Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

June 12, 2012

Some Libertarians Need Social Skills

by Kevin Boyd

Originally posted at United Liberty

Twitter and the Internet in general have gone insane once Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney a day after his dad, Ron Paul, conceded the Presidential race. All of a sudden, Rand Paul became a sellout, a traitor, a neo-con, etc. The same Rand Paul whose Senate record has nearly been perfect on issues from civil liberties to fiscal issues. If this is how we treat our own, imagine how we treat non-libertarians. This outburst only adds to the biggest problem most non-libertarians and some libertarians have with the Ron Paul movement, that we’re a lunatic fringe that demands 100% conformity. In order to broaden our outreach and persuade more people to become libertarians, some of us need to learn some basic social skills.

Why Should We Become More Sociable?

People do business with and vote for people they like. It’s human nature. In order to get more people to consider libertarian ideas and candidates, they have to like the people behind them whether it be the person on the phone or the door to door canvasser.

First things, first.

If your political discourse usually includes one or more of the following: Bilderbergers, Bohemian Grove, NWO, Illuminati, fluoride, conspiracy, 9/11 Truth, long form birth certificate, or anything like that; please keep it to yourself. You’re making all of us in the liberty movement look insane. (Full credit to a rant by @TPANick on Twitter for that) Plus, if your newssources are Infowars, Prison Planet, Lew Rockwell.com, or Russia Today (RT); you probably need to open your mind and find other news outlets. They’re all as much propaganda and agenda driven news outlets as the rest of the media. Do your own research and reach your own conclusions. Finally, if you believe that Reason magazine and the Cato Institute are statist, you probably need to find a more productive outlet for your time than politics.

How Should We Treat Our Enemies?

With respect and courtesy. Don’t boo their speeches or heckle them. Let them speak. If they win delegates or races, let them have them; there will be other ones. Be courteous to them, even when they’re not to us. When we are victorious, treat our defeated opponents honorably and try to make them friends. However, we should always argue our points and ideas forcefully and make sure we are treated fairly.

Always remember this: in politics, today’s enemy is tomorrow’s friend.

How Should We Treat Ourselves And Allies?

We need to always remember that someone who agrees with us 80% of the time or even 51% of the time is a friend, not an enemy. For example, even though I voted for Ron Paul, I’m sure there will be commentors who will attack me as a Mitt Romney shill, among other things. We should debate ideas amongst ourselves and being that we’re a very individualist ideology, we won’t agree on everything. Everyone in the battle for individual freedom is a friend and ally, even if we disagree on some issues. There is no need for purity tests or other such nonsense. The very idea of which are anti-libertarian. We should show our fellow libertarians respect, unless they do something so egregious such as show vile racism or urge violence or anything else along those lines, then we need to show them the door out of the movement.

What Should You Take From This?

Basically you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. We shouldn’t irritate people who are not libertarians just for the sake of irritating them. Being buffoons and douchebags in general turn off people, most of whom are not ideological and are only looking to see how their lives will be made better. I’ll leave it to a future post for ideas how to reach out to average Americans, but we need to put our best foot forward and look and conduct ourselves professionally and honorably. Anything less than that does our movement a great disservice.

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  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/tarran/ tarran

    This is a vary timely post.

    It comes down to what one’s ultimate goal is. If one wants to convince, one has to stay calm and be polite and respectful.

    If one wants to lash out because they are having a bad day and are tired of being painted as both members of an inconsequential fringe philosophy as well as the cause of all the problems of society because of the way we sabotage government, the Internet is a great place to lash out at people with few consequences.

    Of course, the question is do we want to win, or lose while feeling good…

    I must admit that all to often, I’ve gone over to the dark side and lashed out.

  • Zach

    Fantastic post!!!

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    I think if we are ever going to make a dent in the direction of this country, libertarians need to learn how to coalition build on issues where there is common ground. Libertarians will not be in the power position in either house of congress anytime soon, therefore; we must learn how to identify allies in power when we can. When there are allies in the GOP, we should concentrate on fiscal policy/shrinking government and when there are Dems who share common ground on civil liberties/the war on (some) drugs we should work with them. Will the GOP ever go as far as we want on fiscal policy/shrinking government as libertarians do? No, but we can move the needle in the right direction. Will Dems ever go as far as we would like on civil liberties/the war on (some) drugs? No, but we can work with them to repeal the Patriot Act and decriminalize/legalize marijuana as a first step.

    To accomplish any of this, we need to be better about using social skills as you outlined here.

  • Anonymous

    LRC and RT aren’t bad news sources. They’re biased, but so are Reason and Cato. You really shouldn’t be getting your news only from libertarian feeds anyway.

  • Mark Milton

    I get your point but I find it ironic you were essentially doing a “do as I say not as I do” the reality is people will never see eye to eye on every issue and as for your comments on RT and other media outlets you imply that “doing your own research” won’t mean getting unbiased information. I take everything with a grain of salt regardless of the source every person has an agenda or a worldview

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