Special Report: “The Obstacles to Advancing Liberty Today”

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“A problem that is well-defined is a problem that is half-solved.”

– Charles Kettering

Introduction

Serious advocates of liberty are aware of how difficult it is to communicate their messages to the general public. Few, however, have devoted serious study to analyzing the reasons behind this problem; fewer still have attempted to find ways to overcome them.

kill-capitalism-demonstration

An Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York. (Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters.)

It is this avoidance – not the appeal of anti-liberty ideas or activism strategies – that has gotten us to the point at which we now find ourselves, as a culture, and as advocates of liberty. Briefly:

Anti-liberty ideas are not winning such broad public support because people are embracing their principles.  Rather, they are winning by default – because there is no visible, cohesive, consistent case being made for liberty, that is formatted in a way that the general public can understand, and can find persuasive, and relevant to their lives. How can we know this?  Because the data speaks for itself, loudly.

At random times, many of us have seen data that indicates how tragically uninformed, and in many cases, misinformed the general public has become, regarding basic civic and historical facts.  I became determined to create a framework to organize the existing data, and into which to place new data, as it emerges.

This special report is the result.  It presents contains data I’ve been compiling since 2000, regarding what I contend are the five main obstacles to advancing liberty.

In the Conclusion, I offer candid commentary on why this data is so crucial for serious advocates of liberty to grasp, so that we can break out of failed paradigms, and begin developing new models of thinking, creation and activism that are capable of igniting a renaissance of public knowledge of, and passion for liberty.

Note: Most of this data has not been updated since 2012. If you have more current data in regards to any element of this report, please email it to me.


Contents: The Five Obstacles to Advancing Liberty Today

  1. Occup - Burning US flagThe civic, historical and economic illiteracy of, and misperceptions harbored by typical Americans, and elected officials
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  2. Americans’ growing hostility to the principles of liberty
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  3. The limited reading and functional literacy of many Americans – including our most “educated”
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  4. Most Americans prefer to receive their news and information through TV-based media – yet top advocates of liberty express themselves almost exclusively through text-based media
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  5. The stigma associated with being an advocate of liberty

CONCLUSION: Fresh thinking is needed to overcome these obstacles, before it’s too late


OBSTACLE 1: The civic, historical and economic illiteracy of, and misperceptions harbored by typical Americans, and elected officials

    • Most American adults today believe the U.S. Constitution contains Karl Marx’s core doctrine, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (or don’t know if it does or doesn’t).  The number who believe it does (or don’t know) rose from 45% in 1987, to 69% in 2002. [1]
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      2012 update: By a 49%-43% margin, Americans age 18-29 view socialism more favorably than capitalism.
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      2015 update: One-third of Americans overall view socialism favorably, as do a solid majority of Democrats.
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    • Many Americans harbor grievous misconceptions about the U.S. Constitution.

      – Most believe they have a “right” to health care, an education, housing, etc.
      -20% believe the First Amendment contains the “rights” to drive cars or have pets.
      – 49% believe the president has the legal authority to suspend the Constitution. [2]

    • Most American adults are grossly unfamiliar with the history, philosophy, structure and functions of America’s government:

      – 95% cannot correctly answer ten of the most basic questions about the U.S. Constitution. [3]
      – Less than three in ten Americans can pass a test of basic American civics. [4]
      – Only four in ten Americans can identify all three branches of the federal government. [5]
      – 99% cannot identify all five rights contained in the First Amendment; 92% cannot name three; less than 25% can name two. 2013 update: 36% cannot name a single right in the First Amendment. [6]
      – 82% cannot identify two rights stated in the Declaration of Independence.[7]
      – 77% cannot identify one power of the states under the Constitution.[8]
      – 71% are unaware that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land; 85% cannot define “the rule of law.”[9]
      – Less than 50% understand the basic purpose of the Constitution, or can identify even one of their rights under it.[10]

    • Many if not most of America’s most “educated” citizens are unaware of, or harbor egregious misconceptions about basic civic and historical facts:

      – 80% of seniors at America’s most elite colleges and universities cannot pass a basic high school history test, yet all will be able to graduate without having taken a single history class of any kind. [11]
      – Nearly half of college graduates are unaware that the Constitution establishes a separation of powers among the branches of the federal government.[12]
      – College seniors, on average, score only a few points higher on tests of basic civics than college freshmen – and both fail. [13]
      – 57% of high school seniors score below the “basic” level on a test of grade-level American history (the lowest ranking, meaning they have not even achieved partial mastery of this knowledge); 89% score below “proficiency.” [14]
      – More than 50% of high-schoolers believe that America was allied with Germany, Japan and/or Italy in World War II. [15]
      – 83% of college graduates cannot identify the purpose of the Emancipation Proclamation.[16]
      – 50% of those age 18-24 cannot locate New York state on a map; 21% cannot locate the Pacific Ocean; 63% of Americans adults cannot locate Iraq.

Video interviews with students at Texas Tech in 2014, asking basic questions about U.S. civics:

  • Most Americans are unfamiliar with basic principles of economics and financial matters:

    – 83% of college graduates and 68% of elected officials cannot identify the functional differences between the free market and centralized planning. [17]
    – A 2003 survey of high-schoolers regarding basic personal financial knowledge, such as taxes, credit cards, spending and saving revealed that most were unable to correctly answer more than 50% of the questions. [18]
    – 36% of adults, and 59% of high school students do not know that if a city government sets a maximum amount landlords can charge in rent, the most likely result is fewer apartments available than people want to rent. [19]
    – Roughly half of American adults believe the statement, “Money holds its value well in times of inflation,” is correct. [20]
    UPDATE: 54% of adults do not know what a subprime mortgage is.

Additional research shows that elected politicians score even lower than most Americans on a test of basic civic knowledge. On a 2008 test [21] covering many of the elements cited above, while American adults averaged 49% correct answers, elected politicians (at all levels) averaged only 44%. Examples:

  • Only 32% can accurately describe the free enterprise system.
  • Nearly 50% do not know that only Congress can declare war.
  • Nearly 80% do not know that the Constitution prevents government from establishing an official religion.
  • More than 25% cannot name even one right contained in the First Amendment

OBSTACLE 2: Americans’ growing hostility to the principles of liberty

The following cartoon, by Oleg Atbashian, encapsulates a particularly ugly obstacle facing advocates of liberty:

Founding_Fathers

While some may view this cartoon as funny but unrealistic, the facts bear out at least some of its premises – that there is a concerted effort underway not only to obliterate the actual contents of our Constitution, but to:

  • Vilify those who fought for and wrote it
  • Rally opposition to its most basic principles

One example of this vilification is the way most Americans view George Washington – as compared to one of his most morally-depraved successors:

In several recent surveys, American adults give Bill Clinton a much higher job approval and overall approval rating than George Washington. [22]

Another indication is the way the next generation of our leaders view America, as compared to the most repressive nations on Earth:

After 9/11, a survey revealed that 79% of American college students disagreed with the statement, “America’s culture and values better than those of Islamic/Arab nations”; 43% “strongly disagreed.” [23]


Open hostility to America’s basic Constitutional principles

Further, numerous surveys taken since 2000 give solid indication of the hostility that many Americans harbor towards the basic principles of liberty that are articulated in our Constitution:

  • free speech34% of Americans surveyed in 2012 believe the First Amendment “goes too far in the rights it guarantees,” a jump from 13% in 2011 – the largest single-year jump in this survey’s history. [24]
  • 43% of Americans agree with the statement, “The press in America has too much freedom in our society”; 71% believe “It is somewhat to very important for the government to hold the media in check.” [25]
  • 39% of high school students disagree with the statement, “Newspapers should be allowed to freely publish without government approval of stories.” [26]
  • 58% of American adults said that people should not be allowed to say things in public that might be offensive to religious groups.  31% believe musicians should not be allowed to sing songs with lyrics that might offend others. [27]
  • 59% of Americans believe “businesses make too much profit”; 50% believe government regulation of business “is necessary to protect the public.” [28]
  • Since 2000, an average of 40% of Americans surveyed say they want the U.S. government to become larger, and provide more services than it currently does. [29]

Bipartisan support for expansion of the welfare state

2014 update: 43% of Americans agree with the statement, “The government should do more to help needy Americans, even if it means going deeper into debt”; almost half agree with the statement, “Poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently.”

Support for welfare state programs remains strong among Republicans, Independents and Democrats – and surged between 1994 and 2007 (click to enlarge):

And a 2005 national survey of 8-18 year-olds revealed the extent to which anti-business, pro-statist propaganda has engulfed youngsters’ minds:

When asked “Who is responsible for making the world better for children?,” twenty times as many answered, “the U.S. government,” as opposed to “corporations.” [30]

Two more indications: Undercover videos in which presumably “educated” Americans voice support for Congress to enact legislation to outlaw greed – and to ban water.

See these and other indications of the full, bitter harvest of ignorance and misperceptions harbored by American adults in Theater 2 at the Cinema de Liberty.


Obstacle 3: The limited reading and functional literacy of many Americans – including our most “educated”

Many if not most Americans now struggle with reading and functional literacy:

  • reading difficulty50% of American adults cannot read above an 8th-grade level, and 25% cannot read above a 4th-grade level (functional illiteracy). [31]
  • Half the students at 4-year colleges, and 75% at community colleges, cannot perform complex but common literacy tasks, such as understanding the arguments in a newspaper editorial, or comparing the cost-per-ounce of food. [32]
  • Approximately one-third of freshmen at four-year colleges, and 42% of those at two-year colleges, had to take at least one remedial class in math, English or reading in 2007. [33]  As of 2004, annual corporate spending on remedial writing literacy exceeded $3 billion. [34]

In terms of advancing liberty, the fact is that many if not most Americans do not possess the skill (or, arguably, the patience) to comprehend the written materials that America’s Founders:

  • Created to define and morally justify the nature, structure and limitations of our government.
  • Relied upon to inform them of the lessons of history.

Americans, to some degree, acknowledge their deficit:

35% of American adults surveyed in 2003 agreed with the statement, “Politics and government are just too complicated to understand.” [35]


Obstacle 4: Most Americans obtain their perceptions of current affairs and ideologies through TV-based media – yet top advocates of liberty express themselves almost exclusively through text-based media

Written materials have always served, and will always serve as the foundation of quality informational and activism programs. Whether in the form of a script for a documentary, newscast or political commercial, or a manuscript for a book or a magazine article, all that they encompass grows out of the written word.

Just as their historic predecessors did, today’s top advocates of liberty are most comfortable working within the text-based paradigm.  Yet as the data in this section shows, the vast majority of people prefer to receive their news and information from visual media, not text.  This disparity is a critical factor in allowing our culture to get to the point at which it is today, because it produced a fundamental “disconnect” between the most potent advocates of liberty, and average citizens (and even “educated” ones) who, as documented earlier, possess neither the skill nor the patience to pore through detailed written materials.

bored-reading-320x190This disconnect – which amounts to the knowledgeable and the uninformed/misinformed speaking completely different languages, and operating according to completely different perceptions – has resulted in the vast majority of Americans being surrendered, without a fight, into the arms of those who are destroying liberty.  This is because those who are set on destroying liberty recognize the power of, have mastered, and currently “own” the primary medium upon which Americans rely to inform themselves on political and cultural affairs: the television.


Television by the numbers

Despite the growing influence of the Internet, TV still dominates as the medium through which ideas are “framed” and transmitted in our culture” (whether live-broadcast, or time-shifted/postings on the Internet):

  • The overwhelming majority of Americans prefer to obtain their news and information from TV.
  • 55% of Americans say their “best understanding of the news comes from seeing pictures or video,” as opposed to from “reading” or “hearing.” [36]

As of 2009, the average American spent ten times as much leisure time watching TV as he/she did reading newspapers, and fifteen times as much as reading books:
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TV’s dominance as Americans’ resource-of-choice is not new; the trend lines have been headed there for decades.  Yet for whatever reason, top advocates of liberty (and those who fund them) have either:

  • Not made it an absolute top priority to penetrate, and learn to master the development of TV-based media
  • Not been successful in their efforts to do so

In contrast, top advocates for liberty (and those who fund projects in which they are involved) have focused almost exclusively on (a) generating written materials, and (b) political contests, as opposed to the culture war.

As a result, and with the partial exception of Fox News Channel (discussed below), the TV battlefield today is dominated by those who propagate – almost without opposition – the anti-liberty notions that:

  • The solution to virtually every societal “problem” is government intervention, to one degree or another
  • The best government is the one least restrained in its efforts “to help people”
  • To facilitate this, government control over their lives, their futures, their children and the economy must increase

The Fox News Channel factor

Upon reading the above, some may say, “But Fox News Channel dominates cable news!”  That is true. And to its credit, Fox News Channel (FNC) has produced some terrific original programming, and conducted interviews, that help to make the case for liberty.  It is also unique in that it brings the self-professed (and publicly-labeled) left and right together to debate issues, and even features committed libertarians, such as John Stossel.

But FNC’s influence is comparatively miniscule when contrasted to that of the dominant TV-based informational vehicles:

  • FNC garners less than two million viewers throughout all of prime time – less than 1/15 of the anti-liberty propaganda being dispensed by rival TV news vehicles:
  • Together, the top three broadcast news networks garner more than 25 million viewers each night; that doesn’t include PBS, MSNBC, CNN, and the other anti-liberty television vehicles, which drives the nightly total closer to 30 million.

There are several other critical factors that severely limit FNC’s impact, and that alienate people who might otherwise give it a try:

  • It is routinely attacked and smeared by the “mainstream” shows and personalities (eg Jon Stewart), and the “cool kids” of news, music, movies, as well as by teachers’ unions, political figures, etc.

Fox News Channel’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, showing a typical amount of cleavage.

  • The tawdry sex-tart way that Fox News presents its female hosts and personalities, and the nonsensical banter that occupies so much of its programming in general.  Combined with foibles that are common among news networks, Fox News has gained a reputation among many if not most of those who might otherwise be open to dissenting views, as “Faux News.”

In sum, the entire TV (and visual media) battlefield has been surrendered to those who are committed to destroying liberty – because the most potent advocates for liberty have either not found a way to penetrate, or have been unsuccessful at creating a robust body of marketable visual media that is capable of reaching and influencing the general public, with all its knowledge and literacy limitations.


Obstacle 5: The stigma associated with being an “advocate of liberty”

This is a particularly difficult obstacle for advocates of liberty to overcome, and deserves its own separate, in-depth analysis.  For the purposes of this document, however, this obstacle exists because of several inter-related problems:

  • pointersThe lack of a common definition of “liberty” – among its advocates, and the general public.  Our Constitution and its preceding documents provide a clear framework for a common understanding of the meaning of liberty, and a government whose powers are strictly limited, and why.  Because so many have never studied this document – including many in the liberty movement – both their, and the general public’s perceptions of the word “liberty” are all over the map.The result is that if one visits groups across America that profess to support liberty, and survey their members as to what liberty means, one will get myriad answers, and meaningless, predigested catch-phrases.  Thus, to the persuadable outsider, there is no clear, persuasive, consistent argument for liberty being made by any visible group – so all are tarnished with the same confusing appearance, especially when one takes into consideration the following factors:
  • The “religion-ification” of the liberty movement. Liberty is neither defined by, nor betrothed to any particular religion – or religion at all.  Yet many professed advocates of liberty claim that the rights enshrined in our Constitution are derived from Jesus Christ (just as Muslims claim that the rights they claim are enshrined in the Qu’ran). Further, many local Republican groups – while professing to stand for liberty – open and/or close their meetings with explicit prayers to Christ.  And local Tea Parties, while more removed from open affiliation with religion than Republicans, also engage in this “dance” to some degree.
  • Supposed advocates of liberty assault it, in their own ways.  For example, many supposed advocates of liberty want children to be indoctrinated in the Ten Commandments, in publicly-funded schools.  Others support legal prohibitions on homosexuality, gay adoption, certain recreational drugs and prostitution, while supporting the expansion of the welfare state (just more slowly than what the left wants). Still others want their own subsidies to remain intact, but cut off those to whom they view as abusing “the system.”  This kind of double-jointed, theo-political collectivism/authoritarianism alienates many Americans, who essentially say, “If this is ‘liberty,’ I want no part of it.”
  • racist-signThe public perception that the liberty movement consists only of angry, white racists. For example, despite the fact that the racial makeup of the Tea Party closely mirrors that of America (far more so than most of the “news” rooms that are dominated by those at war with liberty), the lie that liberty advocates are “racists” persists.  This narrative has become so powerful that even when non-white people stand up for liberty, especially at Tea Party events, they are smeared by the dominant “news” entities (either explicitly or implicitly) as being “tokens” at best, or betrayers of “their people,” at worst.

All of these problems, together, enable the most powerful figures and organizations that are dedicated to destroying liberty to stigmatize those who are committed to defending it, or preventing them from participating in public groups or events at all. And even if liberty advocates have the desire to fight back against this stigma, s/he often has neither the skills nor the resources to do so in a way that will resonate with the general public.  As a result, the destroyers of liberty are able to consistently define the narrative, and work to ensure that their opponents are indelibly stained with these stigmas, thus neutralizing them.


CONCLUSION: Fresh thinking is needed to overcome these vexing obstacles, before it’s too late

Our “educational” system’s war on liberty, America, Western civilization, and literacy

The complete disconnect between knowledgeable advocates of liberty, and the average American

How to begin solving this problem – courtesy of Andrew Breitbart

The mission, as I define it

The need for completely fresh thinking and media approaches to overcome these obstacles

My mission


“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows is nothing is nearer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

– Thomas Jefferson

As the birthplace of liberty, the history and requirements of freedom and human progress should be more well-known, cherished and vigorously defended on American soil than anywhere else on earth.

If Americans were merely unaware of the foundational knowledge necessary to understand, support and defend liberty, we would be far ahead of where we are today.  Instead, this knowledge is being whitewashed out of existence, and replaced with ideas and perceptions that persuade the general public into hating the very ideology that has given them most everything they cherish – and whose destruction will lead to everything they claim to wish to avoid.


Our “educational” system’s war on liberty, America, Western civilization, and literacy

The data in this report regarding civic and historic ignorance and misconceptions among American adults, even among our most “educated,” is shocking – as is the fact that 50% of American adults cannot read above the 8th-grade level, and even most college students now struggle with basic literacy.  But it becomes far more shocking when one considers the following facts:

  • Approximately 85% of U.S. adults hold high school diplomas – meaning, they were judged as having acquired the core civic, historic and economic literacy necessary to effectively function in, and help uphold our free society.
  • Nearly 30% of U.S. adults are college graduates – a status conferred because they presumably obtained the advanced knowledge necessary to function in leadership capacities.

silhoutte graduateConsider: What would happen to our culture if airline pilots, railroad engineers, software developers, were able to display certificates stating they had mastered the core knowledge necessary to do their jobs – yet harbored similar unawareness of, and misconceptions about the most basic elements of their professions?  The very federal and state governments that are now engaged in this “educational” fraud would be on a veritable jihad to vilify, and criminally prosecute the perpetrators.

This has all happened despite the fact that on an inflation-adjusted, per-pupil basis, spending on “education” has skyrocketed over the past several generations.  Only when taken in the context of the above facts can the true extent of our “educational” system’s active subversion of America become apparent.

The 1983 report A Nation At Risk described America’s devolving educational system, in part, as follows:

“If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.”

In the generation that passed since A Nation At Risk was published, it has become clear that America’s disintegration is not due to incompetence in our educational system, or to the general population’s intellectual laziness (although both are significant problems). What we are facing is indeed a war – but an undeclared, subversive one: a war to undermine, and ultimately obliterate our ability to comprehend liberty.

The fraud in, and subversion of our “educational” system has been allowed to continue year in and year out – and will continue to be, until and unless there is a peaceful, popular uprising to put a stop to it.

Here is part one of a three-part series that John Stossel produced that documents what America’s leaders have allowed to happen in, and to our schools (also see parts 2 and 3):


The complete disconnect between knowledgeable advocates of liberty, and the average American

How can Americans be expected to defend liberty if it has never been explained to them in a way that meets them where they are, intellectually and literacy-wise, and builds from there?  If it is not presented in a way that is relevant to their and their children’s lives, the world they see around them?  And if it isn’t based upon consistent, clearly-articulated principles, whose virtues are self-evident?

The answer is: They cannot.  And this fact begs the question:

How long can the last embers of liberty be maintained, in the face of such hostility from our fellow citizens, and future “leaders”?

Given all the data in this report, and that which indicates the unsustainability of our current national trajectory, the answer is, “Not long.”

This reality gives rise to several additional questions:

  • How could so many liberty-oriented think tanks and activist groups have failed so completely, after having untold millions (billions?) of dollars poured into them through the years?
  • Why are advocates of anti-liberty principles so unrelentingly successful on a strategic level (the 2010 and 2014 mid-term elections neither slowed down nor fundamentally altered America’s trajectory to implosion)?

My answer: It is because the vast majority of liberty-oriented think tanks and activist groups continue to be hobbled by one or all of the deficiencies described earlier – most acutely, their failure to recognize where the American people are, intellectually and literacy-wise, and to craft educational and advocacy materials that begin there.  And, to do these things while treating the public with respect, in regards to both the content that is presented, and how (esthetics).

It is as if they are so busy shouting into one end of a paper towel tube, they neither know nor care how it is coming out on the other end, to the very people they hope to persuade – who do not have the foundational knowledge to understand it, or find it too complex to even approach. Similarly, from my experience, many neither know nor care about things such as basic design principles, how art is actually constructed, and why our culture’s most popular court jesters (eg Jon Stewart) are able to persuade so many to support the basic tenets of tyranny, so easily. And in terms of political activism, most advocates for liberty (to any degree) are focused on delivering predigested, insufferably boring, red-meat appeals to “the choir,” to “get out the vote,” for momentary political victories.


How to begin solving this problem – courtesy of Andrew Breitbart

Internet Entrepreneur Andrew BreitbartThe late Andrew Breitbart shed important light on this problem, shortly before he passed away in 2012:

“Hollywood is more important than politics. It can’t be overstated how important this message is: pop culture matters. What happens in front of the cameras on a soundstage at the Warner Bros. lot often makes more difference to the fate of American than what happens in the back rooms at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. […] The left does not win its battles in debate. It doesn’t have to. In the twenty-first century, media is everything. The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. Narrative is everything.”

– Andrew’s book, “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save The World”

“The people who have money, every four years, at the last possible second, are told, ‘You need to give millions of dollars, because these four counties in Ohio are going to determine the election.’ I am saying, ‘Why didn’t we invest 20 years ago in a movie studio in Hollywood, why didn’t we invest in creating television shows, why didn’t we create institutions that would reflect and affirm that which is good about America?’”

– Andrew’s speech to the Council for National Policy, October 2009


The mission, as I define it

flintstonesjetsonsMerely catching up to the proficiency of anti-liberty activists’ media tools, strategies and tactics will not suffice to turn back the statist “tidal wave” that is approaching America, and Western civilization in general.  We are now so far behind the other side that it is the equivalent of our being the Flintstones to their Jetsons.

The mission, in my view, must be far greater: it must be to create assets and approaches: (a) that can leapfrog past the opposition, and (b) that advocates can have fun utilizing.  I am not talking about “edu-tainment.”  I am talking about the joy that can be derived from not just defeating horrific, destructive ideas, but in lampooning and ridiculing their purveyors, and ultimately, making it “cool” to stand up for, and defends liberty.

For those who doubt what can be accomplished when one takes this approach, consider that out of the mind of a 19-year-old girl came a project that, with the help of a 25-year-old filmmaker, and a media strategy developed by Andrew Breitbart, served to take down in weeks a multi-billion-dollar, federally-funded “halo” organization that was dedicated to destroying liberty, through a variety of sinister schemes.  An organization that even the most pro-liberty forces had conceded would remain in existence, because it was simply too powerful.

For a reminder, here is PJTV’s Bill Whittle explaining the timeless warfighting strategy that Breitbart employed to do what the “experts” said was not possible – and why ACORN was not even his primary target:


The need for completely fresh thinking and media approaches to overcome these obstacles

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and for years after, forward-thinking individuals in the Department of Defense recruited professionals from the creative arts, particularly Hollywood writers and directors, to help envision potential terrorist scenarios, as well as the means of countering them. This unconventional approach is credited with yielding solid results for those entrusted to keep America safe, after 9/11. [37]

Similarly, if America is to achieve a renaissance of liberty, a way must be found very soon to peacefully overcome the obstacles described in this document.  Traditional media, and traditional thinking, will not suffice. This quest will require the enlistment of creative people who are able to:

  • Black youth tutoringLook at these obstacles from a completely fresh perspective.
  • Generate innovative solutions that can bridge the knowledge gap between top advocates of liberty (of the present and past), and the average American.
  • Be able to truly place oneself into the shoes of average Americans, and begin to view the world through their eyes, ears and literacy limitations; to immerse themselves in this paradigm, and build from there.

Bridging this gulf will not be easy, but it must be done; it is the single most vitally-important obstacle for advocates of liberty to address. And considering that the average American is exposed to between 3,500 and 5,000 marketing messages every day, the need to develop visual and video presentations that are capable of penetrating this clutter has never been greater.


My mission

The primary mission of my life is to use all my creative skills to develop innovative knowledge tools and activism strategies that will help foster a peaceful rebirth of liberty in America, which can then expand outward.

What I possess to advance this mission is an array of skills and experience that have proven helpful in courtroom and advocacy applications, especially those related to liberty.

I do not, however, have a wall-full of academic degrees.  I do not personally possess all the knowledge I would like to, regarding history, philosophy, economics, social and political science, psychology, etc.  I am just an ordinary American who is self-educated in the basic elements of these subjects, and have committed my life to using my skills to advance crystal-clear public understanding of the miracle of liberty, and America, and why those with the least assets and options should be the most fervent supporters of liberty-oriented principles.  I know this because I have been there.  As I describe in my recent (first) book, an inspirational memoir about, in large part, the struggle to survive after an accident left me with an unusual, partially-disabling medical condition, and took away almost all of my assets.

After my artistic skills, my biggest asset in this realm is the fact that I know what it means to be on the receiving end of political propaganda, while being at the lowest end of the economic totem pole, without the technical knowledge to disseminate fact from fiction.  And I know, at least from my perspective, why anti-liberty messages and media are so appealing to such a person, in the absence of a better messaging from those who support liberty.

The storehouses of knowledge necessary to articulate and defend liberty are out there, and there are people who are passionately devoted to getting this information into the public consciousness.  But currently there exists no equally passionate force that is capable of Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_1800translating that knowledge into a format that the average American today can find not only understandable, but so moving and compelling that they find themselves motivated to act, to preserve, as Abraham Lincoln said, “this last, best hope for man on Earth.”  Or, as Thomas Jefferson said:

“…to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”

Between my original projects for liberty (email me for info), and projects that I have helped to develop for others (portfolio), properly utilized I can act as a “translatory conduit” between (a) those possessing the most knowledge of subject matter that is vital to understanding and appreciating liberty, and (b) the general public.  It is to these missions that I have committed the remainder of my life, and am prepared to begin this journey immediately.

Learn more at:

“Jon Sutz: A creative asset in the defense of liberty”


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FOOTNOTES
1.  Caravan Group’s 2002 survey for Columbia Law School, cited in “Americans Don’t Know Their Constitution: Columbia Law Survey Finds Confusion Over Founding Fathers vs. Karl Marx,” 5/29/02; “The American Public’s Knowledge of the U.S. Constitution: A Hearst Report” (New York, 1987).
2.  ABC News/Washington Post poll, 6/17-20/04; Survey of 1,000 American adults by Synovate, for the McCormick Tribune Freedom Foundation, 1/06;  “Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter,” by Rick Shenkman (2008).
3.  Center for Research Survey and Analysis survey of 1,012 adults nationwide 6/01 for the First Amendment Center report, The State Of The First Amendment 2001”
4.  Intercollegiate Studies Institute survey of 2,508 American adults during April and May 2008, as reported in “Our Fading Heritage”
5.  “Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter,” by Rick Shenkman (2008).
6.  Center for Research Survey and Analysis survey of 1,012 adults nationwide 6/01 for the First Amendment Center report, The State Of The First Amendment 2001”; “Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter,” by Rick Shenkman (2008).
7.  2012 study of 1,003 American adults nationwide by Xavier University; “U.S. Naturalization Citizen Test: National Survey of Native-Born U.S. Citizens.”
8.  Ibid.
9.  Ibid.
10.  Ibid.
11.  U.S. Department of Education; cited in: “Why History?,” Readers Digest, 12/02 p.88.
12.  Intercollegiate Studies Institute survey of 2,508 American adults during April and May 2008, as reported in “Our Fading Heritage”
13.  Ibid.
14. U.S. Department of Education; National Association for Educational Progress survey data, 2001; cited in “Ignorance Of History Is No Joke,” CBSNews.com, 7/3/03
15.  Ibid.
16.  2011 survey of college students by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and conducted by GfK Roper, cited in “What Colleges Will Teach in 2025,” by Jon Mecham, TIME, Sept. 26, 2012.
17.  Intercollegiate Studies Institute survey of 2,508 American adults during April and May 2008, as reported in “Our Fading Heritage”
18.  Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy survey of 4,000+ high school seniors; cited in “A Call For Formal Financial Education,” Washington Times, 4/17/03.
19.  The National Council on Economic Education: “What American Teens & Adults Know About Economics,” April 26, 2005.
20.  Ibid.
21.  Intercollegiate Studies Institute survey of 2,508 American adults during April and May 2008, as reported in “Our Fading Heritage”
22.  Washington College poll about presidential greatness, taken February 11, 2005; Gallup poll about presidential greatness, taken February 9–11, 2007; source.
23.  Luntz Research poll, 5/2-12/02, sponsored by Americans for Victory over Terror, a project of Empower America.
24.  Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center’s annual survey of 1,000 American adults, 2013, cited here.
25.  Ibid.
26.  James L. Knight Foundation survey of 100,000 U.S. high school students, contained in “The Future of the First Amendment,” finding here.
27.  (1) Intercollegiate Studies Institute survey of 2,508 American adults during April and May 2008, cited in “Our Fading Heritage” ; (2) Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center’s annual survey of 1,000 American adults, 2013, cited here.
28.  Pew Center for People and the Press report, “Public Not Desperate About Economy or Personal Finances,” 10/15/08.
29.  Washington Post-ABC News polls, 2000-2010, here; echoed by Pew Research, here.
30.  2005 Harris International Survey of 1,200 children ages 8-18 for Save The Children.
31.  (1) National Center for Education Statistics; U.S. Department of Education’s 2003 report, “A First Look At The Literacy Of America’s Adults In The 21st Century”; (2) National Institute for Literacy; National Assessment of Adult Literacy; cited in “4th Annual E-Government Survey,” by Brown University (2004).
32.  Ibid.; “National Survey of America’s College Students,” Pew Charitable Trusts; cited in “Many College Students Poor On 3 Rs,” (AP) 1/19/06.
33.  U.S. Department of Education data; cited in “High Remedial Education Rate Complicates U.S. College Completion Goal Push,” Christine Armario, Associated Press , 5/12/10.
34.  College Board data; cited in “What Corporate America Can’t Build: A Sentence,” Sam Dillon, The New York Times, 12/7/04.
35.  35% of American adults surveyed agree with the statement, “Politics and government are just too complicated to understand,” National Home Education Research Institute, cited in “Homegrown Success,” Washington Times, 10/23/03.
36.  Pew Research Center “Biennial News Consumption Survey,” released 6/8/04.
37.  “Hollywood Troops Help To Fight War,” USA Today, 10/23/01; “Homeland Security Employs Imagination,” Washington Post, 6/18/04.

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