Written exclusively for Young Americans for Liberty. Visit this page for more details on the author’s insider point of view and candidate recommendations.
With many states already having had their primary elections—in which many liberty candidates were defeated—some liberty activists are returning to their quiet lives in seeming defeat. But failure be damned! Though a short break from politics and activism is certainly well-deserved after all these long days and nights, anything lengthier than a week or two is ill advised—we activists, after all, are the life blood of the greater liberty movement.
I don’t wish to say that many of us have given up after certain favorite constitutional conservatives weren’t elected, but some of us certainly have left the fight. I fully share in the disappointment, having taken an active role in the liberty movement since April of 2011. Nonetheless, we cannot allow ourselves to be defeated simply because our preferred candidates didn’t receive a party nomination for the November ballot. Now is not the time to renounce all political involvement. After all, this whole endeavor was never about any single election, but rather about creating fundamental change for the better—for liberty itself.
It would be great if a constitutional conservative won the Presidency of the United States tomorrow and rapidly implemented libertarian-style changes in government. But this is not our only, or most realistic, option. Rather, we who do more than pay lip service to the Constitution must engage in tireless activism, campaigning at all levels of government and civil society for a decade or more, constantly agitating, educating, organizing, and politicking until government is more localized, more limited, and in compliance with the Constitution.
Many within our movement have relied the hope of good candidates to implement top-down liberty on their behalf via the federal government, even though liberty is supposed to begin at the grass roots—ordinary citizens like you and I, the very bottom of the power ladder—and work its way up.
Even though many liberty candidates were filtered out of the elections during the various states’ primaries, there still remain liberty candidates who stand a chance of winning. Why are liberty activists not fully involved in these campaigns? Have they lost all hope? I guarantee them—as does Thomas Paine throughout The American Crisis—that 1777, when our forefathers were losing the war of independence, was a much darker year than 2012. Many of us are so quick to abandon hope, doing even more damage to our movement than the Facebook revolutionaries who stain our reputation with their online vulgarity.
Rather than losing hope, every one of us needs to be actively campaigning for liberty candidates, making real change through the political process. Even if we live far away from where these races are happening, there is always a way to get involved through programs like phone from home or even simple fundraising. If you want to get involved on a liberty campaign but aren’t sure where to start, fill out this survey so YAL can connect you to principled, viable candidates.
Sign waving still doesn’t work, so don’t waste your time on it. If you made a hobby of it before, ask anyone who was actually involved with pro-liberty political campaigns and they’ll inform you of the cranial-rectal extraction you’re in desperate need of.
Campaigning for liberty candidates, whether it be for school board or for the U.S. Senate, is of the utmost importance and should be fully pursued by every one of us who actually gives a damn about changing our country for the better. The split in our movement between the Liberty Republican/Diehard Libertarian/I’m-Done-With-Politics factions can be healed only by time and through rebuilding our cohesion and trust in the greater reorganization and refortification of our movement by working together in local liberty campaigns.
Better yet, just imagine the victories that could be gained from these elections. New members of Congress could resurrect Congressman Paul’s bills that died in committee, thanks to lack of support. City councils could spit in the face of the unconstitutional Federal War on Drugs, just as Denver and Breckenridge did in their legalization of adults’ possession of an ounce of marijuana. Members of school boards could give our adolescents a defense against leftist or neoconservative brainwashing by weaving Carabini’s Inclined to Liberty into the curriculum for high school freshmen, followed by jewels like Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson for juniors, rounded out with Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and Rothbard’s Left, Right, and the Prospects for Liberty in senior year. Perhaps even brave members of college boards and brave professors would even dare to include Atlas Shrugged in the curriculum for college literary, language arts, and philosophy programs….
Do you now understand the golden opportunities presented to the greater liberty movement even from small, local, often-overlooked elected positions?
Then, after the November general election is over, we must all endeavor to fill the ideological vacuum left by Democrats and Republicans alike as they conclude their election cycle messages, shut down campaign offices, and go home. While they return to their normal lives, we’ll continue to be involved with groups such as Young Americans for Liberty, which has done a commendable job so far this year raising awareness to the indignities of invasive TSA searches, the national debt, and much more. We must continue educating the public on their Constitutional rights, on the sanctity of everyone’s humanity, personhood, and dignity, on the Constitutional limits of government, and on issues that continue to directly affect us and society as a whole.
We must continue the discussion on the Federal Reserve, the war on terrorism, and the war on drugs beyond this election cycle. We must become a firmly entrenched voice in every community across America, making our message known and understood by an increasing amount of people. We will constantly hold accountable the President—undoubtedly not a constitutional conservative—the Congress, and the courts for breaches of Constitutional law and violations of human dignity, so that the public knows we’re not partisan hacks like the rest of the media loudmouths.
Soon our day will come and we’ll win the Presidency, the Congress, the state legislatures, and we’ll regain our liberty. Improvements will come in government, the economy, and civil society, and the world will see that this entire time we had real solutions to problems created by big-spender, big-government hacks—that all along we actually knew what the hell we were talking about.
Brothers and sisters, stay involved in YAL and stay involved in this movement. If you leave, you may not ever come back and the liberty movement will lose another yet another jewel, and that’s exactly what the establishment wants. Stay with me, brothers and sisters in liberty. God willing, I’ll be in this with you ‘til the end.
YAL at GSU image by Kalynn Jones. Hyperlinks provided in this article reflect only the author’s point of view and opinions and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions of Young Americans for Liberty, which is a non-partisan organization.Published in