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New Year, New Opportunity

in From Me To You, Liberator Online by Brett Bittner Comments are off

New Year, New Opportunity

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Since the Christmas holiday, the phrase I have heard over and over again is “New Year, New You.”

Today, I’m going to talk about the new new year, and the new opportunity that 2017 presents. It is a new year. In a few days, we’re going to have a new president. That means a new administration with new priorities, a lot of new projects, a new Congress, and we’re going to see our opportunity as libertarians.

2016 opened a lot of hearts and minds to the possibilities of libertarianism. 2017 means that it’s time to meet them with our solutions.

At the end of last year, I talked about learning more, so that we are better prepared to speak on libertarian issues and the ideals of liberty. When it comes to the conversations that we lead, we’ll be better informed, better equipped, and better prepared to talk about what it means to be a libertarian, and how we focus on the issues as we see them.

We’re also going to be listening more. That will allow us to be better prepared to answer the questions that are brought to us. The questions will arise in the conversations we lead, but also in everyday, casual conversation. We are going to be asked, “What is the libertarian view on this?” when we make it known that we are a libertarian authority.

We’re also going to need to take advantage of this new opportunity by welcoming inquiry to nurture those who are new to libertarianism, or who just found out about us in the last year or eighteen months. They’ll still have plenty of questions. At the beginning of last year, I wrote More Fit Than Fat, talking about how we tend to push away new libertarians, by showing them that they are not “libertarian enough.”

Will you take advantage of 2017? This new year? This new opportunity?

I know that I am.

Which Libertarian Are You?

in Liberator Online, Walk the Walk by Brett Bittner Comments are off

Which Libertarian Are You?

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

As libertarian philosophy gains popularity in response to the repeated failures of government, we need to define which type of libertarians we want to be. Our numbers are growing, and as we reach critical mass, we need to start to specialize our activities. In my mind, there are three kinds of libertarians: the candidates, the leadership, and the activists.

division of laborLibertarians will likely recognize this specialization as division of labor. Previously, libertarians had to “wear many hats,” because of how few our numbers were. Today, that is not the case.

Have you ever waved signs at a rally or a busy intersection for your favorite candidate or issue? Have you ever made statements to the press, defining an organization’s position on an issue? Have you ever run for office?

Chances are, most libertarians can answer “yes” to the first two questions, with a smaller number answering affirmatively about the third one.

Activists

Our hard-working activists are recruiting new libertarians through their efforts “on the ground,” working outreach booths, attending rallies, going door to door, passing out literature, and writing op-eds and letters to the editor about libertarian issues. These are often thankless jobs that happen in extreme weather, on nights and weekends, and bring attention to our philosophy at the actual grassroots level.

Many who “get off the couch” and get involved in politics for the first time start here, but it is not just for beginners. There is an art (and a LOT of effort) to a successful event or outreach activity, and there are some who find their niche here.

Leadership

Real leaders are the fewest in number in our movement, because they really need to be able to manage a lot of “chiefs” and far fewer “braves.” They need a thick skin and the ability to build bridges in an environment wrought with the wreckage from many burned ones.

Their focus is to grow the cause, party, or organization they represent, while serving the needs of those already on board. The effective ones have a vision for the organization, a plan for achieving it, and the skills to sell that to existing and prospective members. These are not easy tasks, but a real leader will excel here.

Candidates/Elected Officials

If there is one area that I wish saw more development in the libertarian movement, it is this one. Standard bearers on the ballot might have the most difficult job among the three I outline here.

Candidates represent the platform and beliefs of their party, while trying to communicate a message that attracts those not necessarily supportive of those beliefs. They are also meeting thousands of people, raising money to fund their campaign efforts, and trying to stay “on message.” In the age of YouTube, smartphones with amazing features, and “gotcha” journalism, they also need to watch everything they say and do, no matter who is around.

All the while, they need to be real and genuine in every interaction. It really IS a tough job.

So, are you an activist, a leader, or a candidate (and for Liberty’s sake, an elected official)? Which one best fits your skill set and aspirations?

Focus your efforts on being just one, and be a great one of those.