Brian’s Column: Ch 3: The Good Neighbor Libertarian

The essence of Leaving the Sandbox (LTS) strategy; everyone who can becomes a friendly leader in the community, creates the empowered, nonaggression way.

sunshine manRecall the phrase I’ve coined for the new Libertarian Party strategy: (Citizen) Empowerment and (Government) Accountability. The Good Neighbor Libertarian (GNL (‘Genial’)) is my idealization of a person who helps crystallize the former. Rummaging around for clip art, I’m afraid I couldn’t find anything that fits my image of the GNL person (whom I conceive of as a man),[1] so I settled on Mr. Sunshine for this edition. Whether male or female, our GNL is the kind of person who opens doors to a bright new day.

Further, many of us in local political environments run into the good neighbor type quite a bit. He’s honest, positive, bright, cooperative, and has a powerful community spirit undistorted by ego. Think of a young Jaycee or Toastmaster whose real job—especially back in the prototypical American 1950s and 1960s when family businesses could actually survive and thrive in small communities—was maybe proprietor of the hardware store, the drug store, the bowling alley, the movie theater, the ice cream parlor. Or like my old man, a traveling salesman who managed my team in the youth baseball league… which was sponsored by Ernie’s Skelly service station in Overland Park, Kansas. [Of course, the seeds of that halcyon era’s undoing were already planted and growing like the ‘Eggplant that ate Chicago.’]

Thus, right out of the chute I’m extolling the Mr. or Ms. Sunshine who leads by opening doors for both the people and their public servants. These are the GNLs, our distinctly Libertarian leading-edge icons for the new LTS strategy… distilling at once and perceptually who we as a party are and the unique ‘up with people’ leaders we foster.

Citizen Empowerment

From the ‘Columbus Statement’ overview:

“In a word: connect. Grassroots, local level, get to know your neighbors, particularly community leaders in and around city hall. Become a part of the process; attend city council meetings, school board meetings, planning board meetings, learn the rules and who makes the decisions. Get to know them.

“Agitate on behalf of the people for various issues—that the 1% intends to make them victims of. Join with other activists on those issues: Examples: ‘smart’ meters, fracking, airborne chemical attacks, med marijuana. Or simply safe streets and demilitarized police. Then run for office.

“The best thing you can do to empower the people and to empower yourself as a potential office holder is to know how things work, at whatever level you want to pitch in: local, state, federal. And lead by example, putting into practice the principles of liberty. FAC: Focus, Act, Cooperate!” Some recent Michigan electees:

LPM_Electeds

Note that Martin Howrylak later became mayor of Troy, and currently is a state representative (Republican). He’s an effective proliberty legislator, doing his best to stem tyranny.

What we’re talking about in this subsection is, indeed, ‘working inside the system,’ as amiably as possible—yet never forgetting that our mission is to use our knowledge of the workings of the Old Paradigm system to transfer good practices to the New Paradigm’s noncoercive alternative system. Also, to get to know and to cultivate good people who care and have a sense of responsibility to the community. That is, make friends and influence people.

Keep in mind that the majority of those who are in legislative or executive enforcement authority in city government, certainly, and a substantial minority of those in state government genuinely care about the real people in their communities—certainly the ones they know and socialize with. Most of these officials are family men and women whose children have been mentally and often physically abused—these days chiefly by drugs and psychiatric coercion—in the Byzantine monstrosity of the state schools.[2]

Moreover, these officials, recalling the times when they were younger and enjoyed more freedom—perhaps even enjoying much of their compulsory school experience—will have a hard time believing how awful and scarily compulsive our whole society has become. They will deny it for the most part, and try to put a happy face on our general deterioration… in the name of community solidarity. But the fact is, they don’t know how to fix things. They can’t see any alternative. They’re as stuck as their kids.

This is where the Good Neighbor Libertarian steps up to the plate. We open the door and let in the sunshine of freedom. We learn and practice good Dale Carnegie principles and simple common sense to show public officials the life-saving, people-saving alternatives that these officials have often lost connection with. We connect them to the positive energy of freedom and in so doing lead them toward sane, responsible—almost always minimalist—government behavior.

Teachers

The nice thing about the Empowerment strategy is the LP has already demonstrated significant success. Indeed, local libertarian activism has produced the party’s only demonstrable ongoing successes so far. In the 40+ years of the party’s existence, members have held thousands of local offices (where party affiliation generally goes unnoted)—from council members and mayors to school board participants. The national LP lists 143 Libertarians holding elective office at the time of this book’s birthing (June 2014).[3]

At this point anticipating paroxysms of disapproval from what I call the trollarchists, I want to clarify that my book is intended for Libertarian Party members and supporters, people who find no inherent moral problem in seeking or holding public office or working with public officials in the existing coercive-government structure to achieve a condition of more liberty and justice. [Appendix II-R deals with the trollarchist objections in detail; for now suffice it to state “when one is stuck on the Titanic, helping the crew to avoid icebergs is proper behavior.”]

With very few exceptions each of these elected Libertarians has pegged the GNL meter, working conscientiously to transfer unwarranted power away from the public body and into the hands of the people. Further, our grandfathered GNLs have set the tone and learned key tasks—say, in administration or managing infrastructure or dealing with people—to light the way for citizens upon transition to full voluntary governance.

In the LTS system, our elected Libertarians become beacons and models, teachers. The only thing that needs to be added per our strategy is the bigger picture of moving toward complete freedom of political choice, as presented in Chapter 1… and some specific methods that I’ll go into shortly. Also, they should come up to speed with the integrated-activity guidelines described in Chapters 4 and 5.

But these elected Libertarians are our heroes, our leaders, they need to move to center stage—conduct seminars on public office preparation, host meet and greets, be featured in social functions with likeminded persons of other party affiliation, etc. They are the seeds of the full forestation of the Liberty Tree.

A General LP ‘Business’ Plan

Thus, the highest form of Libertarian life according to the LTS system is the Good Neighbor Libertarian. The essence of the LTS strategy is to flood all levels of government with GNLs, and quickly. Those who cannot or prefer not to become GNLs still have plenty of other roles in the Party to choose from (Chapter 4 and 5)—but they need to realize all our work is to be channeled toward GNL infusion of the conventional government system… leading inexorably to New Paradigm voluntary systems.

To restate the prime directive:

Primary Goal of the LTS Grand Strategy

We the members and supporters of the LP hold as our highest priority and integrating purpose to become (or to cultivate) and quickly infuse Good Neighbor Libertarians of the highest quality and quantity into public affairs at all levels. From the grassroots up.[4]

Notice this goal does not prioritize ‘running candidates’ Most of the Libertarians elected to office became candidates as a consequence of already knowing the job. It was an organic development: someone on council or on a board recognized the person’s value and encouraged the person to run. Because our Libertarian was already known in the community—and knew the job—the community chose the person naturally.

Prepare to Hold Office not to Run for It

Lesson: In general—unless ballot status is at stake, you’re a paper candidate to help the party to look complete on the ballot, you want to passionately uphold libertarian principles in public forums to give people hope, or you just feel like wasting time and money—only run as a Libertarian for public office if a) you have enough support in the community or district to expect to be elected and b) you’re well prepared to hold the office.

What I’m saying is we need to let go of the old standard practice of the party leadership every election trying to recruit and run as many candidates as possible across the state. This practice has not produced positive results, as demonstrated by the most cursory analysis.[5] The threadbare adage applies: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The Good Neighbor Libertarian strategy avoids the stress of repeated colossal electoral failure by

  1. infusing oneself into the day-to-day affairs of public officialdom,
  2. becoming knowledgeable of a wide variety of issues they face, and
  3. developing applicable libertarian and humanitarian responses to these issues.

In other words, the GNL creates a realistic environment of complete success. Whether or not he or she eventually comes to hold office.

Again, the new LTS GNL strategy is not to run for running’s sake perpetually to lose, rather to create immediate success by preparing to hold office. By the way, this strategy also facilitates survival of a free people adopting common sense self-government in the event the conventional system collapses.

Becoming/Cultivating GNLs from Scratch

Consider a series of steps as if a person has made contact with a state party through its Website, indicating either he wants to be a member or wants to help. [GNL is highest, but we need help on Advocacy level and Organization level, as well.] [Note: formatting of the numerical bullets is not good here, but refer to the source document, Leaving the Sandbox, for the correct sequencing and order.

  1. LWVFirst, assume member signup or wanting to help means the same thing: either indicates possible intent to be GNL.
  2. Membership chair query individual for slotting purposes
    1. How much time to commit per week average hours; if not time, money. Estimate:

                                       i.      Less than one hour per week, GNL probably not in offing, but can e.g. attend city council or attach to issue advocacy. (Triple path: GNL/’Advocate’/’Org’) Attend meetings, demonstrations.

                                     ii.      Two hours per week: GNL entry level, also helper/leader advocacy. Also covers meeting attendance for month, so

                                    iii.      Four hours per week: GNL level. => 16-18 hours per month, will be seriously involved with city hall (or whatever level of person to person) .or. seriously leadership help to advocacy cause or organization.

                                   iv.      Eight hours per week: Bigtime GNL, spends a lot of time with city hall, enough to become public official. Don’t forget, most local public officials do not get paid and thus roughly 32 hours of their months are devoted to public service.

  1. Affiliate location; if no affiliate, will individual be interested to start one? At this point, ideally, the affiliate will be handed off to. [Need P&P for affiliates.]
  2. What is starting point of individual? What are skills? Affiliate to handle if one exists.

                                       i.      Is he libertarian, does he know what it means, learning curve assessment. Will be done via affiliate if one exists.

                                     ii.      Background wrt public office, knowledge of Michigan government. What skillsets does he bring to the table?

                                    iii.      Can he help with the organization, Website, maintaining calendar, newsletter, social media monitoring, watching GNLs around the state.

  1. Everyone of two hours per week commitment or more gets a standard package including The State We’re In and our state party GNL/’Advocate’/’Org’ starter kit for newbies.
  2. Reports to be facilitated via Website, and probably membership chair of party (eventually the state director) maintains a master list to track activity of all GNL/Advocates/Orgs. Especially, GNLs.
  3. GNLs are independent, have unique initiative, but they cooperate and leave bread crumbs for others.

I recognize that this book is one about strategy, but still desired to include sufficient detail of a plan to show the plausibility of the strategy. There are so many things that can be done to market and add pizzazz to the GNL maxim. Holding contests, that sort of thing. We truly need to create a GNL movement (many kinds of skillsets) for it to be effective, embed the teachers (Libertarian officeholders) into the enterprise.

More details of the GNL creation process at this point defeat the purpose of this kind of document. But, as author of the concept, I intend to be the first self-conscious GNL in the LTS system—beginning directly following the 2014 LP National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. I’ll keep notes and report back.

One step I find indispensable to ‘getting out there’ is to build a contact list of every public official who has a level of political discretion over your life… from local to federal. Start by laying it out on mailing labels for your printer (I use 1” x 2 5/8” Avery template 5160), then copy that to a regular contact sheet in Word, if you want to, and fill in all the information in Outlook or whatever you’re using for your contact management system. My mailing label list appears on the next page.

I’m sure I missed a few, but you get the picture.

You’re going to realize when you go through this contacts exercise that:

  1. you have a lot of people who (claim to) have authority over a significant part of your life and
  2. this coercive government thing is WAY too big to really do anything useful with.

For anyone who watches (real) news, the 900# gorilla is completely out of control, a runaway government that functions exactly 180° backwards in all key areas: instead of serving the people, the people are more and more being treated as its slaves. Nowhere more so than in the criminal injustice system where American prisons hold one-fourth of the inmates of the world—most of them nonviolent or political prisoners.[6]

I’m going in with an open mind.

But I can see that very soon I’ll start wondering whether there’s any good people worth saving in Sodom and Gomorrah. And be considering plan B. [I’ll sketch a few notes on Plan B—for building—toward the end of the chapter.]

My GNL Game Plan

It’s on the premise that we’re all in this together and that American government institutions, especially at the local level, are free and open to wide citizen participation that I intend to launch my GNL learning curve. Note: this GNL concept is as new to me as it is to most of you reading this; soon to be 65, yikes!, and having no descendants or family here (Novi, Michigan), it’s doubtful that pursuing any local government elected or appointed position will be fruitful. I’ve been to city council meeting once… and it seemed, well, like a corporate board meeting… all about:

  • zoning variances
  • building approvals
  • ordinance enforcement
  • road repair contracts
  • the mayor banging… —whoops, that’s Detroit

It was like watching a ritual Japanese Kabuki performance on a stage behind glass: the actors hit their marks, say their lines, cue one another without any audience connection.

“Maybe eight residents are present in this cavernous, poorly lit, 1000-chair auditorium, and the Kabuki script has a 15-minute slot for anyone to go to the ‘beef box’ to address council (and the public access cable TV camera). The beef box lies about 50 feet from the edge of the stage, and even if council members were allowed to converse with the speaker, it’s hard to make out who’s talking at that distance, with that lighting. My council is anything but a public participation forum. “

Not going to give up. But after recently getting my feet wet with my condo association—where I tried, unsuccessfully, to get the board to consider the harmful effects of spy and fry (S&F) (‘smart’) electric meters—I’ve decided that S&F meters will be my GNL foot in the door and signature… both locally in Novi, and up to the state legislature, the attorney general, the utility company, and its regulatory commission.

Dirty Energy will be my entry issue. [In general, GNLs should consider using a special issue to become neighborly about.]

Author’s List of Gummint Poobahs

Mayor Bob Gatt
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
David Molloy, Chief of Police
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. – 20500
Mayor Pro Tem David Staudt
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
Thomas Schultz, City Atty.
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
Debbie Stabenow
US Senator
133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Councilman Andrew Mutch
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
Victor Gardenas, City Manager
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
Carl Levin
US Senator
269 Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-22022
Councilman Justin Fischer
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
L. Brooks Patterson, County Exec
Executive Office Building – 41 West
2100 Pontiac Lake Road
Waterford, Michigan 48328
Kerry Bentivolio
US Representative
226 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Councilman Wayne Wrobel
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
Michael Bouchard, Sheriff
1200 North Telegraph Road,
Bldg 38 East
Pontiac, Michigan 48341-1044
Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Councilwoman Laura Casey
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
Jessica Cooper, County Prosecutor
West Wing – Building 14E
1200 North Telegraph Road
Pontiac, Michigan, USA 48341-0461
The Michigan Supreme Court
Robert P. Young, Chief Justice
Michigan Hall of Justice
925 Ottawa Street
Lansing, MI 48909
Councilwoman Gwen Markham
City of Novi
45175 Ten Mile Road
Novi, Michigan 48375
Nanci J. Grant, Chief Judge
Oakland County Circuit Court
1200 N. Telegraph Rd.
Pontiac, MI 48341-0404
John G. Roberts, Chief Justice
Supreme Court of the US
One First Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20543
Ms. Kathy Crawford, 9th Dist
Oak. Cty. Bd of Commissioners
1200 North Telegraph Road
Pontiac, Michigan 48341
Governor Rick Snyder
Michigan State Capitol
c/o PO Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
US Attorney Barbara L. McQuade
US District Court E. Mich
Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse
231 W. Lafayette Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Rep. Hugh Crawford, 38th Dist
887 House Office BuildingP.O. Box 30014Lansing, MI 48909
Attorney General Bill Schuette
G. Mennen Williams Building
525 W. Ottawa Street
POB 30212
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Gerald Ellis Rosen, Chief Judge
US District Court E. Mich
Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse
231 W. Lafayette Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Senator Mike Kowall, 15th Dist
305 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue
Director Michigan State Police
333 S. Grand Ave., PO Box 30634
Lansing, MI   48909
Oakland County Animal Control
1700 Brown Road
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
[Ha Ha]

The closed-off public access to city government doesn’t mean a GNL can’t walk up and get to know his officials, person to person. And I intend to do exactly that, over time. Show up, establish dialogs with whoever’s approachable. Get to know them, become a source of information for them, ask questions… do all that and respectfully expose to them the many assaults in progress by the controlling elites on their people. Our neighbors.

Who’s Your Neighbor?

Remember as a Good Neighbor Libertarian, our neighbors are exactly that: citizens and freemen like ourselves. The people. These are the focus of empowerment, NOT the various public officials, whom I’m sure we’ll find many of them to be not the least interested in our empowerment.

I make this statement to keep the principles intact, to make sure everyone embarked on the GNL activity realizes that there’s always a risk when dealing with government in any kind of friendly fashion of being ‘turned,’ of becoming establishment. We do not serve the establishment or the controlling elites, we serve their antithesis: our neighbors!

Ode to Bucky Fuller—Build Alternative ‘Government’ ASAP

Resistance_FrontWhat I believe the average new LTS GNL is going to discover—and I, myself, will be one of the first into the ramparts—is that the corporate-model Kabuki system at local and state levels has all but precluded any effective citizen resurrection, any real empowerment or restoration of liberty via taking part in the system to change it.

Not to say holding up bad laws or making isolated progress here and there won’t happen. But we ARE EXTREMELY SHORT ON TIME! New World Order ‘gulagafication’ is staring us square in the face—alien seed pods are being handed down from trucks in the town square.[7] Thus, turning down a school millage or trimming the mayor’s expense account hardly seems responsive.

Too many sheeple are resigning themselves to falling in line.

The real question for freedom fighters is to know how and when to let go of the conventional system entirely and form the resistance… just as happened in several countries in WWII under German occupation.

Many of us simply by holding government to the Constitution and refusing to comply with a host of illegal statutes have effectively begun the resistance… via noncompliance, truth, and (per Chapter 2) denial of consent. Hard to tell how large we are as a so-called ‘bloc.’ Clearly the bloc of people standing foursquare with the King—the establishment in and around either of the two older parties and their mindless thug enforcement apparatus—is sinking like a lead balloon. It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes a few minutes after the little boy points out the obvious: everyone close to the Power has stopped strutting and is poised to run like hell toward the bushes. The people are rising.

I think.

At a minimum, my guess is if the feds try to take over the Internet and take away the guns, noncompliance will blossom into armed resistance—probably mediated thru state nullification and secession to minimize bloodshed. In any case, from where I sit, the federal occupational government is on its last Big Lie, with nothing but hot air in the vaults, and an angry mob poised to storm the Bastille to get their money and their lives back.

“We’re not happy, Conrad!”

But who knows how the reboot will go.

Back to my thread: As earnest GNLs working our magic in the conventional system, we need to hedge our bets in the case that that system goes belly up sooner rather than later.

My Counsel : Build Alternative Government As We Go

IndianMermaidAs GNLs start to learn the conventional system, they take notes and report back (via ‘a system’) about a) what’s happening and b) how they as Libertarians would act if they were holding office. That’s right: shadow government, virtual government. Ref. Ch. 2.

Developing a real alternative Libertarian government is a tricky subject, warranting a book of its own. I’ve given it a lot of thought and have a training tool in mind, similar in concept to The Construct in the movie The Matrix. Alternative government is symbiotic to a thriving LP affiliate family. I figure with some help, ‘the Construct’ will go beta by Summer 2015.

Vision of The Construct

Construct_Fdn_StructureThe Construct, as I see it, will come together as a public service foundation with myself—basically it’s my basketball—and other leading resistance-tested libertarian lights, whom I shall contact (a few have been mentioned in this book) as the board. Though, rolling out initially in the US, the Construct foundation will be international and have a structure as shown at right.

The Libertarian Construct (LC) itself is a virtual environment mimicking the hierarchy of all conventional coercive-government legislative, executive, and judicial public offices. In order to enter this virtual environment—in effect to become or populate this virtual environment—a person must be a member of the Libertarian Party. We will also have some additional contractual requirements and probably a small annual membership and operations fee.

  • The foundation creates a Website(s), launches the LC
  • Members fill the LC as they prefer, via homesteading; Member A stakes out State Rep B, Member B stakes out Town Council Member C, and so on.
  • The virtual bodies meet and do business as they see fit, perhaps in reference to real system bodies; report, discuss via site, etc., and publish/promote their results.

At the appropriate time, a filled LC migrates to alternative ‘government’ service provider and prospects for subscribers. That is, becomes the Dwight Johnson envisioned ‘canton.’ [Initially, the canton can simply be formed as a voluntary association, that is, not advertising the fact that it intends to be a full government alternative. (Let the coercive system collapse first.)]

[1] Not for any sexist reasons, but because of my age and memories from growing up in the 50s and 60s. Also, those who enter politics because they suffer the power disease are almost universally men. Thus to my mind, the self-government, helpful-citizen antidote image seems appropriately male.

[2] George Meegan, Democracy Reaches the Kids, 2012, Free Man Publishing Company

[3] http://www.lp.org/candidates/elected-officials

[4] As a working set of numbers: let’s go ahead and be success-oriented and state that by election day 2016, we have 1,000 qualified GNLs in effect nationwide. [It will take time to learn the system.] Then 10,000 by 2020 and 100,000 by 2024. [If we have 10,000 GNLs in effect, that means the goose is cooked and full freedom is at hand.]

[5] Appendix I-A

[6] Nation Behind Bars: A Human Rights Solution. Human Rights Watch, May 2014.

[7] Can’t resist reference to the image in the 1955 movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1955, starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter

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