award in 2005. He lives in Carthage, Tennessee.