(My Clovis News Journal column for February 8, 2013)
Libertarian author L. Neil Smith points out that people are already "awake", otherwise nothing would get done. They are awake to the things they need to do to get through their day. Taking care of the kids; getting the job done, so that the paycheck will keep coming, so that the house payment gets made, the groceries get bought, and the electricity doesn't get shut off takes a lot of awareness. Often, it doesn't leave a lot of room for other things that don't seem as pressing.
People only think about philosophical issues when those issues get in the way of the things that matter to their day-to-day survival. By the time it matters, it is no longer "philosophical".
It is hard to get people to realize that The War on Politically Incorrect Drugs is negatively impacting their lives when they are spoon fed only one side of the issue, almost subconsciously, every day of their life. Anti-drug "laws" are just fine... until your wife is dying of cancer and the doctor is too scared of the DEA to prescribe the level of pain relief she really needs. Until you get caught up in the consequences- mistakenly or not- it just isn't on your radar. It only affects "those people".
The same goes for so many other liberty-related issues.
Anti-gun "laws" don't matter as long as your heirloom single-shot 12 gauge isn't targeted. Anti-immigration "laws" are justified until your best friend- who just happens to have been born on the other side of some imaginary line- finds himself being arbitrarily kicked out of the country. Business regulations are good until your big idea dies before it gets off the ground because of all the red tape and licenses, or until your family business has to close because you can't navigate, or afford, all the "reasonable requirements" anymore. "Taxation" is obviously "necessary" until you lose everything because you can't prove you paid everything the IRS claims you owe.
These are disaster-level "awakening events".
Don't wait until the problem kicks you in the face to start standing up for liberty and noticing its enemies. Have the courage and conviction to stand up now, while it doesn't cost too much. Later may be too late.