Effective Advocacy for a Free Society

 Posted by on 23 November 2012 at 11:00 am  Activism, Culture, Ethics, Politics
Nov 232012
 

Another quick thought from Facebook:

Folks seeking to create a free society based on individual rights might want to think about why “litigating for liberty” is so much more effective than most other forms of advocacy.

The common strategy of activists is that of directly opposing and criticizing the worse elements of the culture. “GAH, look at this horrible thing! It must change or we’re all DOOMED!” However, people who don’t already agree at least in part will just tune that out. It’s just too foreign to them, and life is too short. (Yes, I’ve made that mistake in spades in my activism.)

Litigating for liberty, in contrast, attempts to leverage the better elements of American culture, politics, and law — such as the rule of law, equality before the law, constitutional principles, and common-sense fairness — into even more respect for individuals and their rights. That works, not just in law courts, but also in the court of public opinion.

Other instances of effective advocacy — on gun rights, marijuana legalization, and gay marriage — have used this “leverage the good” approach too, I think.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to more effectively leverage the substantial good in American culture in my advocacy work. I’m excited to see where that takes me… and it’s so much more fun than griping!

  • DougFromOz

    Really? I’d always thought the willingness to litigate at the drop of a hat on someone’s toe was one of the problems with modern culture. But I do agree that taking action is so much better than listing endless “horror file” complaints.

    • http://www.philosophyinaction.com/ Diana Hsieh

      The good work that IJ and other such organizations do cannot — by any stretch of the imagination — be described as “litigat[ing] at the drop of a hat on someone’s toe.” Seriously, that’s just ridiculous.

  • DougFromOz

    Ok, It’s probably the use of the word litigating. It tends to make me think of the frivolous lawsuits that the US is known for. (And we’re seeing an increasing number over here). I imagine a lawsuit can be used for good or evil.

   
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