Now that Barack Obama has been elected to another four years in the White House, some people around me are in denial. Mitt Romney has gone down in flames, much like John McCain did four years ago. (Remember him?) And standing on the sideline are various libertarians saying, “If you had only nominated Ron Paul, we would have beaten Obama.”
Four years ago, a lot of people were upset with the election of Obama. Some didn’t like him because he’s black. But most who opposed him did so because they deeply disagreed with him about the direction for the country. A group of people loosely calling themselves the Tea Party emerged to say that the direction had to change. They were going to organize and march and demand lower taxes and smaller government.
Four years later, how’s that working out? That conservative backlash has helped the Republicans to hold onto the U.S. House, but that’s about the extent of it. Democrats hold the Senate and the White House.
What’s more, the Tea Party is a weird mix held together only by a hatred of the progressive left. Although the Tea Party had libertarian roots, it’s more of a mainstream social conservative group now. Yes, they still talk about economically conservative ideas, but social conservative ideas have taken more and more prominence in places where the Tea Party groups have been successful in gaining influence.
It’s the avowedly libertarian supporters of people such as Ron Paul who are really in denial. I’m sure it’s not all of them, but a substantial portion of them honestly because that the only reason the Republicans didn’t win Tuesday is that Paul wasn’t the GOP nominee. I heard this angry theme over and over from many of them late Tuesday night on Facebook.
About a year and a half ago, I started explaining why Ron Paul couldn’t win. I’ve also written a number of times about the fact that people do not want the freedom or limited government that libertarians want. Yet many of the libertarians I know persist in believing that if they’d just explain things differently, the majority would suddenly start agreeing with them.
It’s not going to happen. The majority don’t want what you want. They want a Nanny State to promise to take care of them. They might like small government rhetoric, but when push comes to shove, they want to simply talk about being self-reliant — while they count on government to come through with Social Security checks, Medicare, free prescriptions drugs and various other goodies.
Throughout the GOP primaries, these libertarians kept saying that primary voters really wanted Ron Paul. There was no evidence of that. In fact, each time primaries were held, Paul got relatively few votes. Still, his supporters remained in denial, believing that “the people” must somehow want what they want.
The truth is that if you want individual liberty — in some form or fashion — it’s not going to come through voting, because it’s not what people want. They’re not going to start wanting it, either. And if you keep telling yourself that working harder and investing more time and money is suddenly going to change that, you’re completely in denial.
It’s time to quit fooling yourself. If you want real change, you have to reject the system. You have to start looking for another solution. That solution is going to be found outside of the electoral system, not in working harder and harder to elect candidates that the public is never going to agree with.
You are not going to change the public’s mind. If you believe you are, you’re in denial. Isn’t it time to quit denying reality and instead start looking into alternatives to electoral politics?