For Libertarians: a Manual for Success in Your Lifetime
Three decades ago I joined the Libertarian Party. I read the recommended readings. I studied Rothbard and Rand. I embraced the party line and preached it to everyone who would stand still long enough. People argued, or the slunk away. A decade and a half later, I got truly active within the party. I attended meetings, dropped literature, donated money, held fundraisers, planted signs, did radio interviews, and knocked on doors. I spent thousands of dollars and hours on the cause of liberty – and lost. Government continues to grow.
I got tired of losing. I broke from the party line and the party business plan. I did experiments, read further, and listened to objections. And in the process I learned a few things. Back when I preached orthodox libertarianism, it was rare indeed to find agreement with people I met outside a Libertarian Party function. Today, interest and significant agreement is the norm when I speak before a non-political crowd. Resistance comes mainly from those currently committed to one of the several parties. During my first decade as a Libertarian I successfully recruited one other person to join the party. Today, I have a hundred emails from people wanting to join my as yet nonexistent new party.
Factors of one hundred are significant.
But perhaps I cheat. The ideas I propose today would only cut government in half. So maybe I’m only fifty times more effective. On the other hand, my Business Plan for a New Political Party has been up for less than five years. So maybe I am a hundred times more effective. On the third hand, today I have the Internet to work with these days, so the comparison may be unfair. On the fourth hand, my proposed party has no ballot access, no FEC status, no budget, no members and no name. So maybe that factor of a hundred is overly conservative. If my libertarian friends were to likewise multiply their effectiveness, we might just get somewhere. Interested? If so, read on.
But be forewarned: some of the lessons to follow will be difficult. My younger self would reject many of them. Go ahead and reject as you see fit for the time being but keep reading. So you only achieve a factor of five improvement; that would still be significant. And the harder lessons might just sink in over time.