Why Libertarians must go on the offensive

Big Government advocates are pumping out proposals for expanding government every hour of every day. Where are the proposals for less government?

Most Libertarians who oppose Big Government today and who want much less of it are on the defensive. They’re fighting to stop more Big Government -- rather than advocating for measures which will reduce Big Government.

Libertarians talk about what’s wrong with Big Government, often brilliantly. But they routinely neglect to offer a Libertarian solution to shrink it. To show how to get from today’s Big Government to a much smaller government that protects our lives, liberty and property – and no more. To advance a libertarian agenda.

They talk about the Constitution, US history, failed government programs, voting procedures and all variety of subjects with a pro-freedom point of view. But they squander the opportunity to show how we can remove laws and regulations and why doing so will make the lives of everyday Americans dramatically better.

When we play defense, or simply neglect to spell out and call for ways to dismantle Big Government, the only proposals left on the table are those of our Big Government opponents: new taxes, higher taxes, more regulations, more prohibitions, more wars, more Big Government programs, more bureaucracies, higher government spending, and more government debt.

Most newspapers, talk shows, and news reports are devoid of a single proposal to shrink government. Many brilliant libertarian white papers never mention a proposal to shrink government. Most voters have never heard even one in their lives - yet they are pummeled with talk of more Big Government every day.

You may hear talk of "spending cuts." But almost invariably, the actual proposal being discussed increases government spending!

So long as we allow this to continue, liberty loses. It keeps our Libertarian goal of a small, constitutional government out of reach. It keeps Big Government in the driver’s seat – and keeps small government tied and gagged in the trunk.

By neglecting to advance a libertarian agenda, we’re actually helping our Big Government opponents. We’re limiting the parameters of political discourse to Big Government – which puts Big Government firmly in the driver’s seat. We're conditioning voters and everyone we meet to expect more Big Government - with no alternative in sight.

We should not be surprised that the majority of voters in America – who are more libertarian than they are either Democratic or Republican - become complacent, stop voting, or even vote for Big Government candidates. Big Government is the only choice they ever see or hear.

We must turn this around. We must show voters how liberty is possible by spelling out an agenda for shrinking today's Big Government. We must constantly put forth specific proposals, just as our opponents do - but in the opposite direction. And show why this will yield huge benefits for voters and for the people they love and care about.

First, libertarians must wake up to how we’re being manipulated by allowing Big Government proposals to dominate political discourse.

Then we must fight back – and turn Big Government conversations on their head! We must go on the offensive for freedom – and take control. We must put Big Government in the back seat (or leave it off at the curb) – and grab the steering wheel!

We must supplant talk of endless Big Government proposals with specific Libertarian solutions to shrink Big Government:

  • Dramatically lower taxes.
  • Remove government regulations.
  • End prohibitions.
  • Cancel Big Government programs.
  • Withdraw from foreign entanglements.
  • Dramatically reduce government spending. Not future, phony government budgets. Today’s budget and spending. Cut it NOW!
  • Pay off government debt.
  • Dismantle thousands of unneeded federal, state and local bureaucracies.
  • Repeal thousands of laws. Rip ‘em right out of the books!

Then we must show how taking these measures will make us freer, safer, more prosperous, better educated, and healthier. Why we’ll have more peace, more justice, and more opportunity. In short, how living in the United States with minimal government will be dramatically better than it is today.

We must generate this conversation regularly and powerfully. Our candidates and spokesperson must lead the charge for less government and more liberty. Our activists and supporters must interject Libertarian solutions into their emails, their Facebook posts, their tweets, and their everyday conversations whenever possible.

Going on the offensive creates mandates for less government

Articulating Libertarian solutions is especially important for Libertarian candidates.

By running for office on small government, Libertarian proposals and featuring them prominently in campaigns, elected Libertarians create a mandate for implementing those proposals when elected. They need to be able to say, “I got elected on my proposal to [Libertarian solution to shrink government], and that’s what we’re going to do.” This is their most powerful tool for shrinking government while in office.

Without such a mandate, elected Libertarians are far less able to affect change. Special Interests, fellow politicians and the media will put constant pressure on them to go along with more Big Government. They need a voter mandate to counter this pressure and to advance reductions in government.

Even when not elected, Libertarian candidates create mandates for less government and more freedom by publicizing and gaining acceptance for Libertarian solutions. This can lead to those solutions eventually being enacted into law.

For example, past Libertarian candidates have run for office on ending the war on marijuana and on marriage equality. Those prohibitions have been lifted in a number of states since, with many more poised to legalize marijuana. The Supreme Court has make marriage equality the law of the land. 

The game Who’s Driving? empowers Libertarians to lead the charge for liberty and to open up an exciting, life-altering conversation for freedom in America.

For more examples, see the list of sample Libertarian solutions here.