Principles and Pragmatism Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

I think it’s safe to say that at least 90% of Liberty Hangout’s regular audience would agree when I say it would be incredible to wake up tomorrow morning, turn on the news, and see that the entire federal government has been abolished. We all know, however, that liberty doesn’t come that easily. This is why I, among many others, adopt a more pragmatic approach to libertarianism, and so should you.

If you don’t know, someone who claims to be pragmatic is claiming to think and operate in a realistic way. In other words, while we can all agree that the above scenario would be a dream come true, the pragmatic among us admits that it’s completely unrealistic and foolish.

So what is a pragmatic libertarian to do? How does one realistically fight to promote liberty? The answers are simpler than you may think: educate people one at a time and seek public office. Or, if you’re not the charismatic, political type, support libertarian candidates, or candidates you think will progress the liberty movement, whether it be purposely or accidental. Which brings me to our newly-inaugurated commander-in-chief.

President Trump, so far, has done some great things for liberty. He has signed legislation that lessens regulatory burdens for the mining industry and others, he has signed executive orders that force agencies and departments to eliminate two existing regulations for every new one, and he has blocked our tax-dollars from being used overseas by institutions that perform abortions, just to name a few.

Now, I am by no means claiming that Trump is a libertarian. You certainly won’t see him sporting a Liberty Hangout “Taxation is Theft” hat anytime soon, nor will you hear him admit that. But in his short time as President so far, he has done more for liberty than the Libertarian Party has done since it was founded. Therefore, it is pragmatic to support Trump as a libertarian, for the time being.

Many anarchists claim that voting only encourages the government, that voting is pointless, or that voting is an act of violence. To put it simply, these people are fools. As evidenced by Trump so far, voting can upset the establishment. I, for one, would have bet money that Hillary had the election rigged, until I watched the results come in on Election Day. Trump’s election restored my faith in the power of the American people to reclaim their government and use the system our forefathers put in place to protect ourselves against tyranny.

Now, am I saying Trump is perfect or that I even wanted him to win? Absolutely not. I voted for Gary Johnson. But I am glad now that Trump won. This is because I am a pragmatic libertarian, and I am not blinded by an idea of purity. There will likely never be a pure libertarian who wins an election. This is our reality, and we must learn to accept this if we are to ever make progress as a movement.

In short, ask yourself this question: is it better to simply reach and reach for a far-away goal that will forever be out of range, or to take baby steps over time towards that same goal, and to strategically plan in advance?

If you choose the latter, welcome to pragmatism.