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Friday, December 29, 2006

Some New Year Resolutions

by Chuck McGlawn
Before our very eyes lie all the incentives man needs to set himself on the road of striving for “Smaller government, Lower taxes, More Freedom, because, ladies and gentlemen, the effective opposite of that choice is less freedom, higher taxes and more government. Making those incentives understood, and giving contemporary man goals other than the ones offered by Ds Rs and Gs that of signing on to an organization the goals of which are to tell others how they should live their lives. If we are to see the curve that measures individual liberty turn upward, we must make Ls the standard. The liberty that we so cherish can only be obtained by a willingness to have all share in it.

After the 2006 National Convention where the Libertarian Party Platform was greatly reduced, (some would say hijacked) the National Party started promoting a simple slogan: “Smaller government Lower taxes More freedom.” I applaud this simplification. However, it does not seem to have the promotion necessary to embed it into the minds and “mouths” of Libertarians.

Please note that if we had smaller government it would mean lower taxes and more freedom. If we had lower taxes, it would precipitate smaller government and more freedom. Lastly, smaller government and lower taxes would precede more freedom. I am not suggesting we change the slogan. I think it will serve us well if we apply it.

That brings me to my resolutions. I see the Libertarian Party as the foot soldiers of the Libertarian movement. It is the party’s job to take the messages of the Libertarian Movement to non-libertarians. This brings me to Resolution #1) Spend more time talking to non-Libertarians. We have the most sellable product in the world, "more liberty". Take our message to non-libertarians.

In order to take our message to non-libertarians effectively requirs STUDY, yes study and then more study. This brings me to the Resolution #2) READ, read more, then read what you read, then read it again, then reread what you read. Let me remind you here that sloganeering is not enough, no matter how clever the slogan. I believe that Party members need to be actively engage in advocacy. An advocacy possible only by being better prepared. Party members can be effective only if and when they present their position cogently.

A subset of this resolution is to pick a subject, any subject and prepare yourself so that you can speak persuasively in a discussion about that subject with 90% of the people with whom you come into contact. This will make talk-show hosts easy to handle. However, if we try to be all things to all people, we will get our heads handed to us in discussions with others. Nothing will silence a Libertarian more quickly than to be out done by someone who is better prepared. READ READ READ being informed requires real work, osmosis will not do it. Let me paraphrase Dale Carnegie, in a public speaking lesson. He said you should have 10 times the information that you plan to present, and then the 10% that you do present will be more convincing because of your visible confidence.

Some good choices of subjects are the 10 covered on the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz”. There are dozens of others from which to choose. Pick one, two or even three. Study them thoroughly. Keep your eyes open for news and commentaries about your chosen subjects so you can stay current with your knowledge base.

Resolution #3) once you have chosen a few subjects and you have developed your basic knowledge in those subjects, let other libertarians know of your interest. Invite them to send you news and commentary articles on your subjects of choice. Let them know you would be willing to help them if they have questions about your subjects. Find out what their subjects are so you can send them news and commentaries on their subjects. If this program gathers any momentum, the LPOC Webpage could be an important clearinghouse, for info.

Resolution #4) Some of the more knowledgeable Libertarians could do some reading in the area of Media Relations, writing news releases, putting together Media Packets, establishing some Media contacts and compiling a list of media outlets.

Resolution #5) Two or three members could get together for the purpose of activating dormant members, getting e-mail addresses, discovering areas of interest ETC.

Resolution #6) A few members with just the right temperament (this right temperament might be discovered during Resolution #5 activity.) might get together to make fund raising calls and and putting together fund raising campaigns.

Resolution #7) there needs to be some recruiting efforts among College and High School students. One only need look around at a local meeting to realize that we are youth member challenged.

Resolution #8) with all the time you save by not talking your time away with other libertarians could be spent developing some speaking skills. We could begin to provide speakers, not only for our own educational meetings, but for surrounding areas as well.

Resolution #9) we need to activate a group of Libertarians in every City in Orange County to gather In Lieu of Signatures for our candidates, so they do not have to buy their way onto the ballot.

Resolution #10) this one will take care of itself, if any of the other Resolutions are adopted the resulting activity will identify leadership skills. Then elections to the Exec Committee will be a hotly contested event, instead of most officers running unopposed.

A standard joke that can be applied to many organizations goes like this, “If you were to line up all of the, (organization) end-to-end they would point in every direction”. That quote is not nearly severe enough to describe the Libertarian Movement. That same joke applied to the Libertarian movement would go more like, “If you line up all the Libertarians end-to-end no two would point in the same direction”. It seems impossible to get even two Libertarians to see the same thing the same way.

What makes this truth so strange is that we are supposed to be a movement of tolerance. However, if your thinking is one tenth of one degree off what another considers the “true course to liberty”, you become the enemy. The accusation that, “you are not a Libertarian” is commonplace among Libertarians. The problem with all this, is while we are fighting among ourselves, we leave the important job of defining the Libertarian Movement to others.

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