“You are no longer dependent on elites to tell you what you’re allowed to think and we should always be optimistic about that. I think, in a lot of ways, the insane censorship and this whole apparatus that’s designed to keep us from speaking our minds is a reaction to the fact that we’re winning the conversation just by being free to think for ourselves.

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This week on the Free Cities Podcast I’m in Portugal talking with Matt & Terry Kibbe.

Matt and Terry Kibbe are the founders of Free the People which is an educational foundation charged with the mission of tuning in the next generation to the core values of personal liberty and peaceful cooperation.

I met them both in Lisbon where they were speaking at LibertyCon and were it not for both of our incredibly strict schedules over that weekend, I would have happily spoken to them for much longer since they have such a wealth of experience in the worlds of both legacy and new media.

In our conversation we mainly discuss the current media landscape and what might be the best tools and strategies for communicating our message to the hearts and minds of people in today’s highly volatile world.  

The marketplace of ideas has never been more universally accessible than it is at this time in history and Terry and Matt are most certainly amongst those at the sharp end of the wedge when it comes to communicating ideas of Liberty and freedom.

Enjoy the conversation.

Automatically Generated Summary

00:30 Matt and Terry Kibbe on Spreading Ideas of Liberty

In this section, Timothy Allen introduces his guests, Matt and Terry Kibbe, founders of Free the People. They discuss their experiences in media and how to spread ideas of liberty effectively.

Introduction to Guests

  • Matt and Terry Kibbe are introduced as founders of Free the People.
  • They have experience in both Legacy Media and New Media.

Experiences in Media

  • Both guests have a non-linear career path that led them to video storytelling.
  • White papers are important but video and social media are more cost-effective ways to reach a larger audience.
  • Academic journal articles had a potential audience of only a dozen people.

Spreading Ideas Effectively

  • The current media landscape is highly volatile and changeable.
  • Communicating ideas of liberty requires effective tools and strategies.
  • Video storytelling is an effective way to communicate ideas in today’s world.

03:24 Legacy vs New Media

In this section, Timothy Allen discusses with his guests about their experiences transitioning from legacy media to new media.

Transitioning from Legacy Media to New Media

  • Both guests come from legacy media backgrounds but transitioned into new media for more cost-effective ways to reach larger audiences.
  • Video storytelling has become an essential tool for communicating ideas effectively in today’s world.

04:30 Approaches for Spreading Good Ideas

In this section, Timothy Allen and his guests discuss the best approaches for spreading good ideas.

Approaches for Spreading Good Ideas

  • Communicating ideas of liberty requires effective tools and strategies.
  • Video storytelling is an effective way to communicate ideas in today’s world.
  • The current media landscape is highly volatile and changeable.

04:48 Importance of Video Storytelling

In this section, Terry Kibbe discusses the importance of video storytelling in communicating ideas effectively.

Importance of Video Storytelling

  • White papers are important but video and social media are more cost-effective ways to reach a larger audience.
  • Video storytelling has become an essential tool for communicating ideas effectively in today’s world.

06:12 The Power of the Internet

In this section, the speakers discuss how the internet has revolutionized access to information and allowed people to think for themselves.

The Legacy Media Industrial Complex

  • 06:34 Before the internet, Legacy Media controlled what information people had access to.
  • 06:52 Technology and the internet have levelled the playing field, allowing almost everyone to have access to information.
  • 07:17 People can now self-curriculate and learn about any topic they are interested in.

Ideas of Liberty and Freedom

  • 08:21 The ideas of liberty and freedom seem to be having a resurgence due to free access to information on the internet.
  • 08:58 People who were previously gatekept from these ideas are now hearing them for the first time.

Censorship as a Reaction

  • 07:59 Insane censorship is a reaction to people winning conversations by being free to think for themselves.
  • 09:57 CNN’s viewership dropped 61% in March 2021, indicating that Legacy Media is losing its grip on controlling information.

Engaging in Battle of Ideas

  • 10:44 Frederick Hayek believed that engaging in a battle of ideas was more important than running for office.

11:27 The Future of Education and Media

In this section, the speakers discuss the impact of technology on higher education and media. They explore how new tools have made it possible to bypass traditional gatekeepers and access information directly from experts.

Technology and Higher Education

  • The unsustainability of higher education has collapsed due to technology.
  • Hayek’s advice to Sir John Templeton no longer applies as people can go straight to experts.
  • Young people flock to Joe Rogan because he doesn’t tell them what to think but is a curious guy trying to figure out how stuff works.

Impact on Media

  • CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC combined are still smaller than one episode of Joe Rogan.
  • Podcasters and people willing to have open and honest conversations are the future.
  • People get the option now to go straight to an expert if they want to know about something.

Self-Curriculating

  • Academia’s entire financial structure is collapsing because you can find the best professors online for free.
  • You can self-curriculate by being motivated and curious instead of burdening yourself with college debt.

15:27 AI in Writing

In this section, the speakers discuss their thoughts on AI in writing. They explore whether AI will replace human writers or not.

Fear of Replacement

  • An artist on their team is afraid that he’ll be replaced by AI.
  • However, they don’t think that’s true because AI ultimately is just a tool that humans use.

Understanding AI

  • As per their understanding, AI won’t take over everything in 15 years; it’s just a tool that humans use.

16:51 The Role of AI in Creativity

In this section, the speakers discuss the role of AI in creativity and whether it will replace human creativity.

AI’s Place in Middle Market Mass Consumer

  • 17:13AI could take over the middle market mass consumer industry such as Hallmark movies and produce artwork for hotels.
  • 17:33However, there will always be a place for human creativity as AI cannot innovate or create something beautiful and profound that no one has thought about before.

Comic Book Artistry

  • 17:57Comic book artists were worried about being replaced by robots but found that AI can do the artwork for comics if given a script. However, it does not capture the human experience well.
  • 18:39Robots may be able to create something super creepy, but they cannot create something beautiful and profound like humans can.

19:12 The Future of Written Content

In this section, the speakers discuss how written content is getting superseded by AI and whether there is any merit in written content in general.

Bell Curve Decimation

  • 19:12The middle of the bell curve has been decimated in many industries due to technology advancements. However, specialist magazines still exist and are bought religiously.

Human vs. AI Creativity

  • 19:49Written content is getting superseded by AI as it can translate everything into speech. Search may not necessarily be something you type.
  • 20:09Human creativity will remain at the top end of the bell curve while AI takes over more mundane tasks.
  • 20:43AI cannot replace human creativity in creating something beautiful and profound that no one has thought about before.

21:02 The Role of AI in Language Translation

In this section, the speakers discuss how AI is being used to translate spoken words into foreign languages.

AI Language Translation

  • 21:02AI is being used to turn spoken words into foreign languages, and AI avatars are saying it.

21:42 The Evolution of Free the People

In this section, Matt Kibbe talks about how Free the People started as a way to reach young people outside of their bubble and evolved into a video production company that produces short and long-form documentaries, comedy projects, and narrative filmmaking.

From Short Stories to Long-Form Documentaries

  • 22:05 Free the People started producing short stories because they believed that young people had short attention spans.
  • 22:26 However, they realized that Facebook manipulated attention spans and many young people fled Facebook for podcasts, YouTube, and Netflix.
  • 22:46 They evolved from short stories to long-form documentaries or stories about people accomplishing beautiful things or being oppressed by government.
  • 23:32 They are now experimenting with comedy projects and narrative filmmaking.

Tackling Documentary Economics

  • 24:11 Free the People has not abandoned long-form documentaries despite being expensive compared to other forms of content like podcasts.
  • 24:30 Their team is all in-house which keeps costs low. They also have strong deadlines for editing which helps them produce more content efficiently.
  • 25:49 Their first documentary about Thomas Massie was shot over a weekend for only four tanks of gas and a couple cases of beer.

The Future of Free the People

  • Free the People is hiring someone who understands TikTok to cut their hundreds of hours of video content into small slices for TikTok with hopes that it will lead viewers to longer form content.
  • They believe that there is still room for growth in their business model as they continue to experiment with different types of content.

26:52 Congressman as a Libertarian

In this section, the speaker talks about a film they made about a congressman who is essentially a libertarian but registered as a Republican. The New York Times wrote an empathetic piece about him despite his refusal to talk to them.

Congressman’s Libertarian Values

  • 26:52 The congressman is essentially a libertarian.
  • 27:06 He is registered as a Republican because Libertarians don’t win office in the States.
  • 27:13 The New York Times wrote an empathetic piece about him despite his refusal to talk to them.

Created Media

  • 27:34 There are three types of media: earned media, paid media, and created media.
  • 27:51 Created media allows you to tell your story the way you want it without someone else manipulating it.
  • 28:15 Authentic and well-done created media can change everything.

28:32 Placing Content for Eyeballs

In this section, the speaker talks about how they struggle with placing their content due to changing rules. They experiment with new platforms and aim to reach new audiences while avoiding clickbait.

Placing Content

  • 28:32 The speaker struggles with placing their content due to changing rules.
  • 28:50 They experiment with new platforms and aim to reach new audiences while avoiding clickbait.

Soft Censorship

  • 29:26 There is soft censorship happening for their type of content on social media.
  • 29:47 They want to reach audiences who aren’t necessarily already coming to their church or belonging to their tribe.

Facebook Worthlessness

  • 30:10 Facebook is worthless in terms of reaching an audience.
  • 30:29 The speaker can’t get three likes from a million people on their public Facebook page.

Endless Experimentation

  • 30:52 They endlessly experiment with new platforms.
  • 31:12 The speaker is curious to see what Twitter becomes because Elon Musk has ambitions to compete with YouTube.

31:47 Favorite Documentary

In this section, the speaker talks about their favorite documentary called “The Free Life: Portrait of an Artist”. The documentary is about a Cuban artist who left his country at the age of 13 to pursue his passion for art.

The Free Life Portrait of an Artist

  • 32:09 The documentary is about a Cuban artist who left his country at the age of 13 to pursue his passion for art.
  • 32:31 The speaker points out that even though Cuba has been in the news lately, it’s important to remember that artists and creative thinkers are often targeted by authoritarian regimes.
  • 32:54 Recent demonstrations in Cuba have led to hundreds of arrests and long prison sentences for those who speak out against the government.

33:30 Abuses of Authoritarianism

In this section, the speaker discusses how authoritarians target artists and creative thinkers as a way to suppress dissent.

Targeting Artists and Creative Thinkers

  • 33:30 Authoritarians almost always target artists, actors, poets, and other members of the creative class first because they are often willing to speak truth to power.
  • 33:54 The persecution of artists goes back centuries. For example, during World War II, a woman in France smuggled 2,000 writers and artists out of France when it was occupied by Nazis.
  • 34:16 Socialism is often intolerant towards artistic expression. There are many examples throughout history where socialist governments have banned certain types of music or art.

36:07 Artistic Integrity

In this section, the speaker talks about the importance of artistic integrity and how it can be used to reach young people who may be attracted to socialist ideas.

Artistic Integrity and Libertarianism

  • 36:07 The speaker believes that artistic integrity is a very libertarian idea. They argue that it’s important to tell positive stories about successful entrepreneurs and other individuals who have succeeded in spite of government interference.
  • 36:26 The speaker gives an example of a Serbian brewer who collaborates with brewers from countries that Serbia used to fight with. This shows how art and creativity can bring people together across borders.

37:03 The Importance of Problem Solving and Creativity

In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of problem-solving skills and creativity in the new generation. He warns that if the United States does not encourage these skills, other countries will surpass them.

The Need for Problem Solving Skills

  • 37:03 The new generation needs to be allowed to solve problems.
  • 37:24 Libertarians need to focus on telling stories about communities created by freedom and decentralized solutions.
  • 37:49 There are unbelievable solutions that no one thought were possible through decentralized solutions.

Encouraging Creativity

  • 38:10 It is important to put a face on those who create beautiful things through freedom.
  • 38:35 Libertarian media should focus on finding pockets of freedom and telling their stories.
  • 38:59 Democratic socialism has done well because they have great characters and talk about dignity.

39:59 Empathy for Young People Struggling with Purpose

In this section, the speaker talks about how young people are struggling with purpose in life due to our success in solving basic survival problems. He also mentions how empathy can help us understand opposing views such as democratic socialism.

Struggles with Purpose

  • 39:59 Young people struggle with finding purpose due to our success in solving basic survival problems.
  • 40:24 Our prosperity has led us to worry less about basic survival needs but has left many struggling with meaning in life.

Understanding Opposing Views

  • 40:45 Empathy can help us understand opposing views such as democratic socialism.
  • 41:08 Democratic socialism has done well because they talk about dignity and purpose.

42:25 The Power of Storytelling

In this section, the speakers discuss the importance of storytelling in winning people over to your side. They note that while facts and figures are important, they are not enough on their own. Instead, it is necessary to connect with people at an emotional level through personal stories and values-based language.

The Importance of Language

  • 43:02 The speakers emphasise the importance of using language that resonates with people’s values and emotions.
  • 43:23 They suggest that words like “dignity” and “community” should be used by advocates for freedom, rather than being ceded to those who advocate for more government involvement.
  • 44:08 They also note that certain words like “social” have negative connotations for many people, but that other words like “democratic” can be used in a positive way to shift power back to individuals.

Making it Personal

  • 44:26 The speakers stress the importance of making arguments personal by telling stories about real people and their experiences.
  • 45:09 They acknowledge that economists tend to process information through supply and demand, but argue that most people process information through their emotions. Therefore, it is important to connect with them emotionally as well as intellectually.
  • 45:51 Finally, they note that young people from former Soviet countries tend to be more passionate about freedom than those from Western Europe or the United States because they have firsthand experience with oppressive governments.

46:33 Passionate Young People

In this section, the speakers discuss their observations about young people involved in the liberty movement. They note that young people from former Soviet countries tend to be more passionate about freedom than those from Western Europe or the United States.

Observations About Young People

  • 46:33 The speakers note that they have observed a greater passion for freedom among young people from former Soviet countries like Serbia.
  • 46:54 They suggest that this may be because these young people have firsthand experience with oppressive governments, whereas those in Western Europe and the United States do not.

47:34 Discovering a Vibrant Social Movement

In this section, the speaker talks about how he got into the ideas of the community and how it is different from what he expected. He also highlights the diversity of skills and gender in the community.

The Community

  • 47:54 The community has tremendous diversity with an equal number of women and men.
  • 48:14 The community has a distributed skill set that can accomplish many things.
  • 48:34 The biggest challenge for the community is reaching new audiences with empathy and thinking expansively about their potential.

48:59 Inspiring Purpose and Meaning

In this section, the speakers discuss Jordan Peterson’s idea of purpose and meaning. They also talk about their own purpose, which is freedom.

Purpose and Meaning

  • 48:59 Inspiring purpose is powerful as it gets people up in the morning.
  • 49:20 Freedom is a meaningful purpose for one of the speakers.

49:42 A Year-long Sabbatical to Write a Book

In this section, the speakers discuss what they would do if they had a year-long sabbatical paid for. They discuss writing a book together based on storytelling.

Writing a Book Together

  • 50:02 If given a year-long sabbatical paid for, Matt and Terry would write a book together based on storytelling.
  • 50:24 Writing together allows them to have different perspectives on certain topics.
  • 50:41 They would like to travel to exotic locations while writing their book.
  • 51:02 Timothy Allen says he looks forward to seeing the couple in Thailand where they will be writing the book.