Once upon a time, unbeknownst to him, Ron Paul broke through my linguistic boundary and cured my political apathy.

Language boundaries refer to the inability of people outside of the academic sphere of libertarian political philosophy to understand, digest, and embrace the message of libertarianism. While language barriers of course affect nearly all aspects of society, they have a particular pernicious affect on politics. Language, whether spoken, written, or signed is our primary means of relaying emotional distress, stories, and knowledge.  Our use and understanding of language is key to our identities.

And that’s where my story begins. It wasn’t until I heard Ron Paul speak that I understood there was an enormous world of beautiful and brilliant minds where I could feel included. My political involvement with the liberty movement snowballed into what it is today because of a connection to an idea that was sparked by just the right words. 

During the 2012 presidential debates, a friend told me Ron Paul and his fans were crazy. So, naturally, I had to find out for myself. I had never heard a politician be so honest and explain the issues America faces in such a straightforward way. Until then, I didn’t know congressmen like him existed. I had to understand who he was and what he believed in, and that got me moving and exploring. I found the ideas of liberty—and the millions of people who share them and who were missing a political “home.”

Ron Paul’s few simple words kindled the fire inside of me, but not everyone is me. There is no one-size-fits-all perfect combination of words that’s going to break through to every human on earth. However, there is a combination of words or images that will be perfect for someone. You may never know who the person is that you’ve changed forever with your words. But I can guarantee you that if you are out in the world communicating the ideas of liberty on social media and in your daily life, there is bound to be at least one person you reach with a beautiful linguistic amalgamation of reason, kindness, and emotional connection.

But there are some things that will probably help with everyone. If I were to try my hand at making some suggestions, I would remember the words of Henry David Thoreau: “Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity!” Libertarianism can be introduced to the politically apathetic and those searching for their self-identity in a relatively simple and relate-able way. Obviously, political philosophy and policy can be complex, but don’t slap them with your memorized sections of Constitution of Liberty. Find a better way.

Libertarianism is in every person because people generally want to be free, protect their life and property, as well as voluntarily help themselves and others. All we have to do is find the words to remind people of that.

So cheers to the “crazy” ones and the political misfits searching for that perfect combination of linguistic sledgehammers to break down those barriers and cross the boundaries of communication to help others find their self-identity. It is possible to bring out the libertarian in everyone if you appreciate the nuances between individuals and understand that each person is going to have a different story or words with which they connect.

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About the author

Marianne Copenhaver

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Marianne is an architect for change in politics and policy through her work in grassroots activism, speaking, and writing. She works along side other passionate, liberty-minded individuals with a campaign technology company and strives to make human connections in politics as the outreach coordinator for a political action committee. Marianne has given speeches at such organizations as the former Presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s Our America Initiative and Liberty on the Rocks. In addition to writing for Thoughts on Liberty, Marianne also owns and operates and Libertarian Girl. She is a social media and political content marketing enthusiast working on developing a libertarian talk show, FreeSpeak Today. She is also starting a company dedicated to marketing the message of liberty. When she’s not posting snarky political commentary and trying to change the world, you can find her shooting guns, scuba diving, or watching horror movies.

  • 7thPillar

    And if your voice fails to sway anyone, you have the means to live your life in liberty. I’m old. I’ve given up on liberty in the USSA and plan to move to South America where liberty still reigns. To follow my adventure see http://7thpillar.wordpress.com/

  • Tonish

    “Libertarianism is in every person because people generally want to be free, protect their life and property, as well as voluntarily help themselves and others”

    Sadly, as a libertarian myself, I disagree. The reason we don’t win elections is because there is a sizeable portion of the electorate who want to be told what to do and how to think. Why, I have absolutely no idea, perhaps conditioning, perhaps stupidity, perhaps laziness. There is an equable portion who are quite happy to oblige (both on the left and right of politics) and will take control.

    Libertarians therefore end up squeezed in the middle, with most votes going to the control freaks. I honestly wish it were different, but that is the reality.

  • Pam Szal

    Great Article!!
    As a healthcare worker I’ve learned to diagnose my patients illnesses by listening to their complaints, not rushing to treat their symptoms and thus misdiagnosing the disease. Active listening is the most powerful form of engagement. Rushing to judgment is the most unfortunate missed opportunity to cure the mind, body and soul.

  • http://www.anarchocapitalism.us/ Ethan Glover

    You’re absolutely right about simplicity, I stick to what people know and just act consistently and conversation remains open.
    Also, the only difference between Libertarians and Anarcho-Capitalists is about 6 months. Don’t stop learning and don’t set yourself on politics just because you’ve found comfort, remain open and only stay where you are after considering all viewpoints.
    -ancapus.com

  • vanyam

    Everyone is Libertarian at heart, by nature, but a kid’s environment in the household and neighborhood determines whether he or she will be a dedicated lifelong sovereign soul or a flip-flopper who only seeks freedom when government infringes on personal habits and indulgences.

    We need to be weaned, just like calves, from dependence on our parents, but we also need to be weaned from nursing on government as well. That is the fork in the road for political parties. One group likes and values sovereignty and self-determination so much that their lives are based on independence forever, and the other group lives a life of dependency on others even though they may have great careers and many possessions. This group has to have a safety net or insurance program from outside their own means in order to feel ok.

    If you notice, the Left has been VERY excited about the prospect of legalized pot, and most vehemently protect their sexual preferences, abortion rights, personal habits, yet when you look at the overall picture, this Libertarian streak falls short when you engage them in discussion over work, money, food and other personal responsibilities. There’s a big disconnect when you separate work from play in the Leftist brain.

    Stay the heck out of their pot stash and their bedroom, but pick them up and carry them on your back if they fall down at work or spend money like children. This is the challenge for guys like Ron Paul. He is asking us if we are ready to be truly 100% responsible adults with all the Liberty given us by our Creator yet also ready to face the responsibility and accountability that accompany that freedom.

    Great article Marianne!

  • gettingwell

    I’m onboard with what you say. I remember feeling very isolated when I was in high school because I didn’t have the sense of community you speak about.
    It’s important, though, to not deify Ron Paul. We’ve been taught and acculturated to believe that there are wise old men who have all the answers. That just isn’t the case.
    I’ve donated to Ron Paul over the past few years. My teenager worked many hours for him last year.
    Let’s not make Ron Paul into someone who he isn’t. He is a republican who’s mainly interested in getting his son elected president. Liberty, freedom, and everything else take a backseat to that.

  • Chuk The Skunkman

    I’ve found it really rewarding to learn to communicate with others. Many of us here speak the same language – personal responsibility, freedom of choice, non-aggression etc. Sometimes, one little line in someone’s head will stick with them and make that change.

    Marianne – and everyone else – what words have you found that effect change in people? My favorite is the “success test.” I measure success as growing up to become the person you’ve wanted to be.

    TSA agent: Ok, you know the drill….
    ME: Let me ask you a question…..remember when you were five, six, and you wanted to grow up to become someone? Is this what you had in mind? Can you look back on that child and say you’re proud of what you’ve become, or do you hide from him/her. Don’t answer me, it’s all about whether you have succeeded in life according to your definitions.

    Works every time.

  • BambiB

    >> people generally want to be free

    Sadly, this is not true of the majority of Americans. Yes, there is a sizable group that wants freedom and independence, but an even larger group that eagerly trades freedom for the illusion of security. The former are largely male. The latter are largely female. For general confirmation, one need only look at the gender makeup of the Democrat party (female), the Republican party (male) and any Ron Paul rally (overwhelmingly male).

    That government deficits were small and restrained throughout most of America’s history is well-documented. It was only after the passage of the worst legislative bill in history (the 19th Amendment) that things began to unravel. In state after state, over a period of 50 years, as women got the vote, they voted to spend more than the state took in, and to vote for social welfare programs that obligate Americans to pay for today’s government goodies with tomorrow’s dollars. $17 trillion in debt, borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent, with over $200 trillion in unfunded obligations over the next 50 years, the US is almost certainly doomed – thanks largely to the voting patterns of a majority of women (and a minority of cowardly or self-serving men).

    Why do women vote to mortgage the future? Studies have shown that they really do NOT understand economics. In addition, they are genetically programmed to require someone to provide for them. During most of the 100,000 years or so that Homo Sapiens has been around, women who were unable to attract a mate willing to provide for and protect her and her offspring did not pass any genetic material on to the next generation. Sorry about that ladies. I know the truth isn’t always popular.

    Women are generally better communicators than men – largely because their survival has depended on it for thousands of generations. By the same token, men are larger, stronger, more aggressive to fulfill their natural role.

    It is only as we entered the 20th Century that society became wealthy enough to drag along the genetic detritus that would have been jettisoned in earlier times. As women’s role in government expanded, so too did the “safety net” that ensured reproduction among the unfit – the slovenly morons who add nothing to society but dead weight. With a moron breeding program now more than 5 decades along, the stupid outnumber the wise by a wide margin. Any system that accords to idiots the same “vote” as it does to the knowledgeable is bound to wind up at least “half stupid”, but in an environment where the majority are morons, you get freak shows like our current congress with horrors like Schumer, Boxer, Feinstein, Pelosi and an executive head of government like Obama… one of whom would have been elected without the female vote.

    Darwin has hit an eddy in the normal flow of evolution. Our species has devolved a bit, and as a group, we are now less intelligent than our fore bearers. This is particularly distressing since it is intelligence that gives our species the edge over every other species.

    But Darwin will not be denied.

    There will come a time when we cannot afford to feed the idiots, when they will die and the smarter specimens will survive. There will be a culling. Whether it will happen at the collapse of the dollar, or at some later date is unknown. None of us may live long enough to see it happen. But it’s coming. Oh, most of us will live long enough to see the dollar collapse, the US economy tank, for people to wind up fighting over food – but that may not be enough. It may take something worse.

    It’s entirely possible (though it seems unlikely) that H. Sapiens may not survive. As an associate of mine is fond of saying, “Homo Sapiens is not a proven species.” The dinosaurs were around for 200 million years before they vanished. Our species has been here for less than a billionth of that time – and it’s not clear that we will succeed.

    But we had a good run. Up until we let women vote, anyway.