TABLE OF CONTENTS Welcome to OPH ............................................................................. OPH in a Nutshell ........................................................................... Introduction to OPH....................................................................... What is OPH, anyway? ......................................................................................... What does OPH tell me? ....................................................................................... Why do we do OPH? ............................................................................................. When should we do OPH? ....................................................................................
How do I do an OPH I: Advance Logistics ................................... How do I get a time and place? ............................................................................. How do I recruit volunteers to help? ..................................................................... What materials will I need? ................................................................................... Should I contact the news media? .........................................................................
How do I do an OPH II: Show Time ............................................. What should I wear? .............................................................................................. What should I say if the news media show up? ....................................................
How do I do an OPH III: Working the Booth .............................. Can you start with an overview of what will happen at the booth? ...................... How should I arrange the OPH Booth? ................................................................. How do I get people to take the Quiz? .................................................................. What if they have questions about the questions?................................................. How do I evaluate the Quiz? ................................................................................. How do I figure out where the person belongs on the Chart? ............................... What do I say to people about their evaluations?.................................................. How do I get names and addresses of proto-libertarians? ..................................... How do I get others to leave? ................................................................................ Oops, I accidentally asked a person who already took the quiz ............................
How do I do an OPH IV: Follow-up.............................................. What should I do with the names I get? ................................................................ Should I hold OPH in conjunction with an Intro presentation? ............................
Checklists for doing OPH .............................................................. Appendix: Sample OPH Press Releases ....................................... Appendix: What are the â€œLights of Libertyâ€? Awards? ............... Appendix: Acknowledgements ...................................................... Appendix: OPH Statistics .............................................................. Appendix: A few news articles about OPH .................................. 1
WELCOME TO OPH Welcome to OPH—OPERATION POLITICALLY HOMELESS. In the pages of this manual, I will describe what an OPH is, how you can do your own OPH, and how to make sure that your OPH is successful.
can probably engage in chit-chat about liberty. My task, then, is to teach you how to run an OPH booth. Think of this manual as a “How To” book. Because, once again, I’m an introvert. I like check Photo of lists. I like it when Scott giving people explain things OPH Presenstep-by-step. I like it tation in front when everything is laid of Diamond out, and I can follow it Chart like a recipe.
I’ve been doing OPH for several years, mostly on college campuses. During that time, I have administered thousands of quizzes, seen people with all manner of political views, been asked questions ranging from the insightful to the provacative to the absurd, and generally had a lot of fun. That’s right, I had fun.
Of course, like any recipe, there will be some options. You can add chopped nuts to your cookies, or a touch of cinnamon to your pudding. And you can use different ways of organizing the OPH booth, or of convincing people to take the survey. These options will be presented and explained, and you can select the way that makes the most sense to you. After all, you’re the one running the OPH booth.
I have to admit something right now: I’m somewhat introverted. Of course, in the movement for liberty, a lot of us are. And the idea of going out into crowds, meeting hundreds of people in a single day, and chatting with each of them for a few moments is not the way I would normally care to spend my day. But with OPH, it’s okay. You see, I don’t have to make idle chit-chat with people. I don’t have to try to remember everyone’s name. I don’t have to worry about whether I know anything about the local sports team, or a particular TV show, or the latest gossip. None of that has any relevance at the OPH booth.
And along the way, maybe you’ll think up a new technique or two that makes your booth more successful. If so, tell us about it! The lessons, methods, and options presented in this manual have all been thought up by previous people doing OPH, refining their techniques, testing them out, and generally seeing what works. (Who knows, maybe you’ll even be asked to write the next edition of this manual!)
Instead, in my dealings with these hundreds of people, I only need to know two things: the basics of liberty, and how to do an OPH booth.
Read on to learn more about how you can organize and successfully run your own OPH. You will be helping people better understand their own views, and you will be furthering the movement for liberty in the process. And remember, OPH is fun!
Presumably, if you have this manual in your hands, you already know the basics of liberty. After all, OPH is about outreach, and if you’re doing outreach, you already know that there is something worthwhile in liberty. Maybe you’ve listened to one of the many libertarian talk radio hosts, or read some libertarian books, or attended presentations of the subject. Maybe you figured out all by yourself that liberty is right and that liberty works. In any event, you probably already know the basics of liberty, and you
Scott Kjar Auburn, Alabama June 1, 2001 2
OPH IN A NUTSHELL While this entire manual explains what OPH is all about, how to do it, when to do it, and much more, it never hurts to get the nutshell version first. That way, you can better understand how the details all fit together, and what you are trying to accomplish. In that sense, everything you need to know is on this page. Everything, that is, except for all of the details that make it work! You can think of the rest of this manual as merely being an expansion on this single page.
The person prints his or her first name on a Graphic: small colored sticky Cracked open dot, and places that nutshell..... dot on THE CHART at Acronym “OPH” the point you indicate. emerging (hence, This point will be “OPH in a nutwithin one of the 5 shell!”) areas on the chart, listed as conservative, liberal, libertarian, authoritarian, and centrist.
It’s a warm, sunny day. You are working at an outreach booth, perhaps at a county fair, a city festival, or a college campus. You call your booth OPERATION POLITICALLY HOMELESS. A person approaches you at the booth. The person has seen your banner, or perhaps THE DIAMOND CHART, and is curious. The person wants to know what’s going on. You hand the person a small piece of paper. Across the top are the words THE WORLD’S SMALLEST POLITICAL QUIZ. There are 10 questions on the paper. Each question has three answer choices: Yes, No, and Maybe / Sometimes / Need More Information.
If the person is a libertarian, you invite the person to an upcoming event. You also ask for the person’s contact information, so that you can inform the person of upcoming activities. If the person is not a libertarian, you thank the person for participating, and you move on to the next person.
In a couple of minutes, the person has answered the 10 questions, and hands the piece of paper back to you. Looking over the person’s answers, you quickly realize where this person’s overall political leanings are. You point to THE DIAMOND CHART, standing on an easel. Based on the person’s answers to the quiz, you indicate where on THE CHART this person belongs.
INTRODUCTION TO OPH In the next few pages, I will give you some background information about OPH. That is, I will try to explain exactly what OPH is, what OPH can tell us about people, why we do OPH, and when we should do OPH. If you already know this information, feel free to move to the pages that tell you how to do an OPH. If you want to know the background, in order to better grasp the zeitgeist of OPH, spend a few minutes on these pages. And remember, OPH is fun! question has three possible answers: Yes, No, and Maybe / Sometimes / Need More Information.
What is OPH, anyway? OPERATION POLITICALLY HOMELESS (OPH) is a fun and exciting libertarian outreach outreach technique based on a chart devised in 1969 by political scientist David Nolan. Nolan was frustrated with the traditional Left–Right political spectrum Photo of because he observed David Nolan that many people with very different views were all lumped together in the middle. Nolan, who went on to co-found the Libertarian Party, recognized that there are actually two separate elements that define a person’s political belief: what sorts of goals should government have, and how much government should be applied to achieve those goals. The old Left–Right spectrum only covered the first, and left the second entirely unaddressed.
The questions, when taken together, accomplish two tasks. First, they determine whether a person tends to favor conservative goals or liberal goals. That is, conservatives tend to answer Yes to the economic questions and No to the personal issues, while liberals tend to have the opposite responses. Second, they determine whether a person tends to favor small government or big government. This is because those who favor small government tend to answer Yes to many questions in both the economic and the personal sections, while those who favor big government tend to answer No to many questions in both the economic and personal sections.
Graphic: Card-sized Quiz
At the OPH booth, we combine two key elements — THE WORLD’S SMALLEST POLITICAL QUIZ and THE DIAMOND CHART — to evaluate people’s overall political ideologies. In simplest terms, people come to the OPH booth, take THE QUIZ, and are plotted on THE DIAMOND CHART.
Once the person has taken THE QUIZ, those answers are evaluated, and are plotted on THE DIAMOND CHART. If you envision starting in the center of the diamond, people who answer Yes on the economic questions tend to move up and to the right, while people who answer No on economic questions tend to move down and to the left. At the same time, people who answer Yes on the personal issues tend to move up and
THE QUIZ has ten simple questions, five each on economic issues and personal issues. Each question asks who should control a particular decision, individuals or government. Each 4
to the left, while people who answer No on the personal issues tend to move down and to the right.
person’s political belief system. That is, a person who is toward the top, and not really to the left or right, is a libertarian. A person who is toward the top but more to the left or right is a liberal-libertarian (small government liberal) or a conservative-libertarian (small government conservative). Likewise, a person who is toward the bottom, and not really to the left or right, is an authoritarian. A person who is toward the bottom but more to the left or right is an liberal-authoritarian (big-government liberal) or conservative-authoritarian (big-government conservative). Those who are directly to the left or right, and not really more toward the top or bottom, are regular liberals or regular conservatives.
The interpretation of these results comes from a simple two-dimensional analysis. The normal left–right scale is obvious, and cuts right across the middle of the chart. People can easily see whether they are politically to the left or to the right. Some are closer to the center, and others are more toward the edges. Not surprisingly, those who say Yes to the economic questions and No to the personal issues appear on the
Ultimately, OPH is an outreach tool that serves both to identify proto-libertarians, and to increase overall societal awareness of the complexities of politics by providing a more realistic two-dimensional model of political belief.
What does OPH tell me? Since OPH is able to look at both political directions — what goals should government have, and how much government should be applied to those goals — it is possible to get a much richer view of an individual’s view of government. That is, rather than merely calling people conservatives, liberals, or moderates, OPH allows us to expand the categories into more descriptive and effective terms.
right, or conservative, side of the chart. Those who say No to the economic questions and Yes to the personal issues appear on the left, or liberal, side of the chart.
For example, conservatives seek particular societal outcomes, such as strong traditional families, private property, or religious faith. Liberals, on the other hand, seek social justice, equality, or compassion. Yet, given these sets of goals, it is still possible to be a Big-Government Conversative or a Small-Government Conservative, to be a Big-Government Liberal or a Small-Government Liberal.
At the same time, there is a separate top–bottom axis. Those who tend to say Yes more than they say No move toward the top of the chart, into the libertarian area. Those who tend to say No more than they say Yes move toward the bottom of the chart, into the authoritarian area. Thus, we can evaluate each person on both axes. A person is to the left or right of the center, and also to the top or bottom of the center. This makes it easy to get an overall evaluation of the
A Big-Government Conservative may believe that the best way to achieve his or her goals would be through tax policies that give breaks to
traditional families or corporations, using the military to open foreign markets, channelling money into approved religious organizations, or through the use of speech codes to prevent discussion of anti-American ideas; meanwhile, the Small-Government Conservative may believe that any use of the tax code, military intervention, funnelling taxpayer money to religious groups, or establishment of speech codes actually undermines the goals being sought, and would oppose them.
Conservatives, Big-Goverment Liberals and Big-Government Conservatives, Small-Government Liberals (or left-libertarians) and SmallGovernment Conservatives (or right-libertarians), Libertarians, Authoritarians, and Centrists. OPERATION POLITICALLY HOMELESS, by using THE WORLD’S SMALLEST POLITICAL QUIZ and THE DIAMOND CHART, provides useful insights into the differences between various political categories. And, as it turns out, OPH happens to be a great way to identify people who are libertarians and just don’t know it.
A Big-Government Liberal may propose all manner of social programs designed to rectify society’s ills, such as Medicare, job retraining programs, wealth transfers, or speech codes to protect various groups from hatred; a SmallGovernment Liberal, while desiring the same outcomes, may look at these programs as merely causing other problems, and not actually solving the initial ones.
Why do we do OPH? In any movement, including the movement for liberty, there are two basic ways to grow: convince people to change their views, or find people who already share your views. I’ve tried them both, and I’d like to illustrate the difference by talking about three friends of mine: Susan, Dave, and James.
Thus, it is possible for a Small-Government Liberal and a Small-Government Conservative to have very different goals, but still prefer the smallest government possible. At the same time, a Big-Government Liberal and a Big-Government Conservative may both be pushing for expansion of government in their respective realms. To the taxpayer, it often matters very little whether it is the Big-Government Conservative or the Big-Government Liberal who expands government, increases taxes, or imposes speech codes; it matters equally little whether it is the Small-Government Conservative or the Small-Government Liberal who makes government less intrustive and reduces onerous regulations.
When I met Susan in 1991, she was an attorney who was working for a federal judge. We started discussing the law, its rationale, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and similar topics. Susan was a typical liberal who believed unreservedly in aggressive prosecution of the anti-trust laws and gun control laws. She believed that only through the use of extreme amounts of benevolent government could society be made worthwhile. I challenged Susan’s thinking, and offered her a libertarian alternative. In short, I tried concincing her to change her views and become a libertarian. She started thinking about it, but she objected frequently to my claims. She wanted to argue about whether particular ideas really were valid, and whether libertarian policies could even work. For the next few years, she would call me at all hours
In short, it is the amount of government, as much as what the government does, that affects people, and it is the amount of government that is not tested or evaluated by the traditional Left– Right political spectrum. OPH, by using a short political opinion survey coupled with an updated version of David Nolan’s pioneering chart, helps to identify all of these different groups: Traditional Liberals and Traditional 6
with questions. In 2001, Susan went to her first libertarian event—a gun safety seminar! In ten years and literally hundreds of conversations, I had convinced her to change her views.
student members from his classes, his work, his hobbies, from everywhere. Once he could match his views with a name and a consistent philosophy, he became a one-man dynamo for liberty.
Dave was a computer programmer who considered himself a small-government conservative. He was familiar with the Constitution, and believed that government was substantially out of control. A friend of mine had challenged his thinking a couple of days earlier, and when Dave had some questions, my friend suggested that Dave talk to me about them. I sat down with Dave, and for about 4 hours, we worked through many issues, topics, and ideas. By the end of the day, I knew that Dave was already mostly a libertarian, but he had some of the normal conservative concerns, like drugs and immigration. Over the course of about 6 months, as we talked through these issues in dozens of conversations, Dave came to see how his views on private property and freedom for businesses led inexorably to freedom on issues like drugs and immigration. After six months, Dave made his first donation to a libertarian organization.
Today, Susan, Dave, and James are among my closest friends. But when I think about all those middle-of-the-night calls from Susan worrying about selling the Grand Canyon or providing symphonies to inner-city kids, or about Dave’s fears over drug legalization and immigration, and then I think about how James was instantly a libertarian at the booth and immediately started bringing in his own members, it becomes very clear to me which technique is best for expanding the movement for liberty. By various estimates, libertarians make up somewhere between 15 and 30% of the American electorate. Yet, when people are asked about their political views, fewer than 5% — and often fewer than 1% — selfidentify themselves as libertarians. That means that there are a lot of libertarians out there who just don’t know it. It was easier to find James by talking to 100 people in one day at an OPH booth than it was to convert Susan or Dave from their previous views. And that’s why I do OPH.
James came to an OPH booth I was holding for a campus libertarian club. He took the quiz, scored in the libertarian section, and then said that he had never met anyone who agreed with him on so many issues. He had always thought that he was the only person in the entire world with his ideas, and he had never heard of libertarianism. He joined the club, soon became its president, attended some libertarian training seminars, and then went on to found, co-found, or become active in several liberty-related clubs on campus, including the Freeman reading group, the local Hemp Alliance, Students for the Second Amendment, and the Objectivist Society. Within weeks, James was bringing in new
When should we do OPH? At the risk of sounding flip, any time is a good time to do OPH. Of course, to help ensure your success, there may be some times that are better than others. The purpose of doing an OPH is to identify proto-libertarians so that you can invite them to join your local organization. Thus, the best time to do OPH is when you can meet these two criteria: you expect to find a lot of proto-libertarians, and you can assimilate them into your
group. Let me expand on those two points a little bit.
Second, you want to make sure that your organization is ready for a batch of new names. If you hold OPH, identify a large number of protolibertarians, and then never follow-up with them, you have probably wasted your time. Very few of the proto-libertarians will follow through on their own. Very few will contact the Advocates for Self-Government, or any of the other libertarian organizations, without a little nudge from you and your organization.
First, OPH is a volume tool. You don’t merely want to give the quiz to one person, or 5, or even 20. You want to give the quiz to 100 people, 200, or even 500 people in a single day. When you give the quiz, depending on the venue, you may get somewhere between 10% and 40% of them ending up as libertarians. Of those whose answers peg them in the libertarian section, some will be willing to give you their contact information, and others won’t. Of those who give their contact information, some will come to a follow-up activity, and others won’t. Of those who come to a follow-up activity, some will join your organization, and others won’t. Of those who join your organization, some will become active participants, and others won’t. In short, you go through a lot of quizzes to get a few active members.
Thus, when you plan to hold an OPH, you should also schedule a few other activities soon afterward. Schedule an “Introduction to Libertarianism” presentation, or a mock debate with group members playing the roles of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. Schedule a discussion about some of the funny things that government has done. Schedule an activity related to your target audience (e.g., if you are doing OPH at a gun show, follow-up with a gun-related activity; if you are doing OPH at Earth Day, schedule a medical marijuana presentation; if you are doing OPH at a city festival, find a speaker to offer the libertarian view on city planning; etc.).
It’s a numbers game, pure and simple. The more quizzes you give, the more proto-libertarians you will find, the more members you will gain, and the more activists you will unleash. If you only give 50 quizzes, you might find 15 protolibertarians, get 10 names, have 5 come to a meeting, have 2 join, and have none who actually ever become active participants. If you give 500 quizzes, you might find 80 proto-libertarians, get 70 names, have 25 come to a meeting, have 10 join, and have 3 become active members.
In conclusion, you want to hold an OPH when you can expect to see a lot of people, and when your organization is in a position to quickly follow-up with the new names. When you put these two elements together, your chances of overall long-term success improve dramatically.
You want to go where the people are. You want places where there is a lot of foot traffic, and people are willing to pause for a couple of minutes to take the survey and see the results. Common places for OPH are state and county fairs, city festivals, gun shows, flea markets, college campuses, or even busy street corners. The steadier the foot traffic, the more potential libertarians you will encounter. (Note that I used the word steadier rather than busier. This distinction will become important later in this manual.)
HOW DO I DO AN OPH I: ADVANCE LOGISTICS In this portion of the manual, you will learn what to do in advance of the OPH, that is, how do you go about preparing for the event. By “advance logistics,” we are talking about finding a location for OPH, getting permission if necessary, recruiting volunteers, making sure that you have the appropriate materials, contacting the news media, and similar issues. workers or the people who are taking the quiz. On the other hand, a stadium concert where you set up a table out in the parking lot might be okay, because the sound from the concert might not be so bad out there. A booth at a fair or on a campus is usually okay in this regard.
How do I get a time and place to do OPH? You want to select an OPH time and place where there will be a lot of people on foot who are willing and able to stop for a few minutes at your booth. State and county fairs, city festivals, flea markets, concerts, gun shows, Oktoberfest, downtown parks, outside of the post office, and college campuses are all likely OPH locations.
In addition, you want a steady traffic flow, not a frenzied rush. Thus, standing outside of the football stadium after the big game is probably not conducive to getting many people to take the quiz. On the other hand, if there is a big tail-gate event before the football game (or even the evening before), you may want to find a good location, and get people to take the quiz well before there is the big rush for the stadium.
In many places, the local Chamber of Commerce organizes a “master list” of upcoming activities and events. Contact the Chamber and ask for a copy of the list. It will surely include the types of activities mentioned above. Go through the list, and see what looks good to you.
Once you have decided on a time and place for your OPH, you will need to see about permission. For example, a county fair will have booths available, but they will require preregistration. The same is likely to be true of most venues. The Chamber of Commerce master list probably includes contact information for the organizers of the event. Call the organizers, and ask about the rules for getting a booth. They will provide you with the information, including the size of the booth, the materials that they provide and the materials that you provide (e.g,. sometimes they will provide a table and chairs, but other times they will only provide the space and you must provide everything you need). Some events will be free, but others may require payment, ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Make sure that you are clear about the financial arrangements; you don’t want to show up to work a booth only to find that you have obligated yourself to payments that you had not budgeted.
My suggestion is that you find a venue that will have a lot of local people, but not a lot of tourists. After all, you want to gain names for your organization, rather than merely gain names in general. While it is all well and good to work on “big picture” libertarianism, that is, to try to convince people everywhere to embrace libertarianism, that is really more than any one person or group can take on. It is far better to focus your efforts on local activities, because you can directly follow-up yourself, and you can see the fruits of your own labor. Also, pick a venue that will not be too noisy. For example, a street dance with live bands may make it very difficult to even hear your co9
If you are doing the OPH on a college campus, you will probably need a student group to sponsor you. If there is a campus libertarian club, a second amendment group, an organization working for medical marijuana, or the like, this is a good place to seek such sponsorship (not to mention a good source of volunteers to work at the booth). If there is no such student group, contact the student government, or student activities office, and see what the rules are for starting a club. Using OPH to find new campus members is a great kick-off event for a new student group.
It is possible that you will call the first four names on the list, they will all volunteer to work all day with you, and you will be all set. Of course, it is more likely that most of the people you call will simply not be home, and those that are home are likely to say “no” to your request. Don’t despair when this happens. One important key is learning what “no” means, and what it doesn’t mean. That is, when you ask someone to come help you work all day at an outreach booth, if the person you are asking says “no,” it may be that you simply haven’t asked the right question.
How do I recruit volunteers to help?
You should listen to what the person says when he or she tells you “no.” If the answer is “No, I’m going to be out-of-state for my daughter’s wedding,” then the person probably won’t be able to help out at all. On the other hand, if the answer is, “No, I have to mow the lawn and get groceries that day,” then maybe the person can help for a half day. In that case, ask for a half day, perhaps the morning shift, or the afternoon shift. That gives the person time to do those other activities, and still help out.
I have done OPH alone dozens of times, but I always find that the OPH is more successful if there are more people working. Generally, 2–4 people are a good-sized crew for an OPH. Unless you have a very large booth or a large open-air space, more than 4 people at your booth can get crowded. In any event, it doesn’t take very many people to work at an OPH. There is a simple way to get people to help: ask them. If you don’t ask, no one knows that you need help, and no one will likely volunteer.
Again, if you are told “no” to the request for a half-day, ask for a two-hour commitment. Having people help out during key times, such as lunch (when your crew will need to take breaks to eat), can make the day go smoother and easier for those of you who are spending the entire day at the table.
This begs an important question: who are the “them” that you should ask? That is, who are these people that you are supposed to ask to help?
And if the person still tells you “no,” it probably doesn’t hurt to ask for a donation to help pay for the booth registration fee, the materials, or lunch for the people who are working the table. But what if you don’t have a group or organization, or if you don’t really have any sort of list from which to make calls? Then who do you ask?
The obvious starting place is with members of your group or organization. If you are, say, a local chapter of a gun group, or a medical marijuana advocacy organization, or a political party, you should start by going down the list of members. Pick up the phone, and give them all a call. Tell them what you are doing, when it is, how long it will take, and ask them to help.
That’s when you want to ask your family members, your friends, people you know from work, people you see at the bar, people with whom you do aerobics, or people you just know. Tell 10
them that you are going to be working at a booth, and that you need some people to help you. They won’t have to know all the details of libertarianism, or even have to share your political beliefs. These are people who are helping out not because they believe in the cause, but because you asked them.
absolutely cannot find anyone else to work with you.
What materials will I need? In its simplest form, you will need these items: THE DIAMOND CHART, THE WORLD’S SMALLES POLITICAL QUIZ, pens, sticker dots, a table a bag to put the used quizzes (this is NOT garbage!), and a bag for garbage. In such a case, you put THE CHART, copes of THE QUIZ, and pens on the table, and when people finish marking their answers, you show them where to put their dots on the chart. (This will be described in more detail later in the manual.)
Friends and family help each other out. After all, you’re probably not asking them to help you for several hours a day, every day, for a couple of weeks. Instead, you’re asking them to come out and help you for a few hours. One day. A half day. Two hours during lunch. Remember, once you have done a day of OPH, you will have a lot of names of other people to call to ask to help out for the next one. You only need help in getting started, in getting that first day under your belt. I am willing to bet that your friends and family will be happy to help you out. After all, OPH is fun! And whatever it is that you are doing, they are doing it with you.
A common option would be a tri-pod or other method of standing the Chart up for better visibility. Having the Chart standing and visible is a great way of attracting people to the table. You can purchase a tri-pod, make something yourself, or find a way to attach the chart to a wall or bulletin board (if appropriate).
Wait, you insist. What if you have no group or organization, your family lives across the country, and you have no friends at all? Then what do you do? You still have a few options. For example, if you are not already a member of a libertarian-oriented group, but you are planning to do an OPH, that means that you are probably trying to start such a group. Contact the Advocates, or the national Libertarian Party, or whatever is the umbrella group you plan to associate with, and ask them for some leads. They may well have some names of people in your area who have already expressed a desire to help out, and are just waiting for someone to come along to coordinate some activity.
Another option is to have clip boards for the quizzes. I generally use quizzes that are the size of 1/4 sheet of paper, so I buy a lot of small clip boards for this use. Then, instead of requiring everyone to crowd around the table, I can hand out a bunch of clip boards all at the same time, and thereby serve more people simultaneously. A third option is chairs. Notice that I did not put these in the required items. Frankly, using chairs will make you less effective. You need to stand to talk to people, stand to explain the quiz, and stand to look people in the eye. Having a chair or two is only an option to allow your crew members to take an occasional break; you cannot work OPH from a chair.
And if nothing else works, remember this: I have done OPH alone dozens of times. The advantage to having more volunteers working at the table is that you can administer more quizzes and evaluate more potential libertarians. But it is perfectly possible to work the table alone if you
A fourth option is a banner for the top of your
booth. Sometimes, a banner can help to draw attention to your booth, and thereby bring people to it. The Advocates has a series of banners that are used for this purpose, and they are based on different sorts of events. (Banners mention a political survey, or a gun owners survey, or mention the quiz, etc.)
from the Advocates, Libertarian Party, Cato, Foundation for Economic Education, Reason, Institute for Humane Studies, PERC, or other liberty-oriented groups. Finally, you might actually want to have a second booth right next to the first one, or across the aisle from it. In that way, you can separate the OPH aspect of your activity from the displaying of other materials. After all, the purpose of OPH is to screen for proto-libertarians, and to gain names. Having a separate booth allows those people who want to chat a while, or who want to discuss specific issues more thoroughly, the chance to do so right away. You don’t want these people standing in front of your table, because they will end up turning away others who might take THE QUIZ. By all means, keep such conversations, arguments, and issues discussions away from the OPH table. If that means having a separate table, then so be it.
A fifth option would be 5 one-gallon jars, used for the Harris 5-jar technique (explained later in this manual). This is used as a pre-screening technique before people even take the quiz.
There may be other options that you find to use. If so, please pass the information along to us. We can all learn from each other, and sometimes the newcomers can see things that experienced people miss.
A sixth option is a tent or other overhead covering, if you are going to be outside in the sun (or the rain!).
As you read the section about “Working the Booth,” you will be able to decide for yourself which options you wish to use, and how you wish to set up your booth.
Seventh, I suggest that you go to K-Mart or Wal-Mart and purchase a poster frame for your DIAMOND CHART. This should have a backing, a frame, and a plastic cover, and you should put THE DIAMOND CHART into the frame behind the cover. Once you have covered your CHART with colored dots, you will want to peel them off to re-use at your next OPH. The dots peel off the plastic poster frame cover much easier than they peel off THE CHART itself, and the backing and frame help it to keep its shape and professional appearance much longer.
Should I contact the news media? Absolutely. While the OPH is primarily designed to identify proto-libertarians, it also serves to show clearly the differences between libertarians, conservatives, liberals, centrists, and authoritarians. As such, it is a great tool to show your local media representative.
Eighth, you may want to have literature or material to hand out. I like to do OPH in conjunction with “Introduction to Libertarianism” presentations, so I always have flyers announcing the event, the speaker, the time, date, and place. You might also want to have literature
One thing you must realize about most members of the media: as much as they say that they want to “talk about the issues,” they don’t really want to talk about the issues. This is one of the reasons why libertarians don’t get much coverage — we always want to talk about the issues. 12
a couple of hours. First, go to the Yellow Pages, and look up the listings under Television Stations, Radio Stations, Newspapers, and Magazines. Write down the name, address, and phone number of each one.
Just read the coverage of the candidates sometime. It rarely gives the specific details about a candidate’s stance on a particular issue (unless it is a big government position), and there is rarely much serious contrast between the positions of various candidates. Instead, converage always concerns which groups have endorsed which candidates, or where a candidate is campaigning, or what a candidate had for lunch, or who is likely to be the candidate’s advisors, if elected. In short, the media likes to cover the perception of issues, rather than the issues themselves.
Then call each one, and ask for their fax number for press releases. Also, you will want to get the name of the appropriate person. It is always better to send a press release to a specific person, because then that person will likely read and consider your release. If you send it to a newspaper without a contact name, it may be shunted aside, or read by an overworked editor who doesn’t consider it very thoroughly. Also, if the same person regularly reads your releases, that person is more likely to consider your group to be newsworthy. Groups that pop up once every few years and then disappear are unlikely to be newsworthy regardless of what they are doing; groups that are regularly engaging in activity will get more coverage. By sending your releases to the same people, they see you engaging in regular activity, and thus are more likely to providing media coverage, if not now, perhaps in the future.
When the Republicans begin a voter registration drive in the Hispanic neighborhoods, that is news. If the Democrats push for voter registration at the Social Services offices, that is news. If there is discussion about re-drawing precinct boundaries in order to change racial composition of an elected body, that is news. But those are not issues, they are tactics! Several years ago, when I was running for State Representative, I attacked the local school district for being wasteful in its bond issues. I got some newspaper coverage, but the coverage didn’t say anything specific about my position; they only talked about the fact that I was attacking the school system. (Shame on me!) Again, they didn’t talk about my issues, they talked about perceptions and they talked about my tactics.
For Television Stations, the key person will have a title like Assignment Editor or News Producer. That will be the person who assigns reporters to go cover particular stories, and sends camera crews out. At a Radio Station, the News Director is the key news person. (Many radio stations will only have 1 or 2 news people total, so it will be obvious who the appropriate person is.) For Newspapers, you will want to find out the name of the political reporter, the news editor, and the metro editor, so you can send the release to all three of them.
OPH is a tactic. It is a means of identifying proto-libertarians, and a means of increasing overall voter understanding of the complexity of the political spectrum. It’s not an issue, and it’s not a position paper. And because it is a tactic, and specifically a tactic about perceptions, it might be considered “news” by the news media. So by all means, notify the media. You might actually get someone to come cover you! Of course, your next likely question is this: how do I figure out who to notify?
Once you have done this, you have your own press list all ready to go. If you have a fax machine or a fax modem, you can key in the
You will want to build your own “press list.” Compiling this list is pretty easy, but it may take 13
numbers so that faxing is automatic. If you plan to use regular mail, you might want to put the information into some sort of computer database, so that you can print out labels (or better yet, print directly onto the envelopes â€” it looks more professional). Of course, you can always just put the envelope into your typewriter and type the address directly. (This is fine for two or three addresses, but if you have several items on your press list, this will become very time consuming.) See the appendix for a sample press release. Feel free to customize it to fit your particular situation.
HOW DO I DO AN OPH II: SHOW TIME Remember the old adage: you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Since you are at the table as a representative of some organization, whether it is the local Libertarian Party, a local issues group, or some other entity, you want to make sure that your appearance and demeanor convey favorable information about your organization. Remember, this is not about how you normally look or act; it is about how your audience will react to how you look and act. purpose. A cap supporting your candidate at the candidate’s booth is okay, but if you are running a general OPH for the purpose of identifying proto-libertarians, then a cap that identifies your candidate may drive away more people than it attracts. Likewise, a cap with a slogan or gesture on it may be a big turn-off. If you must wear hats or caps (e.g., to keep out the sun), try to keep it simple.
What should I wear? Your exact attire will partly be determined by the type and location of the event. If you are at a professional event, you will want to wear professional attire. If you are at a casual event, then casual attire is acceptable. However, you don’t want to be too casual. There is a difference between looking relaxed and looking slovenly, between conveying an impression of casual success and conveying one of carelessness.
Another item that is important but often overlooked is skin care. If you are going to be outside, you will want some sun screen. If you are in an area with bugs, an insect repellent is a good idea.
Think about how your target audience will be dressed. Then, you will want to dress that way, or slightly better. For example, at a fair booth, guys can generally wear a knit shirt with a collar, or a sport shirt, or even a dress shirt that is not too dressy. However, a jacket and tie are usually too much at OPH events. (Note: if you are a candidate, then you always want to wear a jacket and tie.) Casual slacks are usually fine, but blue jeans or shorts would be crossing the line. T-shirts with slogans will detract from your appearance, no matter how catchy or cute you believe the slogan to be.
What should I say if the news media show up? Since you contacted the media and told them about the booth, you shouldn’t be too surprised if someone from the media actually stops by. Perhaps a newspaper or TV reporter might drop by to see you in action. First, make sure that they get shots of THE DIAMOND CHART, of one or more individuals taking THE QUIZ, and of you evaluating THE QUIZ, Next, explain to the reporter what THE CHART is, and how it separates folks into their respective ideologies. Along the way, make sure that you drop in other relevant contact information, like the web site
Women can follow the same general rules regarding overall style of attire. That is, shorts and t-shirts are not recommended, while business attire might be a little too dressy. A casual skirt or slacks accompanied by a casual top are probably fine. Also, don’t overdo your make-up. If you are going to wear a hat or cap, make sure that it is appropriate to your venue and to your 15
for the Advocates for Self-Government (www.theadvocates.org), or the name of the national Libertarian Party, Cato, IHS, or other group you are affiliated with, and their respective contact information.
saying that it should, or should not, be this way. I am only saying that, in my experience, and in the experience of many others with whom I have spoken, this is a fact.) Thus, if you have an attractive, articulate woman working at the table, make sure that she is the key contact person for the reporter. Make sure that she gives the statements, and explains the processes. And if there is a photo, make sure that she is the focus of the photo.
Be sure to point out the overall results you have so far. That is, point out the general trend, e.g., are there a lot of liberals, conservatives, centrists, etc. Which group seems to be the most represented, and which group seems to be the least represented? Also, since you will compile the final results after the day is over, offer to fax the final tallies (e.g., overall how many conservatives, liberals, centrists, libertarians, and authoritarians did you find). If the result gets in soon enough, the reporter may work that piece of information into the story.
A secondary effect of this is that if women are seen as prominently participating in your organization, you may get more women may subsequently join the organization. In the movement for liberty, we generally have substantially more men than women, so anything that helps recruit more women is a big plus.
I would like to toss in one extra hint about dealing with the news media. For better or for worse, attractive and articulate women are more likely to get coverage than are men. (Iâ€™m not
HOW DO I DO AN OPH III: WORKING THE BOOTH I know, you are starting to get impatient. I am telling stories, talking about what to wear, and how to build a press list, and all you really want to know is what to do when you get to the booth. That is, how should you arrange the booth, or how do you get people to take the quiz, or how do you really get into the nitty-gritty, evaluate the quiz, and put the results on the chart. And most important, how do you get people to give you their names and contact information before they leave the booth? After all, that’s the real reason you are there.
Can you start with an overview of what will happen at the booth?
How you should arrange the booth is based substantially on what options you are using. The Spartan Booth (simplest version) I usually run a very spartan booth made up of the following items: • DIAMOND CHART on an Easel • Copies of THE WORLD’S SMALLEST POLITICAL QUIZ • Several Clipboards (I use about 7 when I work alone, and about 10 when I work with others) • Lots of Pens (these will walk away all day long, so buy a lot of cheap blue Bic pens) • Sheets of Colored Spots (I buy a few boxes of these, and have hundreds available to me) • Flyer giving details of my upcoming Intro to Libertarianism speech • Table (if the fair or other location does not supply one) • Table Cloth (hangs down far enough to hide the stuff under the table) • Extra supplies in a box under the table • A small plastic bag (from the grocery store) taped to the back of the table • Small Garbage Bag under the table
The overall flow of the booth is pretty straightforward. You will get people’s attention and attract them to the booth. If you are using the Harris Jars, you will have them “vote” in a jar. Following that, or if you are not using the Harris Jars, the next step is for people to take THE QUIZ. Once they take THE QUIZ, you will evaluate it for them, figuring out whether they are libertarians, conservatives, liberals, centrists, or authoritarians. Upon completing that determination, you will show them where they will put their colored spot onto THE DIAMOND CHART. If they are in the libertarian section, you will invite them to attend the next meeting, event, or activity of your local group (I suggest that it be held that very night), and also ask for their contact information, so that you can notify them about future meetings, events, and activities. You will give them literature or information as appropriate, drop their completed quiz into your quiz bag, and move on to the next person. That’s pretty much the entire OPH in a nutshell. Of course, a little more explanation of some of those details might not hurt.
When running this stripped-down version of the booth, just arrange the clipboards around the table so you have easy access to them as you move around the table to talk to people. Keep excess supplies under the table, not on the table, since they will clutter up your space. The key to
How should I arrange the booth? This is where you will get into a lot of options. 17
copies of THE QUIZ, colored spots, and so on from the Spartan Booth. And be sure to keep the table neat!
OPH is volume. Get people to take THE QUIZ, and then, if appropriate, get their contact information. Often, having a lot of flyers, brochures, caps, refrigerator magnets, magazines, or similar items at your booth merely slows down the process, and increases the chance that someone will want to argue with you over something. The Spartan Booth is OPH — nothing more and nothing less.
Candidate Booth If you are running a booth for the candidate, you will want to be sure to add these items: • The Candidate! • Banner with Candidate’s Name (e.g., “John Smith for Governor”) • Brochures and Candidate Information
Harris Jars The Harris Jars are used as a screening mechanism. Since we recognize that many people are not going to be in the libertarian section of the quiz, it is often helpful to reduce the number of people who actually fill out the quiz and get placed on THE CHART. The Harris Jars serve this function quite well.
You will probably do the OPH the same, but in the end, your purpose is the get people to vote for your candidate. This may be a little bit trickier than you think at first. After all, once you have people take THE QUIZ, and you show them where they stand on THE CHART, they will likely want to know where the candidate stands on THE CHART. In this way, you are as likely to turn people off from voting for you as you are to turn people on to voting for you. That is, if you are a libertarian, and the person in front of you has scored in one of their other parts of THE CHART, they are likely to conclude that you are not the candidate for whom they should vote. On the other hand, if you can get all those in the libertarian area to cast a ballot for you on election day, that might be a big improvement over what you otherwise would have polled. Just remember, the purpose here is to find people who are already libertarians but don’t know it; we are substantially less interested in confirming for others that they are not libertarians. And remember: keep your table neat.
For the Harris Jars method, you start with all the same items listed in the Spartan Booth, plus: • 5 Clear Two-Quart Jars or 5 Clear One-Gallon Jars • Large Saucer • A Few Hundred Pennies • Banner saying “How often does government do a good job?” You will put the banner over your booth as a means of attracting attention. Your five jars, which should be prominently displayed on the table, are labeled “Always,” “Usually,” “About Half,” “Seldom,” and “Never.” With this technique, you will ask people to “vote” with a penny in one of these five jars. You will put the saucer filled with pennies next to the jars, so that people can come up, take a penny from the saucer, and cast their vote. (If they want to use their own money, by all means, encourage them—every donation helps!) Therest of the booth is made up of THE CHART, clipboards,
Information Booth You might be particularly interested in having a lot of information available at your booth. That 18
is, you might decide that it is worthwhile to administer fewer copies of THE QUIZ and engage in a few more conversations. After all, those people who stop to talk might actually turn out to be people sincerely interested in libertarianism, and by chatting with them for a few minutes, you could substantially increase the chances that they will become involved. (You are also more likely to have to argue with conservatives, liberals, and authoritarians, but hey, you are the one running the booth!) For an Information Booth, you may want to add some of the following: • Brochures from the Advocates • Political Party Brochures • Brochures from think tanks, such as Cato, FEE, IHS, or PERC • Magazines such as Reason or Liberty • Journals such as Journal of Libertarian Studies, Independent Review, or Cato Journal
Another thing that I have tried to mention over and over is that you should always keep your booth neat. If your booth gets cluttered, messy, or unkempt, you will quickly scare off your prospective quiz-takers. Only slobs feel comfortable around other slobs, and while some of our prospective quiz-takers may be slobs, others will not be, and we want to be able to appeal to a broad cross-section of people. However, there are also some things that you should not have at your booth. • Duct Tape • C-Clamps to hold things together • Obscene shirts, pins, flyers, caps • Grungy volunteers in stinky clothes • Half-eaten food or food wrappers Duct tape and C-clamps are amazing fix-alls for whatever goes wrong. Of course, they also looks unprofessional, or even tacky. If you need tape, use transparent tape or double-faced tape so that your tape doesn’t cover or hide your materials. As for the other items, they convey a negative impression to most people. You are trying to convey a positive impression, so you should avoid these things. And remember again that old adage: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
In this case, a major initiative should be to get people to take some information for later reading. Caution: do NOT try to load people down with every single item at your table. Find out the person’s interests, and then offer them a couple of items. If you give too much, people will end up being overwhelmed, and likely to throw it all away. If you give a little info — just the right amount — then people are more likely to actually read it. And remember, with all of these different items on the table, it is important to keep the table neat.
How do I get people to take the quiz? This is one of the most important questions in the entire manual. After all, if no one takes THE QUIZ, then you are just standing there all day watching people go past. And for those introverts among us, this may also be the most difficult question, since we don’t automatically approach other people in a way that sets them at ease and makes them want to cooperate with us.
ALL Booths I have talked about some things to have at your booth. One thing that I mentioned earlier in the Manual was a poster frame with a plastic cover for your DIAMOND CHART. This helps keep it clean and neat, and makes it easier when you have to peel the colored spots off. And you will have to peel off the colored spots after every outing, or else you soon have a blob of color, and no one can even see the diamond patter underneath, at which time it loses all of its value.
Yet, this need not be a difficult part of the operation. If I may borrow from Nike commercials for a moment, you have to decide what to say, and then just say it. What you say may be partly based on how you are organizing the booth, or on how people look 19
when they go past, or on something else unrelated. The point is that you have to get someone’s attention first, and it all follows from there.
answer, I don’t take no answer for an answer, and I keep pitching to them until they either say “okay,” “no,” or are out of earshot. Eventually, I might say something cute enough that the person turns to me and agrees to take THE QUIZ.
For example, if you are using the Harris Jars, simply make eye contact with someone near the booth, and ask the question on your banner: How often does government do a good job? You can use this same line over and over all day long. Once people hear the question, you can point to the jars, and ask people to drop a penny in the jar of their choice. If they participate that far, then you simply say “Would you please take our 10-question survey?” And as you do this, hand over a clipboard and pen. Place these in people’s hands before they have a moment to say no. After all, they are going with the flow, and it is easy for you to set the pace of your encounter.
Here are some phrases or statements offered by previous people who did OPH. Some of these can be used to induce people to take THE QUIZ. Others may be used to help overcome “objections” or questions people might have about why you are doing this, or what you hope to accomplish with this activity. Feel free to incorporate them if you like them, or ignore them if they do not fit your style. Remember, you are the one doing the OPH. You will have to decide what feels right for you, and what works for you. Would you participate in our one-question political survey? (Then point at the sign saying “How often does government do a good job?” Follow this up by pointing at the jars.)
If you are working at a candidate booth, you simply ask people to learn about your candidate. “Are you familiar with Mr. Jones, candidate for Governor?” Once you have their attention, then tell them that Mr. Jones is getting feedback from people, and ask them if they would please fill out this short political opinion survey.
Please drop a coin in the jar that comes closest to your opinion. The results of this survey will be given to the press at the end of the fair. Use one of our pennies, or your own coin, as you prefer.
My particular technique is somewhat akin to a carnival barker. You have all seen carnival employees urging you to attend their show, or come to their booth. “Five tries for a buck, come on, give it a try.” They urge and cajole you to toss ping-pong balls into saucers, or throw darts at balloons, or squirt water into a clown’s mouth, win a stuffed bear, guess your weight, or whatever it is. These carnies get your attention, and just ask over and over and over. Since I usually do OPH on college campuses, I tell students that they should stop and take my test, that I guarantee they will pass, that every answer is a correct answer, and so on. While I take “no” for an
If you’d like to find out agrees with you politically, please answer the ten questions in this little quiz. We’ll find your position, and put your own dot on this chart. We’re trying to replace the old Left– Right political scale with this new DIAMOND CHART. The old scale is so simplistic that it leaves a lot of people politically homeless. Sometimes you agree with the Democrats and sometimes you agree with the Republicans? Sounds like the traditional Left–Right scale doesn’t really explain where you are. Maybe our DIAMOND CHART can help.
to people, but you also want to make sure that you do not bias their answers by only giving the libertarian position on a question without giving them more information. Thus, you walk a tightrope: give them enough information to make an informed decision, but don’t bias their answers, and don’t give them a treatise on the subject.
Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Jefferson are probably the most famous libertarians of all time. Some current famous libertarians include Clint Eastwood, Congressman Ron Paul, Kurt Russell, Penn of Penn & Teller, TV journalist John Stossel, and many more. There is a whole list of them at www.theadvocates.com.
I have a question....
You scored in the libertarian part of THE CHART. Did you know that you are a libertarian? I’d be happy to send information to you about upcoming events you might be interested in. Please fill out the back of this quiz. (I always use a copy of THE QUIZ that has a space for all the contact information on the back. Then, after the person answers the questions and scores in the libertarian section, I simply turn it over and ask for the info on the other side. That way, I have the contact info on the same sheet as I have the person’s results.) Did you study for today’s quiz?
Here are a few things you can say to people if they have questions.
Better stop and take my quiz. I guarantee that you’ll pass.
Personal Issues Military Service should be voluntary. No Draft. “What if I think there should be a draft during war, but not during Peace?” (or) “What if I want to have a draft during national emergencies, but no other time? If you sometimes want a draft and sometimes don’t, then you should answer the Maybe / Sometimes / Need More Information option. That’s why we put that answer choice there.
Ten easy questions, and you’ll probably realize something about yourself that you don’t already know. Hey, that’s a great (jacket / shirt / outfit / cap / whatever). Do you have a moment? Here, take THE WORLD’S SMALLEST POLITICAL QUIZ. It’s fun! Curious? (Just hold up THE QUIZ as people walk past, grin, and say this one word.)
“What if I don’t want a military draft, but I want manadatory service, like Americorps?” If you want mandatory service like Americorps, but not a military draft, you should answer Yes. After all, most people who want manadatory draft believe, like you, that young people should put in a time of service to their country; the only difference is in what you believe that service
What if they have questions about the questions? Sometimes, people will be unclear about exactly what the questions mean, or if there is more to them than meets the eye. You want to be helpful 21
should actually do.
Then answer No.
“What if I think that enough people will always register so that we don’t need the draft, but I want to keep the laws on the books just in case?” You are kind of in the middle of this question. If you can’t state that the answer is Yes or No, just pick the middle option. It’s sort of a catch-all answer.
‘I think those things should be legal. Get government out of my bedroom.” Then answer Yes.
Government should not control radio, TV, press, or internet. “They don’t control those things now, do they?” The Federal Communications Commission oversees some of those things nationally. There have been various court cases and federal laws about the Internet in the past few years.
Drug laws do more harm than good. “What are you, some kind of hippie?” (Laugh) No, I’m just conducting a survey.
“Well, I think that some of that is okay, but not others.” If you want some but not others, try the Maybe / Sometimes answer.
“How could they do more harm than good?” I’m just asking the questions, I didn’t write them. Answer as best as you can. “What if I think that things like marijuana should be legal for cancer patients, but I don’t want a bunch of doped-up kids driving around?” If you think that some laws should be changed but not others, try the Maybe / Sometimes answer.
“What if I don’t want my kid seeing pornography on the Internet?” If you want government to regulate the Internet, then you say no. If you don’t want the government to regulate the Internet, then you say Yes.
“Of course, drug laws do more harm than good. Is this a trick question?” Then you should answer Yes. There are no trick questions here.
“This is America. We don’t have those restrictions. Are you some kind of communist?” (Don’t EVER take any comments personally, or get defensive. When in doubt, laugh, and fall back on this handy line): I’m just conducting a survey.
Let peaceful people cross borders freely. “What do you mean by ‘peaceful people’?” You are free to interpret the meaning as you see fit.
Repeal regulations on sex for consenting adults. “What kind of regulations are you talking about?” Regulations on sex for consenting adults may involve issues like prostitution, pornography, and homosexuality. “Are you some kind of pervert? Do you think those things should be legal?” (Laugh) I’m just conducting a survey.
“Hell, no, you want the country overrun?” Then you should answer No. “Hell, yes, government’s got no business saying where people can go.” Then you should answer Yes.
“I think we should have those regulations. Those things should be outlawed!” 22
“Well, what if I think that some people, like those who really want jobs, should be able to come to America, but those who are sick, or criminals, should be kept out?” Try the Maybe / Sometimes answer.
tariffs.” Then answer No. “This question is dumb. Of course we don’t need tariffs.” Then answer Yes.
Economic Issues Business and farms should operate without government subsidies. “Do we give subsidies to them now?” There are many forms of subsidy. The question concerns whether we should give them.
Minimum wage laws cause unemployment. Repeal them. “How do minimum wage laws cause unemployment?” I don’t write the questions. I’m just conducting the survey.
“I think that farmers need subsidies, or else they won’t grow food and we’ll all die. But businesses don’t need any subsidies. They are rich enough.” Perhaps you should answer the Maybe / Sometimes choice.
“Without minimum wage laws, businesses wouldn’t pay people anything at all.” You should probably answer No. “Well, do you think businesses would pay anything if they didn’t have to?” I don’t write the questions. I’m just conducting the survey.
“The Japanese subsidize their firms, and now we have a trade deficit. Of course we should subsdize our businesses. Why don’t you think so?” Then you should answer
End taxes. Pay for services with user fees. “What are user fees?” That is when users of services pay for them directly, rather than through taxes. “Can you give me an example of user fees?” Here are a couple of examples. Paying admission to national parks, instead of having parks paid for by taxes. Having garbage pick-up handled privately and paid for privately, instead of by tax money.
Yes. People are better off with free trade than with tariffs. “So you favor NAFTA?” (laugh) I’m just conducting a survey.
“If we don’t have taxes, who will pay for the military?” If you think we need taxes to pay for the military, then answer No.
“What are tariffs?” Tariffs are taxes on imports and exports. “Can you give me an example of a tariff?” Japanese cars shipped to America pay a tariff, and American wheat shipped overseas pays a tariff.
“If we don’t have taxes, who will pay for the schools?” If you think we need taxes to pay for the schools, then answer No.
“What if I want America to put tariffs on Japanese cars, but I don’t want the Japanese to put a tariff on American wheat?” (laugh) You’ll have to figure out that answer for yourself.
“Don’t YOU think we need taxes to pay for the schools?” I am only giving the survey. It’s YOUR opinion that I’m asking for.
“This question is dumb. Of course we need 23
“That won’t work.” Then you should answer No.
and keep them out of the way of the OPH. At the OPH booth, you don’t ever want to debate the other person, argue about the answers, or try to give information about why these are the questions on the quiz. The questions have been tested, tried, reviewed, revised, updated, upgraded, altered, improved, and processed over literally hundreds of thousands of field activities. You don’t have to defend the questions; they stand for themselves. All you have to do is get the other person to answer them. You are only providing a little bit of information when people ask for it, and then you want to be sure your answers are balanced, or that they provide the shortest route to the person’s opinion.
“That will work for some things, but not for others.” Perhaps you should answer Maybe / Sometimes. All foreign aid should be privately funded. “Would that work?” I’m just asking for your opinion. “What is ‘foreign aid’, anyway?” Foreign aid is when the government in one country gives money or goods to the government or people of another country.
Don’t get bogged down arguing or debating — this is counter-productive!
“Can you give me an example of foreign aid?” Here are a couple of examples. The U.S. government gives a lot of military assistance to foreign countries. The U.S. government sends food and supplies to foreign countries.
How do I figure out where people belong on the Chart? Once they have taken THE QUIZ, you will need to evaluate their answers and figure out where they belong on THE CHART. This is very simple. You will calculate a number for the Personal Issues, and a separate number for the Economic Issues. You give 20 points for each Yes answer, 10 points for each Maybe / Sometimes answer, and 0 points for each No answer.
“What if I want the government to send the food but not the military assistance?” Perhaps you should answer Maybe / Sometimes. What if I want the government to send the military assistance but not the food?” Perhaps you should answer Maybe / Sometimes.
For easy reference, there is a space on THE QUIZ where you can write the point total for each section. Thus, when you add them up, put the respective point totals in these spaces. You will use these numbers to figure out where the person belongs on THE DIAMOND CHART.
Overall You will notice that none of the answers to these concerns called for a discussion of your personal opinion on these issues. In every case, the purpose is to get back to the person’s opinion. You are not trying to convince the person that a particular answer is correct or incorrect. Rather, you want to find out what the person thinks about these issues.
Note that the points themselves don’t have any particular underlying meaning. They are simply the mechanism by which we figure out where the person belongs on THE DIAMOND CHART. That is, we could have used an entirely different mechanism to indicate where people belong, or used single digits instead of double digits, or many other systems; this one is just easy to use. It is not necessary for people to understand that
As I stated previously, if you want to be able to argue with people over the answers, perhaps you should have a second booth across the aisle from the first booth. Then, for those people who want to argue, set them up at the second booth, 24
“big scores” or “small scores” have particular meaning, or even to know what their scores are. After all, these numbers are only used to indicate the point on THE CHART where the person belongs. It is the location on THE CHART that has meaning, so don’t get bogged down explaining to the person what their calculated scores are. Let’s take a couple of examples of scoring to give you a better idea of how this works. SupCard-sized quiz with these answers circled: Personal Issues Y, M/S, N, N, N Economics Issues N, Y, Y, Y, M/S THE DIAMOND CHART, on the side labeled Personal Issues, find the number 30. See how there is a line that runs from that number 30 at a 45 degree angle across the Chart, from bottom left toward upper right. The person will be somewhere on that diagonal.
pose you have these answers: Personal Issues You would add 20 points for the single Yes answer, 10 points for the Maybe / Sometimes answer, and 0 points for the three No answers. Since 20 + 10 = 30, you would put 30 in the space under the Personal Issues section.
Now let’s look at the Economic Issues number. It is a 70. On THE DIAMOND CHART, on the side labeled Economic Issues, find the number 70. See the line crossing the chart attached to the number 70, from bottom right to upper left. The person will be somewhere on that diagonal.
Economic Issues In this case, you would add 60 points for the three Yes answers (20 + 20 + 20), 10 points for the Maybe / Sometimes answer, and 0 points for the No answer. We add 60 + 10, and get a total of 70 points for the Economic Issues section.
Now just find where the 30 line on the Personal Issues side intersections with the 70 line on the Economic Issues side. You should find this point in the “Conservative” section. The combination of these two numbers tells us that this person is a Convervative.
We do NOT add these two figures together to get any sort of “total” score. Rather, we will find where these two figures cross or intersect on THE DIAMOND CHART. It is at the intersection of these two numbers that the person’s ideological position is found. Informally, we refer to such a person as a “30-70.” You can use any person’s Personal and Economic scores as a handy indicator of a person’s views. Again, though, it is not the numbers that are important, but the section of THE CHART that they represent.
Let’s take a second example. Card-sized quiz with these answers circled: Personal Issues N, Y, Y, Y, M/S Economics Issues Y, Y, Y, M/S, M/S
Let’s start with the Personal Issues number. On 25
Personal Issues Personal Issues You would add 60 points for the three Yes answers (20 + 20 + 20), 10 points for the Maybe / Sometimes answer, and 0 points for the No answer. Since 60 + 10 = 70, you would put 70 in the space under the Personal Issues section.
probably never done this. But once you have done a small handful, you will be able to find where folks fit on THE CHART as if you were an old pro at it.
Economic Issues In this case, you would add 60 points for the three Yes answers (20 + 20 + 20), and 20 points for the two Maybe / Sometimes answers (10 + 10). We add 60 + 20, and get a total of 80 points for the Economic Issues section.
While you are there to identify proto-libertarians, that doesn’t mean you should be rude or dismissive of anyone else. After all, you have asked them to take this survey, and they have taken it. By all means, continue to be polite, even to those scary folks who score in the authoritarian section! Thus, you need to figure out ways to be polite, and still explain to these folks what their answers imply.
What do I say to people about their evaluations?
We will find the number 70 on the Personal Issues side of THE CHART, and see where its line goes up and to the right. We will then find the number 80 on the Economic Issues side, and see where its line goes up and to the left. We call this person a 70-80, and we find the spot where these two items intersect. This point is in the top portion — the libertarian section. Whooppee! That’s what you are looking for!
Liberals and Conservatives For people who score in the Conservative or Liberal portions of the Chart, you can simply say “You’re a Conservative,” or “You’re a Liberal.” Even though most people don’t really understand what these terms mean, most people think they understand what they mean, and that’s probably as close as you will get. Sometimes, I will say something like “You’re a liberal. Is that what you thought you would be?” Or “You scored in the conservative area. Did you think that you were a conservative?” Many times, people do not know. People will tell me that they don’t know anything about politics, and that they have no idea what they are. Sometimes, this is because they are simply politically homeless. In other cases, it’s just because they really haven’t been paying attention. In any event, you don’t want to spend a lot of time with liberals and conservatives, regardless of how much they know or don’t know, because they are not your target audience. Small-Government Liberals Despite what the radio talk show hosts and the Republicans claim, it is possible to be a smallgovernment liberal. Liberals are people who want to see particular outcomes, such as equality, fairness, and tolerance. There are some liberals who believe that big government ham-
Once you have evaluated THE QUIZ three or four times and figured out how to place people on THE CHART, you will realize that this is a very easy task. For the person taking THE QUIZ, of course, it is probably tough, because they have 26
Candidate X, and can’t imagine that their answer are in any way out-of-touch with Candidate X’s view. (And indeed, since there are so many big-government liberals in both the Democrat and Republican parties, it is possible that just because Candidate X campaigned against big-government liberals, Candidate X may nonetheless be a big-government liberal!)
pers those efforts. Thus, make sure that you don’t get stuck in the old left–right mindset and immediately insist that all liberals are biggovernment liberals; it just ain’t so. Indeed, while it seems likely that most liberals who are in government are big-government liberals, it also appears to me that a lot of liberals who are not in government are likely to be small-government liberals.
Big-Government Conservatives Republicans all like to claim that they are conservatives, and they use the term conservative to mean small government. Neither claim is necessarily true. Remember, conservatives are people who want particular outcomes, like an America filled with big businesses, traditional Christian faith, and a particular type of family structure. These are goals, they are not means of achieving them. It is possible to use big government to achieve these goals.
If they are near the border between liberal and libertarian, I am likely to say “You’re a liberal– libertarian,” or “You’re a left-leaning libertarian.” I often follow up by saying “Do you know what ‘libertarian’ means?” If they say “Yes,” ask if they are surprised that they are borderline libertarians. For these people, the answer is often “No, I am not surprised.” If they are on the border, and they know about libertarianism, they probably sort of thought that maybe they were libertarians anyway. If they answer “No” when I ask if they know what ‘libertarian’ means, I generally try to describe libertarians in a way that builds bridges with the particular person, based on THE QUIZ answers. (For example, if the person said to legalize drugs but not guns, I will NOT say that libertarians want a strong second amendment; I WILL say that libertarians are at the forefront of the fight for medical marijuana. Build bridges to their position, and then develop their understanding of all of libertarianism at a later time.)
For such people, I tell them that they are biggovernment conservatives, and I point out some of the recent big-government proposals by major “conservative” politicians. (As I write this, President George W. Bush has proposed massive federal government spending on private religious charities as a means of helping the poor. He wants a conservative outcome — strengthened religious faith and a return to traditional family structure — and he is willing to us all of the power and clout of the federal government to achieve it. This is a big-government conservative proposal.)
Big-Government Liberals When someone scores in the big-government liberal section — incidentally, in my experience, this is the largest group on THE CHART — I usually laugh, tell them that they are big-government liberals, and then point out that some recent national politician (e.g., the most recent Republican candidate for President) campaigned specifically against that person. That is, I’ll laughingly say “You’re the person that Candidate X said he wanted to do away with. I’ll bet you’d like to get rid of Candidate X, too, wouldn’t you?” Seven times out of ten, the person will agree with me. Three out of ten will probably be aghast, since those three loved
Sometimes, these big-government conservatives will disagree with me. They will insist that all conservatives are small-government conservatives, and that they, in particular, are small government conservatives. DO NOT ARGUE WITH THESE PEOPLE! Okay, so I am right and they are wrong. So what? I am surely not going to convince these people to become libertarians, and any time I spend talking with them at the booth is a waste of my time. If they absolutely insist that they are small-government conservatives, just say something like “I suppose that a different set of questions might have 27
given you a different outcome.” That is, instead of insisting that they are wrong (even though they are), I give them an “out,” a way that they can continue to hold their views despite the evidence to the contrary. (After all, they are biggovernment conservatives; they are accustomed to holding their views despite evidence to the contrary!)
might actually be a libertarian. When you bring up this option, you may well be met with an affirmative response. Authoritarians Authoritarians see a need for government everywhere. They want government to control your lifestyle choices and your economic choices, they want government to provide a huge safety net, and they want government to protect people from each other and from themselves.
Small-Government Conservatives All conservatives believe that they are smallgovernment conservatives, but not all of them are. Small-government conservatives, after all, believe in no government subsidies to religion or business, and no special tax breaks for any particular type of family. While there are many small-government conservatives in real life, they are extinct in Washington, D.C.
Okay, these are the truly scary people. Or are they? As it turns out, some of my best friends are authoritarians. In many cases, their views are based not so much on any underlying political ideology as they are based on their jobs. You see, when you have particular jobs, you tend to see the world in a way that is based on your job. Some jobs are “helper” jobs, and the people in them are accustomed to helping others all the time.
When I tell these people that they are smallgovernment conservatives, they usually respond that they knew that. After all, all conservatives already believe this of themselves, so when you find a few for whom it is true, it is not a surprise that they already believe it. If they are particularly close to the libertarian border, I may describe them as conservative-libertarians, or right-libertarians. When I ask them if they know what ‘libertarian’ means, they often do, altough I find that these people are often at pains to distinguish themselves from libertarians. For example, a small-government conservative may favor a lot of individual liberty, but is a staunch advocate of the War on Drugs (never realizing the blatant contradiction between advocating liberty and advocating the War on Drugs), or is a firm opponent of Immigration. Thus, a knowledgable small-government conservative may be aware of libertarianism, and may also be convinced that it is not correct. Do NOT try to convert this person on the spot; this person is probably prepared to argue with you all day long. Instead, suggest that you have more in common with each other than with the liberals, and try to build bridges.
For example, I find that nurses overwhelmingly are authoritarians. This makes sense; nurses regularly see people who can’t take care of themselves. Nurses are accustomed to helping people do big and little things, make decisions when they are poorly informed, and offering a big guiding hand (often a demanding hand) for people. In short, in their daily jobs, nurses are
Likewise, often the small-government conservative has considered the possibility that he or she 28
authoritarians. As such, it is not a big surprise to me when I find a group of nurses that score in the authoritarian section.
How do I get contact information from the proto-libertarians?
Don’t misunderstand me, here, I am not picking on nurses. I am merely using them as an example. I can offer many similar examples of people who are authoritarians because of their jobs. At one college campus, I administered THE QUIZ to the head of the Student Union. This woman dealt with student groups on a daily basis. Because student groups are headed by, well, students, they are often poorly organized, inadequately staffed, and rarely have clear goals that they are trying to achieve. This woman’s job was to step in, bring order to chaos, help these groups to do better, and provide the resources necessary for them to be successsful. In short, she was a campus version of a government authoritarian, and her 0-0 score exemplified it. It’s no wonder that she believes that outside groups need guidance, direction, and money from the federal government; it’s her job to give guidance, direction, and money to student groups. She merely generalizes her experiences to the entire world. (And she did make the campus a better place!)
Ask them. Or, actually, tell them! First, you should be aware of the things you should not do. DO NOT say, “Uh, like, would you, uh, like to, y’know, be on my, uhm, mailing list?” The answer to this question is always “NO!” Being uncertain is the kiss of death in outreach. If you are uncertain about this situation, then the other person, who has less information than you have, will be even more uncertain. And uncertainty leads to rejection. Better practice what you will say and then say it smoothly; don’t just blurt something out. Second, don’t refer to your “mailing list.” This term is a big turnoff for people who imagine that they will get thousands of pieces of mail bombarding them with all sorts of junk offers. Of course, it is a mailing list, and you will be sending mail to them. But let’s face it, the movement for liberty is hardly in a position to bombard people with junk mail; in many cases, it’s all we can do to put out a monthly newsletter (and in some cases, we don’t even get that accomplished).
Now, it is true that people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Lincoln, and FDR show up in the Authoritarian section of the Chart. And, as libertarians, we automatically fear that everyone in that section must be a monster lurking in the shadows, ready to strike. But the fact of the matter is that many people in this section are very compassionate and caring people. What they don’t understand is that the power to do good is the same as the power to do evil. It is not doing good that concerns libertarians, it is the power that is the problem. When looking at “benevolent dictators,” authoritarians see benevolence; libertarians see dictators with the power to quit being benevolent.
Third, don’t ask them. Tell them. Think about this for a moment. You know that they are already libertarians. You know that libertarianism is a good thing. You know that if they get involved in libertarianism, they will like it. You know that they’ll be glad they got involved. But they don’t know these things. Now, you are not forcing them to fill out the information, so you need not worry about being un-libertarian. But when you start with the assumption that they will provide their information, they usually will; if you start with the assumption that they won’t
So what I tell these folks is that they tend to see people who need help, and they want to make sure that there is plenty of government available to help people in need. 29
provide their information, they probably won’t. Make your assumption, and act accordingly.
stopping by, and you turn to the next person. At this time, most individuals will turn and walk away from you.
When I find someone who scores in the libertarian section, I usually respond like this: Hey, that’s great, you’re a libertarian. Did you know that? (pause for answer) I’m here today with (my local group) and we are out trying to identify people who already believe the things that we believe — like you. If you give me your contact information, I’d be happy to inform you of upcoming activities and events that you might find interesting.
However, once in a while, some conservative or some liberal wants to stand there and argue with you over some question. In these situations, you must not get drawn into an argument, debate, or even discussion. As soon as you do this, you will scare everyone else away from your table. And I guarantee you, 100% of the time, you will not convince the person who is arguing with you that you are correct.
At this point, I hand THE QUIZ back to the person, and turn it over on the back where I have the spaces for the person’s Name, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, and E-Mail. I also hand over a pen, and then I shut up! Don’t talk while the person is writing this down; talking at this stage will reduce the number of people who actually fill it out. And be sure to get the e-mail address; it is easier and less expensive to send email to your contacts than it is to send regular mail.
So the best solution is to avoid the argument in the first place. If someone says “How can you even ask whether drug laws do more harm than good,” remember to smile and say “I’m just conducting a survey.” When they insist that we should have a mandatory military service, just smile and say that they should answer “No” to that question. The purpose of the booth is not to convince people that liberty is right; it is to identify people who already believe that liberty is right, but don’t know that they are libertarians.
I try to make it sound like their giving this information to me is the most obvious thing in the world. Because, after all, it is!
If a person asks you where you stand on the issues, don’t hide anything. Feel free to point to your own colored spot on THE DIAMOND CHART. But if the person is not a libertarian, and is not on the border, there is no point in explaining the further implications of that position. If the person is already mostly a libertarian, but has questions about one or two individual issues, suggest that the person come to the next meeting of your group and ask the question there, where people will be ready, willing, and able to discuss all issues and questions that the person may have.
And once I’ve got that, I inform the person of the upcoming group activity. I like to do OPH in conjunction with an Introduction to Libertarianism presentation to be held that very night. That way, if the person is at all interested, my followup is immediate. I don’t have to worry about the person going home and forgetting all about the event, or worse yet, forgetting that he or she ever took THE QUIZ and scored in the libertarian section. If a person will act, the person will probably act right away. Delaying the upcoming event gains you nothing.
If a liberal or conservative insists on hanging around and bugging you about some topic, that is a good time for a rest room break. That’s right, break off, mention to your partner that you are taking a pit stop, and head for the rest room.
How do I get others to leave? Once you have evaluated a person’s political positions, and placed their colored spot on THE DIAMOND CHART, you thank the person for 30
Don’t despair. There’s a handy way to deal with both sets of people -- those who are cool about it, and those who are not: laugh.
Usually, the person who is bugging you will not follow you to the rest room, and is also unlikely to try to pick up the debate with the other people working the table.
Yep, I keep telling you to laugh. If someone is a jerk, act as though you don’t realize that the person is being a jerk. Act as though you thought that they were trying to be funny, and that they succeeded. In many cases, that’s all it takes to turn these cranky people into uncranky people.
It is also possible, of course, to plan for these kinds of people by having a separate booth. Often, I do OPH in conjunction with a separate booth located next to or across the aisle from the OPH booth. Staff that booth with the people from your organization who are able to handle questions in a non-argumentative way. Then, when people have questions, send them to the other booth, away from your OPH, to do their discussing.
And immediately after you laugh, ask them to show you their spot on THE CHART. This MUST be done with humor, lest they think that you disbelieve them. (Why would anyone lie about that?!) Just laugh, ask them to remind you of where they scored on THE CHART, and in most cases, that will assuage the situation.
Remember, the purpose of the OPH booth is to gather names of proto-libertarians. It is not to argue with every conservative or liberal who comes along and wants to pick a fight. If you want to do that, you don’t need an OPH booth; you merely need a sign that says “Libertarian wants to argue with Liberals and Conservatives. Step up and give me your best shot!” You will have all the argument you need, and you won’t have to go to the effort of putting up an OPH booth.
And then, say Thank You. It’s amazing how far those two words go. Let’s face it, we are becoming a less civil society all the time, and a simple act of politeness occurs with less and less frequency. Merely thanking someone for having taken the time to take your survey goes a long way to banishing any ill feelings that they might be carrying due to other things going wrong.
Oops, I accidentally asked a person who already took the quiz.... At high-traffic areas, where you see literally hundreds (or even thousands) of people stream past you, it is likely that you will ask people to take THE QUIZ more than once.
After all, if someone is in a bad mood, it certainly isn’t because of you. You gave them THE QUIZ, and showed them where they belong on THE CHART. These are fun.
Normally, this is not a problem. Most folks will recognize that you are busy, that you have seen a lot of people, and will simply laugh and tell you that they already took it.
Don’t EVER return nastiness with nastiness. That is counter-productive, and wrecks your whole mood. Remember, whatever you as a person might think of that other person, you are there as a representative of your organization, and your organization holds no ill will toward that person (even if they scored a 0-0!).
Once in a while, you will encounter someone who expects you to have remembered him or her in that gigantic throng, someone who can’t put himself or herself in your shoes. In that case, the person might have some flip remarks for you.
HOW DO I DO AN OPH IV: FOLLOW-UP I mentioned earlier that the best time to do OPH is when you expect to find some protolibertarians, and when you can do follow-up with them. Failure to do follow-up dooms your entire effort. So what if you identify a whole bunch of people who are proto-libertarians? Do you expect them to do the follow-up on their own? Do you think that they will run to the nearest computer, log onto the web, look up “liberty” and “freedom” and “libertarianism” (they probably won’t know how to spell that yet!), and then start reading hundreds of web pages? If so, you are dreaming. Follow-up is a crucial element of the OPH event. A good follow-up event soon after the OPH will increase the conversion rate — that is, the number of people who actually become members of your organization. Failure to have a good follow-up event soon after the OPH will decrease your conversion rate. Since the purpose of OPH is to identify names of proto-libertarians whom you can then get to jon your group, doing the OPH without doing the follow-up is liking pouring your morning Orange Juice but not bothering to get out a glass. It pretty much misses the point of having the O.J. in the first place.
As part of the discussion of databases, I suggest that you use an online database program. I use Yahoo Groups for this, because they are easy, and don’t require me to be a computer programmer. (www.yahoogroups.com). Use this to make an e-mail list. It is far less expensive and convenient to contact a person via e-mail than it is to contact them via regular mail. Using something like a Yahoo Group allows you to have quick and inexpensive contact with the folks on your list. Many of these group-type systems support chat functions, files, and other things that can also be utilized if your group is so inclined. For example, you could have a weekly 1-hour online chat in which you provide information on a particular topic. Likewise, you could create files of articles or information that are appropriate for new people. You can even tell these database programs to automatically send certain messages to people as soon as they are subscribed to the list.
What should I do with the names that I get? There are several things that you can do with the names, and perhaps a few that you should do with them. First, you will want to organize the information into some cohesive fashion: your mailing list. Since you want to follow-up with these folks, you want to put the information into a fashion conducive to follow-up. If you have a computer person who maintains your database, share the information with that person. That person can key in the data, and have reports ready for you. If you don’t have such a person, you should either get one, or learn the basics of a database yourself. (Note: working with a database need not be difficult. I maintain my local database in Microsoft Word, which means that I don’t worry about fields, relations, queries, or anything else. I just type it in. Read your own word processing manual for more information about how to do this simple database, if you don’t have a database expert to handle it.)
Second, share the information with the Advocates. The Advocates are always at the ready to provide information to people who want to know more, or to assist with those with queries. The Advocates will do their own follow-up mailing separate from what you are doing. This allows the person to get more than one type of information from more than one source.
pable of follow-up. Thus, whatever you are going to do with the names, you should do it immediately!
Should I hold an OPH in conjunction with an Introductory presentation?
This is important, because not every person responds to the same things. Thus, while one person may be interested in the philosophy of liberty, another may be interested in the history, while a third is just upset with the local garbage collection. As people receive different types of information, they respond in different ways. By making sure that there are broad ranges of information sent out, we increase the likelihood that the person will find something that he or she likes.
I do. In fact, this is the key to ALL of my OPH events. I don’t just do OPH simply because I like doing it (although I certainly like doing it!). Rather, I do OPH to try to get people involved in my organization. And for most people, if they are going to take any action, it will be right away. Ask any sales person about it. Many years ago, I sold cookware door-to-door. I wasn’t very good, but I observed the other sales people, and I learned a lot. And one of the things I learned is that a person will either buy the first time you visit them, or the person will never buy. People will tell you differently, and they will believe themselves, but in 100% of the time, the people who asked us to come back did not buy.
Also, share the information with whatever umbrella organization is sponsoring you. For example, if you are a local chapter of a political party, or of a school-state group, or a medical marijuana advocacy organization, or a pro-second-amendment club, you are probably have some sort of state or national organization behind you. Share the information with these people, too. They will want to do their own follow-up from the national or state level.
When we put that into OPH terms, that means that a person who scores as a libertarian will either be interested right away, or the person probably won’t be interested at all. And if the person is interested right away, you need to have an event right away. The best thing to do is to hold an Introduction to Liberty presentation that very day, or that very evening. Strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Have an opportunity for the person to immediately begin learning more.
And remember this: contacts grow stale! If you get a contact name on January 10, and don’t contact the person again until June 10, the person probably doesn’t remember having taking THE QUIZ or having scored in the libertarian section. In that case, you are sending junk mail. And if the person does remember this stuff, the person has already written off your organization as being a bunch of flakes inca-
You might balk at this. Many people tell me that they think it is better to hold an event 2 weeks later, so that proto-libertarians have a chance to put it into their schedules. Resist this belief. All this does is give people a chance to forget that they took THE QUIZ. Unless you are planning to
send them mail and then call them on the phone to remind them of your event, they will forget all about it. Just because you are excited about this event doesn’t mean that they will be. Catch people when they are interested. (Next time you go to a convenience store, pay attention to where the candy bars are located—right next to the counter. They know all about people and their impulses!)
Go figure. Another friend of mine, Mark, likes to tell little stories about the silly things that the government has done lately. Suffice to say that Mark never runs out of stories about the little inanities by the health department, board of supervisors, zoning board, school district, and other government bodies. He just reads the daily newspaper, and comes up with a speech right away.
An entirely different question concerns what to do at an Introductory presentation. There are as many answers to this question as there are people who give these presentations. I suggest that you start off by following some great libertarian book, such as David Bergland’s Libertarianism in One Lesson or either of Harry Browne’s campaign books, Government Doesn’t Work and The Great Libertarian Offer. Just read these, pick out a few things from them, and give the presentation.
And if you really don’t want to write your own speech, that’s not a problem either. The Advocates have some pre-written speeches that you can give. You just buy the script from the Advocates, and you can even listen to a tape of someone else delivering the speech before a live audience. That is, if you don’t feel like reinventing the wheel, you don’t have to. I advise one last thing about such presentations: have a sign-in sheet. Have someone working at the door, and get every attendee to sign in when they arrive. Some will say that they already gave you their information at the table. That’s fine, but you still want their information. Sometimes, the table information will be illegible, or you may have spilled coffee on it, or something else can happen. It’s better to get the information again. And that way, if someone brings a friend (it happens more often than you might guess), you have a built-in mechanism for getting the friend’s information, too.
In my first introductory presentation in the late 1980s, given to a political science class at a university, I followed Bergland’s book like a game plan. The teacher congratulated me for making such a logical, cohesive, and consistent
argument. I accepted the argument, and silently thanked David Bergland for helping me get an A in that class. Today, in my introductory presentations, I talk a lot about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill or Rights, and Natural Law. My presentation has a lot of soft-core philosophy in it. Interestingly, my friend Roderick, a philosophy professor, told me that his libertarian introductory presentations are mostly about economics. 34
Published on Jun 17, 2014