The 2018 election cycle left many libertarians with a bleak outlook on the movement. All Libertarians who had statewide offices lost their reelections, the Larry Sharpe for New York campaign reach over 1% of the vote despite the hype and dissatisfaction of Republicans with their candidate, and Gary Johnson’s senatorial bid falling flat. After the momentum built in 2016, it’s now time to start evaluating what the liberty movement can do to start having more success both inside and outside the political arena.
The first thing libertarians can do is begin recognizing the colorful and wide tapestry that the ideology offers. With the rise in prominence of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party, many who viewed the LP as a more individualist, and capitalist force were introduced, shockingly in some ways, to the left side of libertarianism. Some responded by enthusiastically rejecting the LibSoc caucus’ views, with the LP South Carolina adopting a resolution that rent is not theft among other smaller affiliates, but some have been introduced to a history they otherwise would be ignorant towards.
A capitalist libertarian might see this as an infiltration of an already established party, but this is an opportunity that cannot be tossed away: the LP has the ability to now claim to be the one truly uniting party containing socialists, capitalists and everything in between. With the Democrats and Republicans selling a divided populace, libertarians can show the ability to enact change with those you disagree with.
How can this be accomplished? It begins with boiling down the tenets of libertarianism to its root and accepting that those who water this root can be an ally. I had written in my essay on Libertarian Ethics in Being Libertarian’s upcoming book Igniting Liberty, how despite many different definitions and labels for what makes a libertarian society, all of these ideas are concerned with one thing: maximizing freedom for all.
It is the differing definitions of freedom, and the degree of government needed to protect that freedom is what separates all libertarians. Many are extremely enthusiastic about their chosen sect and want others to believe them, but we cannot let passion quench the fire of one who may match goals but have a different view of society’s organization.
I ask that one considers this question: which is more important? Decreasing the size and violence of