My work to advance liberty

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Continued from: “Liberty: Dying a slow, steady death”

Overview

Samples of my work for liberty

What makes me different from other advocates for liberty


Overview

As often as possible since the early 1990s, in addition to my work in advertising, corporate communications, training and litigation media, I have applied my creativity and skills to help advance liberty, on client-based and personal projects.  Most of my client work has been performed on a pro bono basis, or for only nominal compensation.

Some of the specific ways I have helped liberty-oriented organizations include:

  • Consulting on, and developing overall communications strategies.
  • Crafting innovative project brands, logos, promotional & fundraising materials.
  • Consulting on and designing informational graphics and visualizations, for advocacy and litigation applications.
  • Developing activism strategies and support mechanisms.

The bulk of my work for liberty has focused on three realms:

  • Defending the liberty and property rights of low-income Americans: I have helped to create/recreate core media tools to help advance innovative projects that combat anti-liberty policies that disproportionately harm lower-income Americans.
  • Defending the U.S. military and Israel in re the “propaganda war”:  I have been theorizing and designing innovative media tools and activism strategies to help better defend the U.S. military and Israel against propaganda assaults by radical Islamists, and their “useful idiot” Western allies – eg supposedly nonpartisan “news” entities, etc. (Some of this work is in the public domain; some is not. Details upon request.)
  • Original projects for liberty: Since 1993, I have been researching and developing a proprietary educational project that would apply my 3D visualization design ability to the task of explaining liberty, tyranny, the history of America and basic economic principles, in universally-understandable terms. (Details upon request.)

Here are some of my advocacy clients’ comments about the media tools I’ve developed for them, and the strategic counsel I’ve rendered.

See my full Advocacy Media Portfolio for detailed case studies.

I have also worked to develop innovative solutions to what I’ve identified as the most pressing obstacles to advancing liberty – which, as I describe below, has often put me at odds with organizations that are commonly viewed as being leaders in this realm.

Some of the specific areas I intend to apply my skills in the future include:

  • School choice & academic accountability.
  • Constitutional litigation – particularly regarding First Amendment and property rights.
  • National security and counter-terrorism.

Samples of my work for liberty

Below are summaries of several of four of the liberty-oriented projects on which I’ve worked. At the bottom of each is a link to the full project profile.  See my full Advocacy Media Portfolio for more case studies.

LostLibertyHotel-smallFreestar Media: “THE LOST LIBERTY HOTEL”
Should a local government have the power to seize the home or business of a low- or modest-income person, and give it to a larger business, if the latter might be able to create more jobs or tax revenue with it? By a 5-4 margin, in 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court voted “yes” (Kelo). Soon after, I helped to inspire and did key creative work on a humorously serious campaign to test this ruling, by attempting to seize the home one of the supporting Justices, and turn it into the “Lost Liberty Hotel,” featuring the “Just Desserts Cafe’.” “I love this! This is how you fight this stuff! You turn it right around on them!” – Rush Limbaugh, upon reading the entire press release, verbatim.
See the project profile here.

EDL-Cruelty-childEntitlements Destroy Lives
EDL is a new think tank that I helped to create, that is focused on two objectives: (1) Raising public awareness of the destructive impact that the welfare entitlement mentality has on recipients, and on America’s economy and culture; and (2) Helping to match those who are caught up in the “entitlement entanglement” with the resources and support mechanisms to become self-reliant. For two years, I provided an array of creative services to EDL’s founder, Jim Morris, led the development of EDL’s business plan, and created several key advertising approaches and a “sketch” website. According to Jim, “Jon has been tremendously important to (EDL)… through his graphic design and writing abilities, he has been able to convey EDL’s core message in a coherent and persuasive way.”
See the project profile here.

VOTORS-chartsVirginians Over-Taxed On Residences
VOTORS was founded by airline pilot Al Aitken to build grassroots support for an amendment to the Virginia constitution that would help prevent the poor and those on fixed incomes from being taxed out of their homes. VOTORS’ proposal involved limiting local governments’ ability to excessively raise property value assessments and taxes. My challenge was to re-create all of VOTORS’ outreach materials, including its logo, brochure, and develop infographics to help explain its proposal, especially poor homeowners with limited literacy. According to Al, “Jon’s new VOTORS materials… look as if they came from a very expensive New York advertising agency. Truly impressive!”
See the project profile here.

zuhdijasserThe American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Zuhdi Jasser, MD is a nuclear cardiologist who founded and leads the AIFD, a pro-freedom, anti-terrorism, anti-Islamist Muslim think tank. For background on Dr. Jasser and the monumental challenges he faces, see his bio, the documentary “The Third Jihad,” and his recent book, “A Battle For The Soul Of Islam.” From 2007-2012 I provided creative consulting, graphic design, writing-editing and research services to the AIFD. According to Dr. Jasser, “Jon’s input has been essential to the success of the AIFD, and our efforts to take it to ‘the next level.’… (He is) an individual who loves the ideas of liberty.”
See the project profile here.


What makes me different from other advocates for liberty

The most immediately-apparent difference between me and other advocates of liberty is my unusual array of complementary media skills. But there are several other key differences that I believe are even more important:

  • I recognize the tragic civic knowledge and functional literacy deficits of the average American, and the desperate need to design media that transcends these limitations.  Since 2000, I have been compiling a vast array of research data that validates these contentions, and identifies several other critical obstacles to advancing liberty today (which have been all but ignored by groups who claim to be fighting for liberty).  Among the most important of these findings is the near-complete intellectual and functional literacy disconnect between the general public, and the most potent advocates of liberty – and the latter’s current lack of effort to bridge this gap.
  • I believe that if liberty is to be renewed, it must be advocated on a retail level, to the general public – not to politicians, and not filtered by the media.  Today, major liberty-oriented institutions and consultants exist within, and focus all their efforts on “the bubble” of political power, whether that be Washington, DC, New York, or state capitols.  And it is there that liberty-oriented donors focus the bulk of their resources. The general public, however, continues to drift further into cynicism and anti-liberty perceptions, because they neither understand the language used by the “experts,” nor are they interested in learning it.  If liberty is to be renewed, this disconnect must be corrected, in a way that bypasses the “filters” altogether.
  • I am not a formal scholar.  In many ways I am an average American, which enables me to relate to, and communicate with others in this realm, in ways that most “experts” cannot.  As I describe in my recent book, I have little in the way of formal education, and know what it means to struggle, economically and otherwise.  All of my knowledge has been gained through self-study and life experience.  Although other professional advocates of liberty may have also struggled at one point in their lives, most speak and think at such a different level that it can be hard (or impossible) to understand, or communicate with the average person today.
  • I recognize the urgent need to publicly establish the basic principles and history of liberty and its opposing ideologies, in a format that is universally-understandable and -applicable.  As I describe nearby, “Liberty is dying a slow but steady death. This is not occurring because liberty is losing in an open, public contest with opposing ideologies. Rather, it is occurring because the basic principles of liberty aren’t even on the ‘playing field’ – that is, in the arena of ideological and political battles that the general public observes. Instead, our public battles consist almost entirely of several dominant “teams” trying to make momentary tactical gains, towards objectives that are never clearly articulated. And the general public is essentially forced into this binary choice, of supporting one ‘brand’ of destruction of liberty, or the other.”  Until and unless average citizens have a very clear understanding of the basic principles of liberty and opposing ideologies, we are going to continue enabling the statist tidal wave that is now on the cusp of overwhelming us.
  • I am willing to call out the destructive beliefs and failed practices of those who are on the front lines of the advocacy realms in which I work.  In summary, over the past generation, billions of dollars have been poured into institutions, and political candidates and campaigns, that claim to be dedicated to advancing liberty.  Yet according to recent surveys, the public’s understanding of, and support for liberty is now worse than it was before all those checks were written. (Similarly, the average college senior today cannot pass a test of basic American civics, even after four years of expense and effort – yet will still be awarded their degree/s.  And on a side note, given what we are allowing to be taught in our schools, more Americans age 30 and under now support socialism over capitalism, as they understand these terms.) 
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    There are specific reasons why this situation persists, some of which I describe in the Conclusion of my special report on Americans’ civic and functional literacy.  In general, it involves the pragmatism and ineffectiveness of the “leaders” of the liberty movement. It is not due to a lack of money or resources. Rather, it is due to a lack of willingness to accept the complete communications disconnect that exists today.  It is also due to a lack of creative thinking, and a similar lack of willingness and ability to “take the gloves off,” and fight for liberty in new, innovative ways, that reach into the mind of the average person and, in the words of Thomas Jefferson: “(T)o place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”  The longer we avoid accepting these basic truths, the longer it will be before we can begin to create a renaissance of liberty in America, and beyond.
  • My five biggest influences are, collectively, quite different than those of other liberty advocates.  When people hear that I am an advocate of liberty, and Israel, many automatically assume I am a deeply religious person.  I am not.  In reality, while I do harbor deeply spiritual beliefs, my belief in liberty, and how to most effectively advance it in today’s world, is most deeply influenced by five individuals:my-influences2To the contrary, I believe the fight for liberty must be taken out of the context of theology, or any particular religion, altogether, and instead presented in the context of simple, self-evident logic and common sense.  This is the only way that the general public will have a chance to unite beyond religious, ethnic, racial or other distinctions, and rally behind a common definition of liberty, against all those who are intent on undermining or destroying it.

Child with US flagI contend that turning this situation around will require a complete re-engineering of the message of liberty, and the creation of new media through which to deliver it, directly to everyday people.

At the most foundational level, this will require defining a compelling, non-contradictory description of the nature of liberty, and explaining, in universally-understandable terms, why those with the least have the most to benefit from living in a free society.

Once this is done, tools will need to be designed from the ground up that will be capable of delivering this knowledge to average individuals where they are today – intellectually, literacy-wise, and geographically.  

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

– Buckminster Fuller

To learn more about my work, and how my creativity, skills and innovation might be profitably applied to your organization’s mission-critical projects, please email or call me at 434-825-8428.

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