More libertarian strategizing

Based on my personal experience, the average libertarian has an much higher IQ than the average members of other political groups, however you'd like to slice them. This is all well and good, but of course most insiders will know the frustration of delivering a knockout argument only to have the recipient blink and respond with something like "Well, I just think we should have faith in the president."

I don't think our ideas are necessarily impenetrable to the masses. But the average libertarian has another distinguishing feature: he or she comes across as too brainy and argumentative. People can't relate to that. If we want to make more inroads with the average American, we'll need to adopt my easy plan:

1. Be likeable.*
2. Take this characteristic to bars, where you drink booze and talk to people.
3. Don't get into too many political arguments. Wait for other people to relate to you in other ways and then let those people bring them up. Don't hammer points home. Just act slightly astounded when people say ridiculous things, reluctantly offer the abstract of your Invincible Super Winner Argument**, and let them decide if they want to hear the rest.
4. If at all possible, consider trying to have sex with some of those people (according to your and their preferences). You should take this step seriously, even to the exclusion of offering your libertarian arguments.
5. Remember I'm offering you this plan because I'm one of you and I'm looking out for you and for the team.

Bonuses: be in bands, have interesting non-political hobbies, and read more fiction. I'm struggling with that last one myself.

This plan will work because it will remove the general cultural perception of us as overly-cerebral types who have only loose connections to societal reality. Once we're inside the gates, we'll unleash our memes and all that, but we have to get inside the gates first. People have to vaguely enjoy your company before they want to hear a bunch of abstract political theory and take it seriously.

I believe in you, team. Now get out there and win!

* If you instinctively wanted to criticize my use of the alternate spelling, I'm talking to you. I included a split infinitive, too.
** Believe me, it's my argument too. It's just not always the best use of social terrain.

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Well said.

Well said.

Big debates break out in

Big debates break out in libertarian circles over the best way to convince people. Lately, the ridiculousness of this occurred to me: has anyone actually ever convinced a person to change their political views? I haven't, and I doubt many others have.

Nonetheless! Here're my recommendations, which will work for any political party -- one's actual political philosophy is immaterial with regards to how persuasive it is:

1. Be likable. People are generally inept at imagining that people with some positive traits can also have negative traits, and vice versa, so if you have enough positive traits, people will assume you're totally good. So collect positive traits: be good-looking, be chaste if you're a girl and a player if you're a guy, be rich, be funny, and, if you can manage it, be tall. Once you get enough of these people will assume that no matter what your political views are, they must be as great as the rest of you.

2. By the same token, always seem to be happy and having fun. Even if sad, don't let it show. You're not selling a political philosophy, you're selling an entire lifestyle. People want to think if they think (and vote) like you, they'll be happy too.

3. Get to people when they're young. The best time to indoctrinate humans is the ages of 2-23. At 23, the political beliefs will rigidify. Try to get in positions of pedagogical authority -- college professorships do nicely.

4. Along with number three, have lots of children so you can have lots of potential indoctrinees. Also, it's possible some part of political beliefs are genetic.

5. Lie. Lying is a very underrated political tool. It's best to lie about something big and complicated, like the macroeconomy or the climate, but it's often just as effective to lie about small things. Did you hear from a friend of a friend that Senator X beats his wife? No? Doesn't matter: tell the story to as many people as possible anyway. Try to pick lies that are unlikely to be falsified (e.g. if Hitler were alive, he'd vote for X).

6. Whenever possible, insinuate your opponents are Nazis, racists, sexists, and/or Republicans.*

*Republicans may substitute "Communists." (Do not be tempted to use "socialism" as a stand-in, esp. in Europe, where this will be seen as a positive.)

Libertarians are not particularly cerebral in my experience. Just the ones who bother to argue on blogs, but my guess is that applies to any political stance. Male libertarians do, however, have larger than average genitalia.

Male libertarians do,

Male libertarians do, however, have larger than average genitalia.

And trust me, his sample size is statistically significant.

Big debates break out in

Big debates break out in libertarian circles over the best way to convince people. Lately, the ridiculousness of this occurred to me: has anyone actually ever convinced a person to change their political views? I haven't, and I doubt many others have.

How do you figure people become libertarians in the first place if not by persuasion by others? Surely most libertarians didn't come up with it all on their own. I certainly didn't. I can't remember for sure, but you might have played a role in my conversion to libertarianism.

I've spent some time on a political message board, and I've convinced a few people into becoming libertarians, or at least made them interested in what interesting stuff other libertarians had to say.

Someone lent me the

Someone lent me the Fountainhead.

I'm touched. As to how

I'm touched.

As to how people become libertarians, I think it's generally something like this: a person grows up with political instincts, glommed from their parents or specified in his hardware. One day, he finds a book that says: "Those kind of instincts are what we call libertarianism." Said person concludes: "I'm a libertarian."

But, I say generally. People do convince others from time to time, I'm sure.

Celebrities are Good Looking, Likeable, Etc.

Don't laugh. What do you think libertarians who were trying to get celebrities to join were up to?

I wouldn't dare laugh

Probably a pretty effective strategy.

(Though it is a rather unseemly sounding one, so if anyone adopts it, they should keep it a secret.)

"Has anyone ever convinced anyone?"

"Lately, the ridiculousness of this occurred to me: has anyone actually ever convinced a person to change their political views? I haven't, and I doubt many others have."

Well, I was convinced, by a fellow named Nat who used to have lunch with me a couple of times a week at work. I didn't realize what he was doing to my brain until it was too late.

In the decades since, I've had significant success as these things go. My count is pretty large -- dozens of "convinces" at this point, many if not most all the way to anarchocapitalism.

I'm ashamed and surprised to say that I managed the first bunch while being extremely obnoxious on Usenet in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I think those were mostly "law of large numbers" accidents since I wasn't being particularly considerate to my interlocutors. None the less, I still managed to get a few people disabused of their belief in the efficacy of state action. (Indeed, by pure coincidence, a person who I managed to convince nearly 20 years ago bought me dinner last night, saying it was his way of repaying me for helping him past statism.)

I've since tried going much more for the soft approach. It seems to work better. Being obnoxiously blunt about how you present things turns a lot of people off. It is better to be clear but polite.

However, I will say this: I've largely convinced fellow intellectuals, and to really get somewhere, I would have had to have convinced thousands, not dozens.

None the less, I'm glad I've managed to act as a force multiplier over time.

I'm not sure others can necessarily duplicate what I've done -- I may have some sort of unusual temperament -- but it cannot hurt to try.

Ah ha, perhaps I am just not

Ah ha, perhaps I am just not a particularly persuasive person. As you seem to have more skill, why not write a post describing a general strategy?

I don't really have much of a general strategy...

I don't have much of a conscious general strategy, other than discussing politics a lot with people who find the topic interesting. Perhaps I should observe my own behavior more carefully.

Hey, that's me!

I can confirm that: I was converted in large part by Perry's Usenet writings. Specifically, seeing him repeatedly demolish the arguments of people like Steve Kangas or Mike Huben in talk.politics.misc and similar boards. Eventually I followed his suggestion to read The Machinery of Freedom and The Enterprise of Law. Since then I've even made a few converts of my own.

Usenet debate was never about converting the person you're arguing with. It was much more about honing your arguments against the blade of a worthy adversary and in the process winning over the peanut gallery. (If Kangas and Huben hadn't existed it would have been useful to invent them.)

Mike Huben is a worthy

Mike Huben is a worthy adversary?

Big debates break out in

Big debates break out in libertarian circles over the best way to convince people. Lately, the ridiculousness of this occurred to me: has anyone actually ever convinced a person to change their political views? I haven't, and I doubt many others have.

Before I started this blog, I convinced a few people on a message board that they were libertarians. In 2004 and 2008, they voted Libertarian.

But my biggest "successes" are:

1) A friend who had been a lifelong Republican, reading books by Limbaugh and O'Reilly. After reading this blog, he became a libertarian, joined Cato, etc. He ran for political office as a Republican but with a solidly libertarian platform (and lost).

2) A philosophy professor who was clearly left-of-center, who after reading this blog, became much more libertarian policy-wise because of economic arguments, even put Hayek on his students' reading lists. (Or maybe I'm taking too much credit).

I have a real job and am not now nor will I ever be a professional libertarian. but as long as I convert a few important people at the margin, I'm happy. I'll be on this quest till the day I go to the big libertopia in the sky.

Credit where it's due

A philosophy professor who was clearly left-of-center, who after reading this blog, became much more libertarian policy-wise because of economic arguments, even put Hayek on his students' reading lists. (Or maybe I'm taking too much credit).

You aren't.

Also, I shouldn't use the words "my" and "I"

But rather "our" since I'm referring to this blog and co-bloggers, not me alone.

According the CIA World fact

According the CIA World fact book, the estimated population growth rate is 1.188% per year. It's not *that* much. Let's say you've got 60 years to live. Convince two people to become libertarian over the course of your whole life and you're good to go.

Considering how few people

Considering how few people vote libertarian I'm not sure I would last if I had to have sex with all the floating voters. Even all the female ones under 50.

Wouldn't bumper stickers be easier. (car bumpers I mean)

Libertarian/transhumanist crossover is no accident

See SingularitarianSocialSkills

Brian Macker: also known as the Scientology strategy!

This plan will work because

This plan will work because it will remove the general cultural perception of us as overly-cerebral types who have only loose connections to societal reality.

So avoid the charge that you're an egghead? Great, encourage anti-intellectualism. And it's interesting you suggest reading more fiction to become more in tune with societal reality. I suppose one can better personally experience the "timbre of the lifeworld" or some such thing by reading fiction like everyone else, but the last thing that will do is bring you closer to societal reality. Only dry, rigid empiricism will help you there, and folks haven't got the stomach for that kind of disenchanting stuff.

I confess I'm in a bind. I've got two personalities: my college boy persona which likes arguing and perhaps alienating a few of those fellow students who don't like taking academic matters quite that seriously; then my dj/clubbing persona, which often dismisses with any political talk entirely for pure shiggles (shits +
giggles), because to think you'll get to the root of anything serious while sloppy drunk and grinding is ridiculous.

-Mupetblast

shits and giggles > academic

shits and giggles > academic matters

Laughs vs Knowledge - who wins, if we assume they're mutually exclusive (they're not)?

Based on my personal

Based on my personal experience, the average libertarian has an much higher IQ than the average members of other political groups, however you'd like to slice them.

Based on my personal experience, I cannot ascertain IQ, at all, by observation, once a certain threshold has been met.

Some of the most well spoken and articulate friends of mine, get destroyed in IQ tests, by other friends that would "seem" to be far far dumber.

For example, they couldn't come here and formulate any kind of argument, with most (if not all) of the people here. Even troubledonger.

People with sophistication, can give the illusion of great intelligence, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

General response to a few new threads

It would seem that a continuous stream of knowledge, invited in from a person with curiosity, will, over time, start to put strains on their past perceptions and current beliefs.

They say you're born a Republican or a Democrat. Well, if those are the only known options, of course. It's natural to align yourself with what best represents ones born "political instincts" as one person as coined it.

right on

Somebody's been taking a page from Dale Carnegie, I see. I heartily approve. In fact, I think I do 1 and 3 pretty well. And better than average on 4, which I realize isn't saying much. :)