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Communicating Liberty

Communicating Liberty

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Communicating Liberty

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  1. AUSTRALIAN LIBERTARIAN SOCIETY Communicating Liberty Austen Erickson Australian Mises Seminar 2013

  2. Liberty is a Great Product • Peaceful cooperation is preferable to its alternative, destructive coercion • Mutual recognition of self-ownership gives each of us the opportunity to pursue our own values and goals • Freedom to produce and innovate makes us all wealthier, and even adds years to our lives

  3. Liberty is NOT Universally Popular • Strong proponents of liberty exist • BUT strong proponents of all philosophies exist • The median citizen is rarely in any of these groups[1] • Inertia: “It was done this way yesterday, so it should also be done this way tomorrow” • Politician’s Syllogism: “We must do something! This is something, therefore we must do this” [1] Humphries 2013, private conversation

  4. Something is Missing • Possibilities: • The fault is with the product • The fault is with the consumers • The fault is with our marketing • Solutions: • Abandon capitalism • Abandon society • Improve presentation

  5. Something is Missing • Possibilities: • The fault is with the product • The fault is with the consumers • The fault is with our marketing • Solutions: • Abandon capitalism • Abandon society • Improve presentation

  6. Modes of Persuasion • Ethos: Appeal to Authority • Requires that target audience respects same sources of knowledge • Logos: Rational Argument • “Highest” form, but requires most work from audience (who may be rationally ignorant) • Pathos: Appeal to Emotion • In particular, narrative persuasion is highly effective (Rand, Jesus) (Aristotle, 350 BCE, On Rhetoric)

  7. General Tips • Be a missionary, not just a monk [2] • Steel-man: Seek out and debate the strongest arguments against your position (opposite of straw-man) • Principle of Charity: Always grant the best possible interpretation to another’s position, until convinced otherwise • Know your audience: Direct versus indirect persuasion, expert versus layman, time-scale of interaction [2] Reed, 2013 The Freemanhttp://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/wanted-missionaries-not-monks

  8. General Tips • Treat a discussion as non-adversarial, by default • Seek the truth together, do not proscribe it • Find common ground, emphasize similar desired ends • Don’t slake a curious person’s thirst with a fire hose of libertarian dogma • Know when to end a conversation!

  9. Liberty on the Rocks • International nonpartisan pro-liberty social gatherings • Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra • Always looking to start new chapters! Contact: Sydney@libertyontherocks.org

  10. Students for Liberty • International nonpartisan pro-liberty student group network • Leadership Forum (by application) in Sydney 18/1/2014 • Regional Conference in Melbourne 4-6/7/2014 Contact: aerickson@studentsforliberty.org