This article originally appeared at WALReader.com, the website of our magazine.
My least favorite critique of liberty lovers is that we lose. They’ll find a complaint about a person or small policy point and say something like, “See, this is why nobody takes you seriously,” or, “Yeah, this is why you guys always lose.”
Let us concede the point. There is, likely at this very moment, some person who calls themselves a libertarian, saying or doing something stupid. There’s too many liberty lovers on this planet for one of them to not be making a mistake. I’m not going to water it down here, let’s assume it is a legitimately bad mistake. Maybe they’re not using the best wording when talking about their principles. Or maybe they’re being a jerk or a bully. Or maybe they’re just being an oddball.
Yeah, we had a guy dance naked at a convention once. But we have never murdered 500,000 innocent people overseas.
Yeah, our propositions to decrease the scope of the federal government are often struck down. But we have never jailed 600,000 people for growing a plant.
Yeah, we had a guy stick his tongue out during an interview. But we have never misplaced a nuclear warhead.
Yeah, our guy didn’t know the name of a city. But we have never allocated billions of dollars to build fighter jets that will never be flown.
I cannot possibly defend everything that every freedom embracing person is doing at any given moment. I’m sure whatever weird or silly behavior you are noting is exactly what it is, weird and/or silly. And I am aware that these moments of indiscretion will always be used as excuses for why authoritarian maniacs win and we peaceful revolutionaries lose.
So fine, call me a “loser.” If you feel like a winner butchering civilians, incarcerating families, losing nukes, and wasting money, then I really don’t know care. Whatever the game you’re “winning” at is not a game I intend to play.