THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 349, January 8, 2006
Two Thousand Six. Golly!
A Proposal to TLE Readers
Exclusive to TLE
I've been thinking a lot over the last few days, and I decided to make a proposal to all the people who read TLE.
I'm sure that most of us remember what first brought us to what we now call libertarianism. For many of us, it was the novels of Robert A. Heinlein. For others, it was L. Neil Smith's Probability Broach. For some it was movies such as Braveheart or The Patriot. Unfortunately, what most of us have forgotten is that we were brought into the movement by entertainment, not education. Don't get me wrong, education is important, especially after we were first awakened to the idea of freedom, instead of the encroaching slavery promulgated by the so-called 'education system,' but first we have to attract, then educate.
What I am proposing is this: Each of us should make an effort to reach out to those around us, not with facts, or lectures, but with entertainment. Use music, use movies, use the excellent novels that are available as lures and teaching tools. I suggest that we need to go all the way back to the most primitive means of education that humanity ever came up with, and the most effective.
Early humans had no means of data storage. The only way to pass on information to new generations was via songs and stories, or sometimes dance. This is so deeply ingrained in us that sometimes, even today, it is the most effective way to teach.
In this coming year, introduce people to Steve Trinward's 'Living Liberty' or Chris Roberts' 'Free Man', or perhaps get the CD 'I Will Live Free' from the JPFO website and share it. For those of us who are musically inclined, perhaps you might want to play and sing your songs in public, perhaps at a family picnic in a park, or someplace else where others can hear.
For some, it might be better to show them through movies. The Patriot, Braveheart, or Serenity might be a good introduction for those who are more visually inclined. It wouldn't be hard to invite friends over for a quiet evening and pick out a good movie to pass the time.
Maybe you have friends who are hard 2nd Amendment supporters. Take them out to the local range for a day of shooting. While you're there, you might mention a book or two, something like Unintended Consequences or The Black Arrow. Maybe you know hard-core science fiction fans. Tell them about The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Revolt in 2100 or The Probability Broach or Tom Paine Maru.
I'm sure you get the idea here. I think one of the areas where libertarians, as a group, are sadly lacking is in teaching skills, especially in the form of teaching groups. Instead of concentrating on education, we should work on entertaining. Education can come later, once those we've approached are really interested. Another problem is intelligence. Most libertarians I've met are very intelligent, to the point of being somewhat impatient with those who aren't quite as intelligent or aware of what we see so plainly. We can't afford to seem arrogant or condescending. To put it plainly, unless we learn to teach, both on an individual level, and to groups, we will lose everything. There are some, like Neil and Heinlein, who can entertain without coming across as arrogant. For everyone of those, there are five or more who give an impression of supiority that is very demoralizing to those who might be interested in learning or living libertarianism.
I'm sure each of you has books, movies and music that speaks strongly to you about what we live and believe. Start spreading these around. Make a concerted effort to reach just one person a month in this coming year.
Entertain, then educate. You can't reverse it and reach the average person, not after decades of 'public education.' We're at the point where we absolutely can't afford to lose any more. As it is, we will be years, if not decades, recovering from the ravages the politicians have subjected us to. I don't know about you, but I'd like my grandkids to grow up in a country that is free once more.
If we lecture, we lose. I don't want to lose any more.
I have a young friend, Chris Roberts, who has a show in Branson, MO. The song he ends every show with is called Free Man. To actually hear a preliminary version of this song, please go to: his website.
I've added the lyrics here, just to illustrate my point about using music and other forms of entertainment to reach out to those who we need to contact.
Music, poetry, movies, stories, novels, all have their place. We need to use all the tools we have, and quit handicapping ourselves by attempting to do things backwards. Entertain, then educate. Given the state of today's educational system, is it any wonder that we might have to take this tack?