This article has previously appeared in LP News
During my travels to promote the Libertarian Party, I frequently meet Libertarians who consider themselves “lone wolves.” That is, they live in an area that they believe is devoid of fellow Libertarians.
Unfortunately, in conversing with these “Lone Wolf Libertarians,” I often find they underestimate the great value they can offer to the Libertarian Party. During these conversations, I mention the many things they can do to help. In particular, I emphasize that they should end their status as “Lone Wolves” by finding (or creating) more Libertarians. I note that I have been a Lone Wolf Libertarian before, and suggest their Libertarian activities will be much more effective and enjoyable when they are running with a pack of fellow Libertarians.
If you are a Lone Wolf Libertarian, I suggest you try the following:
* Determine whether you are indeed a Lone Wolf Libertarian. Contact your state party and LP HQ to inquire whether there are other Libertarians (or prospects) in your area.
* Volunteer to serve as the local contact for your state party. The simple act of being listed as a contact on your state party website can have tremendous payoffs. The Libertarian Party of Botetourt County, one of the best local organizations in Virginia, got its start because Liz Bowles (who with her husband Jeff had just joined the LPVa) accepted my invitation to be listed as a local contact on the LPVa webpage. Shortly thereafter a person in a neighboring county who was interested in the Libertarian Party contacted her. Within six months of that contact, the number of Libertarians in Botetourt County (a rural county) increased from 2 to 15, and Jeff Bowles was elected to local office (as a write-in).
* Inform local media there is a Libertarian contact in the area. In my experience, many local reporters seek to provide balance to (or spice up) a story by including a different perspective. Several times I have been contacted out of the blue by reporters who wanted “the Libertarian point of view” for their story. For the most part, my comments have been reported fairly.
* Monitor local news media for stories of interest, and relay those stories to the state party and LP HQ.
* Contact local media to obtain info about local journalists and editors (especially those who have demonstrated agreement with Libertarian positions), and send that info to state and national party communications directors. This activity can be of great help, since the average turnover in news bureaus makes it difficult to maintain accurate contact lists. Also, the act of contacting local media on a regular basis serves as a reminder that the Libertarians are around.
* Contact local media to inquire whether they want to receive state and national LP press releases. Small-circulation newspapers are frequently hungry for interesting, well-written content. By feeding state and national LP press releases to such media, we may generate many articles and editorials that represent a Libertarian perspective.
* Read the “Letters to the Editor” section of local newspapers, and contact those who letters suggest an interest in the Libertarian perspective. Submit Libertarian-oriented op-ed pieces and letters to the editor of local newspapers. Letters to the editor remain a useful way to promote Libertarian ideas, programs, and candidates.
* Identify speaking opportunities for Libertarians, especially at local civic organizations, high schools, and colleges.
* Make a list of local fairs, parades, festivals, etc., and provide that information (including the contact information for event organizers) to your state party. Also, identify locations (especially private businesses) where Libertarians can collect petition signatures.
* Purchase a listing of the LP’s 800 number in your local telephone directory. I pay about $2.00 a month to have the LP 800 number in the Charlottesville area telephone directory.
Of course, there are vastly more activities that a Lone Wolf Libertarian can undertake, such as seeking appointment to local commissions and boards, attending meetings of local governing bodies, sponsoring information tables at local events, etc. However, the activities listed above may not require much more effort than making a few phone calls, sending a few e-mails, and checking a few websites.
The comedian Woody Allen is frequently credited with the aphorism “Ninety percent of life is just showing up.” By working hard and working smart, and sometimes just by showing up, the Lone Wolf Libertarian can have an impact vastly out of proportion to his efforts. Of course, as a result he probably won’t be a “Lone Wolf” for long.