This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
Hey liberty friends! I have a challenge for you: Think of someone who is passionate about something that you aren’t that excited about. Ask them where that passion came from. This is why:
I think the divide between the left and the right is less about hating each other and more about not loving each other.Yes, before you go looking for exceptions, there are people who hate each other, but this is not the majority of your friends, family, and co-workers.
Most right-leaning folks are OK with social freedom. Most left-leaning folks are OK with financial freedom. In spite of the media and politicians telling them to be fearful of the other side, we generally know these are lies, exaggerations, and distortions of the truth that people just want to be equal and free.
As a former right winger myself, I was always irritated with the left, not because of their hatred for my business (which they never explicitly voiced), but because they said and did NOTHING as my business was destroyed by regulations, taxes, and mandates.
But, in fairness to them, I remember that I didn’t really say much about social freedom until the Tea Party movement came along. After marching, working, and talking with people who had suffered from government’s equally brutal stranglehold of social issues, I was unable to go back to being quietly supportive. Being active in battles that weren’t my own didn’t just change my life, it changed the way I was received. I was trusted by the left in spite of my right wing history because I was no longer gently applauding from the sideline.
I don’t think preaching tolerance of the other side is working because I think we’re (mostly) tolerant today. What keeps us divided is that we allow the other side to exist, maybe even nod our heads at them or give them a polite back on the back, instead of heading into battle with them.
I don’t think the bulk of humanity looks at the murder of George Floyd or the crippling regulations on business and says, “Oh hell yeah, that is super cool!” But I do think the majority of folks have been tricked or tricked themselves into silence about one issue or the other.This has undoubtedly made me a better person, to explore issues that I don’t feel compelled to explore. I hope it will do the same for you, my friends!
This is where passion comes from. Don’t worry about losing the fire for your current passion. The beauty of love is that it is drawn from a well that never runs dry.