Friday, August 9, 2019

Should Libertarians Try to Manipulate the Legislative Process Through Lobbying and Campaign Donations?

 My answer is yes, with one qualification.

I don't care how a law falls in line with the constitution. I care how it falls in line with shrinking government and advancing freedom.

I see lobbying and most political activity as legitimate from a libertarian perspective if it is creating more freedom or shrinking government.

I see lobbying and most political activity as rearguard action. That is, they are not the points of focus, for the most part, that move society in a grand way in the direction of liberty. Rather, they are tactics to stop the advance of statists and perhaps achieve some marginal gains.

The focus for attempts at grand sweeping moves in the direction of liberty come from the mental revolution. That is converting the masses, or at least key influencers, to adopting a libertarian perspective.

The mental revolution can be contrasted with a street revolution where the masses, or a large group of the population, is out in the streets in revolution against an existing rule of order. Such a street revolution may not advocate or understand the value of liberty.

Thus for a street revolution to succeed in advancing grand sweeping liberty, a mental revolution in favor of liberty must occur first.

Lobbying and most political activity is generally not part of this grand sweep activity. It is, as I say, rearguard action that achieves marginal gains at best, but it is legitimate and can be important in the short-term in suffocating some statist laws and activities.



  1. What happens when libertarians support open borders and then realize that most of the people who entered vote for more government handouts and are anti-liberty? Oops, too late.

  2. This is the order of operations approach I've put forth here many times. With various detractors including RW. But here it is written that first there must be a "mental revolution in favor of liberty" before a street revolution will do any good.

    The same is true with piecemeal approaches on an item by item basis. If not carefully considered that approach ends up strengthening the state because of the order. The state is strengthened or grows through crisis and if it can create crisis through backing off in a particular area while maintaining the status quo elsewhere it will.

    It is also how libertarians are often marginalized. The government will 'deregulate' or 'repeal' some tiny piece of a huge system and when that throws things out of wack and regular people suffer and cronies walk away with the wealth who gets the blame? The free market, the libertarians.

    One could even argue that street revolutions on the individual protest level can often be piecemeal approaches where people are concerned about one item. They often aren't liberty minded but rather some government action is so very unfair that even statists get angry. Because they aren't liberty minded they will often accept some middle ground that resolves the issue at hand but results in new government power.

  3. My unqualified answer is no. Asking a politician to support liberty is like asking a fish to crawl out of the ocean and live on the land. Like the fish, the politician would not understand your request because if it moved in the direction you requested it would die a horrible death.

    If you are a liberty loving individual political activity is worse than a waste of time. Neither you or the politician will enjoy it or receive any benefit from it. Politicians live by theft and you live by productive effort. Don't waste your limited resources on politicians. Drawing attention to yourself with beliefs that are antithetical to the very existence of politicians will only make you a target of convenience. Focus on staying out of harms way.

    1. I agree with you, but there are libertarians who insist on playing politics, so my (unsolicited) advice to them is to play local or state politics, not federal. The federal government will never be positively reformed from the inside. It can only be taken down some pegs by competing power centers, one of which is state (and sometimes local) governments.

  4. I say no also. When has it ever created a net good, say in the last 50 years. It’s a waste of time and resources, that could be spent on changing individual minds towards Liberty, which is going to be the only change that is a lasting positive.

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