What can you do when you can’t change the entire world?

What can you do when you can’t change the entire world?

Maybe you see that the world is going in the wrong direction – or maybe it’s going straight to hell. So what are you going to do?

It goes without saying that you should join up with the Scottish Libertarian Party! And of course you should be an activist and all the good stuff. But when it comes to the activism bit, it can be hard. Maybe you don’t have that much time, maybe you don’t feel like you have the skills, maybe you don’t have the confidence, maybe you are not quite sure about the whole thing, there’s a million reasons that prevent us from doing what’s hopefully the right thing. And you can’t always overcome them.

So what can you do?

Be A Plus One

One of the simplest things to do if there is something positive happening, is to join up. We talk a good talk about individualism and how each individual matters but it’s not always obvious how much it is really true: most activities and initiatives happen, or at the very least start, with a very small number of people. And one person genuinely matters.

One more person in a small meeting makes it a significantly larger meeting. One more person regularly showing up makes the meetings more active and helps turn appointments with strangers into a community. One more person willing to run in an election helps a ton when preparing to run in an election.

Being a Plus One is a lot more than it appears. One person is an exception or a weirdo, more than one person is the start of a crowd. You can’t have a movement with just one person.

And this is just as true online as it is in face-to-face discussions – one person voicing an opinion that nobody else shares is an oddity, even in a friendly crowd. Having more people express a view that goes against whatever is popular or ‘acceptable’ can help turn the tide or at least establish a position as legitimate. And again, most discussions happen between small numbers of people.

Be The Voice Of Reason

This can be the hardest part. It is often tempting to preach to everyone about their sins and the only truth that you have and that everyone else must convert to. But it’s hard to stay even-minded and work with other opinions, even if they are directly opposed to anything you believe in.

But one of the strong sides of libertarian thinking is that we don’t know what’s best for everyone, which is one of the many reasons why we aren’t trying to run everybody’s life. We also know all too well how people can come to different conclusions and disagree about fundamental questions (which is very true for libertarians as well…). So we are in a great position to appreciate different viewpoints without necessarily agreeing with them – and quite a few people can (still) appreciate that.

We can also be the focus point for people’s complaints about nonsensical government policies or unhappiness, for example. with the lockdowns and restrictions. If no one ever complains, then it must be fine… but if someone does complain, and points out that something is ridiculous or counter-productive, it opens up the door for others as well. And again, most discussions happen in small groups, so One counts.

We can be the voice of Reason, or at least of Reasonable Doubt. We can be the voice that Questions and doesn’t go with the flow – and people notice that and (some) learn to appreciate it.


No matter how much you think there is to be gained by going the political route, you can always get in touch with others of a similar bent. And even if we were going straight into a postapocalyptic hell – knowing sympathetic people always beats not knowing them. Network with others and you may find useful contacts, or at least a sympathetic ear.

Libertarians can be individualistic to a fault, yes – but we also know really well about the power of voluntary cooperation. There may not be too many of us in any given location but we are all over the place. There is value in that.

Create Something

Advice Number One to a fledgling activist: if you don’t know what great things to do, at least do a little thing. Run a local meeting. Get a few folks show up for a cause of your choosing. Write that article you wanted to. Something beats Nothing by a mile and imperfect is a lot better than a perfect nothing.

Don’t support the Bad Guys

Whether you have a particular beef with a social network, megacorporation or the central government – or the local council – spend a minute thinking on how you can reduce your support for them or how you can oppose them. This doesn’t have to be anything massive either – maybe just use a different search engine or a website. 

There’s always something.

Support the Good Guys

At the same time, there’s bound to be someone doing things differently and maybe even right – give them some support and at the very least try them out! Nobody will grow strong enough to challenge the big guys without support and every new user counts. 

The key is not to sacrifice massive amounts of time for some newcomer (although if you can do that, awesome!) but to find the quick and easy ways to show support. And it never hurts to know alternatives, especially if the established players like to kick people out.


So… there are things to do for just one person.


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