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Slacktivism: You Can Do More

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

Slacktivism: You Can Do More

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

I’ve worn ribbons. I’ve liked, shared, favorited, retweeted, and pinned things on social media. I’ve sported a sticker on my laptop.

Facebook LikeBut did any of that really accomplish anything? When looking at the direct effect of those activities, there was no measurable impact.

So, why bother with what I call slacktivism? (I’ll answer this shortly.)

Where is there a measurable impact?

  • Tabling/Outreach Booth – Setting up a table at an existing event and meeting new people is a great way to find new people for your group, your issue, or your philosophy. When you’re in college, there’s always an opportunity to table. Once you’re out, however, it gets pricier and a bit more difficult, but it can be done. Gun shows, book fairs, holiday festivals, and town celebrations are a prime opportunity to reach out to the local community for the post-college readers.
  • Going Door-to-Door – While this sounds like a strictly candidate or party politics activity, it can be something that gets noticed by your neighbors. If you are active in your community or highly visible, this kind of activism can lead to growth as you ask those around you to join in your efforts.
  • Contributions – I’ve long held the belief that EVERYONE can give time, talent, or treasure. When you have a particular talent that you can offer to your preferred issue or group, do it. When you have the time to serve that issue or group, share it. When you have the treasure, spend it in a way that benefits your passion project. I’ve always appreciated the time and talent an individual will give, as well as the funds they spend in lieu of that time, when they are too busy to make the time or talent commitment.
  • Being a Shining Example – This takes little or no “extra” time to accomplish. When you exemplify the libertarian lifestyle, the results may not be immediate, but they are measurable and direct. You will inspire others to join you. You will find that there are others who hold your same beliefs that may not be motivated other ways.

Above, I gave “slacktivism” a hard time. I realize that many of us are busy people with a lot going on, and wearing a pin, interacting on social media, or sporting a sticker may be all that you can do in that moment. I also realize there is an immeasurable impact in the aggregate when many wear those pins en masse, “like” or share social media posts, or promote a position or organization’s brand.

I ask that after that slacktivism moment passes that you take a hard look to plan how you can make a lasting, measurable impact.

If I can offer an immediate opportunity, I ask that you support us here at The Advocates for Self-Government with a bit of your treasure.

Which Libertarian Are You?

in Liberator Online, Walk the Walk by Brett Bittner Comments are off

Which Libertarian Are You?

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

As libertarian philosophy gains popularity in response to the repeated failures of government, we need to define which type of libertarians we want to be. Our numbers are growing, and as we reach critical mass, we need to start to specialize our activities. In my mind, there are three kinds of libertarians: the candidates, the leadership, and the activists.

division of laborLibertarians will likely recognize this specialization as division of labor. Previously, libertarians had to “wear many hats,” because of how few our numbers were. Today, that is not the case.

Have you ever waved signs at a rally or a busy intersection for your favorite candidate or issue? Have you ever made statements to the press, defining an organization’s position on an issue? Have you ever run for office?

Chances are, most libertarians can answer “yes” to the first two questions, with a smaller number answering affirmatively about the third one.

Activists

Our hard-working activists are recruiting new libertarians through their efforts “on the ground,” working outreach booths, attending rallies, going door to door, passing out literature, and writing op-eds and letters to the editor about libertarian issues. These are often thankless jobs that happen in extreme weather, on nights and weekends, and bring attention to our philosophy at the actual grassroots level.

Many who “get off the couch” and get involved in politics for the first time start here, but it is not just for beginners. There is an art (and a LOT of effort) to a successful event or outreach activity, and there are some who find their niche here.

Leadership

Real leaders are the fewest in number in our movement, because they really need to be able to manage a lot of “chiefs” and far fewer “braves.” They need a thick skin and the ability to build bridges in an environment wrought with the wreckage from many burned ones.

Their focus is to grow the cause, party, or organization they represent, while serving the needs of those already on board. The effective ones have a vision for the organization, a plan for achieving it, and the skills to sell that to existing and prospective members. These are not easy tasks, but a real leader will excel here.

Candidates/Elected Officials

If there is one area that I wish saw more development in the libertarian movement, it is this one. Standard bearers on the ballot might have the most difficult job among the three I outline here.

Candidates represent the platform and beliefs of their party, while trying to communicate a message that attracts those not necessarily supportive of those beliefs. They are also meeting thousands of people, raising money to fund their campaign efforts, and trying to stay “on message.” In the age of YouTube, smartphones with amazing features, and “gotcha” journalism, they also need to watch everything they say and do, no matter who is around.

All the while, they need to be real and genuine in every interaction. It really IS a tough job.

So, are you an activist, a leader, or a candidate (and for Liberty’s sake, an elected official)? Which one best fits your skill set and aspirations?

Focus your efforts on being just one, and be a great one of those.