A while back, I wrote an article that asked the question “What is to be done?” and pointed to the growing libertarian movement as a good example to follow. This doesn’t mean being party line Republicans or dumbing down our ideas. It means forming a movement that is in but not of a larger political grouping, the same way that Ron Paul’s followers (many of whom are in our ranks) have been operating.
Today, Slate has an article that shows how such a strategy is playing out today. Dave Weigel chronicles the development of the Free State Project, an attempt by libertarians to move en masse to a state that already leans their way. Even though far fewer activists than expected have actually taken the plunge, the strategy is already paying dividends and libertarians are now a growing political force within a critically important election state. Weigel writes,
The FSP took only 10 years (from the original essay to now) to get taken seriously. How’d they do it? The same way the Bolsheviks co-opted the Russian Revolution, or the Tea Party took over state parties — they organized and beat people who outnumbered them. According to Joey Cresta, only 900 people have confirmed that they moved to New Hampshire as part of the FSP, far below the 20,000-person goal. But those people are obsessed with politics. And in New Hampshire, you can win a seat in the legislature with a few thousand voters.
Our side needs to be doing this. All too often, the patriotic movement almost seems to want to lose. People complain that “the Republican Party cannot be saved” or that the “elites” will constantly sell us out. The problem is that there is no “Republican Party” and that “elite” status is always up for grabs. Unlike Europe, there is no central governing authority of the party than establishes a line that all members need to follow. The party belongs to whoever works for it. The same can be said of the Democrats, or for that matter, third parties such as the Constitution, Libertarian, or Green parties. The experience of Ron Paul shows that such an inside-outside strategy can be done successfully, even within a period of a few years.
This doesn’t mean that there won’t be defeats or setbacks. Also, again, I have no illusions about voting our way to victory. However, in New Hampshire we have a movement that is pursuing a mainstream electoral strategy (getting their guys in the legislature), a cultural strategy (Porcfest), and a vanguardist strategy (The Free State Project, which even includes talk of secession) simultaneously. We don’t need “either or” type approaches that exclude any possibilities, whether that be developing intellectual leaders, running for office, or putting together some kind of a festival, concert, or conference.
I won’t underestimate the difficulty of this. We are facing the most powerful combination of forces imaginable. The media, big business, academia, and the establishment’s Pinkertons of the so called “activist Left” are all against us. Furthermore, despite all the obstacles they throw at him, Ron Paul is still dissenting on things that you are allowed to dissent on — you can threaten to abolish the Fed and you’ll be applauded on a college campus, but once people realize that “liberty” means taking away state funding for ethnic studies classes you’ll see what the opposition looks like.
YWC is mobilizing exclusively in the midst of the Left’s power base. We have a tougher battle and we are taking on more fundamental issues. That said, even with all of this, we have the vast majority of the American people on our side and potentially greater mass constituency than anyone. This is our battle to lose, because, even with everything set against us, when all is said and done, this country belongs to us.