Good evening friends in liberty.
I hope that this message finds you doing well. I would like to write each and every one of you today but as there are so many folks within the liberty movement whom I do not yet know, I thought it best to craft this blanket letter on my blog.
As you may know, here in Virginia we will be holding an election for governor in less than a month. On our ballot we have three choices, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. This election has been a cause for concern in Republican circles for many as a victory which ought to have been a clear and easy task for Cuccinelli is seeming less certain or even quite unlikely as the days progress.
In response, last Friday former Representative Ron Paul came out and endorsed Cuccinelli. As you may also know, several fairly high profile leaders in the Virginia liberty movement have recently done so as well.
Now, the goal of this letter is not to address the merits or downfalls of Cuccinelli, but rather the state of the liberty movement, especially the liberty movement in Virginia. Looking back at my own circumstances, I joined this cause not to seek personal glory or to command a large army of followers, but to promote our shared political principles that we think ought to be advanced in Virginia and the nation. I suspect that many of you can relate to this motivation. However, as this gubernatorial election proceeds, I am growing concerned about the direction of the effort.
Let me ask you several important questions. What is the purpose of the liberty movement? Is it to rally behind an icon, following every word Ron Paul (or his representatives both past and present) speaks without question? I should certainly hope that the answer is no. Don’t get me wrong, I likely have as much or more respect for Dr. Paul than just about anyone. However, I would argue though that the larger purpose of this movement is to promote greater political awareness, to enhance ideology, and the ability to think and reason, rather than some kind of blind obedience. Although in the early stages I would have been delighted to wear a bracelet asking “What would Ron Paul do?” I’d like to think that I have moved beyond that rudimentary point, that Paul (along with others) has helped push me in the direction that I can independently come to the understanding of what is best for the cause of liberty. I hope that all of us can come to this kind of thinking. Does that mean that I won’t make mistakes? No. Does that mean that Ron Paul is faultless? Surely not! No one, especially in the realm of politics, is always correct or perfect.
As many of you know, I am a former employee of Dr. Paul; I had the honor of serving as his Director of Grassroots Organization for the State of South Carolina in 2007 & 2008. Before some rather unfortunate misunderstandings and miscommunications, I was slated to work for Dr. Paul again in 2011 & 2012. As such, I have been actively promoting the principles of liberty for at least the past six years. Does that role make me better than you? Does it mean that I can speak with authority for the entire liberty movement here in Virginia? Of course not! Rather it serves as a reflection of my longstanding dedication to the cause.
Friends, when it comes to this election, if you value liberty there are quite a few reasons why you ought to vote for Ken Cuccinelli and there are quite a few reasons why you ought to vote for Robert Sarvis. My purpose at this point is not to tell you whom you should support, but rather encourage you to carefully study the choices and, with a well-reasoned and well-researched argument, be able to understand and articulate your position. And, if somehow you come to the conclusion that Terry McAuliffe is the most pro-liberty candidate, then follow your heart. (Though I’d be very interested to hear how you came to this idea). Yes, this means that some of us will support Cuccinelli while others rally behind Sarvis. But the liberty folks in each camp would do well not to vilify those in the other lest the rift grow even wider. Our detractors would love to see us fail; let us not destroy ourselves.
Make no mistake, the election in Virginia is very important. But no matter how it shakes out, whether it is a stunning victory or a crushing defeat for one side or another, the liberty movement can and must continue. Leadership in any cause is important and I hope to continue to offer you thoughts to ponder as we continue to make this journey together.
But, to restate my major point, please take the time to reason, think, and understand. Sure, it’s easy to follow the leader, but it is far more important to our cause to comprehend the ideology behind it all. How can we say that we support liberty and personal responsibility in all facets of life if we do not embrace them ourselves in the political arena? To borrow a quote from LeVar Burton I heard many times in my childhood, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”
Author of The Virginia Conservative