2018 is now finally over. While it had many ups and downs, like every year, some very positive things happened for the cause of liberty. From the passage of the First STEP Act, the President’s announcement to withdraw from Syria, to Congress voting on the war in Yemen, some could even call this a libertarian moment. Unfortunately, there is still work to do. 2019 presents a number of opportunities in which peace, free markets, and liberty can finally make a comeback. Here are a few areas we need to work on within the next 365 days.
Criminal Justice Reform
The First STEP Act was a major accomplishment and a delightful surprise that happened at the end of 2018. Criminal Justice Reform is one of the few areas that almost every American can agree on. There is no reason it should have taken so long to happen, but let’s be thankful that it did. Let’s also remember that the battle for reform is far from over. There is so much more that needs to be done, spanning from marijuana reform, to the restoration of rights to the formally incarcerated, and cutting down the prison population. These are reforms that attract support from all areas of the political spectrum and there is no better time to be working on them. With the momentum in our favor following the First STEP Act, now is the best time to go all the way with meaningful Criminal Justice Reform.
Bring Home The Troops
President Trump sent the pro-war establishment into a frenzy after he announced the order to withdraw American troops from Syria. This was music to the ears of those who favor peace and diplomacy over messy and entangled conflicts. The challenge in the future will be keeping the special interest of the warfare state away from giving advice to the President. Libertarians need to keep pressure up on those in power to not just withdraw from Syria, but the entire Middle East. Most notably, Afghanistan is currently our longest war in history and we have lost all meaning for remaining there. It is time to use this moment to force a withdraw and bring our troops home.
Expand Economic Opportunity
This one is slightly more tricky, but with the right approach, we can grow our economy dramatically and expand economic freedom at the same time. The economy is doing very well right now, in large part due to cutting taxes and certain regulation. However, there are still areas in the country that are forgotten or are being stomped out of existence. Some on the right blame this on automation, immigration, and trade. Others on the left blame it on, ironically enough, many of the same things. But there are issues that all sides can get behind and work together on. Occupational licensing reform is an example of this. We see urban and minority communities most disproportionately affected by licensing requirements. This is makes it a rather appealing issue on the left. For the right, it speaks to their philosophical roots to reduce the size of government and cut back the red tape. Working on Occupational Licensing Reform will help the weakest among us, expand freedom for all, and wouldn’t result in unintended economic consequences like the way raising the minimum wage or restricting trade would.
Better Communicate Our Message
One of the greatest plagues that has struck our movement is our inability to message liberty properly. Instead of telling people how it creates vast sums of wealth while lifting people our of poverty, we often get bogged down in internet battles on who is more principled. We need to be positive in our message and customize it to every person we speak to. Nobody has the same life experience as someone else, but liberty lifts all boats. It is a message of empowerment, not bitterness. We have to become storytellers, not just talk about numbers and stats all day. The MilLiberty Initiative has several plans this year to expand our movement, create lasting change for liberty, and win meaningful battles across the nation. But we cannot do this alone. With the left and the right trending toward their most extreme and authoritative ends, we must be a light of hope and a voice of sanity for everyone who just wants to live their lives in peace.