In my latest piece at Voices of Liberty, I give advice how to be an effective activist in the liberty movement:
Here at Young Americans for Liberty, we’re all about activism. Having the right ideas is important—that’s the whole reason organizations like the Institute for Humane Studies and the Cato Institute exist. But good ideas mean nothing if they are not complimented by effective activism.
So if you’re looking to become active in spreading the message of liberty, here are five ways to do so:
(1) Join with other liberty activists
There’s something to be said for strength in numbers. Joining with other activists at your school or in your community is the first thing you should do in order to more effectively spread your message. One way is to join a chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. We have over 500 chapters at as many schools around the country, and we’re starting more all the time! You also might consider joining our sister organization, Campaign for Liberty, or attending events like CPAC and LPAC to make new connections.
(2) Openly celebrate the Constitution
In the United States, we celebrate all sorts of holidays—Labor Day, Columbus Day, Presidents Day, etc. But what about Constitution Day on September 17? Shouldn’t that be just as big of a deal? We think so, and that’s why we at YAL celebrate an entire Constitution WEEK.
During the week of September 15 to 19, we will strongly encourage all of our members and friends to pass out pocket Constitutions and engage fellow citizens in discussion about our founding document.
And remember—we’re not saying that the Constitution is a perfect document. It’s not. Rather, we’re saying that the Constitution places specific limitations on the reach of government, and these limitations have helped our nation become the freest and most prosperous in human history.
(3) Win your audience, not just your argument
Our ultimate goal as libertarian activists is to bring a larger segment of our society over to our point of view—and there’s evidence that we’re doing exactly that. It’s true that this involves convincing people of the merit of our arguments. However, we do not win hearts and minds by berating people for every disagreement they have with libertarianism.
For example, don’t immediately call someone a statist for supporting taxpayer-funded roads. Rather, try to find common ground. Most people don’t like things like war, excessive government spending, over-criminalization, etc. Show them that you agree with their ends, and then demonstrate why a system of limited government is a better means to achieve these ends than an expansive state system.
And always, always, always make sure that you treat others, and their opinions, with respect.
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