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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.

What’s Your Number?

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

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


That’s my number.

I’ve administered The World’s Smallest Political Quiz 3500 times. This week, I crossed that threshold with a research project I’m in the midst of.

Quiz TIP CardThat figure doesn’t count the number of times I’ve left our “TIP Card” along with my business card to a server at lunch or dinner.My number above just counts the interactions I’ve had with people at county fairs, gun shows, on campus, for research, and as part of conversations with friends, new and old. That is a lot of conversations about liberty and libertarianism.Before I joined the Advocates, I was already passionate about liberty and the libertarian movement. Now, I get to turn up the gas on that flame for liberty.

So, back to my original question, how many times have you given The World’s Smallest Political Quiz? What were the outcomes of the conversations that the Quiz broke the ice for? Did you find an existing libertarian? Did you discover a NEW libertarian?

I want to hear from you about your successes. I also want to hear from you about your challenges.

Have you found that your outreach was more successful the more outgoing and gregarious the Quiz-giver shows themselves to be? I know that I have.

Recently, I visited an outreach booth of a local libertarian organization that I knew would be administering the Quiz, and I gave them some tips that tripled the number of people who took the Quiz over the prior year. They also saw a tremendous amount of activity under the tent, as passersby took an interest in libertarian philosophy.

What did we do to make such a big difference?

We re-arranged the “standard” booth layout, by putting the table at the BACK of the booth. This put all of the volunteers IN FRONT of the table, removing the barrier between those volunteers and the festival goers. Moving the table to the back of the booth also made it almost impossible to sit down, so the volunteers were on their feet with a lot more energy, and that energy spilled over into their conversations.

What better way to start a conversation about liberty than filled with energy?

What about you?

What tips do you have for tabling or outreach that you’d like to share? I may feature them here in a future issue or on social media as a tip for our supporters who are passionate to dispel the Left-Right political myth.

Who’s ready to get an Operation Politically Homeless kit to begin a conversation about our burning passion for a more libertarian society and way of life?

If you already have one, try something new with how you present your tabling/outreach effort and share your successes.

I love it when liberty wins the day, so let’s share what we’re doing to talk about libertarianism in a positive and effective way.

How Committed Are You?

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

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

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Rachel Dolezal, the former President of the Spokane, Washington NAACP.

Regardless of one’s thoughts about her allegedly fabricated backstory, her accomplishments for the African-American community, the legal dispute with her family, and her questionable racial background, you have to admit that her commitment to a cause and the efforts she’s made are admirable.

As someone who’s worked with libertarian activists and volunteers for years, I wish I had come across JUST ONE that was half as committed to the libertarian movement as Ms. Dolezal is to the black community in Spokane.

That brings me to my original question.

commitmentHow committed are you to the libertarian movement?

Are you writing a letter to the editor every week about a libertarian position on an issue?

Are you utilizing social media to to advance the libertarian cause?

Are you reaching out to the people in your community with tools like anOperation Politically Homeless booth?

Now is the time for libertarians to seize the opportunities afforded us by so many finally seeing the problems with Big Government and its exponential growth. The government we see today has grown far beyond anything envisioned by Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Paine.

What are you going to do to stop that growth and help reverse course?

No one’s asking you to be as committed as Ms. Dolezal, but can you make a positive impact for your community in the same way she has hers?

“We ran out of pens!” at an OPH at the University of Wyoming

in Liberator Online by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 20, No. 12 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Congratulations, University of Wyoming! You now have an official Young Americans for OPH at University of WyomingLiberty (YAL) chapter, thanks to campus activist Ocean Dylan Andrew — and a little help from the Advocates’ OPH (Operation Politically Homeless).

Ocean had wanted to start a campus YAL chapter for a long time. When a change in university policy allowed him to table for recruitment, he jumped into action.

“I decided the Operation Politically Homeless kit from The Advocates for Self-Government would be best for recruiting,” Ocean wrote at YAL’s home page.

(Ocean got his OPH kit FREE from the Advocates — as more than 1,000 student organizations have done. Learn more about this here.)

Things were a bit slow at the booth at first. But then… OPH began working its magic.

“After one person decided to take [the Quiz], I soon was lacking enough pens for everyone to take it at once!”

The results: “We now have enough people to become official as soon as we find a faculty advisor!”

Congratulations, Ocean.

OPH is a fantastic way to turn an ordinary, dull outreach table into a crowd-drawing fun event. From the very first time the Advocates introduced OPH, some 25 years ago, users have told us over and over again that OPH brings their outreach booth and tabling efforts alive.

OPH makes it easy and fun to discover libertarian-leaning individuals and sign up new members, supporters and activists. OPH utilizes the crowd-drawing and mind-opening power of the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and eye-catching graphics. OPH makes your booth the most active, the most talked about, the most fascinating, at any event. And it’s fun and easy to do — a great outreach event for newcomers and veteran activists alike.

As I mentioned, in the past few years the Advocates has given — completely free of charge — over 1,000 OPH booth kits to libertarian campus organizations across America. These kits have reached tens of thousands of students with the ideas of liberty, and they will continue to do so for years to come.

Student groups: Learn more about OPH — and how you can get your FREE OPH kit — if you haven’t already — here.

Non-student libertarian groups: Learn how to get an inexpensive, crowd-drawing OPH kit for your organization.

Spring is here! It’s the perfect time for libertarian groups — student and non-student alike — to use OPH to discover new libertarian-leaning folks and invite them to join our movement for liberty that is changing the world.

Tip: Make Your OPH Booth a “Politically Homeless Shelter”

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 19, No. 11 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

I’m always on the lookout for ways to make OPH even more fun and successful than it already is. Politically Homeless Shelter

(OPH is, of course, Operation Politically Homeless — the Advocates’ acclaimed “event in a kit,” which uses the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and other tools to transform an ordinary dull ho-hum outreach booth into a crowd-drawing, fun event.)

Danny Bedwell — Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Congress and former Chair of the Libertarian Party of Mississippi — has a neat tip I’m pleased to share with you.

On hot summer days, make your OPH booth even more attractive to passers-by: turn it into a “Politically Homeless SHELTER.”

The idea is simple, clever and easy. Just put those words — “Politically Homeless Shelter” — on a sign near your OPH booth, and prominently show that you have free iced water or soft drinks, snacks, and perhaps a shady place to pause and rest a moment.

If you’re doing OPH outside on a hot day — at a fair, festival, concert, rally or other event — this is an easy way to make your OPH booth even more popular.

When your guests take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, they will discover where they fit on the political map. You’ll be turning the “politically homeless” into people who have a true political home!  And you’ll discover lots of people who are thirsty for liberty (as well as that cold drink).

Thanks, Danny!

Learn more about OPH here.

Students: We’re giving free OPH kits to student liberty groups! Learn morehere.

Daily Beast: World’s Smallest Political Quiz and OPH Recruiting New Libertarians at CPAC

in Communicating Liberty, Economic Liberty, Liberator Online, Personal Liberty by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 19, No. 5 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Guess which booth at this year’s widely-covered CPAC drew the biggest, mostexcited crowds?

(CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Committee — is the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservative activists and office holders, with a strong number of libertarian students among the attendees.)

Here’s what The Daily Beast — one of the most influential news sites on the web, read by millions of readers each month – reported:

“Of all the booths, the one consistently drawing the biggest crowds was WarOnYouth, a joint project by Generation Opportunity and Young Americans for Liberty (YAL)…

“As a clever gimmick, YAL was having passers-by fill out a quickie quiz to determine where they fell on an ideological quadrant that included not just a left/right divide, but also a libertarian/statist one.

 “According to the results chart, the vast majority of respondents fell into the libertarian range, represented by — surprise! — Ron and Rand Paul.”

Yes, that’s Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz working their magic on the CPAC crowd!

Once again the incredible effectiveness of the Advocates’ Operation Politically Homeless booth was demonstrated. Once again OPH has been used to reach the minds of the political leaders, activists and donors of tomorrow.

From the very first time the Advocates introduced OPH, some 25 years ago, users have told us over and over again that OPH brings their outreach booth and tabling efforts alive.

OPH consistently makes a booth the most active, the most talked about, the most fascinating, at any event. OPH consistently draws the biggest crowds, the greatest attention. It is fun and fascinating — for boothers and attendees alike.

And OPH opens minds and changes lives.

I strongly believe OPH, and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz that is the heart of OPH, has played a major role in opening up America’s political landscape to include libertarians.

Prior to the introduction of the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, most Americans thought of politics using a simplistic model of left versus right — which excludes libertarians.

But for over 25 years the Quiz has opened tens of millions of minds to a better political map — one that includes libertarians.

The CPAC OPH booth is just the latest example of the crowd-drawing, mind-opening power of this remarkable tool.

Ron Paul observed the power of the Quiz and OPH many years ago, and put it very well: “The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is responsible for many Americans’ first contact with libertarian ideas. While traveling around the country, I have often heard people say, ‘I never knew I was a libertarian until I took the Quiz!’”

Over 1,000 OPH Kits Delivered FREE to Campus Libertarian Groups

More good news: I am pleased to announce a new OPH milestone.

In the past few years the Advocates has given — completely free of charge — over 1,000 OPH booths to libertarian campus organizations across America.

These kits have reached tens of thousands of students with the ideas of liberty, and they will continue to do so for years. (Student groups: learn more about OPH — and how you can get your FREE OPH kit if you haven’t already — here.)

These OPH kits are being used by libertarian campus groups to discover libertarian-leaning students and welcome them to the liberty movement. Libertarian campus organizations are using OPH to sign up new members and supporters — new libertarian activists who will work in college and after graduation to bring liberty to all America.

And that’s great news indeed!

What Are You Waiting For?

in Liberator Online by Sharon Harris Comments are off

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.” — Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, 1952.

Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl I love that quote. I believe it has a powerful message for those of us who want to make our world a freer place.

It’s easy to feel that you must be wealthy, brilliant, part of a huge organization or team, or a cog in someone else’s master plan before you can take a meaningful action for liberty.

It’s easy to think that, sometime in the future, you’ll be able to do something significant for freedom — after you’ve stashed away a lot more money, or learned more about the intricacies of libertarian thought, or read a stack of books on economics, or listened to that album of outreach CDs, or cleared up enough time to run for office… someday,
sometime, eventually…

But the truth is, you don’t have to wait a single moment.

Right now, you are already doing something to, as Anne Frank says, “improve the world” just by your commitment to read the Liberator Online — a publication designed to, among other things, help you become a highly successful communicator of the ideas of liberty.

When you’re finished reading, you can immediately begin to “improve the world” — in dozens of different ways.

You can (to name just a very few possibilities):

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper supporting a libertarian cause — and by doing so, take our ideas to thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of readers.
  • Call your local libertarian organization and offer to support a worthy project or candidate, help with office chores, or work at an Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) outreach booth. See if they have something that needs to be done that fits your talents, finances and time.
  • Pick out several people you think are good prospects to accept libertarian ideas. Think about how you can effectively and persuasively answer whatever concerns may be keeping them from fully embracing libertarianism. (It could be they’re ready — just waiting to be asked.)
  • Make sure you have some good libertarian outreach literature with you at all times. (Naturally, I’m partial to our pocket-sized World’s Smallest Political Quiz.)
  • Wear a button or a pro-liberty T-shirt. Put a bumper sticker on your car. And, again, carry good outreach literature with you for the questions you’ll be asked. (Maybe a stack of Quiz cards in your glove compartment?)
  • Call, write, email or fax your local, state and national elected officials. Urge them to stand up for our precious Bill of Rights during this time of civil liberties crisis. Or tell them to take a pro-freedom vote on upcoming legislation you’re concerned about. The League of Women Voters has a site that makes it easy to find and contact your national, state and local politicians.
  • Make a contribution to a libertarian organization that is doing work you find useful and important. (Again, I’m partial here!)

That’s just a few of hundreds of possibilities — simple but vital things you can do right now that will definitely make a difference in the world. (And again, note they all involve effective communication and outreach — the specialty of the Advocates.)

Too insignificant? Hardly! Your newspaper letter will reach a huge audience, opening minds and exposing many to libertarian, perhaps for the first time. Your OPH booth could greatly increase the size of your local libertarian organization and recruit tomorrow’s libertarian leaders and activists. A single Quiz you pass out at your workplace or in your classroom may change someone’s life forever (it’s happened many times). The discussion about liberty you have with your nephew or friend or fellow student or co-worker may just bring a new libertarian into the world — and every new libertarian means we’re that much closer to a free world.

You can probably think of lots of other things you can do. Take a moment and think of one simple activity you can easily do right now — the possibilities are enormous.

And remember, you can start immediately — you don’t need any more preparation time, and you don’t need anyone’s permission!

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.”

What are you waiting for?