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Monday, May 31, 2010

Truth in Advertising

Category: Issue 18

My friend Ryan is a coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty.  He and I agree that government is too large and it is damaging our country.  He invited me to help out in some of the ways that he believes can help solve the problem.  The first way was cold calling voters registered as Republican to get them to vote for Clay Thibodeau for congress in California’s 45th disctict.  I answered an email Ryan sent to those of us who agreed to help out with this “phone banking” political activism, and this led to an email exchange that had a strong effect on me:

Dave: “The problem for me is that this work requires me to ignore the fact that the people I talk to can think more than we are asking them to.  It isn’t as simple as getting liberty-minded folks into the state and federal governments.  The really hard work is reversing the psychological path to dependence on government (state and federal) that people get onto because of short-sightedness.
“Kim (my wife) asked me where I went today, and when I told her, she suggested that there isn’t much of a point to it for me because A) I don’t believe in voting (Voluntaryism best sums it up) and B) We’re not in Clay’s district.  So I pointed out that even though I don’t bash in people’s heads, if I have any influence over whose head gets bashed in by others, I should use it to deflect the violence away from the best people.  I’m still working it out in my head, and I’ve gone a little further in the argument: Sure, but it might be better to spend time teaching people about all the negative consequences of such violence, rather than trying to deflect it.
“I think that last step is a bit of a rationalization because I am in agreement that it’s good to have representatives in the federal government as specified in the constitution.  On the other hand, since I don’t believe the federal government has stayed within its limits, I also believe it is no longer legitimate.  So the argument goes on in my head.
“Meanwhile, a couple weeks ago I talked to a guy who represents “Organizing for America” - Obama’s propaganda party, and we discussed Audit the Fed.  I explained to him that I’m not comfortable dealing with people who just do what they are told - the typical mob that makes up most of what I see as political support - sheeple.  When I do cold calling, it seems like that’s what I’m doing.
“Anyway, sorry for the long email.  I know it’s important for me to think about these things, and I guess I feel I owe you an explanation for ducking out on the phone banking.  I called only the first number.
“I guess if I think about it enough, I might want to call people again just to see if I can win some minds toward my way of thinking (about liberty and small government and low taxes - voting or not-voting is way down on the list).
“Anyway, it was good seeing you today.  Hopefully I won’s miss our next meeting.

I saw him because he also invited me to appear at the Best Buy parking lot in Moreno Valley to promote Clay.  It was hot, but I had a Dr. Pepper, and we got to hang out for a while.  I also met some other activists who were promoting Chuck DeVore for the Senate.

Ryan: “There is no good answer as to what the best form of government is. Humanity will vacillate somewhere between tyranny and disorder for all time and there will be no relief in this life. The best we can hope for is to prevent tyranny and have just enough government to prevent disorder, the paradox is that we won’t all agree on what’s tyrannical. You and I agree that the federal government has not stayed with in its limits, and some would say this has been going on since 1798. You will have to decide for yourself what is the best course of action to take in that regard. One thing I’ve learned about working within politics is that there always seems to be contention between pragmatism and principle. I believe I am not one to compromise on principle, but that may only be because I don’t consider things like whether or not the state is legitimate.
“If you believe in voluntaryism rather than voting, those who do believe in voting are going to be choosing your leaders for you. Does it make sense to you to work with what you have (and what the people agreed upon) and try to get support for your changes in the meantime? There are an infinite number of ideas out there for creating a better government, and unless they gain traction, they are nothing more than ideas. Our goal is to make our ideas more viable. Audit the fed is a good example: Nobody cared about it until Ron Paul had our support. Nobody cared about what I thought until I got involved with the party. It’s not like I’m a big shot now, but when I do make suggestions, there’s more of a chance other people who do have influence might be influenced.
“To what extent we are “sheeple” is an interesting question. I don’t see our volunteers as people aimlessly doing what they’re told, I see them as people who know they want a better representative, but often need direction because they have little to no political experience. As for the public at-large, government effects them more than they like to realize, but most of them simply can’t spend the kind of time we do researching candidates because they are out building and producing and use their spare time to unwind. So, they look for direction from people they trust, or pick candidates based on their key issues. In this sense, we are providing leadership and information to the public, not indoctrination. In fact, I had a family member call me today and ask me how to vote on the propositions and I even offered to give them more information on what they mean and they simply didn’t care because they trust me enough. This extends to people outside of my family as well and it didn’t happen until I ran for central committee. I do not resent the public for not paying attention, if anything I blame the politicians for adding more and more new positions on which the people have to vote (do we really need an Insurance Commissioner or a State Superintendent of Public Instruction? And if we do, can’t we just let our representatives appoint them?).
“I also see us as advertisers selling a product. You might have an iPhone in your pocket or Mountain Dew in your fridge, do you resent Apple and Pepsi for informing you about their product? If they didn’t, would you buy it? How would you know the iPhone is better than an old Nokia phone? How would you know Mountain Dew is not meant to be used for Motor Oil? It’s really as simple as what I was doing today: If you don’t like bailouts then vote Thibodeau. This is the nature of advertising, bringing the product to the public in a competitive market and politicians are a product. The problem the Republican party has is that they forgot about the truth in advertising part and it’s finally catching up with them.
“These are just my initial thoughts on your comments, I probably could go on, but I have to cut myself off sometime. I know you as a deep thinking, rational person who will eventually come to whatever decision is best without compromise and I have a great deal of respect for that.

Posted by Dave Scotese on 05/31 at 07:29 PM | Permalink
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