I pre-recorded a talk for the Arkansas LP Convention, which took place the same weekend as the California Convention.
Here’s a rough transcript:
I know you aren’t troubled as much by lockdowns but I want to remind you to stay extra vigilant. California is the canary in the coal mine and you should be on guard against the same kind of encroachment taking place in your state. I wanna talk to you about lockdowns and messaging and explain what it means for the libertarian party of Arkansas.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR
The last year or so is a better example than anything else in our lifetimes of what kind of horror is unleashed upon the world when society abandons the precious values of freedom and the pursuit of truth.
People across the country lost their jobs, their family businesses, their savings, their children’s college funds… alcoholism and domestic violence rates soared. Civil liberties all but disappeared.
We watched the world implode around us. People stuck their heads in the sand like a bunch of ostriches and and willfully refused to see the truth – that government lockdowns, business closures, and emergency orders did much more harm than good.
Many of us were shocked – How could this happen in our lifetime? Weren’t we still at least 100 years away from this kind of orwellian, dystopian nightmare?
The signs have been all around us. We just failed to see the writing on the wall.
A society that rejects the truth and embraces the lies of collectivism and victim culture always teeters on the precipice of disaster.
SUFFERING AND THE TRUTH
There was a lot of suffering last year because people were afraid to tell the truth.
Political agendas got in the way, lies, deception, cover ups for mistakes… the truth came in last place.
Arkansas was one of the few states that withstood the worst assaults on our civil liberties.
You didnt have a lockdown like California or New York, but you did have school closures, mask mandates and business capacity reductions. Your governor urged people to stay home for the holidays.
Did life carry on normally? Maybe more so for the people of Arkansas than the people of California. But has anything really been normal anywhere in the last year?
LEADERS AND THE TRUTH
Governor Hutchinson said, “I applaud New Jersey and New York. They’ve had to really lock down.” Governor Hutchinson didn’t even have the courage to speak out in favor of his own values.
Why are leaders so afraid to speak the truth? Why are some of us … so ashamed of the truth?
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
Lockdowns hurt people. Government mask mandates are wrong. The drug war does more harm than good. Gun control doesn’t save lives. Freedom is more precious than security. Every person on this planet is a unique individual, and should have the power to govern his or her own life in a peaceful manner.
Our philosophy of liberty is the truth.
“Libertarians believe that all people have the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness.” That’s the first line in your party’s platform. And it’s the truth.
What happens when you refuse to tell the truth?
People are hurt, rights are violated, we wander off course and end up in exile, separated from our guiding principles.
We are so far from our roots right now and what this country was founded on. There are many in our ranks who are afraid to speak out about libertarian principles. They’re afraid it will alienate a population that already has a disregard and contempt for our rights. They’re afraid the people who hate us, who call us terrorists, who want us on house arrest, who want to subject us to mandatory medical procedures…. Might not like us if we speak the truth.
I think the people of Arkansas are ripe for the message of freedom and I think your party is the perfect vehicle for that message. And I think your time is NOW.
WHY DO WE HAVE TROUBLE TELLING THE TRUTH?
It takes courage to tell the truth.
It takes courage to go to a group of Republicans and tell them that the drug war is destroying lives, that it doesn’t represent family values. It takes courage to tell people that US foreign policy doesnt keep us safe. It takes courage to confront the people who disagree with you, and who lord their authority over you.
WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF TELLING THE TRUTH IN THE CURRENT POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE?
Sometimes we get discouraged. We get exhausted spinning the hamster wheel for ballot access, trying to make headway with disinterested legislators from different political parties.
Why bother preaching the truth to a group of people that have so utterly rejected it?
God told Isaiah to go out and tell the people what was wrong and what was going to happen to them unless they changed their ways.
And God told Isaiah, the people wont listen to you. They’ll ignore you and hate you and come after you.
Isaiah balked at this idea and asked God what was the point of preaching to people who’ll ridicule and attack you.
And God said, “Oh you don’t get it. There’s a remnant out there that you dont know. They’re obscure, and scattered and barely hanging on. And they need YOU to encourage them and gather them together and keep them going, because when all of society goes to hell and everything finally burns down, they’re the ones who will rebuild.
So go out there and find the remnant! And build them up!
Don’t give up on people.
THE CONSEQUENCE OF LIES
Our country elected a president and vice president who ran an entire campaign based upon lies.
They lied about their border policies, they skipped right over the fact that they’re both architects of the drug war, they used and abused the Black Lives Matter movement, and they virtue signaled their way to the top, feeding a reactionary, frightened, and blind population whatever drivel, whatever bread and circuses they could make up. Corn Pop! Bob Marley, woke talking points from the political class…it was absurd.
It’s time for radical truth in this country. Libertarians need to be the truth bearers. We uphold the truth like a torch in the darkness.
How do you reconcile the truth with a culture of fear?
The truth will set you free.
Truth burns off all the lies and the fear. It strips you of the extraneous excuses you’ve made up that allow you to live a compartmentalized, inconsistent life. It’s like a refiner’s fire. It can be painful to feel your old worldview burn off and watch the ashes blow away in the wind.
But the truth will also build you up. It will strengthen you. It’s your armour, and your shield. Living a life that’s committed to the truth will help you become courageous.
What a beautiful philosophy – value freedom and truth over slavery and lies. To uphold personal sovereignty and the sanctity of the individual. This is our truth. So gird yourself in your principles and let the truth set you free.
WHERE DOES TRUTH FIT INTO THE PARTY OF PRINCIPLE?
We need truth in our message. Telling the truth is a courageous act. You may think it’s unpopular but you might be shocked by the support you get for telling the truth.
I know you’re fighting for ballot access in Arkansas. I believe being the champions of truth will go a long way. The boldness and courage to speak out about the value of freedom will help you to form alliances and issue coalitions with other passionate people. People who want to end the drug war, people who want to decriminalize cannabis.
I believe a strong message of freedom will grow your membership and your volunteer base.
I believe candidates who speak out boldly will help to grow your party and help to bring freedom to your beautiful state. Let the truth and beauty of our principles be your foundation.
HOW TO GET LEGISLATION PASSED
Let’s shift gears for a minute and talk about how to get legislation passed. How to take that message of truth and use it to set people free.
It feels like such an uphill battle, trying to inject yourself into the political process, but it CAN be done. In California we passed a bill limiting civil asset forfeiture. It only took a couple dozen people to call in to their representatives and encourage them to vote on the bill. Form relationships with your state reps. They might be more receptive than you think.
You can draft legislation, too, and pass it on to them. It sounds challenging, but most legislation is just copy/pasted from other bills with little edits. And plenty of good libertarian bills that are passed are just straight repeals – strikeouts of previous bills and chunks of text.
I know you have a small infrastructure right now and you’re in the process of building up, but I think you can do this, and I think it will help to grow your political capital. There are members of the California LP that can help and there are members in the state of Maine that can help. We just need to network and help each other out.
The more headway you make, the more enthusiasm you’ll generate, and the more people will join you. Wake up that remnant! Draw them to your side and get them fighting for freedom alongside you.
I believe Arkansas is poised to be one of the boldest vehicles for liberty in this country. If you speak the truth, if you continue to grow and organize, you’ll become a powerhouse for freedom. I want to help you achieve that.
I wish you the very best as you build your organization and your movement. Reach out to me for anything you need – for help with drafting legislation, training on how to call your representatives, anything at all. May the spirit of liberty and the pursuit of truth guide you.