Getting Into the Weeds (Featuring Hypothetical Taylor Swift)

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Post contributed by Casey Crowe, SCLP State Committee Chairperson

I’m a pretty big Taylor Swift fan. Recently, while perusing Facebook, I saw a Libertarian-posted meme about a woman who writes so many songs about breaking up with bad men endorsing Joe Biden. An easy shot to take based on surface-level information about Taylor and her storied love life. (Which is really nobody’s business but hers.)

But it immediately unsettled me. Not just because taking cheap shots at people isn’t my style, but because I’d just watched her Netflix documentary Miss Americana. In it, she spends a fair amount of time talking about how she wrestled with whether or not to speak up over a US Senatorial election in her home state of Tennessee. 

She did speak out, voicing support for the Democrat candidate. Swift’s specific concerns were about Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn voting against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. 

In the film, Swift says the law “tries to protect women from stalking, from date rape, from domestic violence.” Then adds, regarding Blackburn’s political leaning, “And obviously, it’s a no for gay marriage, it’s a no for them to have any rights whatsoever.”

On the surface, what I saw was a pop star endorsing a Democrat because of course she would. But what I actually heard was a woman talking about two very important, and very libertarian ideals. I found an unexpected treasure. 

While watching Taylor Swift, I imagined a 2018 where a strong Libertarian Senate candidate in Tennessee vocally stood up for those things as well. One Swift could have endorsed instead. It made me wish I could reach out to her and sit down, and talk at length about all the things we agree on. To start there. To find hidden treasure amongst the weeds: a person who is libertarian, but doesn’t yet know it, or know us. 

It’s time for Libertarian activists to get into the weeds. Really deep, into the weeds. 

Not the weeds of the subtle nuances between Rothbardian property rights and Georgist property rights. I’m talking about finding libertarians in the most unlikely places: the Democrat and Republican voters all around us. Not just the “centrists” who sort of gravitate to whichever party is least nauseating in this particular election, but the vocal ones who you might just dismiss because you think they’re more likely to be solid party supporters.

To find these libertarians, we need to stop paying attention to the labels people place on themselves because they voted one way or supported a particular candidate, and start listening to the things they’re actually saying. Find that common ground. Find things to agree with them on. It might sound like this:

Hypothetical Taylor Swift: I’m concerned there’s not adequate protection for women and gay people.

Me: As a self-proclaimed minarchist, I feel if the apparatus of the state is to have a role in our lives, that role is to work to protect us from one another–to have a justice system where wife beaters and gay bashers face punishment for violating the NAP. Crime with actual victims. 

Hypothetical Taylor Swift: I hate what’s happening at the border to all those immigrants.

Me: Agreed! For me, immigration, war, and domestic spying were the things that loosened my allegiance to being a Democrat.

This is why I recoiled at the meme about Swift. Because I was listening to what she said instead of who she endorsed, and I think she might just be a Libertarian. She never mentioned it, but I bet I can guess that she’s also against the wars of adventure we’re against. And she maybe even supports ending the drug war. At the very least it’s likely she would support ending qualified immunity, mandatory minimums, and other state policies that have brutalized the most vulnerable in our society for a century or more.

When we meet people where they are and ask them to speak about their positions and then we listen, we might discover more Libertarians in the weeds. They might just be hidden by the tall-growth of Republocrat lies and distortions.

We should keep looking, keep inviting them into dialogue, and keep listening for what they value. Then only after they ask us for our take, should we share the message of libertarianism.

Hypothetical Swift: I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country.

Me: Agreed. Hearing Gary Johnson talk about doing just that was enough to open my mind to something else.

Many of us have our “How I Became a Libertarian” stories. In 2022, I hope to interview more of you (really, not hypothetically) and bring your stories to our SCLP page. You don’t have to be a ridiculously talented singer and entrepreneur to be featured here. But, Ms. Swift, if you’re reading this, I’d love to put you on the list.


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