Looking back, 2014 might not seem like a very important year for libertarians. The government spent more money than ever, the debt is at an all time high, the government is still bombing several countries around the world, the surveillance state hasn’t been reformed, and Obamacare hasn’t been repealed. However, there were some important victories that actually made 2014 a pretty good year for libertarians, on the whole.
1. The Libertarian Party Broke Records
2014 was an especially big year for the Libertarian Party. They ran more candidates, and appeared on more ballots than ever before. Some of the Libertarian Party’s candidates received over 25% of the vote, and others received over 200,000 votes. These successes got the Libertarian Party ballot access in some states for the first time in its history, and brought the total to 30 states. That’s an all time high, and three more states than the party had in November, 2010. This increased ballot access means the Libertarian Party will be able to focus more time and resources on candidates in the future, instead of ballot requirements.
2. The Drug War Is Ending
Following Colorado and Washington’s footsteps, recreational marijuana was legalized in Oregon and Alaska this year, and in Washington D.C. before the law was overturned by the Cromnibus Bill. That brings the total to four states with legalized recreational marijuana, while medical marijuana is already legal in 23 states. As Colorado and Washington set the stage for Oregon and Alaska, so too will their successes pave the way for more states to legalize marijuana. So far Nevada is the only state with a marijuana legalization proposition already on the ballot for 2016, but there will be several others including Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, and most importantly, California. California is the the most populous state, and the eighth largest economy in the world, so legalizing marijuana there would be a huge victory. The continuing legalization of marijuana is the beginning of the end for the drug war.
3. Congress Was Historically Unproductive
Why is this a good thing? Because the overwhelming majority of laws should never have been passed in the first place. There are hundreds of major laws passed ever year, and most just further restrict our rights. There are already tens of thousands of pages of regulations covering nearly every aspect of our lives. The last thing Congress needs to be doing is passing more laws. Luckily, the 113th Congress was almost as unproductive as the 112th, which was itself the least productive Congress in history. That means that instead of passing 580 laws, as Congress did in the late 90’s, they only passed 296 this past term. That’s huge progress from just over a decade ago, and hopefully that downward trend will continue in the future.
4. The Police State Is Cracking
This past year has seen more publicity surrounding police abuse than ever before. Libertarians have long lamented the growth of the police state, but the rest of the American public hadn’t been paying attention. That changed with the shooting of Michael Brown, the choking of Eric Garner, and other questionable incidents. Those stories received national coverage and sparked intense debate over how policing should be done in this country. This increased scrutiny has lead critics in both parties to actually start talking about this issue for the first time. Many have called for body cameras to be implemented, more training for police officers, and an end to federal spending on municipal police departments. These are all cracks in the once impenetrable police state that will bring accountability, and liberty to fruition.
Looking at those four libertarian victories of 2014 makes this libertarian particularly hopeful for 2015. If we continue to see progress in these areas and others, a libertarian future will be here before we know it.
P.S. A Note from Your Humble Administrator:
Thank you everyone for reading this post and all my other posts this year! Since starting in April, this site has had hundreds of thousands of page views and continues to grow in popularity. Thank you for sharing and helping spread a libertarian message across the internet. I look forward to working towards a libertarian future with you all next year. Happy New Year!