Mondays with Murray: Breaking Down the Six Stages of the Libertarian MovementSubmitted by Marc Clair on Mon, 03/25/2013 - 09:19
I found Rothbard's breakdown of the history of the libertarian movement in the United States from his perspective fascinating as in many ways the various stages he describes parallel my own journey through the libertarian movement. To recap:
Stage 1: The Lone Nut Stage
This stage is when there is simply one person, alone in the world, thinking his wacko libertarian ideas to himself. I felt this way for much of my life, from a young age when I found myself questioning my parents about this law or that law. Even after I later found the writings of my early influences such as Harry Browne and Ron Paul, in my own life I often felt like the "lone nut" - the only one in my immediate surroundings that held strong libertarian views, sitting around reading Rothbard and Hoppe while the rest of the Statist world chugged right along.
Stage 2: The Buddy Stage
This describes the stage where the "lone nut" finds or converts another "lone nut" to share their passion for liberty with.
Rothbard describes how people are often converted to the ideas of liberty not through a "verbal bludgeoning", but rather through a "shock of recognition" - a moment where something is articulated that they always believed but could never quite put into words.
I believe such a "shock of recognition" occurred several years ago during a conversation I had with my friend and now-fellow-Lion of Liberty John "Odie" Odermatt. This was during the early stages of Ron Paul's 2007-2008 Presidential run. After going on a lengthy anti-war diatribe, Odie was shocked to find out that it wasn't some Democrat candidate I was a fan of, but a Republican from Texas named Ron Paul! I believe this moment was a "shock of recognition" that helped awaken him from his neoconservative coma, break out of the left-right paradigm and start him down the path towards liberty.
Stage 3: The Third Buddy Stage
Once a third "buddy" has been found, a significant leap has been made. It is no longer just a couple of "lone nuts", but is now a "school of thought". As Rothbard puts it, while it might be easy to dismiss a couple of lone nuts, once you have a third buddy people are inclined to say "Gee, three people believe this crazy thing, maybe there's something to it!".
EDITL Had to put in the actual link here since the HTML is not working.