What Does it Take to Achieve Escape Velocity?

People move all the time. When people move for a job, for education, or to be near family, they can typically make their own way using the resources and tools available for that purpose.

However, when individuals or families are fleeing from personal, religious, or political persecution, they may not have access to the usual means or methods of movement. Likewise, when attempting to leave a situation in which their life, liberty, or property is under direct threat from an aggressor, they may face challenges that they cannot conquer on their own.

In these exceptional situations, people looking to escape need exceptional help. Vertical movement on the liberty axis can be as difficult as flight, as impossible as going to space. Those seeking to take off may need the support of a dedicated mission control to overcome the gravity of their specific challenges, to launch and to land successfully in a new place.

Agility and innovation are needed to solve complex problems in a chaotic environment.

Everybody is different, though we tend to have many similar needs and desires. Every move is a unique combination of situational variables, but there are common patterns across different moves. Success requires both recognizing general patterns or common problems people have to solve and responding rapidly and specifically to changing variables. These are both hallmarks of innovation.

Innovating is an art that has been studied and systematized. Key principles of effective innovation have been documented and discussed and demonstrated. It should be possible to draw from the lessons learned from studying all sorts of innovative work in order to design a program, an initiative, or an organization that can help people get unstuck.

For example: in early efforts at computer programming, engineers typically followed a method similar to traditional architecture: design a building, lay it out conceptually, then build it in stages. The final structure is operational only when the last element is finished. This “waterfall method,” so named because every stage is completed before the next, works well when designing and building in a relatively stable environment. In the rapidly changing landscape of computer hardware and software, however, this method often leads to extreme delays or outright failures. Problems at the latter end of a project might require a complete rewrite of the foundational code, or the requirements might change part way through development, and it’s back to the drawing board again.

In response to these realities, software engineers began to develop alternative methods for design that emphasized agility and ongoing iterative development over top-heavy architecture. Through these methods, solutions are built in bite size pieces instead of one massive effort. Design, coding, documenting, testing, and delivery all take place in each turn of the cycle. During this short period of time, work is focused on specific deliverable tasks, chosen from a list of priorities curated by the project owner.

At the end of each agile development cycle, or “sprint,” the team meets to review what has been done, to update the task list based on changing priorities or conditions, and to select new tasks for the next short cycle. The teams are cross-functional because they include someone who is focused on each of the different common tasks (design, coding, documenting, testing, etc). Each member has a role and a voice in team meetings. During the sprint they communicate very briefly each workday to state what they did the day before, what they plan to do that day, and what obstacles they are facing.

The result of the agile development method is that complicated, timely problems get solved and delivered faster and better than could be accomplished by following a grand design. Rapid development, perfected over iterative cycles, brings about amazing innovation even in a chaotic environment.

How can innovative best practices be applied to the work of helping people achieve escape velocity?

Imagine for a moment an organization that gathered and trained interested people in the work of helping people relocate out of restrictive circumstances. Rather than just taking people’s money and promising to do the work for them, the parent group would give people a chance to participate in a small, cross-functional team and learn how to become part of the mission control group to help one individual or family at a time get to where they need to be. Imagine the excitement of being a patron of someone else’s liberty, and the joy of doing something to make a real difference for someone—a stranger, at first, but soon a new lifelong friend.

Rather than trying to become the be-all end-all for this work, the main organization would focus on teaching people how to fish, help them find a team to work with, and facilitate sharing information and resources within the community. Working in agile teams is only one innovative improvement that has application for this work, there are many more that can be gleaned from the work of the most effective innovators.

I am starting such a group. If you are interested in helping people move to places of greater freedom, I invite you to come be part of it.

Consider the benefits of such an initiative for the liberty movement in general. If helping people move to greater liberty doesn’t help the liberty movement, then what will? By training ourselves and others to rapidly innovate solutions to practical problems, we will also be concentrating wisdom in the liberty community.

While other political groups are organizing riots and rallies, libertarians will be quietly and consistently reaching out the hand of freedom to one after another after another. If we can keep up the effort, who do you think will win in the long term? As we profile and promote liberty-friendly landing zones, and gather liberty-loving people to them, can you see how we could build bastions of freedom all across the country, even throughout the world? Like the proverbial city on a hill, we will exert an influence far greater than our numbers would suggest, by the power of our example.

Remember, many cities and states are backing off of their COVID restrictions, but they’ve already tipped their hand and shown what they really think about our rights. If you or someone you know lives in a lockdown state or city and you want to get out, please contact me on Mewe or on Gab.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Dennis Decker

Dennis Decker's liberty education started not long after he graduated from BYU in 2010. During his daily commute he listened to Sam Bushman on Liberty Roundtable, and supplemented by reading the articles Sam collected on his news feed, especially works by Joel Skousen, Chuck Baldwin, and the late, great William Griggs. Later he found the library at FEE.org, and added Jeffrey Tucker, Frédéric Bastiat, Lysander Spooner, and many more to his list of teachers. You can find more of his writing and perspectives at LibertySprings.org.

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