Current Events LPNH

Turning Libertarian Autism Outward vs Inward

Drama, Drama, Drama

The last few weeks have proved interesting. Once again, in dramatic fashion, a group of well-meaning liberty-lovers all focused on the same goals, the same purpose, the same politics, and the same heroic cause have come together to take aim … on each other.

Knives out and guns blazing, they fight. We fight not the State and its aggression. Nor mindless or corrupt bureaucrats. But each other.

It’s exhausting, really.

I’m not saying the fighting is without merit or unwarranted. In fact, I was right there in the thick of things these last few days/weeks. But distilled to its essence, the current drama-fest once again comes down to caucus-politics and/or internal party squabbling.

I won’t rehash the specifics (that’s been done very well by others in other threads). And frankly, I would be lying if I didn’t have a “side” in the discourse that is quite biased by my physical location: the great and most freedom-centric bastion of liberty in the entire United States. Because New Hampshire truly IS different from the other 49 states. Anyone ignoring that obvious fact is missing a critical component of the argument.

But I digress. Instead of focusing on another he-said/he-said descent into madness, I want to invite my fellow freedom-loving libertarians to embrace a complete paradigm shift.

Before doing so, however, take a moment and consider the context and a short traverse down memory lane to best remember what brought us to where we are today – and more importantly where we might go from here…

History Lesson

Rewind the clocks a whopping 3 years ago. This is a “pre-pandemic” era – before that dreaded virus wiped away 98% of the world population and long before we entered this age of dystopian darkness. Joking aside, this was the sad time when the uninspiring Prags ruled the libertarian party and, as such, its messaging was milquetoast and banal.

What separated Libertarians from Progressives in terms of their messaging and beliefs? Truly, not much. It was a dark time.

Enter stage right the Mises Caucus: a rag-tag group of New Hampshire libertarians – stewarded by courageous men like Benjamin Richards and others on the NHMC – who decided enough was enough.

These strong NH leaders received recruitment training and strategic direction from the national caucus leader(s); together they brought into the fold almost a hundred free-thinking NH men and women—all focused on one goal: rebuilding the brand Libertarian and arresting the party away from folks who bastardized its core precepts.

In short, the group was galvanized by a common cause, a common enemy. And that united us in a way we have since lost.

Losing Our Way

Since then the core reason for “losing our way” as a party and becoming divided (as we now are) is multi-faceted. I won’t pretend I have distilled the problem down to a single cause, nor will I attempt to assume there is some panacea (ie. a “silver bullet”) to allow everyone to start singing kumbaya once again. But one key reason we have lost our way seems apparent…

We now lack purpose. We lack unification and an enemy on whom to take sight.

Lacking a unifying enemy, however, we still take aim. But we pull the knives out on ourselves, inward. We attack our fellow Libertarians instead of our true enemy: the State. We rationalize this by focusing on the 0.1% of differences between ourselves vs focusing on the 99.9% we do agree on.

And why do we do this? I posit one theory. It’s because Libertarians, despite all our marvelous attributes (commitment to logic and reason, strong analytical skills, economic understanding, an acute knowledge of history, and ironically fierce loyalty to our friends), are all just a little bit … autistic.

I say this not to be insulting, but to be introspective and honest. Why else would we turn our knives on each other instead on those who truly wish us harm and would lock us in a government-funded cage if they could? Why else do we spend countless hours summarizing why So-and-So is WRONG on some nuanced esoteric point, when 90% of Republicans and Democrats are content to disregard minor disagreements with their peers and remain focused on destroying the world and good, peaceful people.

We need to stop critiquing the speck in our Brother’s eye, but instead focus on the giant turd every Statist is up to their eyeballs in.

I invite us to focus on the toxic and contagious disease that inhibits the halls of NH government, not focus so acutely on the benign quirks of our libertarian neighbors.

Conquerors Poor Leaders Make

We won. Don’t forget that. We took over our beloved political party from those who were doing it great harm. We rescued the Libertarian Party and made it Libertarian again! And we did this not just here in New Hampshire, but nationally! Perhaps we didn’t take long enough to appreciate this herculean accomplishment. Or perhaps we took a bit too long… Either way, we need to now move forward. We need to build on the husk of a party we inherited and REBUILD it to something admirable and courageous.

We should use 2023 to build the scaffolding of what our party must become: a champion for change. We must pivot and refocus attention on our new (and accurate) enemy. The old one has been vanquished. Complacency is not an option. Becoming what they were – feckless, uninspired, and unimaginative – is NOT an option.

We must champion this new revolution. This revolution won’t be a political one, however. It must be a psychological one. We need to pivot and direct our UNITED attention now on creating more freedom in NH. This will require strong leadership and a strong vision. This will require a STRATEGY.

A Paradigm Shift

Here is what I propose for the organization that calls itself the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. It is a 3-point plan and approach to attain meaningful change:

  1. MISSION STATEMENT – Creation/revitalization of a clear and concise mission statement for the party that demonstrates what the LPNH is and what it is NOT (e.g. how It differs from and/or supports other NH liberty groups, how it will drive political change, etc.)
  2. SETTING CLEAR SPECIFIC GOALS – Set objective goals for the year, a timeline for meetings those goals, and a SPECIFIC plan for attaining these goals. I would propose these goals focus around the following areas:
    • COALITION BUILDING – Building coalition(s) for liberty– i.e. forging alliances and defining key objectives, working along-side other NH organizations (FSP, NH Liberty Alliance, The 603 Alliance, etc. etc.). Objectives could be focused on:
      • Gaining awareness for specific issues
      • Advocating for specific legislation (e.g. Defend the Guard, removing gun regulations, repeal of certain drug laws, advocating for persons behind bars for victimless crimes in NH, etc)
    • MEMBERSHIP – Membership increase and growing the LPNH by increasing its influence and value proposition – via SPECIFIC and quantifiable metrics
    • CANDIDACY – Support for and solicitation of members for running as political candidates in local elections.
  3. COMMS & RECRUITMENT STRATEGY – Creation of a comms strategy that supports the Mission Statement and a focus on activism and party growth.

Members of the LPNH require this mission statement and specific direction. The organization sorely needs it to attain clarity and focus. And frankly, without this, it will likely continue to remain aimless and disjointed. Perhaps even defunct. A disjointed and unconnected membership base results in bickering, in-fighting, and a lack of purpose.

Sound familiar?

Caucuses Often Divide, Rarely Unify

I do not personally feel the answer to these challenges are more caucuses or caucus affiliation. The Mises Caucus fulfilled its goal. It achieved it so well the entire party was transformed—not just here in NH, but nationally. But now that the caucus has achieved its purpose, I propose it is no longer needed. Just as Cincinnatus became emperor in a time of great military need but later relinquished the thrown when the threat had passed, so too must the Mises Caucus dissolve in New Hampshire. The threat has been neutered– the ‘Prags’ conquered.

I would suggest the party needs no caucuses at all. LPNH members are largely unified on principles, important focus areas, and the central ideas around what liberty means in New Hampshire. What, then, is the need for further caucuses, other than to divide and pigeon-hole people into the “in” and “out” groups? That doesn’t move freedom forward.

I propose we turn our acute autism on our enemies, not on ourselves. We can weaponize this unique power we have. If we can overcome our own limitations—perhaps even embrace them and focus our energy—we can use it. Let’s use our autism to destroy the statists who despise liberty.

tldr; put down the knives if they are directed at other Libertarians (small l or big L). Instead we can direct our ire on statists and the evil polices they wish to put in place. We need strong leadership and a MISSION STATEMENT to do this with purpose and clear direction. Activism within the party will only grow with focus and goal-setting.

Sean Dempsey
Sean Dempsey moved to New Hampshire as one of the first 100 ‘Free Staters.’ He supports unabashedly shouting the liberty message from the rooftops. No pale pastels; Sean believes Libertarians need vibrant and bold messaging and that the message of freedom is not something to be embarrassed by.
http://dempseyestates.com

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