Liberalism is dying; not because it has failed, but because liberals have failed to support it. It doesn’t matter if an ideology is objectively true, how great its policies are, or how tolerant its members can be – if those very members are too insecure to stand up for their beliefs, it will fail.
Liberalism is an intelligent, thoughtful and rational ideology. But due to that, its members tend to be too agreeable, too introverted and too self-doubting. This is why liberalism is flagging.
For liberalism to survive and rise to make South Africa and the world a better place, its members need to become more like socialists. Not in their beliefs, but in their behaviour. Socialists of all stripes dedicate much of their time to the cause. They flock to the support of their fellows in real life and on social media and they don’t back down. Liberals need to do the same.
This article is a guide on how to get involved in the liberty movement and how to become an influential and valuable member of the liberal cause.
(This article will be using African examples, but the advice is applicable anywhere in the world)
What is ‘liberalism’?
There is a lot of confusion over the term liberalism. American politics has misconstrued the term ‘liberal’ to the point where it is confused with ‘leftist’ and ‘socialist’. This isn’t just a regional definitional difference, but a grave mistake. Liberalism has epistemic roots and inalienable principles that US “liberals” do not follow. Parties like the Democrats should not be considered liberal, but rather social democrats.
In essence, liberals value the following principles:
- Civil liberty
- Free speech
- The Rule of Law
- Free markets
- A rational discourse to establish truth
Different liberals interpret these differently, but that is the beauty of liberalism. It isn’t an echo-chamber of fanatics. It is a broad ideology characterised by a love of individual freedom and reason. While there are many important disagreements within liberalism, freedom is a principle we can all agree on.
So, what is the first step to becoming a more active and valuable liberal in the movement?
Read and watch
Most of what any political individual will be doing with their time is interpreting policy, debating and spreading their views. To do this effectively, you need to read extensively, watch videos and listen to podcasts. All of these are fun and educational activities that will prepare you for developing your views and defending them.
You should also learn about opposing views and topics in general. I read history extensively so I can better defend my liberal views on an historical basis and learn how humanity has grown over the millennia. Learn a discipline and apply your liberal education to it.
To start your reading, check out the Rational Standard Library.
Check out LearnLiberty for some great videos.
Find other liberals
Friends and peers are important. If you have no liberal friends, you are going to grow disillusioned – either with liberalism or your friends. You need people on the same wavelength to challenge you and talk to you.
This can be a simple social club, like the Cape Town and Johannesburg liberal and libertarian dinners, or activist groups like African Students For Liberty. If you know about a liberal or libertarian political party, consider investigating them.
Most importantly, find fellow liberals and libertarians on Facebook and social media and talk to them. You will change your life for the better and establish a very important support network for the movement.
Organisations like African Students For Liberty, the Rational Standard, the Free Market Foundation and others often host liberal events. Attend them! Not only are they fun, but you will meet many interesting people, learn new things and, most importantly, will find yourself invigorated by knowing that there are like-minded people out there.
What do you want to dedicate?
To already make a huge difference, you just need to educate yourself and socialise, but if you want to go the extra mile, you can become an activist. There are many ways of contributing to the movement, depending on what you want to dedicate.
Join an activist society like African Students For Liberty or volunteer to help the Rational Standard. Spend time helping the grassroots liberal movement by sharing articles online, talking to people and making sure that liberal content receives the attention it deserves.
Volunteers are extremely important and are essential for successful events and the growth of liberal projects.
Capital is needed for any project. Liberal publications like the Rational Standard use Patreon to receive regular donations so we can grow the platform and stay afloat. If you want to dedicate money to the cause, consider donating to the Rational Standard or supporting other organisations such as the Free Market Foundation.
Do you have a particular skill? Many types of people are needed to grow the movement and help the cause. Here are some examples of needed skills:
- Graphic design
- Web design
- Public relations
- Sound editing
- Video editing
- Event management
And many more. The movement also needs experts on a variety of fields:
Experts are very important for formulating policy and contributing to the discourse.
Above all of this, the most important thing you can do as a liberal is to be confident about your views. Self-doubt is good, but don’t let it get in the way of working towards a better future. Liberalism is worth working and fighting for.
I hope to see you in the movement soon!
Interested in some libertarian science fiction? Check out my sci-fi series, Warpmancer, available on Amazon.