I got a new book, “Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion,” from the Advocates for Self-Government. You can also sign up for a free online newsletter with great tips as well. Here are some notes that people might find useful when expressing liberty ideas. There are tons more in the book, and I’ll try and cover some of those later.
The main points to express to others
Show that you share their concerns;
that libertarianism has solutions and benefits to offer; and
that it would be nice for them to consider these solutions and benefits.
Express the benefits, not just the solution
When you only express the solution to a problem, people tend only to see the costs involved in enacting that solution. Benefits build value in those actions; and when value exceeds costs, people are more likely to support those solutions.
Problem: Restate the problem being discussed
Solution: State what you propose doing about it
Benefit: State the benefit of that solution. How do they and others benefit?
Ask yourself the following questions.
“What are the concerns and values of my audience?”
“What is my objective in speaking with them?” To persuade the individual or the audience listening, or show that you’re a caring person or whatever you decide.
Qualify receptive and responsive individuals
As all of our time is valuable, it’s important to spend time converting those people who are most receptive to our message.
Ask two qualifying questions.
“Do you believe government is too small, about the right size, or too big?”
“Do you believe taxes are too low, about right, too high?”
You should not try influencing the response. Instead, you are interested in their own opinion. Individuals who believes that government is too big and taxes are too high are good candidates.
If they answer otherwise, state, “Thank you very much; it sounds like you’re already happy with your political beliefs” and find a new candidate.
The Ransberger Pivot
When a person asks you a hostile question, generally, then the person is questioning your intentions. You must assure the person that you share their concerns.
For example, when addressing the Drug War, a person who supports the status quo is, likely, worried about children being getting hooked drugs or about the violence associated with illegal drugs. State, “I am also concerned about young people using drugs, and I see a way to prevent that from happening.” This can also serve as a hook into your 30-second answer.
This is helpful to maintain the interest of someone with a short attention span.
Hook: State something which challenges their assumptions, or ask a question
Theme: State your general answer
Body: Give supporting examples, analogies or evidence
Close: Restate theme, or make a call to action
It may be difficult for an individual to imagine how the marketplace could provide some goods or services, especially if they attended government schools. Ask individuals how they believe others would respond if the government immediately stopped providing that service. The person, if genuinely open, is likely to provide an answer that satisfies the objection.
If anyone else has some tips, I’m interested in those too.