A TLS New Year’s Resolutions List

Most of us probably will admit that we keep resolutions only slightly better than politicians keep campaign promises. Even President Obama couldn’t keep a promise not to raise taxes on all but the wealthiest Americans, as the current “fiscal cliff” deal does not extend the 2% payroll tax cut, which impacts every person earning a paycheck.

So don’t look to Washington to keep any resolutions in the new year. Instead, we’ve come up with a list of suggestions for our readers to continue stoking the flames of liberty, or at least keep them flickering a little while longer. (Editorial resolution for TLS: drop the tired metaphors for liberty already.)

1. Play with guns (and invite a non-gun owner to come with you)

Guns, and more to the point gun control, promise to figure prominently in the media and in Congress this year, as the country still grapples with its most horrific school shooting yet. But the public debate is largely fueled by hysteria, misinformation, and outright lies. For the vast majority of gun owners, they are simply tools for self-defense, hunting, and having fun. And what better way to demonstrate the latter than an outing to a shooting range? For a lot of people, that’s the only legal place to try their hand at firing some types of guns. Actually handling an AR-15, the so-called assault rifle that is the focus of both media pundits and gun policy wonks, may help demystify them and return some sanity to the average non-gun owner’s perspective on these useful and important tools.

2. Start blogging

There’s almost no excuse anymore for not sharing your thoughts with the world; there are near-endless varieties of blogging platforms and hosting services to choose from, and you can make it as casual or as professional as you like. But the important thing to remember is that communicating ideas of liberty is almost effortless, and they can spread faster than ever – far faster than any governmental attempt to rein them in. The “money bombs” which drove Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns would not have been possible without the use of social media, including blogs, and it’s easier than ever now to keep it going.

3. Always keep a smartphone or video recording tool handy

The violation of civil rights by law enforcement has in all likelihood been a problem since the beginnings of the modern police force, but now they face more intense scrutiny than ever, because cameras are almost literally everywhere – and many of them aren’t controlled by the state. Citizens have become the watchmen’s watchers, at least where it’s legal (and some courts are now ruling against state restrictions on recording police). It may well be that a smartphone with real-time video uploading abilities will become a more effective tool for justice than any gun or legal action.

4. Explore alternative forms of education – for yourself and your kids

With public schools still swirling the drain and recent college graduates facing few job prospects and a mountain of student loan debt, may we suggest opting out of the traditional state-backed education model entirely? Technology is enabling a full-blown education renaissance, with online learning on a vast array of subjects freely available, and homeschooling and unschooling resources more abundant than ever before. They won’t replace formal college degrees in every field of study, but they at least offer an alternative for those who wish to pursue knowledge without the excessive cost and politics of government schools.

5. Speaking of education…give the gift of Austrian economics and libertarian literature

Another benefit of the online revolution is the speed and ease of acquiring educational material on libertarianism and economics, and more importantly, sharing it with others. And it’s available for many reading and educational levels. A great example is Robert Murphy’s Lessons for the Young Economist, a high school-level economics textbook with a fresh Austrian School perspective. Other recommended books include Jacob Huebert’s Libertarianism Today, Brian Doherty’s Ron Paul’s rEVOLution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired, and Paul’s own The Revolution: A Manifesto.

6. Above all, strive to improve yourself

Demonstrating success in your daily endeavors is a great way to attract people to the message of liberty. One of the most significant differences between libertarians and statists are the former’s desire to change themselves – to lead the life they wish to lead, and not interfere with the same desires of others. By striving for excellence, others will be more interested in hearing your ideas. By such achievements we can indelibly change the world.

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  • An excellent New Year’s column! TLS is becoming indispensable to libertarians and classical liberals.