Matt Kibbe at ESFLC

Matt Kibbe

It’s early in the morning on sunday and most of the attendees are still trying to recover from the previous night out on the town of Leuven. Yet we’re all quite excited, Matt Kibbe from Freedomworks is kicking of the last day of the ESFL Conference.

Matt first explained what Freedomworks does “we try to organise the grass roots movement, we’ve even read leftist books about it. Because the libertarian movement tends to be only booksmart.”

Kibbe showed he’s in touch with the movement and the modern ways of communications: “We make a lot of use of social media, it does take time and money but it really changes the game.”

The speech he then commenced was titled “political disintermediation” which, according to him and WikiPedia is: “In economics, disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain, or “cutting out the middleman”. Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which had some type of intermediate (such as a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet. One important factor is a drop in the cost of servicing customers directly.”

“think about how you live today, it’s a radically free world and we can reach anyone and say anything. If you want to spread ideas, you can do that in realtime with social media. The potential of that is quite radical.”

“In the decentralised world without an intermediary media you get your information from different sources in a very competitive way. This makes you very dangerous to governments and politicians. That’s why internet was the first thing shut down in the arab spring uprisings.”

“Government is the very opposite to the trends online of more choice and freedom. Government is more top-down and dictating instead of leaving people free to choose. What would Jefferson have thought about twitter as a radical democrat?”

“Or Hayek, when he debated keynes and the socialists. “How’s it possible that so many individuals with their own context and knowledge dispersed can come together and produce something bigger. Through spontaneous order and the price system?” Imagine what he would’ve thought about the internet as a supercharging of this idea. What would he think about that process in political knowledge, like buchanan talked about the concentrated knowledge and power in the government?”

“You used to have insiders with the privilege of power and the rest of us outside, the internet changes that. It’s based on freedom, competition and it makes it possible to discover what the government is doing at any given moment.”

He then went on to an example of this, the Rand Paul Filibuster and its effect on Twitter and Facebook, eventually resulting on coverage by the mainstream media who in the beginning ignored the filibuster and ended up naming Paul the new leader of the GOP. Quite a turn-around.

“When I was your age I had to discover libertarianism from an album cover. I didn’t have the internet and so I had to use books and started out with Ayn Rand and then Von Mises. I only knew there were others like me when I met an austrian economist by incident. Information didn’t flow the way it did like it does now. Back then it was only possible due to accidents. Now we have the internet and our ideas can spread faster. There’s never been such a big minority block of libertarians. Even though the trend is still the wrong way. Making good progress, see how McCain reacted to Rand Paul. #Freedom is trending.”

He also explained why, in the end, the strategy of Obama on new media would stop working: “The micro managing of social media like Obama does doesn’t really work because they still think they have a better plan than freedom. You cannot plan the internet and micro target people in a way that can trump free cooperation of millions and millions of people.”

He then pitched the new creation of FreedomWorks, the FreedomConnector. “In the long tail of the internet, will we be able to connect to every libertarian online? Think about how impactful this group would be. That’s why we do what we do! We’ve created freedom connector to take the middleman out of organising. It allows you to meet thousands of likeminded people.”

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