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By Ian Tartt
It takes a lot of people to make the liberty movement work. Everyone involved can find something they are good at and enjoy. The following examples are hardly the only positions in the liberty movement, and it’s certainly possible for one person to do two or more of these things, but most people tend to gravitate toward certain roles. Without further ado, here are some of the roles that keep the liberty movement going strong.
Any movement devoid of ideas is a movement doomed to fail. The liberty movement is no exception, which is why it’s important to have people doing the intellectual work. Their contributions can come in the form of solving economic problems, analyzing the effects of different types of foreign policies, coming up with logical defenses for libertarian ideas, and developing strategies to grow the movement. These are some of the many possible means by which theorists can make essential contributions to the liberty movement.
2. Grassroots Activists
As critical as ideas are, they are of no use without people willing to put them into practice. This is where the grassroots activists come in. Grassroots activists take libertarian ideas to the people through community organizing, protesting, civil disobedience, writing to media outlets, and other types of local action. Depending on their specific goals, they can work with either a partisan or non-partisan organization (such as Americans for Prosperity), and on their own or with others who think similarly. Not everyone has the time or the ability to get involved in grassroots activism, so those who can and do are extremely valuable to the liberty movement.
There are some people who would never learn about libertarian ideas if not for skilled messengers. These people make use of social media, blogs, videos, articles, books, radio shows, and speaking tours to spread the word. A popular article or video can take the message to literally millions of people, which gives messengers opportunities few others have. That’s why it’s essential to have solid messengers; poor messengers can turn people away, make people think libertarianism is something it’s not, or fail to inspire people to take action. A great messenger like Harry Browne, on the other hand, can get people excited about liberty and make them want to get involved in the movement. Along with grassroots activists, messengers help bring libertarian ideas to people who might otherwise never hear them and inspire them to do what they can to help build a free society.