All the while feeling the jealous glances of the College Democrat booth we were so conveniently placed next to, the YAL recruitment drive at Montana State University’s “catapalooza” was a success.
Our booth garnered large groups of people steadily over three days of recruitment, filled six signup sheets of potential members, and doubled our usual attendance at our first meeting. We came away with some awesome, dedicated, and dues-paying, members. The MSU mascot even stopped by to take our “World’s Smallest Political Quiz.” Best of all in my mind, we surprised a few College Republicans upon learning they were libertarian and got them to attend our meetings.
It was amazing to see such interest in a group so routinely painted by the national media as freaks and radicals. In fact, one assertive participant in the World’s Smallest Political Quiz observed that we “don’t look like libertarians.” And that’s the thing the general public needs to realize: an-caps, libertarians, paleo-cons and other liberty-oriented individuals aren’t the pot smoking hippies we are made out to be. We are normal citizens from all walks of life who care about our future.
Something I’ve learned from our 2012 Fall Recruitment Drive is that as much as we must work within our own networks to refine our arguments and our logic, we have to focus on outreach above all else. Us liberty minded folks in Bozeman, Montana area been growing simply through osmosis. We intrigue our co-workers and classmates with our outspoken arguments about the ideas of liberty and slowly convert them, but that is a slow process. What I am advocating is that we shift our attention from winning arguments to broadcasting the message we all are behind already to the biggest audience we can. When MSU YAL has done this, such as at the fall recruitment drive, I have witnessed the largest interest in our group we ever had. Messaging, not debating, I believe is what it will take for the liberty movement to succeed in winning over the American people.