I have always had the belief that the life of a public servant was the best way to build liberty. As far back as I can remember, I have advocated for others when their voices were not heard. I proudly joined the military after September 11th as a teenager to defend the American people. It felt like the right thing to do. Twelve years and multiple deployments later, I left active duty. My full-time profession was one of dedication, loyalty, and precision, but lacked the direct connection to whom I felt I served – the public. I took a job as a civilian with the Department of Defense. I believed shedding the uniform full-time would help make that connection I was missing.
Three years later, I knew this was not the profession for me…
So I resigned.
During my 15 years in the federal government, I encountered many individuals who I would consider remarkable leaders. In these relationships, I was fortunate enough to have strong mentors and formative conversations about what I saw in my future. The answer for me was always the same – I want to advance the voice of the smallest minority, the individual, and I want to defend liberty and freedom. As I contemplated making the decision to walk away from my position, I realized I was not in the profession of public service, but instead serving an organization. Elements of the mission I served both in uniform and out are important, but I never met or advocated for people. I was always pushing my division, the project I was working on, or a policy to break down barriers…but it always focused on the organization.
Building liberty is done by the people, for the people, and with the people.
After all these years, I came to the conclusion that the most effective way to serve the public is by advocating for liberty from a public position, not a government one. So, I walked away in search of a new liberty profession. And fortunately for me, I found People for Liberty.
There are so many diverse philosophies at the bedrock of the liberty movement, which is one of the things I love about it. James Madison explained in Federalist Paper #10 the idea of expanding the sphere. “Extend the sphere,” he said “and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens.” This entire Federalist Paper is one of the most motivational to me because it affirms my passion for expanding the sphere of liberty. Patrick Henry decreed “Give me liberty, or give me death!” but frankly, I’m not willing to die quite yet.
First, I believe we must meet people where they are in their pursuit of liberty. After earning my degrees, I can empathize with never wanting to read another academic journal, philosophical book, or take another normative class. I don’t expect every person to come to liberty the same way, especially not by solely pushing philosophy, and it’s foolish to take this approach. There shouldn’t be a litmus test for how individuals identify with liberty in order to advance liberty. Individuals are just that – individual! Everyone is part of a different group with a vast array of relationships to liberty. More importantly, the boundary between the state and the individual varies because of these different relationships with liberty. Engaging with people based on where they are and NOT where we think they should be is crucial.
Knowing the difference in liberty communities is only half the battle. Communicating with people is equally, if not more, important. Liberty is the bedrock of our nation. Rightfully so, people are passionate about their liberty. Groups and communities must be empowered to speak up and collectively advocate for individual liberty. Empowering people is one of the many reasons I am part of the liberty movement. Communicating liberty has to communicate passion, but this can be mistaken with raw emotion. Knowing your audience AND knowing how to have a professional and nuanced conversation are essential to expanding the sphere. It must be one of inclusion, welcome, and serve as a guiding light for reason, logic, and factually-based conclusions.
A friend once told me “Nuance doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker.” and I wish I could scream that from the mountaintops. I know my profession of liberty must be one that includes professionalism, nonpartisan rhetoric, has nuanced conversations surrounding liberty, and puts ACTION behind these words. Action is the key to effecting change.
I am excited that I can finally say that I have found my home in the liberty movement with People for Liberty and I am excited to serve in the role of Vice President of the Board of Directors. An organization is finally putting #peopleB4politics and getting back to engaging the people, empowering communities, and effecting change.
This is what building liberty is all about and I’m ready to get to work.
If you liked this article, please sign up for the People For Liberty newsletter to be kept up to date on our efforts to promote #peopleB4politics