I started out my political life as a neo-conservative; maybe a lighter version of it, but still a neo-con.
To put it bluntly, my political outlook was largely hypocritical, interventionist, and controlling. It was extremely subjective too. What would’ve justified intervening in one country wouldn’t necessarily have justified it in every country.
My worldview was also controlling when it came to social vices. Think of one of those Christians who would rather see the government fix social ills instead of the church. It was extremely hypocritical, but, unfortunately, I rarely saw it that way.
I was young in my political “faith.”
Fast forward to today and it’s quite different. I’ve transitioned from neo-con, to conservative, to conservative-libertarian, all the way to a Free Market, limited government zealot.
Many Americans see me as an “extremist.” Many Conservatives would consider me an extremist. But I’ve avoided such labels from the conservative movement because I grew up in the movement. I know what makes them tick.
I’m one of them, although I’ve moved farther down the road. But I can still relate. And that’s important.
Other extremists aren’t as fortunate, which routinely brings them into conflict with Conservatives.
Today, it’s safe to say that extremists have been ostracized to a certain degree by the Conservative movement.
They’re looked down on. They’ve been delegitimized as crazies, conflict starters, and fanatics.
But Conservatives have forgotten who these extremists are. They’ve forgotten why they’re a vital component of the fight for Liberty.
Let Me Define Extremist
What pops into your head first when I mention the word extremists? Most likely you’re thinking libertarians, or maybe those odd anarcho-capitalists. Whoever you think of when you hear that word, it’s important to remember that these “extremists” are on your side.
They value personal responsibly, the Free Market, limited government, and private property.
They want to live their lives in peace, with their family and loved ones (and possibly a dog too).
They have a passion for Liberty, which is one of their most powerful advantages. Nothing can shut them up, or make them cower in fear. They’ll stand for Freedom regardless of whether they’re a Tea Party member, or a libertarian Ron Paul supporter.
What You Can Learn From the Extremists
Extremists are the change affecters. They literally bring about change.
Why you ask?
Because they’re the antithesis, the opposition. They’re the men and women who constantly fight against the grain of society. They’re not part of the herd; they’re that one wildebeest going it alone… Chuck Norris style!
The Extremist has fashioned and honed their political beliefs into a well-oiled machine. Productive and efficient, with the ability to innovate and grow. They’ve done this by going through a process of examination and contemplation.
For the Extremist, they’re always reflecting over their political views. Does it make sense? Does it work? Does it advance or prohibit personal Liberty?
For the Extremist, they’re always questioning what makes up their political views. Is this hypocritical? Do I sincerely believe in personal responsibility? Will I oppose tyranny no matter which party it comes from?
You can imagine what a process like this does to your political views. It separates the wheat from the chaff. The wheat is what you and I need. It’s what the Conservative Movement can use to its advantage. Here’s just a few examples of that wheat…
Personal Liberty and Responsibility is the Rallying Cry: to have a working society, you can’t have other people constantly meddling in your life. You can’t have the government controlling what an individual chooses to do. Personal liberty leaves the decision making up to the individual. Personal responsibility leaves the consequences (and punishment if there is any) to the individual.
You want to win Americans over to your cause? Focus on their right to live their lives free of intrusion.
Government doesn’t Affect Moral Change: rules and regulations, enforced by the government, don’t change a society. You can’t force someone to live a moral life. Morality is more than simple actions taken in a society. It’s an internal issue, one that can’t be fixed by the state. Only social change from the bottom up and fix social issues.
Healthy Skepticism of the State is a Must: to be a well-informed citizen, you have to be able to question what the government says and does. Blindly following authority always ends badly, especially when it’s the state. But there’s a fine line to follow when it comes to questioning the government. You don’t want to be a blind sheep, but you also don’t want to be a nut-case conspiracy theorist either.
Free Market all the Way: Government regulations? Bad! Stimulus packages? Bad! The New Deal? Heck no! A market, completely free of all government intervention is the best market. It’s the only one that works.
Limited Government: A government, whose sole duty is to establish justice and defense is the right form of government. Once you start giving the state more and more power you move closer to tyranny. The larger the government, the more of a threat it poses to its citizenry. The smaller the government, the more its citizenry will thrive and grow (by being free).
Private Property for the Win: without private property, I would argue that personal Liberty is difficult to have. From private property stems punishment for theft, murder, fraud, and more. It’s the glue that binds it all together.
Extremists Bring New Blood and Passion
Remember that quote from Thomas Jefferson about the tree of Liberty?
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Extremists are an important facet of that “blood of patriots.” I’d go so far to say that they are the blood that refreshes the tree of Liberty.
They’re the most passionate about their cause. A zealot for personal Liberty.
Extremists are the ones waving the flag of Liberty from the highest hilltops, and in front of the overwhelming forces of tyranny.
They scream the loudest. Fight the hardest. And… they’ll gladly stand proud…while flicking off the EPA and any other government bureaucracy that gets in their way.
For the Conservative movement to remain firm, welcoming, and grounded in its principles, it needs to have a steady supply of Extremists.
Extremists You Should Get to Know
Extremism shouldn’t be viewed as a dirty label (unless you advocate violence, or you’re a Muslim).
To paint an appropriate picture of what a real extremist looks like, I’m going to highlight a few individuals I know (and don’t know) personally who are extremists. These people are worth checking out and getting to know. They represent what I think a true extremist is.
Follow these people, ask them about the issues we’re facing as a society. See how they approach different social, political and economic problems. Learn from them. Befriend them. Stand with them.
You can’t shun the Extremists if you want to change America.