Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Calling the Question

We now approach the crux of the question. In the market of political action the Libertarian Party uses the forms and structure of a political party in attempting to change policy through persuasion. It is trying to reach a limited population of people who are very familiar with an ongoing political dialogue. But Libertarians have, presumably, very different goals than do any other political party. Libertarians are committed to an agenda that ends the role of government in almost all parts of our lives. There is no reason to limit ourselves to the present forms for introducing political and cultural changes for freedom. In fact, doing so limits both the scope and impact of what we are saying.

If we want to dispense with the State we must convince our fellow Americans that the State is unnecessary for their welfare and safety. As long as people of good character and intelligence believe that only government can ensure their safety and protect them they will continue to support the continuation of government and all of its agencies.

This is an unpalatable truth for ideologues, which includes most Libertarians. As such, we integrate ideas, translating those into what the future could be if the State ceased to exist. We are willing to work to make that happen because we see, vaguely in many cases, how the functions presently in the hands of government would be carried out.

Our fellow Americans do not share this viewpoint. They are not ideologues. They accept change cautiously. They are culturally conservative because that approach has a proven track record over time. It is not perfect but they believe it to be perfectible and better than their other options. They are unwilling to accept the risks inherent in adopting unproven Libertarian policies. Many years of political activity have demonstrated that the objections to our ideas most often take this form.

All people understand visual, real life demonstrations of better approaches to any problem. Better computer strategies run through the Internet like wildfire. The changes wrought by the automobile and telephone remain historic evidence that emulation of successful and useful technologies can take place rapidly, replacing whole industries and remaking the economy. But this only happens when the advantages are clear. Individuals see better choices and change follows.

Politics is only one of the venues through which Libertarians can work. Even though the Libertarian Party is the instrument that does not mean that we must conform to the expectations for political parties. We can adopt what ever forms best suit our purposes.

The point is creating demonstrations that our philosophy provides policies that work. Shifting the ground gives us the advantage of also being able to function outside the expectations for political activism. Political action exists within the larger market formed by the intersection of choice and all human action. There are markets with potential audiences that are much larger than any we can contact though political action and dialogue.

We are not just selling political solutions. We are selling freedom. That means we are selling cognitive tools that help people make better choices. We are used to the function of such philosophical tool sets as Objectivism and the works of Rose Wilder Lane. But these do not work in the general market, no matter how we might wish that they did. They are too involved and too intellectually oriented. But there is a market for helping people make better choices. Such shows as Oprah Winfrey demonstrate that every day. The power of this kind of television is in the fact that the audience can see and judge right from wrong. Right choices are validated to the whoops and applause of the audience. Wrong choices are booed. Most people want the approval of their peers.

Television is a very human institution.

All human institutions are subject to the same market forces. The means for demonstrating better choices vary with circumstance; the principles remain the same. That is what we need to keep in mind. Inherent in Libertarianism is a tool set for making a better world by enforcing appropriate choices in our personal lives.

Television is one venue. Rethinking the limitations we have imposed on ourselves reveals a diversity of markets that enable outreach to a far larger audience of listeners looking for answers.

No comments: