From one libertarian to another:
So you went over to https://jo20.com/ to learn more about the 2020 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jo Jorgensen and realize there’s one thing that bothers you about her campaign. So you then do what comes naturally to you: you jump on your favorite social networks to see what everyone else is saying about the situation. You’re not committed to your opinion, but you’re not ready to quit on her.
Then you’re hit with a blast of internet pessimism, as the overwhelming majority of the people who exist in your favorite echo chamber agree with you. You are somehow surprised by this but are further distracted when you discover that people are heaping further criticisms that you hadn’t considered in this naive journey upon which you now find yourself. You’re quick on the path to consider ditching Jo for a Mickey Mouse write-in.
By this point, I hope you realize that what I’m describing is a severe problem for the libertarian movement as a whole, that pessimism makes everything about the movement sucky. “Sucky is a lousy definition,” you might say. That sucky pessimistic opinion about my opinion sucks, too, and I’m going to explain why and what you should do about it.
Libertarian might as well be a verb.
Short grammar lessons to keep the context clear. A noun is a word that identifies a person, place, or thing and is how people use the word “Libertarian.” A verb expresses an action. An adjective qualifies the noun, like in the sentence, “Your libertarian pessimism sucks.”
A libertarian, every libertarian, is an activist. I know what some are already thinking. No flippin’ way, Joe. Some are economists, and some are podcasters and blah blah blah. I’m here to tell you that every Libertarian, regardless of their goals and activities, is an activist, and everyone who claims the noun libertarian exemplifies it in their life as a verb. The proof is in the lifestyle you choose.
If you choose to act on your philosophy, you’ll find a middle ground with people to whom you don’t always entirely agree. It’s like gravity. You orbit and grow your values and practice your beliefs. You might have to slide around and find the people that appeal to your values. But you’ll be a functioning, contributing member of libertarian ideals and culture, and an optimal amount of people will benefit from your contribution.
Or you can jump online and join the nouns in defining concepts without actually demonstrating or attempting to bring forward libertarian values in any meaningful way. You don’t like the campaign, so you criticize it. You don’t believe in the candidate, and your candidate didn’t win the nomination, so now it’s pout time. “Oh well, I guess I’ll wait for more freedom until next election cycle.”
And that pessimism sucks. It’s unproductive to the goals of liberty and freedom in our lifetime.
Own your words, make them actions
I wasn’t gifted with a profound mastery of wordplay. I’m still working on it. When I joined the Party in 2015 (or was it 2016?), I face-rolled my way through finding my place to participate in the Party. What would be my activism? Maybe start a local congressional district affiliate. I’m still working on that. But what happened was an increased desire to write for the cause and thus articles like this one on lpmn.org.
I’m not stopping there, because this bantering will eventually transform into public speaking, coaching, marketing, influencing, or other manifestation. And I’m looking forward to that transformation.
Do you think that a campaign is being run poorly? Maybe you should be contributing. Do you think a campaign needs to raise more money? Perhaps you have a skill for that. Do you believe the Party should pivot and focus on other ideas? You don’t win hearts and minds on Facebook and Reddit. You don’t win debates there, either.
If you’re a libertarian in noun only you might not be a libertarian, at least not yet. Indeed, you won’t be the libertarian you wanted to be when you started claiming identity using that term. Elevate your opinions to the next level. Find a way to own and practice them. Challenge yourself to be what you claim to be. You’ll become less sucky.
In liberty… Some average Joe.
PS. If you’d like to write an article for lpmn.org you can reach out to me at joe.proveaux at lpmn.org