I write this on Friday the 13th, the last 13th of the year 2013 (although publishing days later). And looking back on the Freedom Cocktail archive, things haven’t been that great. That is, not that great for free peoples.
When Edward Snowden was asked what he feared most about his actions (leaving the United States, seeking asylum in Hong Kong and releasing the devastating information that the National Security Agency was vacuuming up all sorts of communications) he said that he feared if no one listened. What if no one cared? What if he gave up his life, if you will, and no one heard the sound of his falling United States citizenship? I sometimes feel that way in writing for a political blog. What if no one’s paying attention? Granted, the comparison is almost insulting. I risk nothing more here than time, effort, possible future carpal tunnel and maybe an open file in various security agencies. I’m certainly not at risk of having an unmarked van follow me around, at least, not yet that I can tell. But still, I wonder this question on behalf of all of us I’ve been in contact with on Twitter and Facebook and Google+. I wonder this about all the people who take the time to address government intrusions and calling spades, spades and meeting (physically and virtually). Are we making any headway? In other words, is all our bantering on Twitter doing anything at all?
Somewhere end of 1997, I had the chance to ask David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, if he and his Cato comrades were lunching and dining with senators and congressmen and those behind the castle walls, during those meetings, were they listening? I don’t recall Mr. Boaz’s answer but the audience gave a good giggle. And based on the past fifteen years or so since then, I take it said congressmen are not.
My days (late 1990s) working in the Libertarian Party felt the same way as now. We’re spending a lot of time preaching to the converted. Yet, I am no different. It’s tough spending any time at all talking to big government types. I’ve discussed healthcare with Canadian friends and they all seem quite okay with their socialized medicines. Yet when I note that from diagnosis to removal of the cancer I had last year could have been deadly had it happened in Canada (based on the length of waiting time I would have had to endure), I get shrugs. I get the same shrugs when debating believers in God. Eventually, the wall of “faith” is hit and the conversation is over. Government programs operate the same way. On paper and shaking pom-poms with the cheerleaders, it all sounds great. But in practice, it doesn’t work.
Year 2000, I attended a meeting of Brass Roots in Port Huron, Michigan. Brass Roots, an organization in favor of supporting Article1, Section 6 of the Michigan State Constitution and the 2nd Amendment per se, was named after Jon Coon’s quote, “the Tree of Liberty has Brass Roots!” At the meeting, I noted several of the same people at my Libertarian Party meetings. And I noted the same people in my email discussion groups (this was a time before social media as we know it today). So I asked, why all these separate organizations, collecting money for what were essentially the same issues? We all have the same goal. While some exist for larger goals, some are for one purpose and one only. Brass Roots was founded on the gun issue. Same with the National Rifle Association. Cato exists to foster libertarian policies, in total. But so does the Libertarian Party. So does the Republican Liberty Caucus. So does, sort of, the loose leafs of the Tea Party. I could be a member of all of these (although Brass Roots appears to be defunct), attend all the meetings. But would it not be like being a Catholic, attending different churches Sunday through Saturday? How much praise is too much? How much is too much repetition? How many question marks can I get into this year-end post?
I argue that what we have are too many splinter groups. We have too many of us doing the same thing. I’m not arguing for less commentary, less tweeting, blogging, op-ed pieces. I’m arguing for coalescing of the issues so that said issues can be acted upon. If gun rights are your big issue, why start another group? Join one that already exists. Why start a new political party based on the Constitution? Join one that already exists. All this is for naught if your take on an issue is different than what is already out there. But my time, hanging with freedom loving people, shows that we have too many entries in the chili cook off. Why do we have many political parties with the same philosophy, jockeying for votes against one another? The only difference (last I rounded up the platforms) between the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party was the issue of Abortion. Again, why not pool the resources? I believe a contributing factor to why we lose in so many elections is that we siphon votes from each other.
The only way to make real change is get into the position to implement it. That means getting elected. For me, the only group to spend any money on is the Libertarian Party. With it, you get your gun rights. You get your free speech. You get security in your communications. You get your freedom to conduct business as you please, do with your body what you will and associate with persons of your choosing. The Libertarian Party is the catch all that you’ve been looking for. Spending time and money on a single issue neglects the other issues. I argue, they go hand in hand. *
Look at it like this, if you harnessed all the nutrition and care to your left hand and neglected the rest of your body, you’d die with a pretty left hand. The whole, entire spectrum of freedom and laissez faire-ity needs to be preserved. Spending effort electing a one issue candidate is pointless. Gaining the freedom to protect yourself with any weaponry you deem necessary does nothing to secure your right to associate with those of like mind or remain secure in your perusal of the online Russian Bride catalog. It does nothing to secure your right to engage with a doctor of your choosing, to decide what is right for you regarding health care. It does nothing to secure your decision on how to educate or raise your child. Being a one issue stumper is meaningless. Doing so is raising a cupcake. Massage the dough of a wedding cake.
In closing, I checked the Freedom Cocktail stats and see four-hundred and twelve followers. In the beginning of 2013, we had three. That is exciting news. But is Freedom Cocktail another blog in a long line of blogs and pamphlets and megaphones yelling the same message? Are we taking on the same crowd as, say, Redstate.com or Freedomworks.com? Have we taken on any liberal, big government advocates who are now sitting on the fence because of what they saw here? I’m not sure. There aren’t a lot of comments.
* Despite my call for Libertarian Party support, I am willing to work outside of the party, to coalesce in favor of a freer America, when a more viable alternative is within reach. At this time, Rand Paul, who remains entrenched with the Republican Party, is that reachable point. I am willing to stick a Paul sign on my front lawn (as I did last election) because it means getting closer to our goal of a Constitutional Republic.