Tips for Libertarian Activists

Speech: What is the LP?

Last updated 1995-04-24 by Tom Isenberg

Here are the notes for my standard speech to high school classes and introductory seminars. The presentation takes about 30 minutes (not including the Q & A portion, of course.) Maybe you can use it in your presentations.

I gave this speech yesterday to a local H.S. class and it was very well-received. The teacher especially liked it (she scored Libertarian, herself.) So call up your local H.S., ask for the names of civics teachers, and write them a letter announcing your availability to do a presentation on the LP.


Introduce Myself

Name, where I work, how long I've been involved with the LP, etc. Write your name, address, and phone on the index card if you want to be on the mailing list.

This talk is a quick 30-minute overview, so let's hold Q&A until the end. I have info packets if you want more info. Pick one up on your way out after class.

What is the LP?

3rd largest US party, 100s in office (state legislators and mayors), organized in all 50 states; LP is only a small part of the movement: think tanks, professors, magazines, conferences, etc.; (Info packet available at the end.)

What is Libertarianism?

Probably the same as your personal philosophy: live and let live. Thou shalt not aggress; Aggression = theft, violence, fraud, trespass, pollution, breaking contracts, etc; Derivation: Self-ownership => property rights => all human rights => Free markets, civil liberties, non-intervention in foreign affairs; This is the philosophy of Founding Fathers and Declaration of Independence; LP puts these philosophical principles first when taking positions. Rs and Ds put politics ahead of what's right. But does might make right? Does majority make right?

Is the LP Liberal or Conservative or What?

Was Thomas Jefferson right-wing or left-wing? Libs combine the best of liberalism and the best of conservatism for a consistent pro-individual rights platform. Bogosity of one-dimensional left-right "map": where do you put friend who things both guns and drugs should be legal? Where do you put a friend who thinks both guns and drugs should be illegal?

Explain the Nolan chart. Have everyone take the Nolan quiz. Go through each question and explain it. Explain how a Libertarian would answer it. Show students how to score themselves and ask for show of hands for each quadrant. Encourage students to survey their friends and parents later to see if they're Nazis or what...

Why the LP?

No one agrees with any party 100%, but maybe we're closest to what you believe. Don't waste your vote. Vote Libertarian to send a clear message that people will understand. Minor parties don't need to win to have a profound impact (e.g., U.S. Socialists in 1930s.) Rhetoric aside, Rs and Ds are pretty much the same: big government power brokers. Their philosophy is get elected and stay elected, whatever it takes. Republicans aren't really pro-free-markets (give examples) Democrats aren't really pro-civil-liberties (give examples)

Questions and Answers

First off, if I don't get to your question, these info packets will probably have the answer so make sure you pick one up on your way out of you're interested in the LP. (If no one has a question, start them off with one. For example, say "Often I get the question, doesn't laissez-faire capitalism result in oppression?" Pick a tough one and answer it well.)