(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 19, No. 15 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)
What’s the fastest and easiest way to bring people into the libertarian movement?
“Help some of them see that they are already libertarians,” says Perry Willis, former Executive Director of the National Libertarian Party and current vice president of Downsize DC.
“Discovery before persuasion. Before you try to persuade NON-libertarians to become libertarians, first look for and talk with people who are already libertarians — or mostly libertarian.”
Such people are out there — by the tens of millions. Last year, a Freedomworks poll found that fully “78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.”
Further: “Told that libertarians generally believe individuals should be free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt others and that the government should keep out of people’s day-to-day lives, 58 percent of the full national sample said they agree.”
Such people are obviously sympathetic to libertarian ideas — but millions of them don’t know about libertarianism. The Freedomworks poll found that about 40 percent of 18-to-32-year-olds view the word “libertarian” favorably — but about a third didn’t know what it meant.
They are waiting to hear about libertarianism. How do you quickly discover these libertarian-leaning people?
A great way is by using the Advocates’ World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Available as a pocket-sized card or in its famous online version, it’s the quickest and easiest way to identify someone’s political leanings. To do this in large groups, use OPH (Operation Politically Homeless), which incorporates the Quiz into a crowd-drawing fun booth that identifies and recruits new supporters.
Perry Willis’s “discovery before persuasion” rule focuses us on those who are most receptive and responsive to libertarianism.
People who are glad to hear about liberty. Who are delighted to learn that they aren’t the only ones who believe what they believe and want what they want: freedom.
Warning: Mr. Willis is NOT saying “discovery INSTEAD OF persuasion.” He is saying “FIRST discovery, THEN persuasion.”
“Discovery before persuasion” is easy, enjoyable, fast, and effective.
For us and for those we speak with.
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Michael Cloud’s latest book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.