The world, at least in the long run, is governed by ideas; and it seems clear that libertarianism is only likely to triumph if the ideas spread to and are adopted by a significantly large number of people. And so “education” becomes a necessary condition for the victory of liberty-all sorts of education, from the most abstract systematic theories down to attention-catching devices that will attract the interest of potential converts. Education, indeed, is the characteristic strategic theory of classical liberalism.

But it should be stressed that ideas do not float by themselves in a vacuum; they are influential only insofar as they are adopted and put forward by people. For the idea of liberty to triumph, then, there must be an active group of dedicated libertarians, people who are knowledgeable in liberty and are willing to spread the message to others. In short, there must be an active and self-conscious libertarian movement. This may seem self-evident, but there has been a curious reluctance on the part of many libertarians to think of themselves as part of a conscious and ongoing movement, or to become involved in movement activity.

Murray Rothbard

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