News Release: Launching of a (inter)national college libertarian newsletter

Hi,

The Rutgers Libertarians would like to launch a college libertarian newsletter that will have a national or possibly international reach. It would be put together through online communication and distributed in a decentralized manner by anyone at a college (or possibly even high school) who has access to the internet and a local printing service such as Staples or Kinkoís.

Background:

In early 2005, we were discussing the idea of creating a campus libertarian newsletter for Rutgers. We spent lots of time throwing around names and laughing our asses off about how ridiculous some of them were, probably making other people in the lounge think that we were high in the process. Eventually the name ďThe Invisible HandĒ was chosen.

We attempted to launch it in the Spring semester, but due to the few submissions by Rutgers students we were unable to get it off the ground until November of 2005. We circulated about 350 by placing them near newspaper distribution spots on campus. Thanks go out to Aaron Biterman for letting us use one of his articles in it. You can download a .pdf of the issue at: http://rlibertarians.tripod.com/nov05invisiblehand.pdf

(note: the print version went out in black and white)

We decided that it would be easier to get submissions if we opened it up to students outside of Rutgers, and this morphed into the idea we are presenting here.

How it might work:

Letís get one thing straight first Ė this announcement is part of brainstorming, not a proclamation of how things are going to be. We are hoping to get feedback on this, which might change things a little.

Itís really not a difficult concept:

1. Students submit libertarian-themed commentary, book/movie reviews, interviews, cartoons, quotes, jokes, sound bytes, etc. to one email address (e.g.: invisiblehandofru@yahoo.com).

2. Some group of people (e.g.: The Rutgers Libertarians) decide what to put in (most likely everything submitted), and make a newsletter out of it.

3. The newsletter is posted on a website. Maybe emails will go out to different groups and individuals that want to distribute it, notifying them that it is ready.

4. Libertarians all over the place print and distribute the newsletter.

5. Statists pee their pants (hopefully).

Note that although we are volunteering to compile and publish the online Hand, if anyone thinks they can do a better job AND IS ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO GETTING IT DONE, then we will not complain if you want to handle that. Note also that none of our active members have amazing internet skills, but we will certainly take care of the online stuff unless anyone else really wants to do it.

Other possibilities:

We might ask some libertarian cartoonists to use some of their stuff if we donít get that many student submissions.

It would probably be best to have both information and entertainment. However, satire would either need to be really obvious or labeled as such by the editors.

So that there is not too much overlap (for example, having 90% of material about Steve Kubby might get boring to most people), it might be best to have a deadline for contributors to submit topics for articles, after which the topics will be displayed online somewhere so that people with the same topic can either collaborate online to work on it, or talk to each other and change topics.

Perhaps the site should include a blog/message board/comments section. Our webmaster has no experience with that kind of thing but he could certainly figure it out if nobody else felt like taking on internet responsibilities. It just might not be the most pretty or efficient way to do it.

We should make The Invisible Hand known all over the internet.

We havenít come up with a policy on advertising. The problem is who gets paid if itís being printed and distributed by numerous people all over creation? The apparatus needed for a fair and accountable system might be too much for us. Perhaps it would be best to offer free advertising to the libertarian community and let the editors decide what to print. A better way to get publicity for a group might be to make submissions like ďJohn Galt interviews some dude he knows in the Free State ProjectĒ or ďThe Fun I Had Last Summer with My Bureaucrash Homies.Ē

There is also the possibility of creating a blog or some other online thing where people submit their articles, and people at different schools decide which ones they want to put in their own version of The Invisible Hand. In this way, the paper could be custom tailored to fit each school. If this was done, different final versions could also be posted on the blog for the use of those who donít want to make their own version.

Why we are excited about this:

This could be HUGE if it is done right by enough people.

It may make it look like there is some massive unified campus libertarian movement.

It may help create an actual unified campus libertarian movement.

It will get our ideas read by more people than comparative efforts might.

Many people pick up college newspapers just for something to read while riding the bus or sitting through classes. Having a libertarian newsletter with catchy stuff on the cover will most likely get our ideas out to people who might have little interest in politics (but now may develop an interest in liberty).

It can create an influence disproportionate to our numbers. For example, letís say you know 1 other libertarian at your school. You two can:

1. Submit an article to the Invisible Hand discussing starting a campus group in your area.

2. Put together money or sweet-talk your local LP to get enough to make a large # of copies Ė Staples offers discounts on large orders, and will even staple them for you.

3. Put the Invisible Hand everywhere you can where students will see it. Now people know about your future campus organization, and might even think that itís a big enough deal to bother thinking about! Not to mention you just got the message of liberty out to your school in a much more prominent way than you otherwise might have.

Letís face it, beating up statism all over the internet can only get us so far. To break into the mainstream and subvert statism on its own ground, we need to get libertarian ideas into universities where a new generation of individuals will come to find them.

Please, if you have any questions, comments, criticism, or volunteering, by all means let us know.

In Liberty,

Rutgers Libertarians
invisiblehandofru@yahoo.com
http://rlibertarians.tripod.com