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16 Liberty Action Items for ’16

in From Me To You, Liberator Online by Brett Bittner Comments are off

16 Liberty Action Items for ’16

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“What can I do to help?”

This is LITERALLY my favorite question to be asked, because I can always share SOMETHING that can be done. There’s certainly something for everyone.

Here, I’ve compiled a list of 16 action-oriented items for you to share with your liberty-minded friends:

  1. Liberty in 2016Seek out a group of like-minded people in your area. America’s Future Foundation, The Bastiat Society, and Liberty on the Rocks are all easy ways to network with liberty-minded people, though any civic organization will be helpful.
  2. Seek out a group with whom you frequently disagree. I’m not suggesting that you crash their events, rather I suggest you go to listen to a different perspective.
  3. Identify a candidate for office that you wholeheartedly support, and campaign for him/her.
  4. Run for an elected office where you could serve with passion. A passion for liberty and a passion for the duties of the office will make your service fulfilling.
  5. Affiliate with a local group of organized, engaged, civics-minded citizens.
  6. Pick one issue to speak, write, or advocate for effectively.
  7. Write a monthly letter to the editor about the libertarian perspective on the topic du jour.
  8. Embrace a “disruptive” technology or innovation. 3-D printing, Uber, Bitcoin, AirBNB all come to mind.
  9. Adopt a new “favorite” columnist. In the age of the Internet, it should be easy to find a new writer that you enjoy reading.
  10. When discussing libertarian thought and philosophy, focus on what Liberty offers, rather than focusing on your desire for it. “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
  11. Pick a charity to support with your time, talent, or treasure.
  12. Donate to candidates and organizations that you support.
  13. Choose an issue to wave signs, go to a rally, or volunteer to spread the word about.
  14. Find one thing that you can do that will make a positive, lasting difference in the life of one person. It’s easier than you think.
  15. Be nice to everyone, no matter how they treat you.
  16. Do all of the above, and be a shining example of libertarians everywhere.

I look forward to seeing the change you create in 2016!

George Bernard Shaw’s Tailor

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online by Michael Cloud Comments are off

(From the Persuasion PowerPoint section in Volume 19, No. 11 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each Tailortime he sees me,” wrote George Bernard Shaw. “The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”

Most of us aren’t as wise as George Bernard Shaw’s tailor.

We see people we haven’t seen for years, and we tell them, “You haven’t changed a bit!”

Or, “You’re the same as you always were.”

Are they really the same?

Or are we forgetting to take their measure anew?

Social psychology has a name for this: the High School Reunion Phenomenon.

At our 10th year reunion, or 20th year reunion, we see people we haven’t seen since high school.

We talk about old times. We relive glory days. We reminisce.

Then we go home and say, “I’ve changed a lot, but they’re the same as they ever were.”

Are they?

When we go to high school reunions, we’re scanning for similarities. Our memories are primed to find people who look just like, sound just like, and act just like the kids we went to high school with. Only older. And wrinklier.

We’re looking for similarities. So that’s what we find.

We know that we’ve changed.

Or have we?

If we rode home with some of the people that we’d just seen for the first time in ten or twenty years, we’d hear them saying, “Boy, they haven’t changed a bit… but I have.”

We didn’t take their measure anew. And they didn’t take ours.

George Bernard Shaw’s tailor was right. People do change. And unless we look for change, we’ll miss it.

This is crucial to persuasion.

People change their values. People change themselves. And events change people.

Changed values and changed lives mean new opportunities for communicating libertarianism.

Changed values and changed lives mean new wants and needs. New situations.

New concerns and interests. New conversational openings.

If we assume that the person we were talking with “hasn’t changed a bit,” we might miss out on the fact that they just got audited by the IRS. Do you think that might make them more receptive to libertarian tax cut and tax repeal proposals?

If we forget to take the person’s measure anew, we might never know that one of their close friends or family members has been sentenced to prison for a marijuana offense. They might be open to the idea of ending the War on Drugs.

If we overlook the fact that people are always changing, we might not hear about a friend being stalked or threatened. We might never know that they are ripe for a discussion of gun ownership and the right to protect themselves and their families.

If we neglect to look for how the person has changed, we might not learn that they are expecting a baby… and might be eager to hear about homeschooling. Or separating school and state.

What can George Bernard Shaw’s tailor teach us?

1. Actively look for what’s different when you meet people again. Actively ask what’s different.

2. Seek and scan for changes in their lives. Explore the changes. Ask them to talk about the changes since you last got together.

3. What’s new in their lives? New activities. New people. New events. New feelings and values. Invite people to talk about the novel and new.

4. Comment on and, where appropriate, compliment them for positive changes. Drop them notes mentioning how healthy and good they look since they’ve lost the weight. Or since they got their promotion. Send them notes and emails giving them warm feedback on the changes.

Change is opportunity. A new chance to build libertarian bridges to other people’s lives.

And we might miss this opportunity.

Unless we emulate George Bernard Shaw’s tailor.

* * * * * * * *
Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian PersuasionMichael 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.