L. Neil Smith's
Number 281, July 25, 2004

"Was ... this ... really ... necessary?"

Getting the Message Out
by Robert F. Hawes Jr.
Free West Alliance -- http://freewest.org

Special to TLE

With all of the political in-fighting and disaffection that we see in American politics today, it would seem that the liberty agenda should be receiving more attention as a potential alternative to the one-size-fits-all rhetoric of the major parties. Yet we hear next to nothing about it, a fact which seems incredible when you first consider it.

But, upon second thought, perhaps it is not so incredible after all.

When was the last time that you saw an advertisement for a liberty-advocacy organization outside of the internet? When was the last time that you saw a commercial for the Libertarian Party on television? When was the last time you heard a Republican Liberty Caucus radio ad?

The truth of the matter is that the liberty agenda may be the best-kept secret in American politics. Few Americans recognize the names of liberty-advocacy organizations, and fewer know anything about the ones that they do recognize. Many Americans know of the Libertarian Party, but most know little about its real agenda. Fewer still have heard of the Republican Liberty Caucus, CATO, and other similar organizations. Personally, I have never encountered advertising for any liberty advocacy group outside of the internet and the occasional Libertarian Party bumper sticker.

How can we possibly hope to have any impact on the political scene when so few know of the liberty agenda and what it stands to offer in terms of an alternative?!

The media will not come to our assistance. For the most part, they have little interest in alternative political agendas and movements aside from poking fun at them. Ross Perot was able to make an impact in 1992, and even managed to come in second to Bill Clinton in Maine during the general election, but he did this by taking his message directly to the American people and lighting grassroots fires for change. Perot was not what we would think of as a liberty advocate, but he did set an impressive example of how to challenge the authority and power of the major parties. For awhile there, he had the Republican and Democrat leadership scared.

I submit that we could learn from Perot's example and serve the cause of liberty well by taking our agenda directly to the American people, primarily through advertising campaigns designed to spark grassroots efforts for change.

Simple ad campaigns in newspapers, billboard advertisements, short radio spots, hand-outs on the street, and other such methods could potentially increase awareness of the liberty agenda ten-fold across this country, particularly in an election year when people are more interested in politics as a rule. We might succeed in becoming a fly in the majority machine's ointment, and, with time, lighting brushfires for liberty-friendly reform that could exceed the short-lived Perot notoriety of the early to mid-nineties. Surely, it could do no harm to try, and, if successful, much good could result. No matter how good our people are, and no matter what we have to offer, we will never see success in local, state, or national politics if no one knows we're here or what we're all about.

I believe we can change the current status quo, and I've set up a discussion group to see if there is any potential interest in this idea on the part of others in the liberty movement. This group could strategize about effective, cost-efficient forms of drawing attention to the liberty agenda and then move forward toward seeing them implemented via group fund-raising efforts and other activities.

If you're interested in letting America know we're here and have something to offer, please stop by the new group and let's see what we can do about making some noise.

The group is "Liberty-promo" at Yahoo groups. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Liberty-promo/

What do we have to lose?


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