Every single idea listed below is a good one. Enemies of the state should be doing outreach to EVERYONE, no matter how seemingly incorrigible from an anti-authoritarian perspective. Most people are a mixture of authoritarian and anti-authoritarian ideas, including some who are extreme paradoxes. “Go ye into all the world…”
From a social media post:
“Maybe people call you a leftist because you’re always directing your appeals to the left and never address the right except when you’re calling them hypocrites or evil.”
My first political experience was in the Oklahoma GOP trying to preach the ideals of liberty to Bible Belt conservatives in the Reddest State in the Nation™. I know these people. They’re my friends and my extended family and I grew up talking with them.
I’ve made my appeals to the right. I’ve put my words in every order I can think of, I’ve used examples that would make sense to them, I’ve used analogies that cater to their priors, I speak their language in their accent. I just don’t think I there’s any value left there, especially not now, with a GOP president and a particularly culty one.
The other reason I don’t spend a lot of time catering to the right is because the great bulk of libertarians have spent 40 years doing exactly that, in every conceivable way, and we’ve gotten what we can out of that (which, as far as I can tell, is mostly helicopter memes and some ghastly amalgamation of nationalism pasted over with libertarian parlance).
Meanwhile, the number of modern libertarian voices who have made any consistent effort to appeal to the various lefty camps, in a language they understand and with rhetorical deference to *their* worldview and *their* priors could fit in my living room.
And that’s despite the fact that many of those lefty camps are comprised of precisely the people who have the most to gain from libertarian reforms, and who have lost the most at the hands of predatory states.
How can we talk about civil liberties and surveillance and anti-imperialism and religious liberty and *not* have a massive outreach effort to the Muslim community? Yet do you know how many Muslim activists I’ve spoken to who had *never* had a positive interaction (or any interaction at all in many cases) with libertarians?
How can we talk about the drug war and police militarization and the 4th Amendment and predatory policing and self-defense rights and *not* have a massive outreach effort in the black community? Yet how many black activists in this country could even name a single libertarian?
Yet that’s exactly the situation we’ve cultivated. Every white nationalist in this country can run off a dozen “libertarian” influences without taking a breath. So can every fringe militia nut, every OathKeeper or IIIer or Proud Boy.
But go to ISNA or a Muslim Ban rally or a BLM action and ask people there how many libertarians they know.
Is there *any* reason not to regard those last two paragraphs as an obscenity and a complete condemnation of our outreach efforts as a philosophical movement?
Isn’t it worth developing a narrative of liberty that people like that can understand and appreciate? Isn’t it worth cultivating relationships with the communities most afflicted by all those evils we’re always insisting we care about, on *their* terms?