Saturday, January 5, 2013

Comment on tokenlibertariangirl's video

The controversy surrounding Julie Borowski's video underlines how easy it is to push people's buttons. The basic issue Julie raised is important, interesting and difficult - why so many white males? Because obviously, gender is not the only demographic where libertarians are skewed. We're totally skewed!

Julie typically satirizes ideas she disagrees with, and rants a bit. This red meat looks delicious to us old libertarian hands, and might inspire an epiphany for a few newbies. So as "inreach" I think it works, but as outreach it misses the target.

In this case, I think Julie switched to prescription before she finished her diagnosis. She raised an issue I care about, but did not persuade me that she understood the causes and cures. When the video ended, I did not feel energized to help with a solution or pursue further investigation. (On the other hand, it did make me stop and think, and inspired me to make this comment.) And although I don't agree with the bleeding heart libertarians who got bent out of shape, I can understand their perspective. I'm not sure what motivated Julie to make the video, what she hoped to accomplish. I guess I'm asking her to aim higher, because I believe she has a lot of spark and so could accomplish more than this if she put her mind to it.

I want more outreach. If we want to increase the size and demographic diversity of the libertarian movement, we need to persuade people better. Rather than criticizing, we need to provide tempting alternatives. This has led me to want to learn more about persuasion, motivation, and communication. I invite you to join me.

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