What You, The Patriot, Can Do
By Fergus Hodgson
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Utilizing policy research
towards the American ideal of liberty
The sorry state of economic
freedom in the United States made for a
bleak newsletter two weeks ago (republished in the Carolina Journal). Even I felt
downtrodden with the reality that the United States, as of this year, was most
likely outside the top 30
nations in the world.
With hindsight, I should have offered
a plan or solution for readers. In their absence, one is inclined to view
national and state woes as too much to come to grips with, and apathy is the
You may be inclined to find
liberty solely through personal initiative, and I encourage people to do that, from
homeschooling to migration. However, if you are interested in engaging in the policy
and legislative process, you can do so and achieve better results with a
targeted, methodical manner.
Before addressing that, though,
one does well to clarify the goal of such activity. As noted in the John Locke
Foundation mission page, the goal is "a North Carolina of responsible
citizens, strong families, and successful communities committed to individual
liberty and limited, constitutional government."
My favorite explanation and
inspiration for efforts in that direction comes from Lawrence Reed, president
of the Foundation for Economic Education. In his pamphlet, "The True Meaning of Patriotism,"
he notes that patriotism is not a feeling and not necessarily a love of
country. It is more than showing up to vote, and it is not a blind trust in
government officials. That is precisely why policy research organizations exist
to shine the light of transparency.
Patriotism is, as Reed
explains, support for the ideas that gave birth to a country. He is a patriotic
American because he reveres "the ideas that motivated the Founders and
compelled them, in many instances, to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred
honor on the line... Freedom -- understanding it, living it, and teaching it.
That, my fellow Americans, is what patriotism should mean to each of us today."
To put that into action, please
consider the strategies in Rules for Patriots by Matt Kibbe of
FreedomWorks. Targeted primarily at a Tea Party audience, Kibbe notes that "We
the people are a force more powerful than one any special interest can create,"
and the self-organizing, bottom-up nature of the movement has been its greatest
asset. There is "no man in charge" to be corrupted by D.C. elites.
The primary vehicle that Kibbe
recommends is a local chapter group. That way you don't have to go it alone,
and each group can retain its autonomy while still learning from the others.
Fortunately, such groups already exist in most areas, and you can find one
through teaparty.freedomworks.org, Freedom Force International,
or MeetUp.com. Otherwise, you can form
your own group, and Rules for Patriots
offers guidelines for how to structure such an organization to target centers
The second key vehicle for
influence, beyond a local pro-liberty advocacy group, is a place in the
dialogue. Even if you're working full-time, you can still write a blog for free, and the
blogosphere is gradually overwhelming mainstream media with its raw and varied
material. Diane Rufino of the Pitt County Tea Party has
two of my favorites, For Love of God and Country and Know Your Constitution.
If maintaining a blog seems too
onerous, many blogs welcome intermittent submissions. For national or broader
discussions, I am pleased to recommend LibertyBlog.org,
which is a mix of conservatives and libertarians. For North Carolina concerns, you
are welcome to email me or another staff member directly, and we will consider
either placing your letter in one of our newsletters or on our blog, The
Locker Room. You can also email us or one of our five local blogs with
news tips or topics that you believe merit attention.
Since newspapers still hold a
large audience, letters to the editor also remain valuable. Little gives me
more satisfaction than seeing people take our research and use it to make
others aware of the challenges we face, and here
is one example (second from the top) from Lewis Guignard in the Charlotte Observer.
So there is plenty you can do,
and many people are eager for
new supporters to join their ranks. I don't promise immediate results, but
I am optimistic about what a new wave of pro-liberty activists can achieve,
particularly because a majority of people in the United States are on their
side. As the prominent pollster Scott Rasmussen has documented, they
still haven't lost their desire for self-governance.
- The misleading nature of cash-basis
government accounting continues to gain media coverage, and rightly so. It
would be illegal if carried out by a private corporation. This past week, John
Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, commented
on the Institute for Truth in Accounting's latest ranking of state unfunded
liabilities which placed North Carolina at 35th in the nation,
behind all of its neighbors.
- Do you
know any individuals interested in exploring the philosophy of and political
movement towards liberty? If so, please let them know that Students for Liberty
will be hosting a regional conference in Chapel Hill on November 3, 2012. These conferences highlight
the wave of articulate and passionate young liberty advocates and are for both
students and non-students alike. The students organizing this event have also
just published their first blog post, "Six Things Liberals Need to Stop Saying," if you'd like to get a sense for
what they are up to.
Click here for the Fiscal
Monday, Oct. 15th, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Vikram Rao
Shale Gas: the Promise and the Peril
Wednesday, Oct. 24th, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
A Headliner Luncheon
with our special guest Dr. Charles Murray
Coming Apart at the Seams: America's New Cultural Divide
Monday, Oct. 29th, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.
Shaftesbury Society Luncheon
with our special guest Scott Gerber
Justice Thomas's Legacy After 20 Years