In the United States, the libertarian movement has grown, which is mostly due in part to the two presidential campaigns of Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul. A phalanx of Americans is starting to find the importance and beauty of freedom and liberty.
Of course, the libertarian philosophy will not be adored and embraced by all, but a lot of the youth in the U.S. are realizing that the government’s power, scope and scale are unsustainable, which is going to lead to an inevitable collapse (if it hasn’t happened already).
How about north of the border? Not so much. A strong majority of Canadians support government intervention in at least several aspects of our lives. One government aspect that most Canadians agree with is the redistribution of wealth. Another government intervention policy that is supported is regulation of markets.
If we have learned one thing from history it’s that government fails at everything it does. Unfortunately, a lot of Canadians suffer from short term memory loss and urge more from the very foundation that has failed society time and time again.
There is one small sect in Canada that understands volunteerism and individualism triumph over coercion. Libertarians who enter politics are not treated to the level of respect and understanding that the four big political parties – Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats and Greens – do (even to some respect, the Socialists).
A lot of libertarians that I have interviewed during my time as a reporter are smart people, who definitely have a logical voice and are conversant in the key issues of the day. But why aren’t they being heard? Is government suppressing libertarians? Are members of the community political neophytes and just believe we have a left-right paradigm? No, the lack of political success is at the fault of libertarians themselves.
The message of libertarianism is absolutely crucial for this era. Here are some tips libertarian candidates, organizations, political groups and other like-minded individuals could do in order to grow the movement.
Power of the Media
As a member of the press, I am always looking for sources for political stories. Whether it is a press release or an official quote that could be obtained over the telephone or email, reporters always want to gather as much information as possible.
Libertarians need to be open to the media and let themselves be known to reporters (mainstream, independent and alternative). This is how important press releases are because it can give specific contact information – there is nothing wrong with a member of the Libertarian Party providing a comment voluntarily either (I know it’d make my job easier).
You don’t need to pay money to publish a release through CNW, PR Wire or other media release websites. Libertarians can simply email journalists, editors, photographers and other press members.
The libertarian candidates I have interviewed in the past have published interesting pamphlets, flyers and information on their websites. Unfortunately, not a lot of people are going to be aware of the aforementioned because there is not enough promotion or energy.
Let’s face it. Libertarian candidates won’t have much chance to win higher office in the short-term because most of the listed candidates do not have the time, resources or energy to run a full-time campaign, unlike their rivals in the NDP or Conservative Party.
Libertarians need to promote their websites more, they need to canvass the streets and they need to drop off pamphlets/flyers regularly during the non-election years. The Canadian electorate needs to be challenged constantly because it is possible they will tergiversate and realize freedom is more powerful than a government force.
To be honest, during my years as a reporter, I have never covered a libertarian demonstration nor have I seen any libertarians at these massive protests in Toronto (I have seen two Ron Paul supporters, though).
When I cover these rallies, they usually consist of socialists, communists, liberals and other left-wing groups. Of course, there cannot be a monopoly on information – this is where the libertarians come in.
If libertarians can attend these protests and oppugn the standard talking points of the unions, the eaters from the trough and proponents of government expansion, the philosophy can prevail over the tyrannical impositions.
Why not announce on Twitter: “Massive protest against government bailouts at city hall!”
In the United States, libertarians are all over social media – they are sometimes referred to in jest as Internet Libertarians. When you skim through Twitter, for example, and type in the terms “libertarian” and “Canada” not a lot comes up in the search queue. However, type in “libertarianism” and you get endless results from south of the border.
Libertarian candidates who run at the local, provincial and federal levels hardly use the available means, which befuddles me. Of course, there are the exceptions, but most do not.
Libertarians shouldn’t just utilize social media during election years, but all the time. Do you think Reason just publishes its content in the 2012 Republican Primaries? Do you think Ron Paul only discussed libertarianism in his presidential bids? Did Milton Friedman just espouse the faults of government in the President Jimmy Carter years?
More social media access for libertarians can equal more of a following and understanding.
Are we on the fringe?
I don’t think libertarians are on the fringe. David Icke’s theory of reptilian lizards controlling the world is on the fringe. Believing that the world will come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012 is on the fringe. Stating that Jewish people are conjuring up a Zionist conspiracy is on the fringe.
Libertarians just promote the founding principles of the U.S.: you have the right to keep the fruits of your labour, you have the right to not forcefully participate in society and you have the right to do whatever you want in your life as long as you do not impose your will on others.
Canadian libertarians must continue to fight the good fight. If we shout, “Don’t steal the government hates competition,” “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program” or “War is just one more big government program,” will the populace listen?