It is an unfortunate truth that, as the liberty movement gains traction in the political arena and becomes more diverse, we are going to face our fair share of hurdles when it comes to ideological differences on some hot-button issues. Issues such as drug use and the legality and acceptance of abortion have plagued the party in recent days. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and if we in the liberty movement want to continue to gain traction and stay relevant, then we must address the proverbial elephant in the room.
Addressing the division within the movement will be no easy task. Many of us have very deep-seated moral objections against allowing certain actions in a libertarian society, and each of us are entitled to our individual opinions on the subject. The division happens when we try to find the one “truly libertarian” stance on any one of these issues. Considering that, libertarianism values individual freedom highly and is comprised of such a diverse group of individuals, it can be assumed with relative certainty that we will never find a singular libertarian position.
What can be done about this division? How can we address these issues and not look like the dysfunctional laughing stock of American politics? We obviously can’t simply sweep these issues under the rug or ignore them; eventually they will need to be addressed. What I propose is a plan where we return to the basics. We all joined this movement for a reason and we all did so of our own free will. The Libertarian Party is driven on principle, rather than politics. What this means is that, we as libertarians are not driven by a desire for political power or position, nor are we interested in forcing our views of morality on others. We are driven by the idea of liberty and non-aggression.
While the issues are important and should be addressed, they are not the foundation on which the Libertarian Party is laid. The core principles of liberty and non-aggression must be first and foremost in the mind of any libertarian that wishes to attract more people to this movement, and thus make an impact on society. Constant infighting and purity tests not only further the divide between libertarians, but also serve to deter some would-be libertarians from wishing to be involved in such a tumultuous party.
Libertarianism is not an exact science, and I don’t claim to have all the answers on what should be done about the issues we face today. However, I do believe that my proposal can help to quell the intensity of the infighting amongst us. These issues must be approached in a liberty-first mindset, and we as libertarians have to accept that not everyone thinks like we do. That fact alone does not make them more or less libertarian than anyone else, so long as they believe in non-aggression and individual liberty. United on those two guiding principles, we can move forward and change this country, and possibly even the world.
In short, it’s time for us as libertarians to remember why we’re here. We are united under the basic premise that good ideas don’t require force, especially government force. Be the change you want to see in the liberty movement and society. Stop trying to force other libertarians to conform to your idea of what libertarianism is, just as we want the powers that be to stop forcing their respective ideas and plans for society on us, their constituents.
Corey Todd was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida. He is still new to the movement and currently on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. The views expressed in his article are his own personal views and not those held by the USMC, Dept. of the Navy, or DOD.