The future, that is. Do libertarians reasonably anticipate a bright future of individual freedom and zero government, or is humanity condemned to live for ever under the heels of rulers? The answer each of us chooses to that question radically affects how we live now. And to judge from how an awful lot of professing libertarians live now, I'd say that most anticipate a gray, gloomy and cloudy future.
For most, it appears to be a defensive life style. Preppers stockpile food and weapons, in case there is a social meltdown, with behavioral norms disappearing under a desperate search for enough to eat and drink. Apparently preppers would shoot such looters. Okay, survival is the #1 essential, though it's tragic to kill not so much the government people who will have caused such a crisis, but rather their fellow victims.
Others also focus on guns and ammo, as if they will be adequate defense against teams of government thugs who may rampage in search of dissidents. Good luck with that; perhaps a few of the bad guys will be taken out before the defender inevitably dies, gun in hand.
All have a kind of victim complex, seeing themselves as an oppressed minority into the indefinite future. Asked for how long this will go on, the answers come in terms of generations or even centuries. They believe in individual freedom, so they say, but see no prospect at all of it being enjoyed for real during their own lifetimes. Pessimism rules.
The best these folk can imagine for a life-purpose is to keep the flame alive, to publish the virtues of a free society even though they don't expect it to be experienced by anybody now living. It's impressive, in a way, that many will give time, money and enthusiasm to conventions, gatherings, political parties and protests even while having no idea of how, if ever, success will be achieved; perhaps it's just the pleasure of the company of likeminded people. I myself took part in the LP for twenty years; and for sure I did enjoy it and learned a lot. But always the vote results were crushing, and nobody had a credible plan for turning that around. As far as I can tell, they still don't.
Perhaps, as well, the motive is rather perversely to enjoy they satisfaction of knowing one is right while everyone else is wrong; of being in a permanent, "remnant"-like minority. It may be a bit like the story of the prophet Jonah, who is said to have carried God's message of imminent destruction to the city of Nineveh but who (in Chapter 4) went into a sulk when, seeing that everyone repented in sackcloth and ashes, God changed His mind and spared them all. Perhaps such libertarians will likewise sulk when a zero government society actually takes place.
I cannot tell, it's beyond me; but it makes a huge difference to anticipate that freedom is in fact attainable, well within the lifetime of most ZGB readers. The prerequisite for such realistic optimism is of course to be able to show a credible plan for causing it to happen, and even when that has been done the pessimists still have to be persuaded. I recall the first time I described the TOLFA method, on STR; one commenter asked if I was serious in suggesting that it could actually terminate government, within a single generation. I truthfully answered with the single word "Yes" and that produced an explosion of ridicule! Pessimism is a pleasure not to be disturbed, it seems.
Rationally to set about the simple work of bringing friends one by one to a school of liberty so that they (and those whom they, in turn, introduce) will be so disgusted by government as never to work for it, is immensely satisfying, because that is the one way the job can be done. It adds immeasurably to one's self-respect. Instead of pretending to favor freedom, one is actually taking action, without any undue strain, to bring it about - in short order.