Some time ago, I was asked why I was currently under the influence of libertarianism, this liberty drug. It might not sound like anything special, but considering the talk that I hear right now coming from outside and within the movement about libertarians being racists or bigots; After reading an inspiring piece, I felt it was needed that I give my view on libertarianism.

Before I get into that, though, I would first like to give background on myself. I am a black (I prefer black over African-American), 21-year-old college student in California and I come from a low-income household. I would fit in perfectly in the Democratic Party demographic base: I’m a minority, I’m young, I’m poor, I’m a college student, and I’m from California. These alone make me the perfect candidate for a stereotypical Democrat, and I was for a while. I came to love politics thanks to Obama, not because of his policies or personality, but because he is black. Yes, for that single reason is shallow, but look at it from my point of view:

A 15 year old high school student witnessing the first ever black man seriously campaign for President of the United States and win. This was an amazing thing, still is to a degree, and I was curious at how this could happen and wanted to find the reason. That single curious thought brought me into the wonderful world of politics and made me a Democrat. Fast forward six years to 2014, I am no longer a Democrat, for a variety of reasons which I will go into later.

I am a libertarian today and will be for the foreseeable future. However, because of this fear that some within the movement seem to have, such as that people view us as bigots and that will diminish many of our chances of attracting others to the ideals, as silly for a variety of reasons. For the sake of simplicity, I will narrow it down to three reasons: economic, political, and social reasons that are far more logical than the ideas/policies of those who would consider bigots. If we can simply remind them of this, we will be able to win people over to our cause because we aren’t bigots. The real bigots are those who follow the Democrats and Republicans without a second thought, or care, of the real impact on racial minorities in this country due to their continued blind support.

The economics libertarians tend to follow, to me (and we all know we can write a 1000 page book on this, I’m going to keep it simple), is largely that of economic independence free from the clutches of the state, not this corporatism that we have today. Libertarians believe, and understand, that in order for an economy to truly prosper it needs to be based off the subjective needs/wants of the individual consumer/business. The government doesn’t need to be involved as some “necessary” middleman to set up and regulate the markets up for us, the individuals.

Yet, Republicans and Democrats believe in the exact opposite of that, they want the government to regulate the markets and individuals habits within the markets. They don’t think that businesses are trustworthy enough to be able to act independently in the best interest of the consumers (and the government). During the nearly 100 years of Democrats and Republicans in charge, (I am referring to the Fifth Party System that began in the 1930’s for reference) this has largely been the policies they adopt. Nonetheless, in doing so, the government has managed to become one with the corporations and businesses it’s sought to regulate.

For an example of their policy approaches, in 2008 the financial markets bottomed out and went into a free fall, causing many other things to follow and what would be called the Great Recession. The response of the Democrats and Republicans to this crisis was to get more involved in the markets, bailout those who caused it, and pretend nothing ever happened. We can see the success of those policies today; the corporations are now bigger than ever, and are doing the same thing they did before the recession. Now, let’s consider the economy of the nation for a moment.

The Democrats and Republicans have built this economy over the last century, with very little to no policy input from libertarians. During elections, voters trap themselves into this two party mindset. When Democrats become unable to govern effectively in their eyes, they vote Republican. When Republicans are unable to effectively govern, they vote for Democrats.

Herein les the problem though: what changes? Are these politicians somehow different from the last group? The economic policies are practically the same, no matter what is said, nothing has fundamentally changed in the policies of the Democrats or Republicans. And while their supporters cite the economy and all its significant short comings like pay inequality, poverty, and high living costs, hey don’t realize that they are still trying to prescribe solutions to problems that they somehow weren’t able to solve over the last 100 years. That somehow if given another chance, they can solve it in the next two to four years. It is illogical to keep giving chances to the same people who continuously fail to actually fix the problems that they, either indirectly or directly, created.

So it would be foolish to me that some libertarians would think bigotry from our side would keep people away. What keeps them (those who think of us as bigots) away is that they themselves are bigots, not us, they keep themselves as being always right, not understanding economic and philosophical differences we have, and so on. It is partially what originally kept me away. Upon further review of their policies, especially those regarding the economy, they have this habit of being always wrong and they are dead set on their extremely narrow view and the only way to break them out is to continuously point out the flaws and better solutions to the economic problems they create.

One of the best aspects of the libertarianism, to me anyway, is the economics and philosophy. The philosophy is the most convincing tool in the arsenal of logical arguments that libertarians can use to bring people over. Just like the economics, the philosophic side is based off the individual. The government isn’t needed as a middleman to regulate the actions of man.   It’s based off an individualistic view, a limited view for the role of government, although there are variations within libertarianism regarding the role of the state and not all libertarians hold the same view.

Going back to what brought me over, when I was a Democrat, I believed that the government should regulate guns, healthcare, education, infrastructure, the private sector and so on. The government was this instrumental tool in managing our lives so that we can maintain this civilized society. Nevertheless, thanks to a few individuals I met around 2011, I was introduced to this idea of libertarianism. Something that was contrary to everything I thought.

“How can you say that government shouldn’t be involved in education/healthcare/guns/etc.?”, was the question that always ran through my head. That just sounded irresponsible and many “bad things” would happen, such as roaming minority gangs of thugs with guns. Yet, the more I thought about it, the less I saw it as some crazy idea. It began to make more and more sense as time went on and the promises, the bill of goods, that Obama and the Democrats promised never showed up.

I was still a very blue voter and would support my party. What finally made me turn away from the Democrats was their foreign policy and it heavy dependence on the drone programs that had killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children. But the cherry on top was the response I received from many Democrats saying: “Better it happen there, than here.” They would have been outraged at McCain would have done such deeds.

After losing all faith in the Democrats, and never having faith in the Republicans, I was lost in what I should follow or whom I should support. Then I remembered those crazy people who kept speaking about liberty not too long ago that year in 2011. Those crazy ideas that now have more validity than those of the Democratic or Republican Party. Especially the foreign policy aspect of the libertarianism, which all countries are sovereign and can solve their own problems. That all the constant meddling of the past and present has now threatened to ruin us in the future, and the only way out is to dismantle this status quo on American foreign policy.

Finally, last but not least, the social reasons that libertarianism is the better choice and not just some cause/movement filled with racist and bigots. During the last 3 years I have spent being libertarian, I have amazingly not ran into many of these so called. I will not say that none exists because they exist everywhere. The libertarian movement isn’t some magical thing that exists outside time and space.

However, we, being libertarians, can’t afford to let those outside the movement define what it is and especially what it isn’t to us. You don’t introduce a new product to the market without giving detailed description on what it is because then you leave it up to others to define it. We can’t allow that to happen, because then we will start to doubt ourselves. Look back to 2007 and 2008. The nation was introduced to Ron Paul, and as a result, libertarianism blew up and was introduced to many who have not heard of the philosophy, and converted those who used to be opposed.

Unfortunately, Ron Paul lost in that cycle and the following, then something else happened. Like other movements that don’t succeed as was hoped, numerous individuals began to question why that is. More so, individuals within the libertarian community began pointing fingers at other libertarians as why it is not catching on as quickly as it “should be”. It isn’t necessarily that our libertarian community is full of hatred stemming from bigots whose true intentions have been concealed up until the present time, it’s that for the most part, libertarians absolutely loathe being told in what manner to think. This also applies to when the ideals being promoted are ideals the vast majority of libertarians already have (individualism, anti-bigotry).

The sheer notion that another individual is attempting to levy “right thinking” is seen as a kind of Puritanism to be rejected. If those libertarians who I speak of care about bigotry being harmful to spreading libertarian idealism were targeting only actual bigots (who do exist, yes, even in the libertarian movement), the libertarians with this position would certainly have a point, a very good one in fact. Nevertheless, as I am attempting to point out, there is much more than this going on: painting people as bigots who aren’t actually bigots in any meaningful sense of the word.

We just need to remember what brings people to our ideas and focus on that. It is primarily because the consensus believes the state is legitimate, that the poison they are prescribing to fix the economy is not seen as what it should be. And while we are remembering ourselves, we can also remind others that the libertarian movement has many things to offer in destroying this status quo that everyone seems to be captivated by and moving the world forward.

This is the only movement that will have people who are willing to work with others to change their minds and not just abandon them. This isn’t change isn’t going to happen overnight and it will take dedication and effort, not elitist accusing between ourselves. Considering all the libertarian movement has been through, we can’t falter now.