How Glen Whitman Fights Statistical Discrimination
By Bryan Caplan
As I’ve argued before, the best way to fight negative stereotypes is for people unfairly subject to the negative stereotype to use in-group peer pressure to raise the bar. In short: “Stop making me look bad!” Over at Agoraphilia, Glen Whitman offers an eloquent example of my favorite approach:
Given the relative rarity of libertarians, both in the public eye and in general, most people’s judgment of libertarianism will be based on a very small sample – often a sample size of one. If the first libertarian someone meets is a smart, reasonable, decent person, they will come away with a positive impression and possibly a willingness to explore further. If the first libertarian someone meets is a wild-eyed lunatic, on the other hand, they could easily write off libertarianism as the ideology of wild-eyed lunatics.
This is why, when I talk to young libertarians about how to spread their ideas, I say they should think of themselves as ambassadors for the movement. That means, first and foremost, presenting themselves as fundamentally decent people that you would actually want to have a beer with; and second, being willing to admit the diversity of libertarian thought (“libertarians don’t all agree on this, but…”) before pushing their own peculiar views.
Words to live by.