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STand UP for Liberty! Introduction

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  • lois@nb.net
    Introduction Why Stand Up for Liberty! What are you reading? Stand Up for Liberty! discusses political strategy. Political strategy is a tool. Like every
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2000

      Why Stand Up for Liberty!

      What are you reading?

      Stand Up for Liberty! discusses political strategy. Political strategy
      is a tool. Like every other tool, political strategy has a purpose. The
      purpose of good political strategy is to create conditions under which we
      win elections. We already win isolated elections now and then. Good
      political strategy lets us win lots of elections from Maine to Florida to
      Hawaii to Alaska.

      To my knowledge, you are holding the only recent book focused entirely on
      Libertarian political strategy. There are several fine references on
      political tactics---what to do during a single election campaign. There
      are plenty of books on Libertarian theory---what Libertarians would do if
      they took political power. This book focuses on turning ``if" into
      ``Libertarians won lots of elections and brought the Libertarian future to

      Strategy prepares the foundation for electoral victory, so when you and
      your fellow Libertarians all run for office, you win lots of elections.
      Strategy is about creating an environment in which Libertarians are
      routinely elected to office. Strategy is about creating an environment in
      which Libertarian policies routinely go into effect.

      Stand Up for Liberty!} advocates a particular political strategy for the
      Libertarian Party. The strategic concept in question has been discussed
      for years. {\em Stand Up for Liberty!} is an implementation proposal.
      {\em Stand Up for Liberty!} discusses turning strategic concepts into
      concrete strategic actions.

      Stand Up for Liberty!} is not about campaign tactics. If you are running
      for office right now, this book won't tell you how to win. When you are
      down in the trenches, it's too late for strategy. It's time for tactics.
      It's time to press the flesh and get out your vote.

      Don't get me wrong. Just because this book isn't about campaign tactics,
      don't suppose that I am against campaigning. After all, I've done it
      myself. Running for office is a very important part of the strategy I
      advocate here. However, there's more to winning the Libertarian future
      than fielding candidates.

      When you play chess, every good move has at least two purposes. When you
      run for office, your campaign should also have two purposes. It has a
      tactical purpose: Get you elected!. It has a strategic purpose: Build an
      environment in which Libertarians win! The tactical and strategic
      purposes of a well-executed campaign never conflict.

      How did I get here?}

      In 1996, I accepted the nomination of the Libertarian Association of
      Massachusetts. I agreed to be their candidate for the United States
      Senate, running against Republican Bill Weld and Democrat John Kerry. In
      the end, the Massachusetts Libertarian Party failed to get me on the

      I learned from my experience. Success demands understanding, targeting,
      planning, and initiative. If you don't understand where you are, it's
      hard to know where to go. If you don't target where you want to go,
      you'll have no idea which course to set. If you set off with no plan,
      you're unlikely to end up where you want to go. If you never take the
      initiative to start, you'll probably never get anywhere.

      Of course, sitting and waiting, eyes and ears closed with no planning, is
      a strategy. It's even a good strategy if you're a rock and your objective
      is to help the moss grow. It's not a good strategy if you're a
      Libertarian and want to reach the Libertarian future during your lifetime.

      Real success demands understanding of the objective circumstances of your
      situation. Before you decide what your situation allows you to do, you
      need to learn what your situation is. You can't play the game until you
      learn enough rules. Real success demands targeting, because you must
      choose which goals you will pursue. Real success demands sound planning
      based on your goals and your objective circumstances. The ship Liberty
      steers better after a course has been selected for her. Finally, success
      demands initiative. In order to win, you---yes, you the reader---need to
      Stand Up for Liberty!} and Make Liberty Happen!}

      In 1998, I again accepted the nomination of the Libertarian Association of
      Massachusetts. I agreed to Stand Up for Liberty!} and run for the United
      States Congress in the Massachusetts Third District. This time, I'd
      studied the situation carefully. I made a sound plan with good safety
      margins. I took the initiative, rather than waiting for someone else to
      run me for office.

      In the end, I got on the ballot without a glitch. I did the things a
      serious candidate does: Advertise. Meet voters. Send out press
      releases. Distribute bumper stickers. I was in a dozen debates against
      my two opponents. Four days before the election, 7PM Eastern Standard
      Time, our three-way debate from Channel 3 Worcester went out on C-SPAN2.
      For a full hour, a million viewers from coast to coast got to compare my
      Libertarian principles with the stale policies of the
      Democratic-Republican duopoly.

      I knew that winning the race would be extremely challenging. However, in
      1998, I had studied the objective situation. I learned enough of the
      rules of game. I identified my target. I Stood Up for Liberty!} and ran
      for office. My plans executed as expected within the limits of my
      resources. My vote total more than doubled the vote percentage achieved
      in my District by our 1996 Libertarian Presidential candidate.

      As it happened, I did not win. For us to win consistently requires a new
      environment, not just a new candidate. As a candidate, I did my bit to
      move America toward that environment, an environment which supports the
      Libertarian ideals of freedom, prosperity, and peace. I didn't do enough.
      To reach the Libertarian world in our lifetimes, we must all apply our
      resources effectively. I wrote this book to show how we might better
      invest our resources. Stand Up for Liberty!} sets out a path to invest
      our resources and attain our goals.

      Stand Up for Liberty!} outlines how Libertarians should apply their
      resources to promote their political philosophy. How can you best invest
      your time, money, and votes? Like many Libertarians, I want to see a
      future in which the Libertarian Party and Libertarian political philosophy
      bring the United States to the Libertarian future of peace, freedom, and
      prosperity. In Stand Up for Liberty} I describe the path for reaching that

      Am I a Libertarian?}

      While some people will take good ideas wherever they find them, others
      worry about their provenance. To some readers, an idea can be no better
      than its author. What, then, are my Libertarian credentials?

      I'm a Libertarian. I want to move America in the direction of far smaller
      government, far lower taxes, and far higher respect for the personal
      liberties of every single American. I'm not an anarchist. I have no
      interest in abolishing government, though I will not complain if someone
      shows me something that's better in principle and in practice. Nor do I
      expect that a Libertarian future will be utopia. Our real world is
      limited by material constraints and human failings. Utopia is only
      limited by the outer envelope of human imagination.

      I expect that a Libertarian future will have difficulties and challenges,
      many of which we will fail to anticipate before they happen. I also
      expect that a Libertarian future will have fewer difficulties than the
      alternatives. I am firmly convinced that ``better than the alternatives"
      is all that really matters. We may not end disease, but a Libertarian
      future will have fewer obstacles between the sick and new cures. We may
      not cure poverty, but a poor man in a Libertarian future will enjoy
      comforts beyond the imagination of our forefathers. We may not end
      assaults on freedom, but in a Libertarian future government will as its
      objective protect the person, property, and freedom of every person, not
      enslave that person, destroy her property, and end her liberties.

      What are you not reading?}

      As I type, it's 1999. Go to your book store. In 1999, you can find
      stacks of books about Libertarian ideas. There are books discussing which
      ideas a Libertarian must support. There are books explaining how tell if
      a new idea is really Libertarian at its core. There are even books
      explaining which ideas a Libertarian cannot possibly support.

      Stand Up for Liberty!} is not one of those books.

      I didn't write this book to tell you what Libertarianism is. If you want
      to find out what different Libertarians think Libertarianism is, read the
      books by Boaz, Hayek, Ruwart, and Lott.

      I didn't write this book to convert our country's liberals, populists, and
      conservatives to Libertarianism. I want them to convert, preferably before
      I run for office again, but that's not why I wrote this book.

      Nor did I write this book so I could sing hymns at the choir. All too
      many Libertarians are all too expert at preaching to the faithful.

      If you are one of our country's Democrats or Reformers or Republicans,
      after reading this book you will still be a Democrat or Reformer or
      Republican. This book wasn't written to persuade you to change parties.
      It was written to create political circumstances in which you and your
      children discover for yourselves, in your own ways, that the Libertarian
      Party is the Party of the American Dream. It was written to create the
      political circumstances in which you too will voluntarily choose to Stand
      Up for Liberty!} and Make Liberty Happen!}

      However, suppose you are a Democrat or Reformer or Republican. Ask
      yourself: Where are my party's strategy books? Where does my party
      debate the path to Democratic/Reform/Republican victory? What is our
      plan---as opposed to this year's fundraising gimmick---for winning
      elections? If Libertarian Party members debate strategy, and individual
      members of my party do not, what does that say about my party's openness?
      Is my party run by its owners, or by a small elite? If Libertarians do
      more thinking about strategy than my party does, do they think more
      carefully about their political ideas, too?] That question is for another

      I note with thanks:}

      The Libertarian Party has at its disposal a host of armchair strategists
      and practical campaigners. Many of these people have set out their own
      ideas on what we should do. I've been heavily influenced by these people
      in my reading, my conversations, and my EMail exchanges. I claim no
      monopoly or originality for any idea here. Up to the limits of a faulty
      memory, the words are mine.

      If I appear to see farther than some other Libertarians, it's because like
      a certain fellow physicist I stand on the shoulders of giants. I
      acknowledge being influenced by the words and ideas of many fellow
      Libertarians, not all of whom agree with me, including in alphabetical
      order Jorge Amador, Jackie Bradbury, John Brickner, Gene Cisewski, John
      Famularo, Mike Hihn, Mark Hilginberg, Gail Lightfoot, Jesse Markowitz, Ken
      Peterson, Janice Presser, Gary Reams, Jim Robinson, Bonnie Scott, Michael
      Sensor, Ken Sturz, and the supporters of the Clean Slate Action Program

      Could I have written Stand Up for Liberty!} at less length? Probably.
      I'm a college professor. I'm long-winded. My private} employer pays} me to
      be long-winded. It's implicit in my job description. If you want to read
      a condensed version of this book, just be patient. If the demand is
      sufficient, the market will provide.

      So where are we? How do we reach the Libertarian future?}

      Stand Up for Liberty!} presents my strategy, the Path to Libertarian
      Victory. The core ideas reduce to pat phrases. Implementing the core
      ideas is a bit more challenging.

      In economics, there's no such thing as a free lunch. There's no free
      lunch at the ballot box, either. If you sit back and wait for someone
      else to give you free money, you may have a bit of a wait ahead of you.
      If you sit back and wait for someone else to Stand Up for Liberty!} on
      your behalf, you may have a very long wait indeed. Candidates do not
      appear on the ballot by magic. They appear because someone like you
      convinced them to run, got them on the ballot, and gave them a winning

      If you want America to move toward the Libertarian future, you yourself
      need to challenge the Democratic-Republican duopoly party. You need to
      challenge them in your ward and precinct. You need to challenge them in
      your town, your county, your state, even in the halls of the Federal

      Not everyone will Stand Up for Liberty!} in the same way. Some of you
      will run for office. Others will donate their time or money. Others will
      speak up for the cause of freedom, write letters to the Editor, or sound
      off on the Internet. Only one outcome is certain. If we all sit around
      and do nothing, if we refuse to Stand Up for Liberty!}, the defeat of
      liberty is assured. Only when we all Stand Up for Liberty!}, each in our
      own way, and Make Liberty Happen!} is there a possibility of Libertarian

      Author's Aside:

      In this book, I give examples of possible projects. I give those examples
      because they look like good ideas---to me---and because you the reader
      need to have some impression of what a project is. I am not giving a
      complete list of projects for the Local Organization strategy! Stand Up
      for Liberty!} has as a fundamental theme is that central planning is
      inferior to the market. Central planning is inferior to the market when
      the planner is in Washington or California, central planning is inferior
      to the market when the central planner is the Libertarian National
      Committee, and central planning is still inferior to the market when the
      planner is George Phillies in Worcester, Massachusetts. I must most
      strongly emphasize: Our tens of thousands of Libertarians are far more
      creative and ingenious than I am by myself. By creating the marketplace
      of ideas, we give everyone's ideas---yours and mine---the chance to
      compete and thrive. I can give you ideas, but you will have to make them
      fit your local situation---or find your own, better ideas.

      To contact the Clean Slate Action Program Committee:

      Professor George Phillies 87-6 Park Avenue Worcester, MA 01605
      508-754-1859 phillies@... http://www.cmlc.org

      (THis post is part of a series I have volunteered to cross-post for George.
      It is being widely posted on LP activist lists nationwide.)

      Lois Kaneshiki

      Gorman For President
      25422 Trabuco Rd #105, Suite 420
      Lake Forest, CA 92630
      Phone: (202) 478-1723
      Fax: (202) 478-1726
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