Tag: liberty movement

YALCON Shows Us the Future of the Liberty Movement

Kevin Damato | @KevinCDamato

YALCON is a libertarian convention held by the national organization Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). YAL is a multifaceted organization, holding both a 501(c)(3) for their education side and a 501(c)(4) for their political campaigning work in their “Operation Win at the Door” program.

One of the amazing benefits of being a member of your local YAL chapter is the ability to attend the aforementioned convention, which has 5 locations this year all around the country. During each YALCON, attendees have the opportunities to meet liberty leaders, learn how to expand their outreach knowledge, and network with their peers.

Continue reading “YALCON Shows Us the Future of the Liberty Movement”

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The Libertarian Party Won’t Win, and Here’s Why

By Josh Hughes | United States

In 2018 alone, a sizable 833 Libertarian candidates ran for various offices in the election. From school board seats to national races, the party had many solid chances to grow this year. However, they only managed 27 victories. Depending on one’s perspective, that may be a success, especially including prosperous losses such as Larry Sharpe’s in New York.

On the pessimistic side, however,  3.4% of candidates winning their respective elections, with the overwhelming majority of the spots being relatively non-partisan such as “Soil Conservation Board” and “School District Board,” isn’t exactly a huge accomplishment for the liberty movement. 2018 was a prime opportunity for the Libertarian Party to make gains. But with this defeat, they will likely now have to wait until at least 2022, as voters are more likely to vote for the two major parties during the presidential election.

With all of this being said, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the status of the LP. Since its conception in 1971, the party has yet to consistently be a factor in any meaningful elections. While this isn’t entirely the party’s fault, it is certainly startling.

Poor Recognition

Unfortunately, the two party system has periled the fringe third party for its entirety. While their platform is certainly appealing to many on the right and left, many do not know about it. The sad reality is that the Libertarian Party simply doesn’t have the funding to advertise on the same scale as the Republicans or Democrats. From not being able to debate during the presidential election, to not being able to fund commercials for races, the party will frankly never be a contender if they don’t get access to more money.

Poor Reputation

People who know just a little about the party usually know one thing: “Didn’t their presidential candidate not know what Aleppo was?” The inept leadership and not-so-great candidates they choose to run usually shed a terrible image of what the party really stands for. What’s more, the party has moved more to the left recently. Taking the stance of open immigration and a very noisy anti-Trump policy certainly will not help draw in right-wing voters on the fence.

Another reason voters will be apprehensive is an unfortunate byproduct of America’s voting system. Unlike in a system of alternative voting, where voters can rank candidates without fear of wasting a vote, the U.S. only allows one vote. Suppose a Democratic candidate has 45% of support in a race, a Republican has 40%, and a Libertarian has 15%. Hypothetically, a majority of the 15% of LP voters, if given the choice between the two, would rather a Republican win than a Democrat.

Knowing the Libertarian candidate won’t win with only 15% of the vote, the voters often compromise their beliefs and vote for the Republican rather than let the Democrat win. In this instance, the Republican wins. However, the Libertarian supporters still aren’t satisfied because neither party matches their views. This idea of “choose the lesser of two evils or waste your vote, possibly helping a worse candidate win” is a horrible flaw in America’s system, and largely contributes to the unpopularity of third parties.

The Unfortunate Reality

As good of an idea as the Libertarian Party is, it frankly can’t win. The system makes it virtually impossible for any third party to be a major contender. Voters see (R) or (D) next to a candidates name and will make their choices based on that. “Libertarian” simply doesn’t have the name recognition or funding to compete. The best course of action for liberty-minded individuals, at least for now, would be to run as independents or liberty-minded Republicans, such as Austin Petersen of Missouri. Running on the Republican ticket without compromising one’s values is the best way to start winning major elections for the liberty movement. 


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Modern-Day Progressives: Regressive Next to Libertarians

By Manuel Martin | United States

Libertarians are true, modern-day progressives seeking to unify and evolve our culture around a common set of voluntary values which the majority of people already hold. Those on the left who consider themselves progressive are not progressing society. Instead, they continue to use an outdated coercive democratic system from 300 years ago.

In fact, modern-day progressives are regressive conservatives. While those on the left who consider themselves progressives wish to change how the political system works, they still wish to conserve the existence of a system which has slaughtered hundreds of millions and continually divides society. Regressing culture to a time when kings and queens had full control over the freedom and self-determination of the average everyday person does not bring progress. It makes no difference if a king or democratically-elected politician strips you of your autonomy.

The truth is, modern-day progressives are not progressive at all. There is nothing progressive about looking to third-party politicians to coercively solve cultural differences. Real progressives seek to free human beings from outdated ideas, old prejudices and the narcissism of those who wish to democratically control individuals within society. Real progressives fight to give everyone human respect to live free from the control of power-hungry politicians. Also, real progressives lift the values and ethics of people in order to unite them and bring about harmony and prosperity.

The Failed Tool of Democracy

The majority of Americans have strong personal values which promote and sustain peace. However, our political values are built upon a regressive democratic system of divisive coercion. Ideas of democracy and coercive government stagnate society in a constant state of actual and social war. The outdated, regressive tool of democracy has led to the slaughter and starvation of hundreds of millions in countless wars. It has democratically caused famines while ensuring power and profits to state benefactors. Democracy is the tool which freed millions from kings and dictators only to simultaneously have them vote for socialist kings and communist dictators.

Democracy was once a promise of a world where people would be free to live the lives they desired, but it has failed. True progressives evaluate the results of their ideas and never double down on failed ones. Democracy or constitutional government may be a good alternative to the unilateral dictates of a king. But by what logic is voting for oppression any better than simply being born into oppression?

It’s time for real progress, a New Frontier if you will; we must progress our culture to one which maximizes human respect, is tolerant of others, values the individual, and respects persuasion and trade over “democratic consensus.”

No Need for Government

Individually and socially, we don’t need government and politicians to live in peace and prosperity.  What society needs is individuals who put character first, value honest relationships, and respect long-held values of responsibility. We need men and women who teach integrity, strong work ethics and respect to their children. In short, everyone must own responsibility for his or her own actions. But moreover, they must take an enlightened position and look out for others, too.

These character traits make someone a valuable and contributing member of society. They are not a result of government, but of culture.

Culture will not flourish if we are naive enough to think voting is anything but an attempt to control the freedoms of others through the use of gun violence disguised as government, law, and democracy.

Your opinion is important, and yes your life matters. However, so does the person who has a different outlook on life. Of course, just because they are different doesn’t mean you should hire a mobster or politician with a gun to force your personal lifestyle on them.

Every action we make in life tilts the world a little bit more towards good or evil. Surely, attempting to control the free will and self-determination of others will always do the latter.

Modern-Day Progressives: Be Consistent

Everything we need to end the ancient idea of coercive government is already out there. Everyone, including you, is already using it. We are all libertarians in our personal dealings with others. Almost no one uses coercion when dealing with others. This, however, is not because governments tell us not to. Rather, we understand that in order for us to be successful human beings, we must rely on voluntary interactions.

We simply need to be consistent in the application of those ideals which we use to guide our everyday actions. We must start voting for politicians who promise to slowly and ethically dismantle the state so we can continue the evolution of our culture to more voluntary interactions, not fewer.

If you’re truly a modern-day progressive that wants to promote peace, prosperity, freedom for all and want to unleash societies ability to maximize human happiness, then we should all extend our libertarian social values to our political decisions. We should start the process of liberating society from the divisive coercion of governmental gun violence.

The best long-term sustainable way to maximize human happiness, peace and prosperity is to raise the cultural ethics of society until everyone recognizes the individual and common benefits of using persuasion instead of coercion, and trade instead of theft and taxes.

Libertarianism is a social philosophy seeking to promote this culture: one where individuals hold voluntary interactions as the primary ethic guiding their relations with others. As people, libertarians want to progress our culture to that ethical standard. Libertarians, thus, are the true progressives. Liberals: try to keep up.


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Being a Writer in the Liberty Movement

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Difficulties as a writer are abundant and come as no surprise to most, and yet we are often finding ourselves in times of struggle in getting our work out to the masses. Most writers will also feel more validity when they see they have more ‘likes,’ ‘thumbs-up,’ ‘follows,’ ‘hearts,’ ‘shares,’ and ‘reads,’ even when it means zero financial gains from the increased viewership.

In the Liberty Movement, one can easily Google libertarian writers and articles and find a plethora of quality material available on the web and in print. We may even find ourselves competing with those other writers, and that is ok to a healthy extent. This is a natural part of the marketplace, where we compete for better writing and getting our messages out to the masses. Competition can make us better as writers and individuals, as it also helps to find the areas that will help our shared messages reach those that were either unwilling or unaware of the concept of Liberty.

In order to become a better writer in the Liberty Movement, we should be eager to read the great works of those we love and admire, as well as countless hours of gruesome reading of those we are not in agreement with. Knowing the way the opposing side thinks helps us become stronger, and it makes better writers when we know how to argue against those arguments. Some of the works of our supposed enemies are, in fact fantastic, and creative in their ways of articulating and deceiving the masses out of Liberty and Freedom.

Many amazing artists, musicians, and writers were never famous or popular during their time alive. Rather, they became validated and popular posthumously. Such people as Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, Johann Sebastian Bach, Galileo Galilei, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Vincent Van Gogh, and many others. I am sure the same applies to the amazing works of Bastiat, Spooner, and the many others.

The validity of one’s writing, specifically, is not determined by the number of copies sold, the number of reads or views, or the popularity of the work produced. To appeal to such is a logical fallacy known as “Argumentum ad Populum,” (i.e. “Argument to the People”), or more commonly referred to as “Appeal to Popularity.” According to its definition, “This fallacy is similar in structure to certain other fallacies that involve a confusion between the justification of a belief and its widespread acceptance by a given group of people. When an argument uses the appeal to the beliefs of a group of supposed experts, it takes on the form of an appeal to authority; if the appeal is to the beliefs of a group of respected elders or the members of one’s community over a long period of time, then it takes on the form of an appeal to tradition.”


(Image citation: https://edu.glogster.com/glog/appeal-to-popularity/24j7txo2ffq )

If we settle with the validity of a person’s argument solely based on their popularity, then surely every dictator, tyrant, totalitarian, or Statist who has ever written anything is far more logically superior to that of everyone that speaks in defense of Liberty.

Adolf Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, has sold millions of copies, and has surged in Germany in more recent years; the various works of Joseph Stalin have sold millions; Mao’s little red book sold millions; Marx continues to influence people today with millions of books sold, etc. The sheer number of books sold by each of these monstrous leaders does not grant them superiority in logic or provide their arguments extra validity. Simply put, more people read their work, and that is all that can be said about their book numbers. Mein Kampf:

The best thing that each of us can do in the Liberty Movement, as writers, is to continue reading, speaking, debating, discussing, and writing. In order for our naturally positive and realistic messages to gain ground with those in direct opposition of Liberty, we need to stay on top of our understanding, remain decent in our approaches with others, diligent and consistent in our philosophy and politics, and find more creative ways to reach the masses. As we each work in direct competition with the next libertarian writer and those that oppose Liberty, we are also working together with those fellow libertarians as Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” in getting our letters of Love, Liberty, Freedom, and Peace out to the world.

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep writing. Never cease.


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Hooked on Freedom: Drug Abuse, Personal Responsibility, and Libertarianism

By Jason Thompson | United States

“Taxation is theft” & Legalize Pot!

In my experiences throughout the liberty movement, these two things seem to be what attracts a plurality of people to libertarianism. When one comes to accept the premise that they have autonomy over their own body and actions, it is evident that one should not be subject to egregious taxation. They should also be able to consume any substance of their liking.

Considering society’s changing attitudes towards the latter, it makes perfect sense that the Libertarian Party would market drug legalization an essential feature of its platform. Deregulation of drug use, especially cannabis, is an essential component to a truly free society. However, it is also good marketing for attracting younger voters from other parties. Some libertarian politicians have even run ads featuring themselves consuming cannabis.

This strategy also does an excellent job of showing the LP’s commitment towards autonomy. This can be seen as noble, indeed.

However, it also fails to accurately take a nuanced view of one key plank of libertarian philosophy – personal responsibility.

Although many in the movement disagree with the concept of a social contract, the reality is that we live in a society built upon hundreds of years of Western, Enlightenment-inspired tradition. One can own their bodies and actions, but a mature mind discerns that their personal choices have an impact on society at large.

In the Lockean sense, this holds true. We do not wish to become the party of hedonists. There is, in fact, a societal commons.

Rather, our movement should shift the emphasis on to a deliberate application of choice in such a manner that, through individual decisions, we as a collective of individuals enrich our society.

I can only speak from personal and anecdotal experience -having consumed copious amounts of illicit drugs not limited to cannabis – but if our party wishes to be relevant to the average voter outside of the millennial demographic, then we need to evolve our public image in regards to drug use. Otherwise, we as a party will forever be confined to fringe issues as a fringe party.

To be quite clear, I am not advocating regulation of drugs, nor am I suggesting that our party stop fighting for an end to drug prohibition. Prohibition has ruined countless lives. The drug war has done nothing to quell drug use. If anything, it has produced violence and decay in communities in America and abroad.

As a libertarian, I believe in personal autonomy and responsibility. I often make the distinction between society and the state; however, our movement must be honest in its appraisals and criticisms of individual behavior. Not all choices are equal in their repercussions.

Yes, non-violent drug offenders make up a disproportionate amount of the US prison population. The overcrowding of prison populations creates a financial burden on society and disenfranchises whole communities and demographic groups.

Yes, countries such as Portugal have decriminalized drug use. This has led to lower rates of incarceration and less drug use, in general. The focus has shifted towards rehabilitation. I agree with this strategy.

Yes, these personal choices to consume drugs are victimless crimes…

Per se.

In my own struggles with addiction, as well as my recent commitment to recovery and living life deliberately, I have had to come to terms with the fact that the choices I have made and the substances I have put in my body have had a negative impact on my loved ones and society at large.

Even smoking weed, which I had always seen as victimless, has had a negative impact on those around me. Everyone is different, but in my personal experiences, I notice I am much less motivated when I am high. I am more likely to not do things which are pressing and to cause stress on people around me.

A lot of people can relate to that.

I have seen friends have to move from home to home because their mother decided getting high was more important than paying a mortgage.

I have had two DUI’s, and could have killed someone. Thankfully, I only maimed and injured myself. Even that was a burden. People had to care for me because I was physically disabled and unable to work or contribute.

I have had cousins ferried from foster home to foster home and struggle to live with a single mother because my uncle was a heroin addict. I watched him go in and out of a system which cares little about rehabilitation.

I’ve seen the pain in people’s eyes at funerals where they lay their child to rest….

Dead.

From an overdose.

I could go on and on about societal repercussions of drug use, but to do so would violate people’s privacy and put my own recovery at risk.

I know not everyone has these experiences. Some people function fine.

And more power to them.

Again, to be quite clear, I am not advocating regulation of any substances. I don’t think cannabis is a gateway drug. I personally believe recreational heroin should be legal, in fact.

In short, I write this because it is something I struggle with in my own life and which I have seen kill people I love.

The pain doesn’t stop when someone is dead or in jail. It reverberates through society.

I also value freedom and wish to spread a message of liberty to the American electorate. I believe in the Libertarian Party and think it is capable of actually winning elections.

But first, our movement needs to be mature in its assessments of personal choice and responsibility and focus on our marketing, especially as it regards divisive issues such as drug abuse. Like it or not, we need to cut across demographic divides – that includes the boomers, who have a quite different take on drug consumption than our younger base.

I said it earlier in the article. We do not wish to be the party of hedonists. We want to be the adults in the room and offer real solutions that people take seriously.

Evolving our rhetoric on drug abuse, while standing our ground on people’s freedom to do as they wish, can help us market our movement in such a way that we win.

And I want to win.

Liberty depends on it.

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