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Lee Wrights: Don’t be afraid to be who you were meant to be

by R. Lee Wrights

When I was young and just starting out in political life, I believe I went through the same terrible experience Ron Paul supporters just went through in Tampa. Part of my political awakening was learning that the views I held, the belief in individual rights and personal responsibility, had a name — libertarian. I also learned that these views weren’t always acceptable in politics. People who held such views, or dared to speak of such things as individual rights, fiscal responsibility and limited government, were very often ignored, derided, mistreated, and sometimes threatened by the leadership of the establishment parties.

Ron Paul supporters paid their dues to the GOP, played by the rules, and elected enough delegates to place Dr. Paul’s name in consideration for nomination for the presidency. But when their grassroots, libertarian movement was successful, it threatened the status quo. So the GOP establishment changed the rules, disenfranchised them and made sure their movement would never be as successful again.

Why were they surprised? I wasn’t. Dr. Mike Munger, a Duke University economics and political science professor and former Libertarian candidate for governor in my home state of North Carolina, explained this phenomenon exactly. He said complaining about the lack of integrity and corruption in politics is like complaining about dogs eating garbage. “They can’t help it. It’s what they do.”

One of the first things I learned in my early years of political activism was that neither of the so-called major political parties want their members to speak their minds. Their primary goal is not to advance ideas and certainly not to promote liberty and freedom. The primary goals is control and submission, and to gain and maintain power. And in a two-party state that means everyone in the party must be made to toe the party line.

Just when I had about enough of such treatment, and was about to give up on politics altogether, I found the Libertarian Party. Here was a group of people who not only believed as I believed, but weren’t ashamed to speak their minds. And, they weren’t afraid to let everyone else do the same. There was no judgment or condemnation of anyone with a different opinion. And there was no demand that everyone conform for the sake of “party unity.”

This was my politician epiphany. I learned a simple truth: Don’t be afraid to be what you were meant to be. Don’t be afraid to be different, because being different is the only way we can make a difference.

Libertarians are different because we recognize that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. We’re different because we won’t vote for someone we don’t believe in just to get someone else we don’t believe in out of office.

Libertarians are different because we believe that if it’s wrong for someone to spend more money than they earn; and, it is also wrong for government to spend more money than it collects.

Libertarians are different because we believe that if it’s wrong for an enemy to torture or mistreat our soldiers, it’s also wrong for our soldiers to torture or mistreat the enemy. We’re different because we believe that’s its wrong for any nation to engage in preemptive war, or “humanitarian” war, and that the only defensible war is a war of defense.

Libertarians are different because we believe that all rights are individual rights, given to every human being by virtue of their existence, and not dependent on any written document or government favor. We’re different because we believe government has no business telling us who to love, who to marry, or what we eat, drink or consume.

Most of all, Libertarians are different because we are not afraid to be who we were meant to be. We’re different because we’re not afraid to Live Free.

So this is my message to all Ron Paul supporters: Don’t be afraid to be what you were meant to be. You’re not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of people who believe as you do and who are not afraid to be who they were meant to be. Join us. We won’t change the rules on you.

R. Lee Wrights is an editor, writer and political activist living in Texas. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party national committee. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Contact Lee at


  1. Oranje Mike Oranje Mike August 31, 2012

    More words of wisdom from the candidate I voted for in Vegas!

    The LP will have to find a way to reach out to the “I’m going to write-in Ron Paul” people. I just watched a video where some guy referred to Gary Johnson as a Keynesian and said if we banded together and wrote-in Ron Paul he would win the election. Sadly, this young man is not alone with this ignorant wave of thinking. He obviously has little to no knowledge of Gary Johnson and he has no idea how elections work.

    It may be futile as even the most noble of causes can pick up cultish freaks who would follow their chosen leader over a cliff. Democrats do it, Republicans do it and even Ron Paul supporters do it…even if there is a legitimate freedom option on the ballot.

  2. C. Michael Pickens C. Michael Pickens September 1, 2012


  3. Rev fatsax Rev fatsax September 1, 2012

    There are only two keynsian followers on all 50 ballots. I believe they are obama and romney.

  4. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt September 1, 2012

    It’s great to see you here, Gigi!

  5. Eric Sundwall Eric Sundwall September 1, 2012

    My first Presidential memory was Richard Nixon resigning, I haven’t been disappointed since . . .

  6. John John September 1, 2012

    I view myself as an Independent and perhaps as I continue to read and learn about Libertarianism I will become one. However until the party can offer a viable candidate, I see Libertarians as a conservative vote splitter benefitting the Dems. At this stage, we need financial conservatism so I will vote Republican (the lesser of two evils).

  7. Kimberly Wilder Kimberly Wilder September 1, 2012

    Somewhat off topic. But, no one did a September Open Thread. And, you did mention Ron Paul…

    Did Clint Eastwood Channel Ron Paul?
    Posted at onthewilderside 9/1/2102

    The Republican Party tried to kill Ron Paul’s speech at the convention. But, Clint Eastwood channeled the voice of Ron Paul: The Afghanistan War is a bad idea; Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp should be closed…

  8. NewFederalist NewFederalist September 2, 2012

    John @7 above… I agree with you that economic issues are paramount at this time in our history. I disagree that the LP is a “conservative vote splitter” that hurts the GOP. There are lots of voters who voted for Obama in 2008 because he was going to end the war(s). Those people are looking at Johnson in 2012. Those are not votes that would have likely gone to Romney anyway. Despite Wayne Root’s pronouncements, the LP is NOT a conservative party. The LP is BOTH liberal and conservative (depending on the issue) and NEITHER liberal nor conservative. The LP with its constant pro-liberty stance on EVERY issue cannot be classified so frivolously. Do what you will with your vote. It is yours to do with as you please. As for me, I don’t wish to cast my vote out of fear.

  9. paulie paulie September 2, 2012

    I see Libertarians as a conservative vote splitter benefitting the Dems.

    We are not conservative, we earn just as many or more votes away from Democrats for their failure to live up to their relatively more pro-liberty rhetoric on peace and civil liberties issues as we earn away from the Republicans for their failure to rein in big government on the economic side.

    Neither is the lesser evil – they are both slightly different equal evils.

  10. paulie paulie September 2, 2012

    Kimberly, there is a September open thread. Reload the front page.

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