We Need More Ron Swansons

While eating all of the bacon and eggs in my house this morning I was struck with inspiration. We need more Ron Swansons. That is, we need more free-market thinkers holding decision-making positions in government.

Ron Swanson

If our ultimate goal is to decrease government and increase liberty, we need people that share that mindset in these positions essentially willing to work themselves out of a job. The best part is you can have a huge amount of influence in a role that you don’t need to win an election to get.

Libertarians naturally avoid government at all costs. They don’t want the government to interfere with their lives and they certainly would never dream of working in government. We have an entrepreneurial spirit — we want to produce and earn a living on our own. We don’t want to live on the backs of the taxpayers.

Unfortunately we do not live in the ideal world that most libertarians would like. I don’t own a tank, roads aren’t totally privatized, and here in Virginia the government ABC Stores which monopolize liquor sales don’t even take competitor coupons! We cannot avoid the reality of the world in which we live. Government exists and it is slowly controlling more and more of our lives.

It is our civic duty and our personal responsibility to fight for the principles upon which this country was founded.

The great thing about the liberty movement is that there are many outlets to promote our ideas. There is no libertarian “silver bullet” to decreasing the size of government. It will take everyone in the movement years of hard work to move the ball in the direction of limited government.

Many of us want to take direct political action by promoting legislation (i.e. Audit the Fed) or working to elect liberty-minded candidates (Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Kerry Bentivolio, and other YAL PAC-endorsed candidates). Others want to teach the ideas and philosophy behind them. Still others want to do nothing but rant to their “friends” on Facebook. Note: I do not endorse this last route.

While most people are understandably focused on getting liberty-minded folks elected on November 6, we often overlook other ways of gaining inroads. If and when we do get our guys elected who are they going to work with? I believe that the most direct way to influencing the size of government is to get involved on a local level and change it from the inside.

There are a couple ways you can do this:

  1. Attend city council meetings. This is the simplest way to know what is going on within your community and to hold your local elected officials accountable. Spoiler alert: local officials are often much more extreme than the liberals in Washington. Why? They can get away with more because few people pay attention.
  2. Apply for a job working directly within your local government. Sound like a dead-end job to you? Make it one. I mean that in the sense that you should find ways to make that position either irrelevant, or find ways to decrease the size of your government.  Take your entrepreneurial spirit in the office and learn everything there is to know about the budget. Use your knowledge to cut it.
  3. Volunteer to help your local government officials. Yes, there are some good ones out there. Find one and let them know what you are interested in. Research that topic and present them with a free market alternative plan that they can implement to cut cost and decrease the size of government.
  4. Run for local elected office. How much more direct can you get than becoming the key decision maker?

All of these options will take long hours of hard work with very little immediate payoff, but nothing worth doing is ever easy.

We don’t just need people like Ron Swanson. We need activist libertarians that will fight against the expansion of government. Libertarians are naturally predisposed to distrust government. Great. The thing is you can’t avoid the fact that government makes decisions that (often) negatively affect your life. We are exactly the people that need to be in these managing positions because we want to be left alone and don’t think the government should be in the business of running individuals’ lives.

I’m an efficiency nut. I think we should be taking the most direct path to decreasing government. As we’ve all seen, the Federal government is a nearly impossible to move. Now, I’m not saying it’s not a fight worth having, but we have to understand that this will probably take more than our lifetimes to rein in.

One of the ways that we’re going to create an environment that will allow businesses to thrive and increase personal liberty, is having cities, counties, states all compete against each other. That’s the idea behind federalism and decentralization of government. Competition is also why the free market works to create value and increase quality of life. Government closest to the people governs best. Local governments are most adept to respond to the needs of the people.

It can be surprisingly easy to put yourself in influential local government positions. There are obviously many ways to go about it, whichever you choose please make the most out of the opportunity. Every day, every interaction, every decision is an opportunity to choose to promote liberty.

I know a lot of libertarians will have a problem with taking a government salary. I believe that if we apply free market principles to government we will see a decrease in its size. As a taxpayer, I would gladly pay anyone $1 if they are going to cut $5 of waste from my locality. That is saving me and other taxpayers real money and making a positive difference.

We currently have a huge need and, I believe, the most potential for impactful results by getting involved in local positions. You can make decisions that can directly save taxpayers millions of dollars. You can stop tax increases. You can stop public works boondoggles. You can change things for the better. Will you shirk the responsibility to promote free markets and limited government, or will you fight every day to achieve liberty in our lifetime?

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