One of the major barriers to libertarianism is that we have logic and rationality on our side. This is not how debates are won.

Our minds evolved to survive and pass on our genes to another generation, not to be Spock-like rational beings. Any rationality that comes out of our brains is purely accidental.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, not logical

Contrary to what economics has taught, people don’t make decisions based on analyzing cost and benefit. Our decisions are driven more by our emotions than logical thinking. Nothing in Madison Avenue’s product marketing is based logic. A product sells based on its colors, the emotions it evokes, the prestige the buyer thinks it will bring to him, and various logical fallacies. This is why Bob Dylan’s emotional appeal influenced far more people than any logical Cato policy paper.

For far too long libertarians have promoted their cause with logical arguments and other losing strategies. We even have a magazine called “Reason.” Recall the 1960s. The liberal left became ascendant. Did they win by publishing policy papers and long detailed arguments of why their side was in accordance with reason and truth? No. They won through music, art, film, photography, poetry, and other spectacular non-rational and emotional appeals. Martin Luther King’s powerful poetry (not speeches but truly poems), the song “Imagine,” Woodstock, Bob Dylan, horrific photographs from the Vietnam War, etc.: it’s impossible to find a single 1960s influencer that succeeded for reasons other than emotional appeal. And it worked! “Reason” had nothing to do with it!

John Stewart

John Stewart, comedian

And it’s not just the 1960s. In more recent times, the satire of John Stewart and The Colbert Report have arguably been far more influential than real news programs. We must make liberty fun and emotionally appealing while mercilessly mocking the state for all its ridiculousness.

Here are some examples of libertarian culture-building that we need more of.

Emergent Order

In the realm of video we have John Papola and the other talented folks at Emergent Order. Their hilarious video on the Kronies action figures make a much more compelling case against crony capitalism than any long winded study from the Cato Institute.

Reason TV

Reason TV mostly produces interviews and news-like analysis. But every so often, despite their name, they produce a great video that uses humor rather than reasoned logic to make the case for liberty. These videos would be worthy of the Onion if not for the fact they were completely true. I encourage the talented folks at Reason to focus more videos on humor and satire. Here is a recent example of their fine work.


The new band Backwordz brings an-cap libertarianism to the rap-rock scene. Eric July’s intense vocals and the powerful metal of the band behind him provide a pro-liberty catharsis. Talent on par with the big names. They should be on your local rock radio station! Find them on Facebook and YouTube.

Jordan Page

Jordan Page is a guitarist & singer. His songs include themes of peace and resistance to government. His acoustic guitar allows his lyrical message to come to the fore. And while a solo acoustic guitar might not have the power of a hard driving metal band, his lyrics pack more emotional power than any double-pedal-pounding death metal drummer.

Acadêmicos de Milton Friedman

Raised in Brazil and trained in Boston at the renowned Berklee College of Music, Acadêmicos de Milton Friedman is the first libertarian samba band. Their YouTube single “Good Intentions” provides a happy and bouncy song on the economics of wealth and poverty.

Memes & Parodies

Last but not least, there are the countless anonymous people producing Internet memes and other parodies of statists. In the age of the Internet, this, too, is a valuable form of activism. Be sure to check out the Facebook page for Everytown for Knife Safety, a parody of the gun control group of the same name. Also Robots for a $15 Minimum Wage, a Facebook page advocating on behalf of the robots who will replace human workers when the minimum wage is raised.

Here are a few more for your enjoyment.

How does a bill become a law? Bribery.Jesus: Help your neighbor and take care of the poor and helpless. Audience: But Jesus, can't we just give our money to the Romans and let them do it for us? Jesus: ... Okay, I'm going to start over from the beginning. Let me know where I lost you.Statism: ideas so good they have to be mandatory.


Culture trumps politics. Change the culture and you will change the politics. This is why I wrote about the need to influence the youth, for it is the youth who shape a culture. Rather than donating to a political campaign, instead support culture-shaping libertarian advocacy.

If you are an artist or involved in an industry that produces or promotes music then help liberty music go mainstream. If you have a radio show or podcast then use artists like these for your bumper music and feature interviews. Buy these artists’ music. Hire them to provide entertainment at you liberty events or even your wedding reception. Get them on your Pandora play list. Call your local radio station to get them on the air, especially independent college radio.

We need less logic and rationality and fewer long winded policy papers. We need more music, more art, and more humor. We must forget about politics and instead break through popular culture to shape the culture. That is the path to victory.

Brace yourself. The libertarians are coming.