When it comes to uniting people behind liberty, a careful nationalism may be the best option.
I’ve followed libertarian politics closely for the last five years. So, yes, I’ve given up hope that libertarian ideals on their own will soon electrify any significant proportion of America. I think that, like several of Rand Paul’s ribs, that dream is broken for many of us young little “L” libertarians.
What finally did it for my fantasies of spontaneous classical liberal revival was the 2016 Republican presidential primary, especially the debates, where it seemed like the only Republican candidate concerned about civil liberties or human decency was the aforementioned Senator Paul — who never got his poll numbers above 17 percent.
Why did he do so poorly? Because non-coercion by itself is a hard ideal to build collective action around.
A vignette from a march in Warsaw on Saturday struck me as a revealing example of how libertarian ideology lacks mass(es) appeal. The Polish independence day march drew lots of press, including in this article from The New York Times and this one from The Wall Street Journal. Both newspapers noted the rally’s significant attendance (in the thousands) and marked far-right flavor (it was organized by National Radical Camp, a youth group that seeks an “ethnically pure Poland,” according to the WSJ).