I just stumbled upon The Prometheus Institute, which closely mirrored a dream I had for a Web 2.0 liberate meeting place. Though it often tries too hard to be hip, the site does employ the sophisticated web design necessary to communicate libertarian ideas legitimately. But guys, not to be unappreciative, but where the heck are the interactive elements? The site doesn’t even have a forum.
I don’t know how many radical liberals have heard of a site called Ravelry, but it is a good example of a Web 2.0 site that serves its niche well. It’s niche happens to be knitters/crocheters, but the fundamentals are the same. Users each have a profile; they can share information in myriad ways; they can create projects and keep other people abreast of their progress; users have spontaneously created phenomena such as ‘testers’ which give feedback on other people strategies and finished works. A libertarian version could allow people to create pages for their local classical liberal societies. We could finally abandon the egregious fees of meetup.com! Or at the very least get people talking on a pride-inducing, flashy website.
On this point, I propose cross-pollination between The Prometheus Institute and Bureaucrash. Both are energetic, insurgent organizations run by youths (if funded by adults). Bureaucrash had the ingredients of the site I envision, with their innovative ‘cell’-based network and fostering of online user identities. They, however, didn’t have the organization, programming aptitude, and critical mass of users to keep the project going. Bureaucrash seems to have lapsed now into an RSS syndicator with periodical original content.
I’m not slamming Prometheus or Crash. Doing something is better than nothing, and both of these players have had a huge impact. I met many libertarian friends in college through Bureaucrash, and they supplied me with my favorite clothing. It was an outlet, and a home, especially because in New Orleans it was hard enough finding the politically interested, much less politically principled. The Prometheus Institute I don’t know personally, but I’ve read that their youthful spirit has caught the eye of major media. Kudos to both organizations, and thank you for existing. But, please, look at each other, and deliver unto me that killer app which spreads liberty like wildfire.