TL at 1: A Look Back

Think Liberty
Think Liberty

One year ago today, Joshua Smith, Caitlin Cloven, Vinny Marshall and Lonie Dupree took a shared love of memes and libertarian politics and officially formed Think Liberty. Arising from the ashes of multiple libertarian Facebook groups, the Think Liberty Family consisted of individuals from all points across the libertarian political spectrum who were passionate and dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty. Ten days later, I was asked to join the content team for the brand, which kicked off what has turned out to be one of the most amazing and fulfilling years of my life.

Like many in the TL Family, I found myself at a crossroads politically following the 2016 elections. Despite the record number of votes achieved for the Libertarian Party by Gary Johnson, the result still felt somewhat like a failure to me, especially considering what so many of us thought was possible. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton presented a unique opportunity for the party. We would be going up against two of the most unpopular candidates in American political history with not one, but two successful former Governors. It felt like a sure-fire recipe for success at the ballot box, and with the four million votes “Team Gov” brought in, one could argue that it was. Still, those of us who thought 5% was more than obtainable were understandably a little bummed.

I tried to focus on building my local affiliate but could never quite muster up the desire to do much more than maintain the Butler County Libertarian Party Facebook page. Without any real news to update the page with, I went back to one of my favorite activities from the Gary Johnson campaign: making memes for libertarian causes and candidates. I’d share the hell out of them in every libertarian group I could find, which led to me becoming friends with many of the people who eventually would come to form the larger TL Family. When I was asked by Joshua to join the content team for this new endeavor, I figured if nothing else it would be fun to be a part of something again, so I jumped right in.

It didn’t take me long, however, to realize that I had actually jumped into something far more special than I could have possibly imagined. Even way back then, the Think Liberty Community consisted of some of the hardest-working grassroots activists in the liberty movement. Not only is the Libertarian Party (at the local, state and national levels) represented in our ranks, but so are organizations like the Young Americans for Liberty and the Republican Liberty Caucus, just to name a few. From the LP we count members of nearly every Caucus and/or faction imaginable among our extended family, and many of us continue to use our diverse array of talents to serve the LP and its candidates in a variety of volunteer capacities. In fact, several of us (including both extended family and regular contributors) have put in the work this past year to get our local affiliates up and running, with some of us even taking it a step further by becoming candidates in state and local races this fall.

As a burgeoning media outlet, this impressive array of talented and passionate activists has made great strides in spreading the message of liberty outside of the mechanisms of the Libertarian Party. Our website is home to articles on a variety of topics by an equally impressive variety of contributors; a list that continues to grow on a weekly basis. The site also hosts debates and interviews with some of the most interesting people in the liberty movement today. In addition to our Social Media presence in places such as Twitter, Instagram, Minds, and our YouTube TV Channel, our Facebook page boasts over 20,000 followers, giving us a potential reach of hundreds of thousands of users on a weekly basis. This has, in turn, helped The Think Liberty Network of Podcasts to rapidly grow into a recognized leader in the medium…and none of this even scratches the surface of what we have planned for Year Two.

So Happy Birthday, Think Liberty, and “thank you” to Vinny, Caitlin, Lonie, and Josh for allowing me to be a part of this wild ride. “Thank you” to the entire Think Liberty Family, as well; you inspire me every day to be the best damn Libertarian I can be on a daily basis. May TL continue to do the same for libertarians everywhere for many years to come!

You can read more from Matthew McGowan on Think Liberty here.


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