Even though some of the positions I hold in my mind are very "far out," and even though I might want to see extreme changes politically over time, my success in the political realm depends on not projecting an image which could easily be labeled "extremist."
To take one issue as an example, if philosophically I support legalized drugs because nothing ought to be illegal except the initiation of force or fraud, then I'd better find out if people in the district or area where I'm working to win an election consider legalized drugs to be "too extreme" a position. Otherwise I'll forever be getting a very small percentage of the votes and I'll be doomed to "unrealistic third party" status.
With respect to the legalization of drugs, most people can only see in their imagination the devastating damage drugs have done to the lives of somebody they have known or heard about. To their "un-libertarian" way of thinking it does not seem compassionate to allow a free market in drugs. Their limited human seeing can only see the unhampered flow of drugs as murderous and depriving of life and well-being.
Just as Native Americans taught us to walk a mile in the other's moccasins, I must consciously "get into other people's thinking" for awhile to see how they think. I must find out where the thinking of the average Joe or Mary is simply not yet ready to open up to new possibilities, and I must steer clear of what they would consider extreme positions. This is known as "being in touch with common sense."
The same principle applies to other libertarian ideas such as the funding of roads. The ultimate libertarian goal of having no government funding of roads unless voluntary contributions were so earmarked cannot be advertised in an election campaign until enough preparatory work has made people ready to hear it as a campaign issue.
"Middle of the road" wins in politics at any given time. Yes, the middle of the road shifts over time, which is to say "common sense" shifts over time, and I absolutely must work for shifts in people's thinking toward the directions I favor. Otherwise I'm not true to myself. But during an election campaign I'd better present an image not too far from the middle of the road if I hope to gain large numbers of votes ... which is being true to my election goal.
Government worshippers, various kinds of socialists and "progressives," have during the twentieth century caused enormous shifts in people's way of thinking and in the way governments operate. They have done this by working with tireless patience to institute one little shift after another, first in people's minds ... then in politics.
These government worshipping elitists haven't called themselves "Radicals for Socialism." They have called themselves "Progressive Democrats" and "Moderate Republicans". No matter how extreme their philosophy has been when compared to the ideals of freedom, they have endeavored to make themselves sound very close to being middle-of-the-roaders. This has been the key to their success.
Perhaps with enough patience, some libertarians will infiltrate the Democratic Party and call themselves "Progressives" while other libertarians will infiltrate the Republican Party and call themselves "Moderates." On the other hand, most common sense libertarians will present a picture of themselves as willing to move close enough to the current middle of the road at any given time that the Libertarian Party itself, as well as declared libertarians in other parties, can begin winning elections.
This week my goal is to find out if I am patient enough to really win elections. I do this by finding out if I am patient enough to put on the back shelf for awhile my positions that are "extreme" in the eyes of the majority in order to further my goals which are not so "extreme" in the eyes of the majority. If I'm not willing to do this, I don't really belong in politics.
As I awaken each morning this week, I greet the new day with optimism and say to myself a few times this important reminder:
"The proof of success in politics is not getting a few percentage points of the vote! The proof is winning elections!"
Having reminded myself of this truth, I set about to search my mind to see if I hold any extreme positions which the general electorate is just not going to go for at this time. There is no question that I will find in my mind a few "extreme" positions. I am opposed to all taxation. I favor legalization of almost everything. I'm working ultimately toward making nation states obsolete. And philosophically I do not support the idea of "majority of voters rules".
My goal this week is to find positions that I can temporarily live with which are (1) different than these "extreme" positions, (2) working in the direction of my ultimate goals, and (3) close enough to the middle of the road that the majority of voters could possibly vote for them.
During each day this week make a list and add to my list of "political positions" or "expedient positions" which are not my ultimate positions but in the short term serve my ultimate goals. I make absolutely sure that it's clear in my mind that operating this way is not "selling out" my ideals, I am merely being in touch with my inner patience and common sense.
I can even remind myself aloud often, until I really grasp the truth of this idea:
"Being true to my inner patience IS being true to my ideals."
During my meditation periods this week, 20 minutes or longer each day, I visualize my ultimate goals. I visualize a society which has adopted all my "extreme" positions so they are no longer extreme. I see it happening. But then I let myself feel thankful that I have the patience to not sabotage these ultimate goals by pushing too hard too soon.
Before retiring for the day, I "count my votes" so to speak. In my mind's eye, I see many, many people responding positively to my political messages and seeing me as not overly extremist or not at all "out of touch with the real world." I see voters voting for me or my candidates or my ideas by the droves.
Last but not least, I affirm one last time with great gratitude:
"Patience is my true nature and holding my patience assures success."
The device which even more deeply prepares freedom lovers for success, A Course in Miracles , talks about our ultimate need to free ourselves from every kind of slavery:
You have been told to bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of your self, the little thought that seems split off and separate, that the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God's keeping, and needs no guide. But this wild and delusional thought needs help, because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.
Also available free of charge online:
Course in Relationship Miracles
01 November 1995