It is challenging and difficult to be a libertarian, particularly when the government is growing its power by leaps and bounds almost every day. It often gets tiring trying to defend pro-liberty positions against those with a closed mind.
I remain a long-term optimist, although many libertarians even find that hard to believe. They think that human tendency is always on the side of wanting to be told what to do. While that certainly can be a tendency, it does not necessarily mean that we are doomed towards statism forever. There is also a tendency among many individuals to prefer liberty over being told what to do.
One thing I hear from the anti-liberty side quite frequently is that if you don’t like it here (America), then you should leave. Of course, there aren’t many places on earth that you can go to without having big government in your face. Some places are better than others, but you can’t find total freedom anywhere, unless you want to live on a lonely island somewhere in the middle of the ocean.
Imagine applying this argument of moving to the American colonists. Tell Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, “if you don’t like British rule, why don’t you just move somewhere else?”
Many people confuse their government and their country. Just because I criticize the U.S. government (although I criticize every government), it doesn’t mean I don’t like America or Americans. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I appreciate my fellow Americans so much that I want to be able to voluntarily trade with them, do business with them, and live in peace with them. I also want a higher standard of living for Americans and for people all around the world.
I want more peace and more prosperity. I don’t want to see needless suffering, war, poverty, starvation, disease, and all of the other horrible things around the world. While we can’t press a magic button and make all of these bad things go away, we can work towards significantly improving things. And this will only be done through liberty.
The only way we can achieve more liberty is by reducing government. The only way we can reduce government is by convincing others that their lives would be better off. It is all in the hearts and minds of the people. If a substantial portion of the population no longer believes in big government (and not just in words), then big government will not survive. Government can only continue by having the consent of the large majority of the population.
The good news is that we don’t even need a majority to turn back the tide of big government. If only 10% of the population is well educated in libertarian philosophy, then this may be enough, assuming that a good portion of the population remains somewhat apathetic.
I almost laugh when I hear young Ron Paul supporters talking about how bad things are and how stupid some people can be. I think to myself (or sometimes say it), you should have seen things ten or twenty years ago then. With the internet and the last two Ron Paul presidential campaigns, there are probably more libertarians now than there have been in at least a hundred years or more. I would even venture to say that today’s libertarians are far more libertarian than the American colonists (even if the percentages today are still lower).
Government can be reduced. It is not about elections or convincing your representative to sponsor a particular bill. It is not even much about money, especially now with the internet. It is about spreading the message of freedom and how almost everyone will be better off with more liberty and less government. Once hearts and minds are changed, then the government will start to change to reflect that.
With the continuing advancements in technology and the growing liberty movement, the prospects for liberty in the long run are actually quite good.