The liberty movement is a great place to be. The RLC is a great place to be for most constitutionally principled people. However, if we are to take an honest look at ourselves we have areas we could improve, every group and party could. How we address those things and how we view them can make all the difference in most situations.
First and foremost, individual liberty comes with the realization that we all have varying opinions on a wide range of subjects. At times it becomes hard for some looking in to make the break between one’s opinion and the official core principles of any group. The best advice one should remember is that one’s personal opinion, even in a leadership role, doesn’t mean that represents the organization as a whole. Some self education is needed by the person reading such statements to look into the official statements over those of individuals. On the same line of thought, one in a leadership role also needs to grasp that even those personal opinions can affect the brand of the organization. This applies in most sectors where someone makes a personal comment that whoever the employer is (a network, sports team, record label, etc) finds the remark can hurt the brand and therefore reprimands or terminates employment or contract with that person. Bottom line, if you’re going to hold a leadership role, your personal feelings made public can affect the brand. Perhaps that is why some are better at tasks that aren’t on center stage or the public face of an organization and some are.
The second thing to consider is that we all share the same values in a group. There is a reason that, for the most part, we come together under a certain name. The free exchange of ideas must always be allowed. One doesn’t have to agree with every tactic or idea. The strength in leadership comes from being able to take from each of those opinions and build a statement for the group as a whole. There is always a time and place for inner struggles and disagreements, on highly public pages or meetings likely isn’t that place.
Jeremy Blosser has said this best in another group of Liberty activists. I refer to it often. I like it:
“.[we] have sought from the beginning of our work together to do politics “a better way.” We do not accept much of the status quo wisdom found in modern American political circles that there are certain moral compromises you must make or moral stands you must not take in order to be successful. We believe that much of this “wisdom” has its roots in attempts by our opposition to undermine us. It drives away those who support our principles and makes it easier for the opposition to retain a measure of power and control. We have therefore maintained several principles as non-negotiables and have shown time after time that we can not only still be successful, we can advance our cause significantly faster than both our friends and our foes would claim possible.
1. The means must serve the ends. We maintain that the only proper role of government is the defense of life, liberty, and property. Where government has pushed beyond these bounds, we seek to pull it back. Where government has failed at these tasks, we seek to put it back on course. We will not support legislation or efforts that push government beyond these bounds, even if they are short term or promoted as compromises to achieve other goals. No government and no majority has the authority to infringe on any life, liberty, or property without due process of law, and we will not accept or facilitate attempts to take illegitimate authority and use it even for supposedly good goals.
2. We will fight some battles we cannot win. Picking our battles is necessary because resources are limited. However, the assessment of which battles to fight can never only depend on which battles can be won. Some battles must be fought, even if loss is guaranteed, either because the cause demands it or because the voters demand it. In every battle we will plan and engage with an eye to both victory outcomes and ways to move our cause forward even if we lose the day.
3. We reserve the right to abstain. “Lesser evil” and incrementalist approaches have a centuries-old history of not solving the problems facing us. Where the only options presented are all expected to practice bad governance if they prevail, principled abstention is a valid approach to both maintain individual integrity and continue to grow a movement tired of defeatist compromise approaches. We have demonstrated time and again that holding the line on the things that matter does not guarantee defeat, it grows the voter base and ultimately prevails.
4. We will not lie or cheat or misrepresent ourselves. This includes, but is not limited to, lying when asked our positions on issues or training others to do the same. We recognize that every district, area, and race is different and that some believe they must be cautious when revealing the specifics or extent of their beliefs. However we do not advocate, support, or engage in outright deception. Regardless of the apparent potential gain, we will treat all others as we would want to be treated, and teach others to do the same.
5. We will not use the majority to silence the minority. The deliberative and democratic process exists to maintain the will of the majority with respect and protection for the rights of the minority. The majority does not have all the answers, and we all gain through the free exchange of ideas. We will never as the majority use our power to silence dissent. All minority voices have a right to engage in reasonable debate and attempt to change minds. They do not have a right to win, but they have a right to try. In elections for positions that act as presiding officers, we will prioritize adherence to fair process and impartiality ahead of adherence to the party line.
6. We will work with others where possible. We condemn the politics of fear and retribution. Proper political compromise is not found in trading votes or political favors, it is found in collaborating where possible and not holding grudges when collaboration is not possible. We will work with individuals with whom we have common cause, regardless of our mutual disagreements on other issues. We maintain with George Washington that entrenched partisan divisions—both inside and between organized parties—are the death of statesmanship. This includes willingness to work with individuals and groups who do not maintain this same list of non-negotiables, though we will not join with them in any violation of these principles when advancing our common goals, and knowing we can work with someone on a given subset of issues does not mean we can support them being elected to public office.
7. Individual liberty demands personal responsibility. These principles have some room for individual interpretation. At the end of the day, individuals make their own decisions and must live by them. We will never require one of our people to go along with an action they reasonably believe violates these principles, even if the majority holds a different opinion or takes a different action.“
I’d like to think we are better than to be as arrogant as my liberty is the only correct liberty. That thought in itself diminishes the very foundation of individual liberty. I think we should realize that much is to be gained from working across groups on issues in agreement. While we won’t always be on the same side of every issue, when we are, it only helps the cause to work together. This includes, at times, even the establishment. People come to the liberty movement for a variety of reasons. We should embrace those reasons, if they still fall within the core values of the group. While we certainly can always squabble over the correct priority or the action on how to address the situation, if the underlying goal is shared, we should work towards it. Writing one another off as hacks, social con’s, neo con’s, Big L, little l, etc isn’t going to produce any results.
Tone, respect for differing views, class, tact, whatever you wish to call it, is something we need more of.
Jeff LeBlanc- Vice Chairman, RLCCD36