It’s been nearly three months since the start of The Liberalists, and during this time I’ve been following them rather closely, and at the moment would consider myself a Liberalist as well as a Libertarian. I wanted to lay out my overall thoughts on the movement, as well as compare it to other movements I’m familiar with, and where I see it going in the future.
Overall, I can see the Liberalists being an influential force in the near future. Unlike other ideological groups, they don’t seem too concerned about the minute details of their ideology (see the section ‘Liberalists vs Libertarians’ for details). Their principles are popular enough among the general public that their most difficult task is not to change minds, but to mobilize them. The first test of the Liberalists will be their efforts with the Dankula situation, and whether or not they can actually influence change to hate speech laws. This is a lofty goal for a young movement, so I don’t expect immediate success. But the moment the Liberalists have clearly influenced policy change (no matter how insignificant), they can claim more than most movements.
I’ve found that of all the ideological groups I’m part of, the Liberalists are the most enjoyable to be involved with. I’ve spoken to Liberalists before on my podcast (Episode 1 and Episode 4) and they were thoroughly enjoyable. Liberalists all seem to all have the perspective of ‘Hey, we probably disagree on quite a few things, but we can come together on these issues, and that’s great’ and that’s the mindset that members of an individualist group must have. Otherwise, factions will split until nobody can work together.
The Liberalists vs Libertarians:
I consider myself a Libertarian, and I’m very familiar with the libertarian community. An issue libertarians have yet to overcome is the ‘No True Libertarian‘ problem. Often, the debate ceases to be about ‘what’s the truth’ and instead becomes ‘what’s the libertarian stance on this’ (a question which had become a meme on Gary Johnson’s Dank Meme Stash due to being asked far too often). Libertarian infighting primarily consists of identifying who is ‘Not a Real Libertarian‘ and libertarians are struggling to learn from those that leave the movement. When ‘The Most Libertarian Position’ tends to be against participation in politics in any way, and when anyone short of ‘The Most Libertarian’ is a filthy statist, it’s easy to see why libertarianism has not taken over the world.
The Liberalists vs The Alt-Right:
When the Liberalist movement began, members of the alt-right seemed especially interested in opposing it (or trolling it) at all costs, it made me rethink my view of the alt-right in general (which tends to be difficult because the term ‘alt-right’ seems to be a grouping of many small ideological factions rather than a whole movement). When I look to the Liberalists, I see people from the center-left to center-right focused on putting their efforts towards change. The Liberalists have fun with what they’re doing, but are serious about changing things when they need be. The alt-right appears to be primarily focused with just memeing and complaining about Jews. There doesn’t seem to be a moment of ‘Okay, let’s actually do some activism without looking stupid’. If the alt-right were genuinely serious about change, they would let the Liberalists fight their common enemy.
Will Liberalists Become My Opposition?:
The primary reason I choose not to get behind certain libertarian organizations is because they campaign for certain things (like open borders) that I’m strongly against. Obviously I can’t expect to agree with an organization on everything, but some libertarian groups have shifted resources towards efforts I strongly oppose and against those efforts that I agree with them on. Libertarian organizations like the Mises Institute will always be in my favor, because they maintain their goal of economic research regardless of where the political winds are blowing, and they have no desire to sell out to gain favor with establishment figures.
I’m sure I disagree with many Liberalists on many things. What reassures me is the efforts that organizers have taken to get an understanding of the group’s political positions, as well as the results of these surveys. At the moment, it seems that Liberalists hold a wide range of beliefs on topics that are not detailed in their principles (like Universal Basic Income) and it would not be beneficial (at least for the moment) to take stances on these other issues. There’s already enough of an uphill struggle for the Liberalists with their current battles. I imagine that if I ever find myself opposing the Liberalists, I’ll consider it a good thing, because it’ll mean that the most important issues have been won.