The liberty movement is in the midst of a much needed conversation over its future. While not a new conversation, it is one that has been recently reignited thanks to Alexander McCobin of Students for Liberty and Glenn Beck.
Over the past few years, the liberty movement has seen tremendous growth, thanks largely to Ron Paul, who has been able to lure a number of conservatives into the liberty movement. As a result, libertarianism has grown in popularity as more people begin to understand the basic tenets of the philosophy — including free markets and individual liberty. However, there are some in our movement who don’t seem to want the message to spread to those who may not fully share all of our ideas.
Yesterday, Glenn Beck helped further along this conversation, inviting Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation, Zachary Slayback of Students for Liberty, and Jack Hunter to discuss libertarianism and the future of the movement.
Beck asked the trio how to get people interested in libertarianism when the perception is that those who follow the philosophy want so much change so quickly.
“Politically, you can’t get from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ without there being an in-between,” said Hunter in response. “‘B’ being the ideal political world we would like and ‘A’ where we are now. There’s going to be some messiness in between. That’s just human nature — that’s the way it’s got to be.
“You have to start where people are and work towards liberty in a practical sense,” he added.
Noting the “mess” the country is in from a number of perspectives, Hornberger explained that “we need to capitalize on that, as libertarians, and not mince our words,” adding that the “libertarian philosophy has a consistency to it.”
“People have a right to be free — today,” Hornberger stated.
When the discussion came to conservatism and libertarianism, Slayback insisted that the two are “distinctly different ideologies and philosophies.”
“Libertarianism and conservatism, during the Cold War, may have had a common enemy in communism, but that time is past us now,” Slayback said. But there was disagreement from Hunter, who explained that libertarianism and conservatism have often intertwined, pointing to figures like Barry Goldwater, Andrew Napolitano, and William F. Buckley.
“It’s just indisputable that libertarianism has been a major component of American conservatism,” Hunter explained. “More important than that, here in 2013, it is impractical to say that libertarians can’t have anything to do with conservatives or work with conservatives, because you have millions of people out there…who don’t want to be told that ‘you can’t be a part of this, because this is libertarian and you’re different.’”
The entire discussion is in two parts below. But before you watch it, let me leave you with a profound thought I read this morning from Aaron Rainwater via Facebook on the issue currently facing the liberty movement.
“As much as many of us libertarians talk about the beauty of the ‘market place of ideas’ you would think we would have a better understanding of just how much spreading an idea is, indeed, like making a trade of goods,” he wrote. “If a car salesman made undo arrogance and condescension part of his sales pitch, he wouldn’t sell many cars. The same goes for libertarians who talk down to their intellectual trading partners and potential trading partners.”
Again, this is where we are as a movement. It’s up to us how we move forward, but I don’t see how division helps us in the long run. But that’s just my two cents.
And here is part two: