Thoughts After Attending A Liberty Workshop
I was able to attend a liberty workshop hosted by Liberty On The Rocks and Libertas Found this past weekend, with the keynote speaker being Libertarian Girl. What stands out about going to a liberty event as opposed to a tea party event is the age of the crowd. The liberty groups are a generation, or more, younger than the tea party groups. Because they grew up with modern technology, the younger liberty groups understand how to utilize computers the internet and social media, way better than the older people in the tea party. The R and D paradigm has no meaning to liberty groups, where as the tea party people have a hard time seeing anything outside of the R and D model which they grew up under. The liberty groups have a degree of confidence about what they know concerning individual liberty, where as the tea party groups years of real world experience brings a kind of knowledge that the younger groups can’t know. The knowledge and human capital of both groups combined is enormous. I wish they could work together more on defeating the real enemy, which is progressive democrats and progressive republicans. The battle against the progressives is going to take decades and both groups will play their part, but the younger liberty groups are the ones who are going to have to teach the next generation that individual liberty, not Government promised security, is the way to a better life for them and a better world for us.
Here is a repost of an article I wrote on 4/24/13.
Are You a Democrat, a Republican, or a Libertarian?
It’s difficult to discuss issues calmly and logically because all of us plant our ideological flag on one of these three hills [ D,R, or L, or liberal, conservative, or libertarian]. If we see the other person’s flag, we automatically place them under that banner, and think there is no chance to reach common ground on any issue. The fact that each group has painted themselves into an ideological corner, because they demand a degree of ideological purity, is what makes it easier to place the other person under a particular banner. This post titled, “You Are Not A REAL Libertarian”, by Mungowitz at Kids Prefer Cheese, poking fun at libertarians for not accepting anyone who isn’t 100% pure in thought. But I have seen the same thing from liberals and conservatives, so no one is immune from this disease.
What we have to understand about party politics is, the rank and file have different incentives for identifying with a party, then the incentives of the establishment for being members of the party. The establishment’s sole purpose is to maintain the power of the party at all cost. It’s easier to keep and grow power if you have an enemy to demonize, and therefore party propaganda tries to get the rank and file to think of the other side as evil, misguided, or stupid. The rank and file are willing to think this way for two reasons. 1) They don’t have enough time to read about, and understand, the complex economic ramifications of their parties policies. Which leads to. 2) They trust the establishment of their party is telling the truth, because it costs less in time to trust than it does to verify.
Another reason people are attracted to certain parties is because of the benefits promised by that particular party once it gets into power. There is no shortage of politicians who will promise anything to anybody in order to get their vote. Politicians are always trying to talk about group interests; black white, rich poor, male female, old young, etc, because it is more cost-effective for politicians to convince people that they are a part of a special interest group, rather than to have each voter think of himself as an individual. This is the reason politics always seems to be “a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principle“.
If each person thought of himself as an individual, he would understand that individual freedom is in his best interest. When Government power grows, individual freedom shrinks, so the only way to have more individual freedom, is to shrink Government. The establishment elite’s only interest, is in growing Government power, so they can sit in the driver seat when their party is given the keys by the voters. The vast majority of the rank and file, whether D’s, R’s, or L’s, have to understand that their enemy is not the rank and file of the other parties, it is the establishment elite of the parties. The party machine has swallowed up many a young politician who was elected because of his promise to shrink Government. If all the rank and file who understand that Government is an impediment to their individual freedom got together, not to form another party; but to persuade politicians in their party that freedom is in their best interest, or defeat them if they can’t be persuaded, we could begin to shrink this enemy of the individual.
I try to think of everything that is political, through the lens of Austrian economics. These principles clear up every issue, and they will for you if you invest some time to learn. If you already understand economic principles form the Austrian perspective, then you have an obligation to persuade others. Remember, you don’t persuade people by beating them over the head, and you don’t give a child a rare steak when they are on baby formula. You have to start where they are, lead them to the door and let them walk through. This costs more in time then hitting them with a club, but if you truly believe in individual freedom, you will be willing to pay the price. Remember, hitting them over the head is about you, leading them to the door is about them.
Related Video – Walter E. Williams. “Are We Moving Toward More Personal Liberty, Or More Government Control Over Our lives.” at austrianaddict.com.