ZEIGLER INTERVIEW EXCITING
I found "Advertising and Social Change: An Interview with John Zeigler" (REASON, October 1972), to be the most exciting as well as provocative article that I have ever read on advancing the cause of libertarianism. I never dreamed that advertising could pay off as handsomely in regard to recruiting popular support for libertarian causes as Zeigler suggests. When one has as many regrets over the microscopic size of our movement as I do, and looks in vain over the news-stands as I do for the slightest acknowledgment that it exists, it is a joy to discover Mr. Zeigler's promise of advancing our ideas through advertising, thus winning support for the movement, ultimately.
He brought out a telling point about libertarians that they have not reached the public. From what I have noticed they sound too much like "intellectuals" in Eric Hoffer's sense of the word. They approach the public as lecturers, reciting a carefully learned lesson, then returning to their closed, elitist, circle to interchange their woes over the unreceptivity of the "authoritarian-sheep-alliance" that comprises the "masses." There are too many harangues and not enough appeals. Zeigler's method of advertising could replace the harangues with appeals. As he says it is as "Simple" as making the ad "pertain" to "self-interest".
At a time as the present when all who value their lives are in danger in one way or another from growing statism, steps for self-protection are necessary. Zeigler's SPEAK OUT program excited me with the possibility of filling that need by alerting the voting public to the danger through advertising. It could be used by any of the libertarian organizations for a specific cause such as the abolition of involuntary mental hospitalization. It is well worth a try.
Thank you REASON for that splendid article.
Every piece of Objective, Libertarian, Randian material I have ever seen is aimed at Objectivists, Libertarians, and Randites. We (not collectively) who claim to be those truly in touch with reality have let principle obscure the world. One shouts revolution, another drifts with evolution and yet another subcontracts Atlantis. But we are talking to each other. I am a believer. I can only convert once. Objectivism, like all other radical principle-oriented isms, is doomed to walled conversation.
Our handicap is nonviolence. But bloodless coups are not unheard of. We are stuck with a mindless democracy or seething mobs. Those are our realities. Even the most well-constructed social contract is at the mercy of the masses. And the masses have one psyche. It is raw id. Whoever overlays ego and superego rules. And to rule is one course open.
The island is the alternative. But it is an alternative necessitating such a defense posture and isolationism that it innately negates reality. Then there is a growth of the masses within the walls. And we are back to who rules the ruled.
The premise is simple. As long as Objectivism is innately non-aggressive. And as long as masses are non-thinking oriented. For reason to prevail, it must conquer the masses.
The basic problems are therefore those of communications. What to. And how to. Leaving a by-problem. How to finance it all.
Most guerrilla handbooks give us the answer. (Even John Galt) Seize control of the mass media. Not quite acceptable. Use the mass media. Which answers also the by-problem. Own mass media. Television. Radio. Newspapers. Magazines. Publishing houses. These are still commercially profitable enterprises. And who in all the world should be more adept at profiting from them? With both the means and method, the "what to" is left.
At one time or another almost every conceivable notion has been popularized and become acceptable. Often only for a short while. The point being that anything is acceptable to the public if it is put in the right way.
Our philosophy attests to the true nature of man. Man is what he is. Not what he ought to be. Except that he ought to be what he is.
This is our advantage. When all is said and done man is his own number one. That has some earth shattering psychological import. Even if the opposition knows our game, all things being equal, we can't lose. Our premise is real.
The all things being equal is the crux. We cannot didactically sermonize to the masses. We must sell to them without selling out. But we must popularize.
People will not buy or be influenced by the RAND NEWSLETTER. They want PLAYBOY, COSMO, NEW YORK TIMES, Harry Reasoner. We can give them this. But in-with-and-under each palatable tid-bit there must be a guiding undercurrent of realism and reason.
I have just bought and read John Hospers' book LIBERTARIANISM, and found it disappointing in its limitations. He rode the economic issue—about which we are not likely to get anything done for over a generation—so hard, he totally overlooked issues vital to every libertarian, which are currently in controversy today.
He devoted a few paragraphs to racism and none to sexism. He totally failed to mention abolition of the draft, abortion law repeal, repeal of all restrictions of birth control devices and information, equality of rights before the law for men and women, and other issues now the intellectual property of the New Left. These issues should properly be OUR intellectual property.
Many of those issues named are seemingly of interest only to women, and among those, only to feminists. Yet, is there really a debate over whether The Individual is of both sexes?
In one analogy, Hospers asks his readers, presumably male, if they would trust total freedom in their financial affairs to a trusted friend, fiancee, or wife. Yet, married women are constrained by law to do this in every state in the Union! Is Hospers aware of this? His remark, by the way, is that it is risky to entrust your money even to a beloved wife. Or husband, Dr. Hospers! Yet, laws enslaving married women go unmentioned by him.
The draft is such a basic violation of human rights, a libertarian writing a primer like Hospers' book should include it before the economic issue. Who was it that said "Conservatives, accepting the draft, claim that man has a right to his pocketbook, but not to his life?"
His error of emphasis is so common in the movement it must be underlined, or we become no more than another bunch of conservatives.
BROWNE ON GOLD
I very much enjoyed your interview with Harry Browne [REASON, November 1972], but I must disagree with certain of the things he said. First of all, it is not necessarily true that gold coins will profit from a devaluation. Mr. Browne should have confined his statement to foreign non-subsidiary coins presently being produced. American gold coins and most older foreign gold coins are valuable not because they are made out of gold but because they are rare. While the price of gold will always establish the floor value of a gold coin, the fact remains that the present prices of these collecter's items are far above the present or even the anticipated future price of gold. Gold coins are therefore in the same investment category as postage stamps and old paintings. They have their own supply and demand schedules and will fluctuate with the price of gold only to the extent that foolish investors think that they are connected with fluctuations in the price of gold. Cf., the fluctuations in prices of common-date uncirculated liberty half eagles v. cd unc. liberty double eagles, 1966-1973 (in R.S. Yeoman, A GUIDEBOOK OF UNITED STATES COINS, 19th & 26th ed.).
A far better thing to do is invest in gold itself. This is not as difficult as it seems, and if done right, it is not illegal. This is because Congress never did know its elbow from its other end when it comes to economics. They do not understand that a money comes into existence precisely because of its universal appeal in direct use. So simply use this unfortunate oversight on the part of Congress to your own advantage. Figure out a way to use a large lump of metal for other than monetary purposes and you're home free (e.g., Mr. Poole might consider removing some of the lead weights from his model trains and replacing them with a denser metal). One can generally buy gold from local goldsmiths and jewelers.
Finally, contrary to Mr. Browne, there are all sorts of tax loopholes which can be widely published without fear of their being closed. More on this later.
Robert B. Crim