Digest 2 #19
- This is "The Right Stuff"...StuMessage: 19
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 13:56:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Neil Galbraith <neilgalbra@...>
Subject: Re: Which RLC list is for What ...
A suggestion for those who find it difficult and/or distasteful to follow the many e-mail messages--it might be beneficial either to:
1) Not receive the e-mail list, and simply check the group from the Yahoo!Groups page and/or
2) Set your membership to "digest" which will then only send you one or two e-mails a day, containing the various e-mails from the day. This is what I do, since I can only check my e-mail once or twice a day.
As for the issue of communication--my libertarian/personalist view of the world values persuation over coersion. In other words, if you disagree with something posted on the list, make your case. The problem I've found with most "libertarians" is that they tend to be all or nothing ideologues (see Rockewell). They'd rather shout and call names than actually try and persuade. Thus, they have become a marginal faction in American political life.
I used to live in New London, CT. Unlike many parts of the world, we had a libertarian cause in town that was real and immediate. The city had given emminant domain rights to a "development corporation" which was controlled by Pfizer. They had decided to bulldoze a downtown nieghborhood in order to build a rec center for their employees. Now, I am a fan of the free market, but when a big company has been given the power to take people's homes against their will...that's too far.
We rallied at several city council meetings. Ultimatly we failed, not because the public will wasn't there--most people in New London objected to reducing the number of homes in a city where residential levels were already terribly low, and property rates were already terribly high. We had the potential for a broad coallition of social liberals (the homes were largely owned by low-income families), civil rights groups (the homes were owned largely by minorities) and libertarians (the government was stealing peoples private property). It was a "perfect storm" issue, and since both local Dems and Reps were on the side of Pfizer, the Libertarians had a great chance to build support...
Then they went into the city council meeting and started name calling and bomb throwing. The New London City council didn't like being called "Nazi's," the civil rights groups didn't want to be called "race pimps," and the social liberals didn't want to be called "commie 5th columnists"--we were all on the same side for Pete's sake!
The end result is that IJ jumped in, and the case will go before the U.S. Supreme Court soon. The political result was that the local groups sans libertarians formed a local third party (Working Families Party).
So from personal experience I have learned that a libertarians inability to communicate his/her position without resulting to "raving loon" polemics has crippled the functioning of both the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement in general.
In other words, we need to learn to talk to soccer moms about things they care about. You shouldn't lead off on legalizing drugs or ending gun control. How about education choice. How about ending crippling property taxes, and letting them keep most/all of their paycheck. How about the price of food, clothes, gasoline and how they are kept artificially high by tariffs, taxes, and other government meddling.
I also think it would help to focus on local issues. Honestly, it's just easier to get people to cross "party lines" on local and/or non-partisan issues. An example would be to raise opposition to the local "mill increase." We had one in my parents home town--they wanted to "increase millage" to pay for more parks. Launch opposition. How? The simple trick is by reminding people that they other folks are "framing" the issue to suit their needs. Mill increase means tax increase. It also helps to tell people to look around. Does the city need more parks? And show them libertarian alternatives--the best "green space" conservation project in the Ann Arbor area is a private, not for profit land trust. It's paid for by private citizens and local businesses--people who volunteer their money and time with out being told to by the government. They buy property and just let it go "back to nature"--meadow and woods. Unlike a "park" they don't protect the land by bulldozing it flat
and adding roads and lighting.
Sorry to rant. But we need to get better about communicating, and we need to get better about finding things that people will join us on. After all, once they learn that libertarians are not "crazy" they are more likely to side with us on other issues.
And since there seem to be a lack of candidates on the libertarian side of the RLC this year local issues may be good targets. They will 1) get your name out there and 2) often don't have a lot of organized support--so you can, in the next week, probably raise some good local awareness on these issues. A couple of editorial letters, some signs, maybe a local rally--all this can be done on the cheep and in the next few days.
Just my 2-cents.