The differences between Romney and Obama are minor, mostly a matter of the particular interest groups they’re connected with. Asking which one I prefer is like asking whether I prefer arsenic or cyanide. I may cast a protest vote for Gary Johnson, but it’s not worth spending a lot of effort pondering whom to vote for in November, if anyone.
In present-day America, most people look at what favors they expect from a candidate, how they can most effectively get the unearned at someone else’s expense. There’s nothing I can do about that, but I’m not going to play the game, and I’m not going to sink into bitterness any more than I can help. Whatever I can do to maximize freedom for myself and other people who still value it, political campaigns aren’t the way to do it.
There are two other ways that people like me (and hopefully like you) can still do something for freedom: education and legal action. I can remind people of the inevitable consequences of everybody looting everybody, and I can point out news stories that may still shock some people. Both of these have personal value for clarifying my own thoughts, so I can keep at them even if I’m not obviously influencing anyone. Education isn’t an easy job. Bastiat’s broken-window fallacy, for instance, is easy to explain, but getting people to stop believing their favorite case is different isn’t. News stories can have impact, and I regularly mention some outrageous ones on Twitter, but people interpret them according to their own narratives, so using them to demonstrate principles can be hard.
For me legal action doesn’t normally mean going to court myself, but giving money to organizations such as the Institute for Justice and FIRE. In this area I can see positive results, so there’s a more concrete kind of satisfaction.
I can encourage activities which are doing some good, giving them positive publicity. Recently I found an article about organizations, including a group at Harvard, that monitor online censorship and gather detailed statistics about it. Simply knowing what the censors’ aims are — for instance, that the Chinese government is more concerned about suppressing organized activity than individual criticism — can be a first step toward overcoming them. Giving them a bit of thanks gives me a bit of hope.
Some might say these things aren’t a lot to hang hopes on, but giving up is never a worthwhile policy. Saying something is better than being silent or grumbling.