The Libertarian Party is putting up impressive numbers in midterm election polling. Reason notes that in several US Senate races, the LP candidate has more voters than the spread between the two mainstream parties. That means polling at 5% or more – against an electoral setup that systematically suppresses third-parties.
But unlike perhaps a younger version of myself, I’m not holding out hope that the LP will finally break through to competitiveness. In fact, I doubt that such a development would even be good for liberty. Because of the current FPTP system, the only way the LP can win is to unseat one of the mainstream parties – and it can only do that by building a coalition, i.e. compromising, i.e. diluting the term “libertarian” into something palatable to a plurality of voters. And the plurality of voters are most definitely not libertarians.
Still, I do find something very encouraging in these poll numbers. They represent millions of people who are so very libertarian that they are willing to vote LP even against the internal logic of the voting system. These people undoubtably care deeply about liberty.
What they need is not a better candidate to vote for, nor even a better electoral method (though that would be nice). What they need is to connect with one another – to build communities of liberty. That is what we’re doing here on The Freecoast. And certainly any libertarian reading this is welcome to join us. I guarantee this is the most vibrant liberty community on the planet right now. But it’s not necessary to join us. By Metcalfe’s Law, the value of a social network is the square of the number of participants. What this means is that each person you have in your local liberty network increases the value to all the other participants exponentially. We have certainly found that here. Every person who joins our community adds their personality and talents to the mix, and we find that both they and we are immensely better off. This works for a group of 5, 10, 20, or more.
What Ron Paul did in 2008 and 2012 was not to change the Republican Party or even US policy. Rather, he served as a rallying point for libertarians to find one another. That is the legacy he left behind – and we are grateful.
So if you are one of those millions of people voting LP this cycle, do yourself and the rest of us a favor: find each other. Find us. Make this about more than a protest vote. Get connected to your tribe and make the philosophy of liberty a part of your everyday life.
Ideas to get started:
1. Look for like-minded people or groups locally and intentionally build those relationships. It may be awkward at first, but people who believe in liberty tend to make reliable and enduring friends.
2. Put out a shingle. Start a meetup group in your area and see who shows up. You may be surprised!
3. Join us here in the Free State or on the Freecoast. Plan a visit to see if you like it.
Word to the wise, however… not everyone who is a libertarian has good character nor will everyone who is libertarian get along well. When first getting involved in the community aspects of liberty, it’s common to assume that any self-professed libertarian actually practices what he preaches or that every libertarian must be friends with every other one. Both of these are fallacies. Use common sense and seek fellows of good character and whose company you enjoy. There are millions of us, after all.
Author: Mike Vine