L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 310, March 13, 2005
"Words and Guns"
Is it Time for National Freedom Event?
Special to TLE
I was glad to see Dada Orwell's article of several weeks ago concerning how the liberty community could use an event or gimmick of some type to win some much-needed publicity in the media. Speaking as a Christian and a former conservative, I truly believe that there are many people in this country who are more "Libertarian" or "Jeffersonian" in their thinking than they realize. That was certainly the case with me at one time. I had heard of the Libertarian Party, but I had mistaken ideas about what libertarians really stood for. I saw the world only in shades of Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. That narrow viewpoint changed in time, once I challenged some of my own fundamental notions, and I know that many of us could share similar stories.
To advance this movement we need to challenge some of those same fundamental notions currently embraced by the American public at large, including misconceptions about the liberty movement; and we need to present them with the fact that there is more color in the political spectrum than Democrat blue and Republican red. In order to do this, though, we are going to have to insert ourselves into the debate and fight for some attention. The media and major parties definitely are not going to hand it to us on their own.
One potential means of doing this would be to hold a national freedom rally/protest in or near some large city, with the two primary goals of calling attention to our declining freedoms and making more Americans aware of the fact that there really is an alternative to the Demoblican system. This could be especially effective during a time when there is no election taking place and Congress is not in session. At that point, the political floor could essentially be ours, giving us a chance to articulate the freedom agenda without so much competing background noise. Here is how I think we might get started:
1. Form a small committee of persons willing to plan, organize and promote the event, including media outreach efforts and securing speakers and sponors.
2. Determine how many participants would be needed to make the effort worthwhile, and ask that those wanting to attend notify the committee in advance via a sign-up or registration of some type. A low turn-out would just embarrass us, so things would probably not move beyond the planning stage until we were fairly certain we would hit at or near the target attendance level.
3. Set up a related website featuring more information on liberty-friendly ideas and organizations, agenda FAQs, and interactive items like the World's Smallest Political Quiz.
At first I thought it might be best to try implementing this idea where everyone else usually does this sort of thing: Washington D.C. The prominent location would likely serve to generate more attention, and it would also be an in-your-face jab at federal elitists in their own backyard. When I first suggested this idea over on the Liberty-promo list, however, someone suggested that it would be better to hold it elsewhere; and, upon reflection, I agree with that idea. Deliberately snubbing the capital city might be an especially good way of differentiating ourselves from those elitists, while, at the same time, illustrating that America is not wrapped up in Washington's marble halls. We would not be appealing to the political elitists to give us back our freedoms, we would be appealing to average Americans to take their freedoms back from those elitists. In that spirit, I think a good theme for the rally could be: "It's Your Life...Take It Back".
The possible events and demonstrations at a national rally like this would be limited only by our own creativity, and the potential gains in terms of exposure and new recruits could be significant. Many people in our current polarized political climate are feeling politically homeless and actively hoping for an alternative to the Demoblican political monopoly.
Let's take advantage of those open doors of opportunity and show the country what freedom has to offer!
If you are interested in this idea, feel free to discuss it on the Liberty-promo list on Yahoo (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Liberty-promo), or else e-mail me privately.