I spent a good part of the day yesterday watching several videos of "liberty" candidates and leaders speaking to their comrades. While the leaders demonstrate a very clear understanding of the political processes in the United States, the candidates and the audiences they address are far more radical.
For example, having consulted on a number of campaigns over the years I frequently amuse myself during the initial candidate interview by asking the office seeker if he/she knows what it takes to win an election. The answers are often a signal of how much training the candidate is going to require.
If the candidate says something like "Money" or quotes a random figure, or the candidate says "Getting the party behind me" then I'm pretty sure they are clueless about the process. Of course the right answer is "one more vote than you opponent". The political process is simply a mathematical calculation of who gets the most votes.
This kind of lecture to "liberty" folks is a good idea. They tend to be idealogues. In fact, when listening to the audience during one such lecture captured on videotape, the only time they cheered or applauded wildly was when the speaker criticized "the government" or the people holding office who were not "liberty" candidates, and in those cases displayed angry disapproval. Or the audience cheered and applauded whenever Ron Paul or Rand Paul were mentioned.
I also have monitored a number of "liberty" websites, forums and email chains. I have several folks who belong to these sites who regularly take screen shots of things being discussed and send them to me. What I am witnessing is a dangerous devotion to a concept which is disconnected from reality. In psychology that behavior comes close to the mental condition referred to as schizophrenia.
The concept of "liberty" has concrete manifestations not the least of which is demonstrated by the fact that "liberty" folks gather and openly discuss "liberty" and by the fact that they publish articles, blog posts and discussions about "liberty". What makes them appear to be crazy is their use of these forums to complain that they are being denied liberty, or must "restore" their liberty.
In one recent speech by Thomas Massie to a group of young "liberty" folks he spent most of his time establishing himself as a rogue who is proudly "bucking the system" and denigrating the House of Representatives, other elected officials and his own party. The audience seemed delighted to hear him boast how he rejected the concept of party unity.
But then of course he requested that the audience send more people to help him thus revealing the flaw in their thinking. Obviously they want like minded people to band together, become the majority and take control. It's not really that they object to the process, just the people who are currently in charge.
But these audiences are never treated like thinking adults, they are more often whipped into a frenzy of discontent with "the system" and those "other guys". Every radical departure from the current institutions of governing is, without rational explanation required, their apparent goal.
Yes there are any number of big monied interests driving this movement, but that fact is lost on the college students and politically expatriated adults who tend to cheer the loudest at these gatherings. What exactly is the "liberty" they want to restore?
The answer is a hodgepodge of things such as demanding that the government balance the budget immediately and at the same time lower taxes. The fact of how the government is set up, what must be paid and what is discretionary is lost on them. The government's finances are a mess, upon that we can agree, but those finances cannot be crammed into an immediately balanced budget without deep cuts, raising taxes or both. Anybody who leads you to believe otherwise is either lying, stupid or both.
"Liberty" crowds are ready to take pitch forks and torches to Congress over things like the NSA spying issue. They act as if they own that issue and that everybody else is okay with the violation of civil rights and privacy. The truth is that nobody is okay with the NSA spying on innocent citizens and the "we versus them" mentality of the "liberty crowd" being fomented by some of its leaders is a sneaky way to carve out and claim a constituency for themselves by using divisive tactics. The audiences are being fooled into the corral.
It would be well worth your time to find and listen to how the "liberty" crowd is talking to each other. They are seething with anger, distrustful of everybody except their own kind and unfortunately becoming the same kind of blind loyalists they claim to oppose.
They are well intentioned for sure, but it is time for reason to prevail.