Pragmatism Inevitably Depends on a Principled Voter Base

I’m sorry. I was not going to post any more of these libertarian political strategy diatribes. However, I had an epiphany I feel must be shared. Ultimately, no amount of pragmatic political strategy will work until there is a solid libertarian voter block that cannot be swayed. The only way to build such a base is to convert more people to libertarianism.

In order to convert people to libertarianism, you must reflect on what it took to become a libertarian yourself. The true core of libertarianism is a deep desire to learn more and share that knowledge. You are not recruiting people to a political party. You are not recruiting people to an ideology. You are recruiting people to a lifetime of learning, discovery, and developing a better understanding of how the world works and people relate to one another and how we could improve human relationships without violence.

Yes, it is true that the GOP and the DNC are losing control. They each control a small demographic of hardcore followers. Only about nine percent of the US population voted for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the primaries. Very few young people identify as strong Republican and strong Democratic. Despite the dwindling core Democrat and Republican bases, however, they still maintain control because there really is not a large enough third-party block to be able to argue that a 3rd party candidate has a chance to win.

To non-libertarians, the prospect of voting Libertarian is a not much different from voting for a Democrat or a Republican. They still need to look at the candidates on the issues and determine if they agree with the Libertarian candidate more than the other candidates. However, the problem is that the Libertarian candidate does not have the same prospects of winning as the Democrat and Republican candidates. Therefore, even if a voter agrees with the Libertarian candidate more than the Democrat and Republican candidate, they may still vote for a Democrat or Republican to attempt to get at least a few of the issues they care about addressed.

Although, it could be the case that the Democrats and Republicans are not going to address any of the issues that the person cares about. In that case, a GOTV campaign should be sufficient in winning over these voters.

The only way to change this dynamic is to increase the Libertarian voter base.  This is a strong possibility in the future, with few young people identifying as strong Republican or strong Democrat. A base of 10-20% of strong Libertarian leaners may be a large enough base to make a difference. In Jesse Ventura’s case, he won the Minnesota Gubernatorial race after receiving 20% in the polls. “It does not take a majority to prevail” (Sam Adams). According to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, it will only take 10% to move the majority to libertarianism:

“Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.” – RPI News, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, July 2011

The most pragmatic way convert others to libertarianism is to reflect on what helped you formulate your own philosophy. What I have found is that the true core of libertarianism is a strong desire to learn more and share what you learned.

The driving force is burning questions that introduce cognitive dissonance that is not easily stamped out by some patriotic propaganda buzzword answer. This will be different for everyone. It could be something as odd as “Why do Conservative talk show hosts use punk rock for bumper music?” Usually these lead to other questions of cognitive dissonance that are likely based on discontinuity in party platforms such as the spending that conservatives support.

To any extent, the libertarian is the one who does not stop learning and feels it is his or her civic duty to both continue to learn and share what they learn. Think about what will provoke those probing questions and deep research and “reading of 100 books on the subject.”

This is a difficult, time-consuming process. Do not despair when the TEA Party member you are talking to does not immediately convert to libertarianism. You may find that this TEA Partier went on to become the state chair of the Libertarian Party and wrote a book on libertarianism. You might even see him posting “taxation is theft” memes. You may even start seeing friends from high school who you never even discussed libertarianism with are posting pictures from Free Talk Live. As the Ron Paul meme states, “It’s happening.”

Even if you do not ask the right questions, someone else may. You don’t have to be the one to convert everyone. There is no one true route to liberty, only burning questions that keep people up at night and lead to an endless desire for learning.

As for me, I will move on to coding education. At least, that is what I tell myself. I will try to avoid the political strategy diatribes and focus on coding. Sorry again.



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