Earlier today, I prescribed a blend of civic and personal for celebrating Independence Day. Glenn Reynolds, better known as Instapundit, offered a more active plan for both celebrating and promoting liberty today and in the future in his Washington Examiner column yesterday. Besides e-mailing New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg a photo of yourself eating a hotdog (brats here in the Upper Midwest, natch), Glenn writes that Americans can declare their independence from those who want to keep us dependent on an out-of-touch federal nanny-state government in three ways:
- Attack the funding. Many of the most anti-liberty activities of state and local governments are driven by federal funding — either direct funding, or grants. …
- Stop supporting the enemies of freedom and start supporting your friends. Cancel your subscriptions to cable TV channels, magazines or newspapers that support big government over individual liberty.
- Join Together. It may seem contradictory to assert your independence by banding together. But our Founding Fathers didn’t set America free by acting alone.
The first two points are rather clear, although Glenn offers good advice in how to carry out both. He provides some interesting food for thought with the third. The nature of American liberty and independence is not isolation, but in voluntary associations, as Glenn references Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation:
In fact, voluntary association, as de Toqueville observed, is part of the particular genius of the American republic. So get involved.
You might join a political party — many small-government activists are trying to take over the Republican (and some even the Democratic) Party at the grassroots level and work from the bottom up, from the precinct to the state level.
It’s surprisingly easy to get involved in politics locally, and you can acquire responsibility and influence quite rapidly if you’re good with people and willing to put in the work.
Alternatively, you might join a Tea Party group. Those are still springing up all over, and are already having a dramatic influence on both national and local politics.
Every group is different, as the Tea Party is a movement, not a party, and has no main office. Find one that suits you, or start one if you can’t.
If there’s one issue you care about a lot, get involved there. Gun rights activism crosses party lines, but has had a major influence in expanding liberty — over the past decade, the growth of Second Amendment rights has been one of the major Bill of Rights success stories. There are lots of other causes, ranging from fathers’ rights to tax fairness. Pick one.
And if you’re not a joiner at all, well, you can always start a blog. For some people, that works out pretty well!
It worked out well for us, quite obviously, and that didn’t come from simply writing a blog from a log cabin in the wilderness. Success for people like Glenn and others came from networking with people of similar interests and passions, linking together (literally and figuratively) to advance arguments and inspire action, and work to build momentum for policies that advance liberty and freedom. It’s a modern version of the pamphleteering that advanced the American experiment, both before and after the Revolution.
It is an amazing privilege to live in a country where such power still remains in the hands of its citizens, a good point to remember on this day of all days.
Update: Apropos of celebrating independence, Mitch Berg, Kevin Ecker, and I will be staging a MOB On The Range Day to celebrate our Second Amendment freedoms (MOB stands for Minnesota Organization of Bloggers). The event will be a benefit (more later on that), and will be held in the near future. If you’re in Minnesota near the Twin Cities — or can make it here — stay tuned for more details.
Update II: Alexis de Tocqueville, not Alexander. Yeesh; I know better than that. Early morning holiday blogging for the #fail.