Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Gary Johnson

I hate to say it, but I think there's a good chance your campaign is already doomed.

There's a growing insurgency against the political machine in this country. People are tired of being told what to do, and they're standing up and saying:

No More!

This movement was triggered in large part by one man, and a few thousand dedicated volunteers who willingly committed their time and their money to efforts that they freely chose; drawing attention to a candidate the media had relegated to invisibility, much like you are being treated now.

Those few volunteers, inspired by a message of freedom, took it upon themselves to bring that message to the forefront of political discourse, and to bring the one candidate delivering that message to the forefront of the presidential race. He could not have done it alone, with a conventional top-down approach to running a campaign. "Freedom is popular," he declared, and he walked the walk by granting his volunteers that freedom. His only admonishment was "Anything that's Peaceful," echoing the title of the famous libertarian work by Leonard Reed.

Energized by the message and the freedom they were granted, the volunteers found hundreds of ways to spread that message, none of them instigated, approved, or directed by the official campaign. For example, listen closely to Robin Koerner, founder of the Blue Republican movement, which has brought thousands of Democrat and independent votes to Ron Paul. The essay, titled "A Free Market for Marketing Freedom," is one you need to take to heart if you expect to have an impact on the national scene.
Look at any other candidate’s campaign, and you will see a relatively top-down organization, in which the foot-soldiers fill various roles that the campaign managers and strategists decide should be filled. In this form of Centralized planning, the upper echelons of the campaign employees serve as the Politburo. Perhaps ironically, this is standard practice for democratic politics.

Paul’s campaign is something entirely different: it is mostly – almost completely, in fact – a group of excited individuals who, in a small way, are social or political entrepreneurs: coming up with new ideas and working on whatever excites them the most, or whatever idea or effort they think is proving the most productive. These are autonomous individuals, organizing only spontaneously and among themselves to see through specific projects. The best ideas and the efforts of the hardest workers among them rise to the top in a veritable free market of innovation and implementation. Even the platforms they use to communicate and organize exist because one or a few passionate volunteers decided they’d be useful.

You’re reading this article on a site that was created in just this way – Ron Paul Flix, the ultimate one-stop-shop for video content about the good doctor.

If I were Ron Paul and were taking a question on what America would look like if free markets replaced crony corporatism, I’d point to the end-run that these volunteers have made around the corporate media who’ve worked very hard not to take any notice of them and their candidate, and I’d recall the fact that has been known since the beginning of civilization: that if you let people do things they want to do for self-interest, they get done well.
It's worth noting that neither the Blue Republican movement, nor the site where that essay appears, were imagined, created, or endorsed by the official campaign. Robin's story of the development of the Blue Republican movement is detailed in his essay, a shining example of the free market in ideas at work.

So why my prediction concerning your campaign?

I went looking for the Gary Johnson grassroots movement yesterday. I found an inactive national forum, where every attempt to register fails. I found 50 different "State for Gary Johnson Grassroots" groups on Facebook. No sign of impassioned, energized supporters. And when I asked "where's the action," I was referred to the official campaign.

I could go on, about the millions raised, the targeted literature and videos created by writers and artists coming together, the enthusiastic groups of supporters that swarm across the country to virtually every political gathering, coast-to-coast bike riders, and even a blimp, spreading the message of freedom without direction or censure by the official campaign, but I think you get the message by now.

Let your people go, Mr. Johnson. Inspire them and set them free in the marketplace of ideas, or run a political campaign just like every other politician save one, and become a brief footnote of history.

The ball's in your court.


  1. ETA: I finally got set up on the Gary Johnson Grassroots forum. When I hit submit on my first reply to a thread, I learned all posts are moderated. Big turnoff for individuals fighting for liberty. Big, big turnoff.

    1. The moderation proves that this letter is more important than ever. I hope Gary Johnson and his campaign get the message.

  2. As I said in the forums, only the first post is moderated because we had a big issue with spambots early on before I added the registration thingy. We still have some so I left the first post moderated.

  3. As for your post... There are lots of issue groups up there for Johnson also, but all of the passion you are looking for is currently being directed to Paul because he's the one who's getting all the attention right now.

    The Johnson campaign isn't looking for any top down crap. There just aren't enough grassroots people involved yet to have thousands of people working on different projects. The grassroots forums I put up aren't related to the campaign, but me as a volunteer creating something so there is a place for non-facebook users to communicate.

    I think on August 31 you will see a lot of this grassroots you see for Paul flow to Johnson. Hopefully the RP forums will transition to be supporting of Johnson and all the debate and planning that has been happening there will continue to happen there.

  4. I stated my own grassroots campaign for Gary Johnson. It's a game that I call the Gary Johnson Game. A side peoduct of the game is getting to know where Gary Johnson stands on the issues of our times. All are welcome to come and play.