Libertarians have a reputation for arguing.

We don't agree with everybody all the time. It depends. Modern liberals value personal freedom over economic freedom. Conservatives value economic freedom over personal freedom. Classic liberals or libertarians just value freedom. So when conservatives want to control personal behavior and modern liberals want to control economic behavior, libertarians just want people to be free.

Arguing and debating, because that is what libertarians do. We may not all think that the Zero Aggression Principle is absolute, but we don't think people should be forced except to prevent harm to another. And government coercion is a Really REALLY Bad Idea™. So we didn't have the option of controlling government to control other people. If libertarians wanted people to listen, waving a gun in their face wasn't going to work.

I had additional challenges. I was the guy who was supposed to end up in the ministry. Instead I'm a seminary dropout who dared  “become” non-Christian. My extended family Did Not Approve, and I launched into some pretty vicious anti-Christian rants. Here's the thing. As much as I wanted to denounce Christianity and everything it stood for, some pretty good things had come from the faith. That didn't necessarily make it true for everyone and especially not for me in my newly minted paganism. But there were good things and good people there. If I was to be true to myself, I had to acknowledge that.  

And if I was going to be true to that, I had to admit that conservatives weren't all wrong. And neither were modern liberals. Now the all-or-nothing take-no-prisoners approach, that was wrong. But if we could find commonality, something where we could agree and work together, that had to be worth something. 

That was hard for me to learn. I was sworn to veritas, but my truths weren't the only truths and didn't necessarily work for everyone. Nobody is a complete saint. People may have good ideas but they have their flaws too. We can't paper that over.

One of the most misunderstood books in American history is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Critics will tell you in no uncertain terms that it uses the word “nigger” too much. What the critics won't tell you that is in both the time the book was written and the time that the book was set in, that word was pretty common. The critics won't tell you that Jim is the only decent adult man we meet in the novel. And they won't tell you about the chapter where Huck struggles deciding if doing the right thing means honoring his friendship or following the law. It's one of the most nuanced anti-slavery rants in any literature. If you don't read the book because of a word, you miss that.

Yes, the Founders were slaveholders as was common at the time. Some were pretty troubled about it too. But to get the Declaration signed, they compromised. To get the Constitution ratified, they held their nose and looked the other way. But the roots of freedom were already growing. And without the American Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, slavery might still be widespread. I'm not sure the British anti-slavery movement could have done it alone. It took American independence and to turbo-charge the anti-slavery forces.

But without reading the debates and the other writings of the American Founders, you'll never know their thoughts and passions. You'll never know their reasoning. You'll never know why. You'll lose a piece of your history and never know it.

At one point Ulysses S. Grant was a slaveholder. But not when he led the Union to victory. Not when he went after the Ku Klux Klan. Not when he created the Department of Justice. And not when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Flawed yes, but worth studying.

So you tell me, which is the greater act of courage? Admitting that you were wrong and using the reason, persuasion and the law to change society and the World even though you are insulted and censured for it? Or going with the mob and destroying something because if offends your current sensibilities?

I've never been fond of  “safe spaces” or the cancel culture. Locking away the memory is not going to protect you or your children. All it does is take away the tools you need to fight. Part of becoming an adult is finding ways to deal with parts of the World that you don't like.

Because that is what it really comes down to, isn't it? If you don't think your ideas can succeed without overwhelming force and fear, then maybe you are afraid that your ideas aren't really an answer. And if that is true, that says more about your fear than the ideas that you dare not face.

There is something else. When companies change their values to virtue signal AND get more sales from the duly designated victim groups, those companies aren't really dependable allies. When the wind changes, they will too.

One final thought. If you attack someone's beliefs with force, they will hold on harder than if you hadn't. Seeing mobs pull down statues of Great Men® isn't going to convince anyone who doesn't want to be convinced. It will increase demands for direct legally sanctioned action against the chaos.

So stand up for what you think is right even if you stand alone. But don't force anyone to stand with you.