YAL does an excellent job of educating and spreading libertarian ideas on campuses across the nation. But if the ultimate goal is a libertarian society, what are YAL members doing to bring this about?
One of the most common arguments I hear when discussing political policy is that in a libertarian society the poor would be left out in the street. Maybe you’ve heard this one before too. The common response to this type of complaint is that taking care of the poor is the job of private charities. But what are we doing to make this argument plausible? I can’t blame anyone for thinking this seems unrealistic.
We can scream at the top of our lungs “if we are paying less tax we will have more to give!” Well…how do you know that anyone would actually give more? Can you see into the hearts and minds of the people of this country? Skeptics are justified in pointing out that many people would just spend that money on themselves. So how do we debate this point? I would argue that it isn’t possible to prove with words. Rather, the only way to make a libertarian society seem plausible is for all of us to make individual efforts to bring that society about.
That means taking a portion of our income (no matter how small!) and giving it to those less fortunate. It means donating our time to food banks, homeless shelters, and community organizations. When you are arguing for a raise, you don’t tell your boss, “If you pay me more then I will work hard.” No, you work hard FIRST and then you say “I have proven I am worth more to you than my current wage.” This is why projects like YAL's Choose Charity, in which dozens chapters participated this past fall, are so important. This is an example of acting instead of just talking.
The more we do up front, the easier it is to convince the skeptics that this type of society is plausible. I am tired of hearing people say “I just don’t think Americans are that generous.” I have been unable to prove them wrong through my words. Can we convince them with our actions?