Freedom subsumes individual liberty and personal responsibility. If individuals are free to act and also held responsible to bear the consequences for their actions, good outcomes will be reinforce correct behavior and bad outcomes will provide a learning experience. When government gets in the way of this feedback loop, it prevents the development of virtue and merely subjects the individual to the will of the State.
This article is #2 of a weekly series highlighting the former memes of Bureaucrash, an organization once headed by my friends Pete Eyre and Jason Talley of the Motorhome Diaries. The memes were originally authored by Pete Eyre and Anja Hartleb-Parson, and were intended as means of communicating ideas about liberty in catchy and succinct ways.
Communicating the same principled message in multiple mediums means a larger potential audience. In the past, somewhat dependent on the specific culture, ideas were transferred through spoken language, dance, and later, through books. Though they still play a role, other mediums, such as the Internet, television, and music, must too be broached as people access content via their preferred medium. This does not mean we have to rework our message but only add it to the larger conversation at different points. Otherwise, it’s as though we’re absent from the conversation entirely. For example, government bloat and hypocrisy provides ample fodder for The Daily Show, South Park, Stossel’s 20/20 [now he hosts “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network], and Pen and Teller’s: Bull****!, shows that influence the worldview of millions. And the same anti-bureaucracy, pro-freedom message can just as easily be communicated through Internet radio shows (like Free Talk Live), blogs (like The Austrian Economists), podcasts (such as Bureaucrash’s Podcrash), and webzines. If your interests and skills lie in one of these mediums, you can help reinforce those already countering pro-state rhetoric.
Technology helps us bypass traditional gatekeepers. The age of media being controlled by a handful of barons in bed with government is over (for one example of the harm this sort of relationship brought, read up on William Randolh Hearst, Harry Ansligner, and the criminalization of marijuana). We live in a time where the proliferation of technology has allowed virtually anyone, anywhere to share their ideas with others, whether via a blog post, uploaded video, Twitter message, or shared song. This empowers you, the individual, and threatens the status quo: the power of government and its frequent accomplice, the mainstream media. You no longer have to submit an op-ed to a newspaper editor and hope that they’re open-minded enough to run your piece. Instead, you can ignore them completely and share your thoughts with others via the Internet. Much to the chagrin of mainstream media companies, prominent blogs have readerships that rival the largest circulated newspapers. Using an inexpensive video camera, Joe Sixpack can create and post a video on YouTube that generates more views than movies released by mammoth Hollywood companies. Anyone with a microphone, a computer, and some free software can host a podcast.
Prominent cultural figures hold enormous sway. Like it or not, many folks take cues from the singer of their favorite band, a controversial radio talk show host, a graphic artist, or a documentary filmmaker. These figures could very easily introduce tens of thousands or millions of others to the ideas of liberty. Even if they just plant a seed, it’ll help to nudge their fans just a little bit more toward the ideas of freedom.