Jared Lovell

October 23, 2019

Politics As The Art Of The Possible

Politics is not for everybody. It isn't really for me. There are better ways to contribute to the cause of cultural renewal or resistance to totalitarianism. I tend to prefer working in the realm of theology, philosophy and education. It is hard enough for me to get myself to the polls to vote. I couldn't imagine having to campaign. For me, philosophical conservatism is a much more valuable enterprise than "movement" conservatism or libertarianism, pushing a national political agenda. This is not to say that practical politics is completely useless. There are some people out there who are gifted political activists and can accomplish some good things. However, if one is going to devote their time and resources to effecting change through the political process, it is wise to understand how politics works and how best to be effective in this area. I am convinced that joining the Libertarian Party and pursuing a non-partisan and independent agenda that is "fiscally conservative and socially accepting" is about the worst way to go about effecting change. The fact is that very few people care about abstract principles of liberty. Despite all of the cries on social media for disinterested public servants that are non-partisan and above the political fray, there is really no evidence that most people actually want this. There seems to be no better way to tank a campaign than by running on an independent agenda that is "neither right nor left." It is almost a guaranteed loser. And no, anecdotes of successful political races that resulted in the election of a Libertarian city councilman with 5,000 votes are not an exception that disproves this rule.

If you want to get in politics, by all means, knock yourself out. But politics deals with the realm of the possible. You have to meet people where they are. The fact is that most people are not interested in establishing a libertarian utopia. They don't understand the roots of the problems that the nation faces and do not have the extra time to research the issues. Educating people is the long game. It will not be accomplished through clever bumper stickers or political slogans championing vague concepts of "liberty," "freedom," or "democracy." It will take several generations as people gradually pull out of the public school system and children are taught to think differently about the nature of government and the importance of preserving our Western cultural traditions. For those who are interested in politics, focus on building coalitions. Address the concerns of real people living in their current contexts. Acknowledge the importance of local cultures in how people arrive at their political opinions. Don't buy into the idea that political neutrality and independence from partisanship is going to win you any support from real people.

About the author

Jared Lovell lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with his wife and three children. He actively works to corrupt the youth as a history and economics teacher at Memoria Press Online Academy and as an ESL teacher to Chinese students.

more from the blog