Dec. 13, 2022

642: How Libertarians Can Effectively Communicate with Gen Z!?

We'll highlight the challenges that libertarians face in connecting with this younger generation, and offer some solutions for overcoming these obstacles.

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In this episode, we're excited to bring you an interview with Theodore Gercken, the head of the Libertarian Youth Caucus. 

We'll highlight the challenges that libertarians face in connecting with this younger generation, and offer some solutions for overcoming these obstacles.

Tune in to hear Theodore's Gen Z insights and advice on how to engage with Gen Z and effectively communicate our message. 

Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about how to connect with the next generation of political activists!

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Brian Nichols  0:00  
Does the future of Gen Z look libertarian? Yeah, let's talk about that. Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Wow, happy Tuesday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on of course, another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble host. Joining us live from our Stratus ip Studios here in lovely Eastern Indiana. Don't let cyber attacks are outdated visit technology put your company at risk. Learn more at the Brian Nichols Forward slash Stratos I pee. All right, Gen Z. We're talking about you guys today. So as you may have known if you listen to the show for a while here, I've been cautiously optimistic about Gen Z, I looked at the trends and Gen Z was seemingly a more independent and less hive mind generation. And then I got the voting results of the 2022 election. And I think the numbers astounded me, which is almost down to 25% of Gen Z not only went and voted but they voted for the Democrats. And that right there big red flag. And I don't know if that is a good sign for Liberty moving forward here into the future. And I guess you know, be able to have a conversation to figure out well, what the heck is the future for Gen Z? Is it a libertarian future? Or is it something else joining us from the libertarian youth caucus? Theodore gherkin? What was the program?

Unknown Speaker  1:37  
Thank you. I'm glad to be here. Absolutely.

Brian Nichols  1:39  
Buddy. Thanks for joining the show. You are out in California, you hail out there and worked with our good friend Michael Lima on his recent candidacy or his campaign. It is out there for city council. And I'm looking forward to digging into some specific issues that Gen Z I'm sure is talking about right now. But also how can we talk to Gen Z. But first, the Lord do us a favor, introduce yourself to The Brian Nichols Show audience and how we can better talk to y'all Gen Z errs out there.

Unknown Speaker  2:06  
Yeah, absolutely. Well, so to start off Gen Z is really becoming, you know, coming into their own politically, right, we saw a 50% increase in young voters from the 2016 to 2020 elections. And as you pointed out, they're becoming a larger and larger segment of the vote. So my job as the chair of the libertarian youth caucus, is to really represent the liberty movement, and to help to promote this among the next generation of voters who aren't just making up, you know, a significant portion of the voter base today, but who are going to be you know, pretty much all of the people in power tomorrow. So you know, it's really important to make sure that the Libertarian Party can sustain itself over the long term, and that we can make sure that we're, you know, reaching out to younger members.

Brian Nichols  2:45  
And how's that going? Right, because back to my point I raised up in the beginning of the show here, the election back in November didn't really seemingly pink to pretty have a picture for the future of liberty, as a matter of fact, a lot of Gen Z, it seems he's starting to side more with the left. So is it a matter of that we're just not doing a good job reaching out to folks? Or is there something culturally philosophically that we're just missing here? On the Liberty side of things?

Unknown Speaker  3:15  
Yeah, well, I think that there is certainly a large cultural shift in Gen Z, but I don't think that it works against us. So you know, Gen Z, I think, especially compared to youth movements of, you know, decades before, is really not only looking for, you know, change, and obviously making a better world for their future. But it's really, you know, concerned about the system that we have today, obviously, you know, a majority of Americans want a viable third party in our country. But that number is actually as high as 75%, among Gen Z voters, they understand that this system is broken, they understand the Democrats and Republicans aren't working for them. And so they really want to be going out and making change and, you know, working on the issues that matter to them, not necessarily, you know, in the frame of the duopoly, but I think that so I think that that culture actually works really well for the Libertarian Party. But as you pointed out, obviously, the election results in 2020 show a shift, you know, not just to the duopoly, but to one side of it, in particular. And I think that that's really all about opportunities, right? For a lot of these Gen Z folks who really, you know, want to be shaking up the system want to be getting out there, they want to be engaging in organizations that give them the tools to do that, that actively sort of invest in their grassroots activism, and allow them to, you know, make the change in their communities that they see. And so I think that there is certainly a large cultural shift and how Gen Z is approaching politics, as you know, concern to your you know, more middle aged and older voters in the United States. But I think that you know, it's really it's a fixable problem for the Libertarian Party and it's about you know, if Gen Z has opportunities, you know, in the far left to go out and you know, work on you know, socialist campaigns and stuff like that, you're going to see Gen Z are taking it but if we as a party can give them opportunities to fight for liberty or in their community, we can harness that cultural change for good.

Brian Nichols  4:57  
So your Agenzia Talk to us about speaking to Gen Z. What are some of these issues that Gen Z is bringing to the table right now, as we're recording here in December of 2022? I'm sure the issues have not really changed so much. And I had Isabella Riley on the show back in 2020. I think it was. And we've heard a lot of the recurring themes, climate change, social justice, equity, all that fun stuff. Is that still a recurring theme? Or is that changing after almost three years of COVID?

Unknown Speaker  5:31  
Yeah, I mean, I think you certainly have a lot of, you know, conversation around social justice. But I think that, you know, Gen Z growing up in a time of, you know, not just one major recession in 2008, but another in 2020, you know, seemingly moving from global calamity, that global calamity, you really have a sense of a fracturing of the political spectrum and uncertainty into the future. And so while I think you do see, you know, those same themes of social justice, the further we get into, you know, time, the more we're seeing Gen Z care about, you know, sort of foundationally, what's going to build upon their future. And so I found that issues like, you know, the national debt that the United States is borrowing trillions of dollars on basically the credit of Gen Z years in the future, that is becoming far more salient to Gen Z every year that passes every year that young Americans get, you know, more and more invested into the economy, right, as Gen Z is going to college or go to work, you're seeing, you know, a lot more of a focus on, you know, how we're building an economy that works in the long term, and not just, you know, moving in staggering from stimulus to bail out all over again. So I think that you see, you definitely do see the same issues, sort of like the overarching power and concepts like that. But you are seeing more and more grounded issues as time evolves.

Brian Nichols  6:48  
Interesting. And I guess, to some of the more I don't want to use the word militant, but we'll say the more activist Gen. Zers. On that leftist scale. How, how do I how do I phrase this? How do we have a conversation with them, and that the preface that because I'm sure we've all experienced it, right, we all have that person, that special someone in our life that they are the proverbial blue haired sheep at the table. And with that, there, I'm sure is a lot of weird, and almost impossible conversations to take place. And I say impossible, because sometimes it's like the the frame of references, and the starting off points are completely disjointed. And I look at some of the folks on the left, and when you're talking about especially a lot of these more societal issues. It, it's almost like you can't have a conversation, because our terms don't mean the same thing. So I guess I say all that, what do you recommend Theodore to have the conversation with some of those Gen Z years out there who they've taken on this leftist mentality? hook line and sinker?

Unknown Speaker  8:01  
Yeah, I mean, I absolutely agree with you, I think that there is, you know, a lot of difference, you know, in Gen Z, and between libertarians, and where the average Gen Z are, is at. But I think that foundationally talking to, you know, the next generation starts with, I think, coming together to understand that this system is fundamentally broken. And I think that that's something that, you know, both we and those Gen Z are as far on the left can agree with, right, the two party system isn't working for the people, it's not working for our economy, it's not building a future that we can be happy about. And so I think that that's sort of where you can start the common ground. And once you understand that what we're doing right now isn't working, then you sort of, you know, you have different options that you can go with, right, some gems years are going to choose to charge up the government route, right? They want the government involved in everything from social politics to economy, you know, whether that's on the left or the right, or they can, you know, sort of charge it the other way, moving to, you know, libertarianism and saying the system is broken. And so there's a foundational need to start to dismantle that. And so I think that the way you talk to Gen Zers, isn't talking to them. I think that a lot of the gap is in like method and approach and how we fix the problems of today. But I think that you start by identifying and connecting on, you know, how the system is working against them. And then you can have a real conversation about what's the best solution to that because, you know, the debate really shouldn't start with, you know, what's better, like socialism or laissez faire capitalism, right, it should start with, you know, the United States government has borrowed trillions of dollars against our credit, how do we fix this? And then I think that you can have a more productive conversation

Brian Nichols  9:35  
theater, what would you say are some strategic blunders from a communication standpoint, that you have seen old heads like me do when we go and try to speak to Gen Z?

Unknown Speaker  9:48  
Yeah, I think that often, you know, libertarians are very passionate generally about their philosophy as is, you know, going to be pretty common in a sort of like third party or niche political space, right or that WHO ARE YOU other people who are there are going to be pretty self selecting you, you're never really going to hear a libertarian stop talking. And I think that a lot of times when we talk to Gen Zers it's sort of about understanding where like, what issues hold salience for that because I think to a lot of, you know, libertarians, the issues that they care about the most aren't necessarily like the the existential threats that a lot of Gen Z is worried about, right? When you when you hear about a Gen Z protest, right? You don't hear it about, you know, tax policy, right? You hear it about climate change

Brian Nichols  10:32  
world is gonna end in three hours if we don't save the polar bears from the meteor coming. Don't you guys care? Don't you want people to die? Yeah, no, I've heard it. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  10:44  
exactly. I mean, you know, that sort of alarmist talk can certainly be annoying when it pops up on Twitter or whatever. But it does reveal something about the psyche of Gen Z voters and activists, and that they they believe, and I think not wrongly, that the system is crumbling around them, that they need to take a hard stand to protect it, and so that I are to rebuild it. And so I think that communications wise, the party would do well to focus on, you know, those issues from a libertarian perspective, you know, maybe not harping on, you know, the world's going to end in six years, or well, actually past that point. So eight years now. But, you know, focusing on, you know, like debt, or wars, or the war on drugs, or their carceral, state, stuff like that.

Brian Nichols  11:25  
Well, and we talked about this a lot from a sales and strategy standpoint here in the program, what's effective. And we know when you've mentioned this, many times, you've danced around the terminology, I'll outright say it again, because the audience has at this point probably heard it 642 times, hence, the 642 episodes, that is meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. And with that, when you look at Gen Z. And believe it or not, folks, Gen Z cares about issues even more so differently than a lot of us because we're all a bit older. But even from a more cultural standpoint, in terms of just the way they look at the world. It the lens is different, too. So I think you're you're kind of hitting the nail on the head there theater that we have to be able to enter into the frame of reference, that means something to Gen Z versus going in with what we're so passionate about what we see as the main issues. And I think you're you're dancing around the issue. And that is, for a long time, libertarians are just in a bad job trying to good idea, people with death, instead of actually having conversations, we think that we can just go out and say we have the best product, we have the best solution. And inherently because it's the best people will gravitate towards us. And that's just not true. That's not how this works. This is you know, if you're in business, if you're in sales, and you're in marketing, you know that that's not how this works. It's the old commercial. What is it the old progressive commercial, this isn't how this works, and nobody in this works. But Theodore, I guess talk to us in terms of moving forward. You're part of the libertarian youth caucus, you're starting a different movement here in the Libertarian Party and trying to bring the youths in which we so desperately need. So talk to us about the success you're seeing. Have you seen any pushback from any Gen Z years when you're bringing a libertarian message? And I guess what do you see as the prospects for Liberty now that you're seeing some Gen Zers actually asking some Liberty based questions? In the world of wine, there are so many choices, and that's why blood of tyrants, wine has tyrants losing their heads, whether you're looking for a new go to that home, or watching the press your friends at a party, a lot of times wind has you covered and if you're trying to get rid of some pesky errands here, like Well, we've got that covered, too. And the Brian Nichols forward slash wind and get $5 off your order. One more time, Brian Nichols, forward slash wine free men don't ask permission. So take a sip, you'll be glad you did.

Unknown Speaker  13:41  
Yeah, I think that libertarianism when it's introduced to Jen's ears, is a really the first time that people hear about it, I think it's a really revolutionary concept. Because as I said before, right, most Gen Z are is you know, sort of believe that the system is broken. And the alternative that most of them are trying to, as you mentioned, is, you know, sort of going forward at the pro government, you know, left of the political spectrum route, because I think that that's, you know, so much where we're at culturally, you know, we have in our political culture, the Republican and Democratic parties, and for a lot of young voters, the Republican Party, just you know, isn't it right, the the party of, you know, big government and enforcing their morals and all of that, and, you know, endless wars. And so there's sort of this default for Gen Zers, that if you want to make change, if you want to shake up the system, you go to the left, but when you bring up the Libertarian Party, I think that there's this this aha moment that happens in a lot of people's minds, where that's not the only option, you can understand that the system's broken, and there are multiple paths to trying to fix it. And so I think a lot of this is the Libertarian Party and libertarianism just isn't adequately represented among Gen Zers. And so they don't really even think about it as an option. And so obviously, there's there's some pushback, but you know, I think that it does give a lot of people an option that they wouldn't have even thought of before and you know, even even the pushback that you know, I usually receive when I, you know, talk about high school or something about libertarianism is really indicative of the current political climate we're in, like, whatever I talked about libertarianism, most of the criticisms are things that usually or should just be leveled at Republicans, right criticism about, you know, like endless wars, it's like, they don't really understand that libertarians would end the wars that we want to end the wars, that, you know, we criticize President Trump's administration for four years, and Obama's for eight years before that, for going back on their promises to bring us out of Afghanistan. And so I think that when you have this sort of mentality, that's just the Republican and the Democratic Party, going to the far left is a pretty natural stop for a Gen Zers. But if you give them that option that is so distinct from both the Republicans and the Democrats, it gives them an opportunity to express those frustrations and get involved in a in a substantively more productive way.

Brian Nichols  15:52  
Theater. And, you know, this is again, a reoccurring theme, but you're just you're touching on the real importance of why we have to get involved in the education of the young folk, right, because what we're talking about, and this goes back to a principle I brought up, I was on Tim Poole. When you're explaining you're losing, and far too often libertarians have to enter into conversations by explaining who we are. Whereas when folks hear Republican Democrat, for better for worse, they kind of have a gut instinct in terms of what it means. And just by the on the reality that we have to at the onset, start explaining who we are, we're playing an uphill, we're playing defense, we're fighting an uphill battle. And I guess it speaks to how imperative it is, if we want to have success. Kids have to learn about libertarianism, or at the very least, the options, right? Like, it can't be that kids only learn the two party system and go through school. That's what their confines of the world is. And if they're not going to learn this from school, parents, don't you like we have to fill the gaps where the public government schooling is not meeting what we need them to meet. And in the meantime, while we're having our quarry Daniels is out there fighting the good fight, getting school choice across the nation, while we have our Tiffany justices out there with moms for liberty, going across school boards, trying to help fight back and change the curriculum, there's still a lot of stuff that we have to do in the meantime, because we're still fighting an uphill battle, but slowest thing we know in America is government is bureaucracy. So while we're fighting that uphill battle, and we have folks out there doing a great job doing that actually making headway, we have our role to play. So I say all that because a lot of the stuff that we're talking about today, can likely be remedied if we take the initiative ourselves and start with educating right. Part of when I started my show way back in January of 2018, was I wanted a show that would leave folks educated, enlightened and informed. And that's why I put it on my little banner back there. Because at the end of the day, if we aren't bringing new information, not bringing value, bringing resources to people to show that our ideas are more than just ideas, our ideas are the solutions to the problems they see before them. That's when we win. If we aren't going to do that, then we're going to continue to lose, we're going to continue to bash our head against a wall. So Theodore, I say all that with the final kind of bit of the show here, I'll direct this towards you. Where do you think we will be 10 years from now? Do you see the Libertarian Party as a more pro Liberty Gen Z party? And do you see Gen Z along the way adopting and dare I say, adapting some of our libertarian ideas along the way as well?

Unknown Speaker  18:56  
Yeah, I absolutely believe that the Libertarian Party can become that voice for Gen Z or who are upset with the system will understand that something needs to change. But I think that it's something that the Libertarian Party needs to adopt, as we touched on a little bit earlier, it is sort of about that messaging that, you know, existential threat of, of the wars of the carceral, state all of that stuff, but it's also about giving Gen Z are sort of the opportunity. And so, you know, I'm never one to compliment the far left in the United States. But one thing that they've done really well is they've given activist really good resources and really good opportunities to get involved. If you are, you know, especially where I live in the Bay Area, if you are a Democratic socialist, or even, you know, all the way to communist, there are organizations that can get you trained, get you equipped and get you making change in your community. And so I think that that makes it you know, even easier for Gen Zers, who want to change things to go to the left instead of, you know, to libertarians. And so I think that that's definitely something that our party needs to invest in getting, you know, chapters at colleges and high schools across the country and giving them real support and opportunities to get involved in you know, city council races or congressional care. pants, or legislative efforts, stuff like that. Because I think that if our party does that, then the Libertarian Party has, you know, a great message to sell to these Gen Z ers that if you believe that the system is broken, then there's no better party for you than the one that wants to fundamentally change. You know how the United States votes right, breaking up the two party system, giving people an option through programs like rent choice votes, changing, you know, the way that the United States interacts with the world by getting rid of foreign policy where we act like bullies, right, bring our troops home from the Middle East, you know, dissolving organizations like NATO. I think that if the Libertarian Party can pitch itself in that way, and can give students the opportunities, I see absolutely no reason why we couldn't do you know, the left of the political spectrum has been able to do getting people who are upset with the system involved in change, and trying to, you know, for lack of a better word, tear down the system, it's mortgaging their future,

Brian Nichols  20:52  
theater or Gurkha, and we could keep going and going. But unfortunately, we are already hard pressed for time, which means time for some final thoughts. And my final thoughts will folks, yes, tis the season, to be merry and to of course, go ahead and support not only The Brian Nichols Show, but also to go ahead and get that perfect gift for that freedom. That freedom fanatic, maybe that Liberty lover that you have there in your life, head over to Brian Nichols forward slash shop and you can grab Oh, yes, I'm wearing our Michael Scott 2024 shirt, you can grab that. Plus you can grab our what happened in 1971 shirt, we have our cloud Shop Now that's what I call tyranny shirt. We have our ever popular magic money tree shirt, we have backpacks, garden flags, you name it, we got it. So head over to the Brian Nichols forward slash shop now sad news. Sad news. I'm sorry, yesterday was the last day for folks to go ahead and get their orders in for things to be guaranteed delivered by Christmas. But if you want to get rushed delivery, if you want to get the overnight shipping that's available, just know you'll have to pay a little bit extra. But with that being said to help make a little bit easier use code TBNS at checkout, that'll give you a 10% discount. They're happy. Yeah, happy, happy holidays. Merry Christmas. And also with that, folks, please do me a favor. And this is something that we're doing with our store sponsor that is proud libertarian who host our shop is if you get one of our brand new pieces of merchandise, please just take a picture and submit it to either proud libertarian or yours truly, I want to go ahead give it some some retweets and shares. And I know we're gonna go ahead and put some of those up on the website. So you want to model some of this stuff, and actually be the face of some of the swag we got here at The Brian Nichols Show. Do me a favor, take a picture of you rocking your swag and an email to me, Brian at the Brian Nichols Theodore, that's what I have for my thoughts. Final thoughts. What do you have for us for yours?

Unknown Speaker  22:53  
No, I think that the future is bright for Gen Z activist for the Libertarian Party. But I also think that we have a lot of work to do. The Libertarian youth caucus is relaunching at the beginning of next year to you know, really do that investment work that I was talking about earlier to build chapters on high schools and colleges around the country, and give kids the resources to be able to express, you know, their political activism and frustration and make real change in their community. And so I'm very optimistic that we'll be able to, you know, provide that pro Liberty alternative that we'll be able to get Gen Zers on our side. And I think that if the Libertarian Party continues to, you know, sort of support and invest in Youth Activism over the next decade to answer your question a little bit more, more directly. I think that the Libertarian Party can be the party of young voters can be the party of change. And honestly, I think that that's really where our message should be going. And I think that as libertarians is what we should be promoting.

Brian Nichols  23:45  
The future is bright there, Theodore with libertarians in the movement like you thank you for bringing your Gen Z insights but also teaching us old Fuddy duddies, how to talk to Gen Z and have effective strategies when we go out there and try to spread our ideas and yeah, it starts with actually what meeting people where they're at on the issues they care about. Everybody sat with me. That's right. All right, folks, if you got some value from today's episode, and you know the drill, please go ahead, give today's episode a share. And when you do, please tag yours truly at B Nichols. Liberty, Twitter, Facebook, that's where I'm most active, but I'm also over on Mines, truth, social, you name the platform. I'm likely there, Theodore, where can folks go ahead and follow you they will continue the conversation.

Unknown Speaker  24:29  
Yeah, they can find me at at Girkin Theodore on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Brian Nichols  24:34  
Perfect. And how about this, we'll make it easy for you, folks. We'll include all those links in the show notes. And by that I mean if you're joining us here on the podcast version of the show, which I know like 95% of you are well all you got to do click the artwork and your podcast catcher, it'll bring you right over to the Brian Nichols where you can find today's episode, you can find the entire transcript of today's episode. Today's episode, you can find all the social media links from today's episode Plus, you can find all 640 to other episodes of The Brian Nichols Show, and by the way, also we have a video version of the program. So if you have not had the chance yet, head over your favorite video platform, YouTube rumble or Odyssey wherever it is, I asked give me a favor, hit that little notification bell so you don't miss a single time we go live and Oh, also hit the subscribe button as well. And if you're joining us here on YouTube, well don't don't go away yet. Please. I have a video right here for you to go ahead and watch. Actually, you'll have one over here as well. Please pick either one one will be recommended ones our most recent episode. Either way, just go ahead. Keep watching and when you do again, please go ahead and share these episodes because they leave folks what educated, enlightened and informed. That being said Brian Nichols signing off, you're on The Brian Nichols Show for Theodore Gergen from the libertarian youth caucus. We'll see you tomorrow.

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Transcribed by

Theodore GerckenProfile Photo

Theodore Gercken

Chair of the Libertarian Youth Caucus

Theodore Gercken is a Californian High School student and the Chair of the Libertarian Youth Caucus, leading the relaunch of the Libertarian Party's official youth wing next year to provide a partisan option for young Americans working to advance liberty in their communities and invest in the next generation of our party.