I was asked yesterday how we can overcome the fear of change and convince people that we must downsize or eliminate government. How do we get people to not only agree with us, but be willing to really have hope that change will work?
Most libertarians agree that government (or the State) is the root cause of most of the ills of our society. We also tend to agree that government should be drastically reduced in size and scope at the least, if not eliminated entirely. We know what needs to be done so that part is easy enough. The problem comes in trying to figure out how we get from here to there.
Our first problem is educational. We must inform the population that the government is not only screwing them over on a royal scale but that something can be done about it. Our government schools do not teach about the libertarian bent of the people of America up until the 20th century. Many just don’t know that an all intrusive government is an anomaly in our society rather than the norm. As a market-anarchist, I also know that the Liberty Movement sends out mixed messages since there is a great divide between the small government libertarians and the anarchists.
We need a clear message: “the smaller government is, the better off the people will be“. That message includes moving from the present tyranny down to a vanishingly small government: or perhaps no government at all.
But how do you convince people of this!?! Yes, I can read your minds, gentle readers. One must study the basics of the economics of freedom which is mainly the Austrian School in the present era. One must study a bit of history to know some examples of free-market economies verses non-free economies to use as examples in conversations. And one must understand the Ethics of Liberty. We stand on high moral ground, even as the socialists call us “greedy” and “lacking in compassion”. Don’t let them get away with those old canards.
We must also know that there are different types of people who are in different situations. It will be very difficult to convince the millions upon millions who are receiving a government check that giving up that check is a good thing. Difficult indeed, but not impossible. Many government bureaucrats believe that they could work in the private sector and so will be receptive (at least somewhat) to our arguments. Those who are on welfare will not be receptive to our message; but we must try anyway. Some will see the breakdown of family and society around them and be receptive to ideas about fixing the problems.
Never think that large corporations are freedom-loving allies of libertarianism. Many of our large corporations enjoy the present crony-capitalism economy just fine: they fear real competition in a laissez-faire market.
It is simply the fact that the status quo will be hard to overcome. There will have to be a “revolutionary moment” when the masses are disgusted with the rulers. A moment when it is apparent that the politicians and bureaucrats of the government are the real enemy. A transition to libertarianism would represent nothing short of a revolution and, in order to embrace libertarianism, the society must feel that the status quo is untenable. We have that moment right now in my view; the economy is in the tank, liberties are shrinking daily, and the people tire of endless wars. But we need a group of revolutionaries to keep pushing until the government (as it presently exits) falls. The Ron Paul Revolution is just such a movement. Let us pray that it stays the course and we come out of this dark night of our national soul.
As for me, I’ll continue to hammer the concept of government or the State every day and in every way that I can. I’ll keep on keeping on as the man once said.