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.