The Victory Lap

If there’s one thing that’s relatively consistent among libertarian activists, it’s their failure to celebrate their successes. You know, that part of a project when you’re supposed to step back, look at what you’ve accomplished and just take a minute to appreciate the product of your labour.

This may partially be because, well, if you’re a libertarian activist, you’re obviously relatively optimistic and unfazed by large obstacles — likely indicating that you are aware of and willing to do the massive amount of work necessary to overcome said obstacles. It may also be because the typical libertarian isn’t built for politics — what drew them to activism wasn’t ego or love of power (libertarianism isn’t particularly attractive to those types, for obvious reasons), but a passion for improving people’s lives — so they are probably not self-congratulatory or thick-skinned.

But if there is no validation — and honestly, seeing immediate results when your goals are to educate and invigorate the masses is far from probable — there will be burn out. There will be burn out and it will come without warning, swiftly and painfully. Your time as an activist will be short-lived, emotionally and potentially physically draining, and will probably start impairing other areas of your life, which might lead towards some resentment. And then it will be over and you will be another stereotypical, unorganized, idealistic, and sad little libertarian child.

As someone whose favourite aspect of the liberty movement is the people, the sense of community, the widespread, yet very intimate support everyone offers each other, I can almost guarantee you that if you celebrate your accomplishments with your fellow activists, congratulate each other on your specific roles and little wins, and really nurture the rich social aspect of working with people you care about and respect on something you love, your team — and its individual members — will withstand much greater internal and external pressures.

The social capital of this movement is really just phenomenal. But without continuous investment and use, depreciation will take its toll and we will have lost our most valuable resource and our biggest advantage over the rest of the political arena: our people.

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