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Libertarianism: Texas’ politics growth vehicle

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While much Texas political buzz centers on turning Texas blue, another force – Libertarianism – is gaining its own ground in the ongoing fight for both the hearts and minds of voters. The Libertarian Party of Texas has long espoused views that promote “minimum government, maximum freedom.” The American public finally seems to be getting the power of that message. State Chair Pat Dixon recently shared his views on the party’s fast-growing role in Texas and national politics as well as what he sees for the future.

Recruiting candidates

The party continues its presence in races at the federal, state and local levels. “Recruiting candidates for these races does several things,” Dixon said describing how candidates are first made better through the Libertarian convention process which includes contested intra-party races.

“These candidates being on the ballot also reach an important target audience – voters – in a way unlike other advertising efforts,” he added.

It’s not just about putting candidates on ballots though. “We try to fill all slots on the state ballot,” he said, “But we want to do so with people who truly represent our principals and the party well.”

And in today’s political environment, competition even extends to determining the party’s leadership.

“If we truly believe what we say, we should address ourselves in the same way by looking at the free market as a model,” Dixon continued. “It’s about attracting all (who are interested) and choosing the best.”

The issues

Libertarian views are gaining prominence in major policy discussions.

“As time goes on, people can look at people from all parties as a little nutty,” Dixon said. “Ron Paul did raise the issue with the Federal Reserve. It was once nutty, but now it’s mainstream.”

The war on drugs is on a similar course. The Libertarian Party has been saying to end it for years.

“As the status quo has changed, we’re being seen in a new light,” he said. “Libertarian policy is being seen more favorably and the fringe is becoming hardcore party loyalists.”

Gun rights are another area in which the Libertarian point of view is finding new company. The Libertarian Party believes people have a right to defend themselves, it’s specifically noted in the party’s state platform, but per Dixon, that “common principle doesn’t always mean common policy.”

“It’s important that people look at issues like this in the right context,” he said. “Too often people focus on an awful tragedy, but need to look at the lives that were saved.”

On the future

With a core message of letting people live their own lives as they want and getting the government out of our business, young people are increasingly finding commonality with Libertarian Party views.

Crediting Ron Paul and Students for Liberty, an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a unified, student-driven forum of support for students and student organizations dedicated to liberty, as having done a spectacular job presenting students with alternatives, Dixon spoke on the importance of reaching young people at a time when they want to see what’s out in the world.

“Libertarian principles are very attractive,” Dixon said. “For me, it was like finding gold.”

The power of this attraction will be seen as the party prepares for its state convention April 11-13 in Temple. Students for Liberty founder Alexander McCobin and Noelle Mandell, winner of the 2013 ISFLC Student of the Year Award, are confirmed speakers.

Dixon is optimistic for America’s future noting that “while things are going in wrong directions, things are also going in good directions.”

“We are a resilient people,” he said. “If we can go through things like the Civil War, our World Wars and the like, we can survive this.”

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