Immediately following the conclusion of the 2016 presidential election, hoards of libertarians jumped onto social media to exclaim that now is the time for us to market liberty to the left again since a Republican is going to be back in the White House. But I didn’t take the bait and immediately put out two articles detailing why this would be a bad idea, one titled Libertarians Never Learn: Continue Outreach to Left After Failed Election, and the other Leftists Have Nothing In Common With Libertarians. Stop Pretending They Do.
It is disappointing that I now have to write something very similar for the third time. And what is more disappointing is that I am writing this in the wake of weeks worth of violent protests from angry leftists, and despite this, there are libertarians who still think they can be reasoned with.
Last month alone, multiple speaking engagements featuring conservative icon Milo Yiannopoulos had to be canceled due to violent protests, one of which resulted in a man getting shot. The day of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, hundreds of leftists ravaged Washington DC, setting cars ablaze, throwing rocks at police smashing windows, and attacking conservatives. Just one day after, thousands upon thousands of leftists protested in the streets of DC while donning pink vagina hats, because they want to be able to kill their children and have the taxpayers foot the bill. And last night, hundreds of leftists succeeded in again shutting down Milo Yiannopoulos, setting cars and trees on fire, blowing up generators, knocking out windows, chanting “Stalingrad”, and assaulting and pepper spraying Trump supporters outside of the University of California Berkeley.
Three days before the 2016 election, I predicted that we would see violent outbursts from the left if Trump won, asking our Facebook followers which city leftists would set on fire first.
Despite the actions of the left being so easy to predict, many in the libertarian community still think leftists can be won over to libertarian thought through cordial debate and stimulating discussions. But if the past four years of violent protests from the left have proven anything – from Occupy Wall Street, to Black Lives Matter, to #NotMyPresident, to now protesting a gay Jewish conservative immigrant – it is that leftists have no interest in engaging in an honest philosophical discussion.
There is no pact to be made with those that shut down dialogue. There is no discussion to be had with those that have violent outbursts in the streets because a man who holds different opinions from them is speaking inside a college building, instead of maybe going to the event and challenging his ideas intellectually. There is no teaching economics to someone that wants everything handed to them for free and will throw a tantrum if you take it away from them. There is no teaching someone about the ethics of property rights when they feel that they are entitled to your belongings, and will take them from you if the state isn’t going to.
The fact of the matter is that there is no reasoning with the unreasonable. Leftists just want to be mad, and want to feel justified in their anger. This makes them even less likely to be open to our ideas, because it would require them to admit that everything they have ever believed in is wrong.
They will have to admit that they were outraged over nothing and misled by the mainstream media. They will have to admit that their minds are malleable, and that they were easily manipulated by their college professors. They will have to admit that Bernie Sanders is an economic illiterate who couldn’t count to 10 if his life counted on it. They will have to admit that raising the minimum wage does nothing but increase the surplus of labor and put people out of work. They will have to admit that healthcare, education, immigration, and abortions are not unconditional human rights, and that the only rights which exist are property rights. They will have to admit that all humans have a right to self-defense and that gun control takes away our rights and boosts crime. They will have to admit that taxation is theft and the state is unjust. They will have to admit that putting their environmental agenda ahead of human progress both hurts the environment and the innovation which has helped sustain and prolong human life. They will have to admit that capitalism is the most moral and efficient economic system in the world, and that centrally planned state economies will always fail and result in bread lines.
Getting a libertarian to admit that they might be wrong about an issue or two is difficult enough. How can we expect leftists to then admit that they’re wrong about nearly everything? How can we expect the most unreasonable people in this country to be able to reason with all of this? Are we really to expect that they are going to put down the pitchforks and pick up a Murray Rothbard book just because Donald Trump is president? I don’t presume so, and anyone who thinks they will is debased from reality.
If you want to spread the message of liberty, there are millions of conservatives in this country who say they love capitalism, property rights, self-defense, and the Constitution. Their principles are nearly identical to ours, and just need to be taken to their rational conclusions.
Every minute that is spent marketing liberty to a leftist is a minute that could have instead been spent marketing liberty to someone much closer to us in thought. If we want to effectively spread our message, we must be cognizant of the opportunity costs, and use our scarce time and resources wisely.
It has never been more clear than today that marketing to the left is a complete and utter waste of time.
I just hope I don’t have to write a fourth article in another few months when I still see libertarians talking about why we should market to an unreasonable mass of people who have zero respect for our ideals.