When I originally became active politically I assumed others agreed with me on a common goal. For me it was very clear. Get government out of our lives. Affirm the Mission of the Declaration of Independence.
I was naïve, I confess it openly.
I assumed once freedom was firmly established we would fold up the then empty tents called political parties and go home to do something more productive. I was wrong. I discovered most people in the Movement did not connect words to reality. As time went on other alarming realizations came to light. Disturbingly, few saw the LP as a strategic tool to be used to return power to individuals and then discarded. They had bought into the false assumptions shared by those who believe government is more than a means for a free people to handle a few commonly useful services. Many expressed the idea government, and not people, was sovereign.
To my horror, I confronted the expectation of loyalty to the organization. It was clearly the equivalent to pledging fealty to your plumber's helper, a touchy subject.
Other individuals focused on single issues. Gaining easier access to guns, pot, ending cultural standards for sexual behavior, all of these motivations were present. All other issues were irrelevant to these individuals, to be deep sixed if they proved bothersome.
“Freedom” for many involved perpetuating some benefit accrued through use of government. An example of this is the nearly universal hostility to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Affirming previous injustice as “freedom” was all too common. This was not limited to the Libertarian Party.
As time went on the understanding of a term previously heard but dismissed finally sunk in. Psychopathy. It eventually dawned on me some people were more different than they appeared on the surface.
It was a clear case of Arrested Paradigm. When this became clear to me I left and joined the Republicans. I began researching how a 'real' political or community organization looked from the inside. It was instructive.
This is a brief outline of what I discovered and finally my conclusions with suggestions on how to achieve the goal of freedom.
In September of 1955 I received my first political qua philosophical input a friend/cousin who was then 24. He and I were sitting in the back yard when he told me the story of Howard Roark from the Fountain Head. He did not tell me the names, or I did not remember. He spoke with feeling about the integrity of living your life for your own purposes. It was, he said, a work of art which should reflect all you want to say about yourself. It should be lived, he said, with integrity. “Yours to live, yours to give.” His name was James Dean. It was the last time I saw him but everything he said stuck with me.
The history of the Freedom Movement as it exists today.
The wave of activism which resulted in the Goldwater Campaign began with folks, mostly women, going door to door selling cheap paperback books. Pausing on the doorstep, these foot soldiers for freedom provided information to ordinary Americans which resulted in the grass roots activism which became the modern Conservative Movement.
The Goldwater Movement was, arguably, the first spontaneous grass roots moment.
Women, active in politics, was a radical concept in the Western world. Alice Paul, following in the footsteps of Lucretia Mott, Quaker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony and a host of others, finally achieved for women the right to vote in America with the passage of the 19th Amendment, ratified on August 18, 1920.
Women went on to reshape American politics from every political viewpoint. The Republican Party, which had sponsored suffrage, was a natural haven for women and in 1938 the growing number of Republican Women's Clubs were gathered in to become the National Federation of Republican Women, still the largest political organization in the world. Women were very much involved in the growing Conservative Movement forged by Goldwater, very unconsciously on his part. His values and personal and public life, inspired trust in those who knew him. But he lacked the insight to separate what people saw in him from the steps needed to change the direction which had been created by his era’s elites and corporate interests. As he went down to flaming defeat the meaning of Conservative was changing sharply under the influence of two men whose names today are synonymous with the word.
Instead they rebranded the word to mean Big Government, corporate-friendly, make war for profit, and love your friendly, fascist state. While using the rhetoric both men associated the word, by usage, with a very different agenda and very different ideas.
Reference: Rise of Big Oil, Rockefeller Group, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, by Daniel H. Yergin, War is a Racket by Lt. General Smedley Butler
When the first grass roots revolution was taking place, I was reading books from the family library and visiting Goldwater Headquarters, continuing my own efforts to get people to read Conscience of a Conservative – or at least a piece of literature. No one takes you seriously when you are 10 years old.
The surge of support for Goldwater, enthusiasm for the writing of Ayn Rand, fractured on the frustrations of Vietnam. Older efforts continued their work, the Liberty Amendment, the brain child of Willis Stone, promised hope of ending the Income tax, the Foundation for Economic Education, 1946 by Leonard E. Read, provided education on the free market. The work of Rose Wilder Lane and the Reverend James W. Fifield of the First Congregationalist Church of Los Angeles, continued to impact minds.
I picked a copy of Atlas Shrugged from our family library and read it, riveted, around 1960. My mother later said she seriously considered forbidding my reading – but this would have conflicted with the family principle on self-education, a principle in place since at least the early 1800s. She refrained.
The John Birch Society withstood a serious take-over attempt from Buckley in the 60's at the same time Reagan was beginning the run up to his campaign for the Governorship of California.
Soon Andrew J. Galambos was teaching his brand of individual property rights and volunteerism. A recent graduate from MIT who had been a leader in Students for Goldwater and Young Americans for Freedom married and moved to Denver Colorado.
ARTICLE NOW BEING WRITTEN – Take-over of the Environmental Movement by elements including George H. W. Bush.
On August 15, 1971 President Richard Nixon went on live television and announced to the Nation his intention to institute Wage and Price Controls.
At that moment tens of thousands of people across the country dropped their registration as Republicans. David Nolan, the former YAF member, MIT graduate, and Goldwater supporter, had just written an article, "The Case for a Libertarian Political Party,” for the Individualist, a libertarian oriented magazine.
In New York an attorney named Ed Clark called his wife, Alicia Cabo Clark, to vent his rage. Alicia, the daughter of a former Mexican Senator and the CEO of a multinational corporation, sympathized. One of the things that had brought them together was their shared belief in the ideas of freedom. The Clarks also left the Republican Party. Clark would become the third Libertarian candidate for President and Alicia would eventually serve as National Chairman.
Ron Paul heard the announcement at the same time, changing his own life course.
The Libertarian Party was founded in David and Susan Nolan's living room in Denver, Colorado on December 11th, 1971. The article written by Nolan had called for the creation of a political party, not primarily to elect candidates, but to become a voice for the unadulterated ideas of individual freedom. Stated this way, starting a political party seemed like a good idea.
Wage and Price Controls would prove to be an absolute failure. The controls did not stem inflation and yet, with the logic of other government programs, continued to be used as a tool until 1980.
For those who had hoped to move toward individual freedom it was a time of devastation. I, for one, had not heard of the Libertarian Party until after I read, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World,” by Harry Browne, published in 1973. The title for Brown’s book was borrowed, without attribution, from Alvin Lowi, a student of both Andrew J. Galambos and Jay Snelson, who had worked with Galombos and then broken with him, I would later learn.
In 1974 I was pregnant with my third child and worried about the world I would leave them. The growth of government, the steady losses of our rights, were hard to contemplate. The LP came like a shock of new hope.
Similar scenes played out all over America as young people who had worked feverishly for Goldwater and burned their draft cards as members of the Libertarian Caucus of Young Americans for Freedom, began to coalesce into a group. This was the second incidence of spontaneous grass roots action resulting in a wave of political action in opposition to the Corporate – Government Elite.
As Nixon settled into a grumpy retirement in Yorba Linda, California on August 8, 1974, the newly fledged Libertarian Party was experiencing a surge of growth and excitement along with internecine warfare. About that time, I heard Toni Nathan on the radio. I sat there, crying and holding my baby daughter. Later that day I joined the LP.
The LP began as an organization that looked to individuals to take action themselves in accordance with their inherent, natural, rights, which pre-exist all government. This was the mission statement of the Declaration of Independence. As the structure of the organization congealed a conflict of visions began, pitting the top down style of traditional American political parties with the spontaneous, local organizing which characterized its first several years. The lack of formal structure and innovation fired ever more activism, a reprise of the Goldwater Movement.
Into this mix came a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, back in his hometown of Los Angeles and making his way as a financial adviser.
His name was Edward H. Crane, III. Crane was elected Southern California Vice-Chairman for the Libertarian Party of California. While doing research for this memoir I could find not one instance of local organizing or activism carried out by Ed Crane while serving in that capacity.
Crane was intent on moving up in the hierarchy of the Libertarian Party. To do that he needed to ensure one happened. A newly fledged financial planner, he came out of the office of Southern California Vice Chairman of the Libertarian Party of California and with the help of the man acknowledged to be the best floor manager for campaigns in recent history, John Hix, took the office of Chairman of the Libertarian Party at the Dallas Convention in 1974.
Crane's personal habits say a lot about who he is.
I was sitting on the floor with my daughters, Dawn and Ayn, ages 2 and 1, celebrating our success in qualifying Roger MacBride as the LP nominee for President in 1975 and fell into conversation with a woman sitting next to me. Her name was Maureen, as I remember. Maureen told me about her experiences in working for the LP and with Ed Crane. She said women were scheduled to come over to the 'office' every hour. The first half hour was spent typing. The second half hour in bed with Ed. As she left, the next woman was arriving.
Nothing I later observed about Crane from that date to this caused me to doubt her honesty.
Beware those ambitious for fame, glory and sex and willing to deceive to achieve. They may be psychopaths. Over the next years, under the direct management of Ed Crane, the Libertarian Party was converted into a top down organization, losing the networking, initiative, and innovation at the local level, which had provided its power. It would still retain its 'name brand power,' however, a value worth controlling.
One of the early respected leaders of the Libertarian Party was Roger MacBride. MacBride was the Elector from Vermont who bolted the GOP to cast his electoral vote for John Hospers in December of 1972. Roger, the adopted grandson and heir of Rose Wilder Lane, was well to do.
At first Crane sucked up shamelessly to Roger MacBride, according to those who were positioned to observe them. Then, after Roger introduced him to Charles and David Koch he transferred his allegiance. Talk of a think tank began almost immediately, rolling rapidly into fruition. Control of the formal structure of the Libertarian Party became the focus where before it had been local activism.
Roger's presidential campaign in 1976 had been very good for local activism.
William Hunscher, a successful entrepreneur and close friend of Roger MacBride's declared as a candidate for the Libertarian presidential nomination in 1978. Hunscher eventually spent a sizable chunk of money seeking the nomination, pledging to run a campaign focusing on encouraging local activism. Crane persuaded Ed Clark, Chief Legal Counsel for Arco, to run against Hunscher. Ed, highly respected for his good character, was a popular choice for those who had known and worked with him.
Hunscher was new to the LP and was far from being a perfect candidate. But he pledged to run full time for 18 months, a promise which weighed with activists.
To say it was a campaign of dirty tricks and payoffs understates the case. Crane, as Chairman of the LP used the resources of the LP for Clark, treating it as his personal property. In every way possible power was centralized under Crane.
The National organization, states and local groups, had a working arrangement whereby inquiries and donors were shared. The list of donors and inquiries were sent to National.
National was to do the same. It soon became obvious this was not happening.
I had been elected Southern California Vice Chairman and noticed the names of large donors did not seem to be included on lists coming from the Headquarters in DC. I had a longish conversation with one woman, very well to do, who had lived nearby my family home while she and her husband were at UCLA. She had been told by the HQ, “there is no active organization in Los Angeles,” so she and other big donors, the names helpfully supplied to them by National, began organizing their own events. She was delighted to find us but puzzled. For me the meeting was very illuminating.
Los Angeles was one of the largest local organizations, comprising seven local groups. This was not an oversight and explained many things which previously puzzled me. Deviousness, I discovered, was the stock and trade of what we came to call the Crane Machine. To a person they reflected an attitude of arrogance, entitlement, and superiority entirely unsupported by their performance.
The Crane Group also issued White Papers for the Clark Campaign which repositioned Clark as a “Low Tax Liberal” while Ronald Reagan was explicitly using the rhetoric of freedom, rhetoric which Americans were hungry to hear, eager to believe. Using the rhetoric of freedom which originated in the Libertarian Movement, Ronald Reagan won the presidency, beginning the ongoing process of converting America to a fascist state while the Libertarian Party's Presidential Campaign said nothing much worth remembering.
Crane was responsible for the positioning of the Clark Campaign. He has never explained himself. At the time, his cozy relationship with Charles and David Koch was just blooming. Later, it was clear the Kochs wanted a political entity to push their agenda for eliminating corporate liability for polluters and otherwise smoothing the path to their own accumulation of wealth. Eventually, they would find this with the Tea Party.
Reagan was personally charming, kind, charismatic. I first became aware of him through comments from my Father in 1960. I believe they met through the Republican discussion group my father ran at UCLA for many years. Father was asked to go to Sacramento with Reagan as governor and again to Washington when Ronnie was elected President. Father refused.
Reagan was not a Conservative. What happened to America happened to California during Reagan's two terms there as Governor. In 1975 United Republicans of California, UROC, had begged Americans not to support Ronnie if he ran for president or vice-president. No one listened. Here is the UROC Resolution. I rekeyed the last copy, so you can get it online. The Clark White Papers were issued to the media. Their message went along with the 'low tax liberal' positioning adopted by Ed Crane.
Activists found it impossible to obtain copies. My own efforts to read them myself continued until 1984. I later learned from Bob Hunt, a long time Libertarian who lived and lives in DC, that piles of White Papers were still in their store room as late as 1999.
Even with David Koch on the ticket, Koch personally contributed millions, the 'big win' in votes or respect for the ideas of freedom promised by the Crane Machine died an ugly death, leaving the Clark Campaign in debt. Crane and the Kochs then abandoned the candidate leaving Ed and Alicia Clark to pay off the debt themselves.
The Kochs were not pleased either. Millions had been expended in large salaries, media, and for fundraising efforts which failed to break even. “Alternative 80,” a 'fundraiser' held which was to be, in effect, an attempt for an early Money Bomb, both raising money and exciting mainstream interest, fizzled. The event linked events across the country which viewed the entertainment taking place at the Century City Hotel in the late summer, 1980. Phones were ready to receive the calls of eager donors. Calls did come in – but not enough for the event to break even.
I learned that even billionaires have limits in the elevator after the event. The doors opened and as I got in I recognized Ed Crane being quiet as Charles Koch expressed his unhappiness with the money spent, his commentary unimpeded by my rapt attention.
A subset of the Craniacs, organizing under Howie Rich, would become active in another deceptive and covert enterprise in the early 90s aimed at suborning the electoral process. The names of contributors would be recycled into the Cato Institute. The only thing that surprised me was the cooperation Crane was receiving from Murray Rothbard, who was named to the Cato Board of Directors.
Rothbard was the only real Libertarian involved in Cato from my perspective. However, Murray was fey the way only a Jewish academic can be. He adored the mock danger of political battles but for the most part lived in the cerebral world of economic theory. After Ludwig von Mises Murray was The Free Market economist, clearly enunciating, despite his love of argument, the verities of a real free market.
About that time I sent a button to Crane at the Cato HQ in DC.On it was "Question All Authority (Except Mine) I believed then, and now, when government is involved there is no free market. A free market defends our inherent rights as individuals by allowing each a 'Yes' to what we want and a 'No' to unacceptable choices. Where individuals are denied the exercise of their right to choose no free market can respond to provide the desired choices and there is no freedom, only privilege.
It was Rothbard's insistence on this position which, it was generally believed, caused him to be ousted from the Cato Board of Directors in early 1981. In the public eye he was replaced, as a spokesman for the “Free Market' by Milton Friedman. Friedman was no proponent of the free market, but a monetarist. Aaron Director, known for his integration of law and economics, married to Milton's sister, referred to Milton as, “his New Deal brother-in-law,” according to Butler Shaffer who knew Director well. Asked his opinion of Friedman on the free market Butler agreed, “as you cannot be a little bit pregnant, so you cannot suggest withholding tax and call yourself an advocate of the free market.”
The Koch brothers were the major funders of Cato from its founding on. It was at the insistence of Charles Koch that Rothbard was thrown off the Board of Directors and denied compensation.
By so doing the best defender of the free market was marginalized. The rebranding of the word, “Free Market,” followed.
Koch Industries advocated not free markets, but markets manipulated to disallow choices which would not profit them and enforce choices which would and routinely ignored the need to accept the liabilities created by their enterprises as costs for which they must be insured. Evading risks which then impact others is irresponsible in the extreme. Additionally, it is clear the drive for war and more war is, in effect, a subsidy of the corporations which control government. The Kochs are not backward in their wish to profit from corporately instigated war, again, the costs borne by credulous Americans and visited on millions abroad.
Koch Industries today profits from the Corporate War in Iraq with Halliburton as it did in Vietnam with Halliburton during the Vietnam Conflict. One of the first acts of the Bush Administration in 2001 was to quash the nearly 400 major EPA violations enforced against Koch Industries.
Along with Phillips and TRW, Koch Industries shares a history of repeatedly violating workplace and environmental laws while being numbered among the nation's largest government contractors, according to Holding Corporations Accountable. The article on the Holding site originally appeared as US: Unjust Rewards, by Ken Silverstein, in Mother Jones, May 1st, 2002. According to the article, “the three corporations received a combined total of $10.4 billion in federal business-at the same time that regulatory agencies and federal courts were citing the companies for jeopardizing the safety of their employees, polluting the nation's air and water, and even defrauding the government.”
In August of 1996 two teenagers, Danielle Smalley and Jason Stone, both 17, were burned nearly beyond recognition in an explosion caused by the petroleum giant. “Koch officials conceded in court that corrosion control had been inadequate and that the company had not effectively distributed information to the public on how to recognize and respond to a pipeline leak,” the statement appearing on the site of the attorney who represented the grieving family, Jim Arnold Associates. The deaths resulted in an award of “$296 million, the largest award for actual damages in a wrongful-death case in the nation's history. Koch appealed, then settled with Smalley.” The sum collected was between 25 and 30 million, which the family used to set up a foundation in their daughter's memory. The second decision came about through the intervention of Texas Governor, George W. Bush who is related to the Kochs through marriage.
Rebranding is an obvious ploy once it is pointed out. The question must be posed to old timers in the movement as to why they did not speak out when the process was going on. Two other examples of rebranding which still haunt us are 'privatization' and 'deregulation.' Now, Privateering is something entirely different. This practice won the Revolution and the War of 1812. Privateers' PAYE Financed Defense of Free-Market America
To privatize, used correctly, would be to return control to individuals. The correct word in this context is 'corporatize,' or 'converting the rights of individuals into commodified units, allowing these rights to be sold by government to corporations. This was true of garbage pickup, where your garbage became such a commodity in the 1970s. It is true of the toll roads in Texas today.
Deregulation removed limitations on the actions of entities who had abused the power they accrued through prior relations with government in violation of both statute and common law. And example of this is Standard Oil, which profited from outright violent criminal behavior in establishing an effective lock on the market of oil. Other examples include power companies which received government subsidies in producing power generation or had those resources transferred to them and were classified by statute as 'semi-governmental entities' and excused from responsibility for their actions.
The cancellation or limitation of liability is an intolerable interference with the market. Any limitation of liability makes a free market impossible.
Instead of regulating industries the solution was to ensure the legal system could assert accountability. In allowing corporations to exist the problem created with unequal parties in disputes was bound to occur and did.
The 80's saw the continued conversion the ideas of libertarianism to the use of ever bigger government and ever fatter corporations. The redefinitions of words, including 'free market, now installed in NeoConservatism as well, took place through the coordinated work of Ed Crane, Cato, and an array of think tanks and journalists who consistently used, and use, the words in their converted form.
Since most people pick up definitions by usage much of this would have been accidental.
Cato's assault on the Libertarian Party began when Alicia Clark was elected National Chairman in 1981. Alicia was a woman and had just experienced the ugliness of Crane's manipulations during her husband's campaign. The Crane Machine found a candidate for Chairman to oppose Alicia. He lost.
The Crane Machine immediately went into overdrive. The then Executive Director was ignoring orders from Alicia and spending hours on the phone with Crane, who was still in San Francisco at the time. Alicia fired him and changed the locks on the office, always a woman of decision.
At the moment Crane did not control the LP the Crane Machine began an overt drive to take Alicia out of office. It failed.
At the next presidential nominating convention, the abrupt withdrawal of unopposed candidate Gene Burns, well known talk show host, just months before the nominating convention brought two candidates into the field. David Bergland had been the VP candidate for Roger MacBride in 1976. Earl Ravanel, the candidate fielded by Crane, was viewed as Crane's bid to rerun the Clark Campaign with Crane in control. Crane and Ravenal lost. Crane and his cohort walked out, despite their promises to heal previous disagreements and work for the winning candidate. Some actually seemed to be surprised. I was not and had predicted this.
Immediately afterward attempts to destroy the LP began. Calls were made to valuable activists across the country urging them to leave the LP and reregister Republican. I received several such calls from John Fund who I had known since 1978.
After nearly a full decade the cadre of people around Crane, which was pretty much unchanged since their exit from the New York Convention in 1983, acquired a new toy. That was an organization the Koch Brothers had not been able to use effectively, the Citizens for Congressional Reform. Acquiring this not-for-profit spawned an incredible proliferation of identical not-for-profit organizations, each dedicated to doing pretty much the same thing.
Visually, their sites appeared to have been created by the same web designers. Each used a stealth approach to electoral politics, employing lavish rhetoric to justify using the initiative process to change the laws in states where this was allowed. This fit in exactly with the original game plan of the Crane Machine. Crane had always viewed local activists as an obstacle to action within the LP unless those acting locally were directly under his control.
In employing this growing collection of nonprofits Howie Rich, the Capo for the Crane Machine, extended this approach to Americans as a whole. The first of these organizations, U. S. Term Limits, focused on limiting the number of terms for any elected legislator. It was followed by initiatives promoting an end to eminent domain, school choice, and spending caps by government and eventually measures such as legislation relating to end of life issues raised by the Terry Schrivo Case.
Many individuals in various states had worked for this kind of measure; the problem was not the use of the initiative process. The initiative was introduced by the Populists to allow local people to change government, making it responsive to their needs. The problem was who was using the tool.
The solution always should have been providing free market solutions which displaced government.
The initiatives churned out by Howie and friends did not reflect the will of those who had to live with the resulting law. Even more egregiously, the initiatives were deceptively run as 'grass roots' efforts to potential donors outside the state when they lacked support within the state. No minds were changed. No freedom happened. No body of local expertise or enhanced organization remained in Howie Group's wake because Crane and the Kochs were committed to removing any control by local people.
It was a reprise of the Crane – Clark Campaign, this time run at a profit. Unused funds were, according to investigative journalists, transferred into the accounts of those who Crane and Howie had known and worked with since the 70s. At best the strategy came with the underscore, “Fool them into freedom.” But there was worse.
Worse than the misuse of the Initiative process was use of this tool for the profit of corporate outsiders to diminish control by local people.
In the original vision of American government, the Founders had assumed that local towns and the people who lived in them would make their own rules in how they structured their lives. This could be seen as a multitude of small experiments in living, allowing for a learning curve, helping a free people to reduce conflict as they learned to live outside of a traditional hierarchy imposed from the outside.
In some cases, the Howie Machine would outspend local activists six to one to get their measures passed into law. Eventually the left noticed through the research done by Hart Williams. William's work spawned a nonprofit which followed Howie's Group to some extent, focusing on the Ballot Fraud issue. Williams wrote articles on the antics of Howie and Company, all impeccably researched. These appear at Hart Williams.
Howie's Group learned some things from their encounter with Williams and transparency. They now all blog. During the time, 1990 – 2007, the Howie Business Plan was revving up there was another eruption of frustration which would reprise the early days of both the Goldwater Movement and the Libertarian Party. It started on Larry King Live with an interview of Ross Perot.
On February 20, 1992 H. Ross Perot said he was willing to run as an independent if his supporters could get his name on the ballot in all fifty states. Listeners liked what they heard. With a list of declared policies including balancing the federal budget, firm pro-choice stance, expansion of the war on drugs, ending outsourcing of jobs, support for gun control, belief in protectionism on trade, advocating the Environmental Protection Agency and enacting electronic direct democracy via "electronic town halls," he became a potential candidate overnight, soon polling well with the two major party candidates. The people wanted 'someone else.' Perot was someone else.
Unfortunately for the American Public, Ross’s poll results, which inspired trust in Americans because he was actually responding to their reactions, was being provided by another man, Brock d’Avignon, who was working on technology which would allow Americans to enter a dialogue with candidates and also work on their own non-governmental solutions to the problems they faced, including moving to a growing, but stable economy. See PhoneVoter
The next day people were opening campaign headquarters across the country. The leading expert in third party ballot drives, a Libertarian named Richard Winger, who runs Ballot Access News, was found and flown into the brand-new Perot HQ in Texas. It could have been a revolution - but at the very least the people were flexing their muscles, finding ways to cooperate in pursuit of a common goal.
The Perot Movement was the third spontaneous political grass roots moment in the 20th Century. It resulted in the Reform Party.
Which brings us to the very unexpected outcome of Ron Paul's decision to run for president again and the eruption of the Ron Paul R3VOLution, the first grass roots action of the 21st Century.
Congressman and physician, Ron Paul had been around the Freedom Movement since the 1970s. His run for president as the LP candidate in 1988 was largely ignored by the public. After the 1988 campaign Paul returned to the Republican Party and again ran for Congress successfully. His campaign manager, Penny Langford, continued to run the Paul reelection efforts. As she describes it, these are highly decentralized and grass roots driven themselves. Ron, according to Penny, was never very involved in campaigning.
When Paul announced his candidacy at the Free State Project most old-time activists doubted he would do more than use the opportunity to speak out on the standard Libertarian issues. They were half right. Ron was talking about the same issues. But now people were listening because of the Desperation Factor.
In any population 5% of the people will try new things, ideas, products, tools, with little resistance. These are first adopters. 15% will adopt a new approach, technology, idea, tool, if they are desperate for a solution to their immediate problem. 60% of the population will adopt as soon as it looks like everyone else is doing it or if someone they perceive as high status is using the new thing. We call them Ballast. The last 20% will die before they adopt something new. We call them Dead Men Walking.
From the first debate on the divergence between the official Ron Paul Campaign and the Ron Paul R3VOLution, so named by Ernie Hancock, owner of Freedom's Phoenix and a long time Libertarian, was palpable. Ernie began putting up bill boards promoting Ron's candidacy in February 2007, even before the official declaration took place.
As in the early days of the Goldwater Movement, the Libertarian Party, and the Perot Campaign, the ones moving the action were volunteers. It was volunteers who hammered the Ron Paul HQ, insisting a check be cut so Ron could participate in the GOP debate in South Carolina. The fuel in the engine was always volunteers.
Many became active for the first time in their lives, leaving their jobs to work full time and unpaid for the candidacy of Ron Paul.
The Internet became the nexus point, allowing individual initiative and innovation to be multiplied many times over. Adoption of strategies became seemingly instantaneous, allowing a group of people who had never met to change outcomes which previously would have been impossible to achieve.
Media, unwilling to cover Paul experienced reports from their advertisers, concerned over the calls coming in to them from Ron Paul supporters threatening to boycott their products. Market pressures worked.
The power of the Ron Paul R3VOLution continued to build until Paul stopped campaigning. Looking for an outlet for frustrated energy other projects came into form. One of these was the Tea Parties, which may have been planned as a means for redirecting the energies of the grass roots into the GOP. If that was the intention it has not worked.
The Tea Party Movement was produced by the Ron Paul R3VOLution and the frustration all of us experience when no clear goals can be identified, and we are facing disaster. But while the activities taken up were similar to those of the campaign they were, in effect, an after-school program with rhetoric and signs and a tee-shirt. The people, hungry for real goals, are now again frustrated. From this hopeful ignorance the Kochs inserted their control. Former volunteers found themselves paid and directions given.
Electing Ron Paul was never really the goal. He only symbolized the real destination which has always been a world where our individual lives are lived out peacefully, productively, and in harmony with those around us. In that tomorrow prosperity follows honesty and hard work. There, we tolerate differences and build community.
This was and remains the vision of America which drew millions to a New World.
All decent people, which is most of us, hunger for a benevolent world where we are free to choose how we will live our own lives and cause no harm to others. This begins, as my grandfather would have said, by using the right tools. First, see the world around you as it is. Arthur C. Pillsbury took care of that. Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation Inquiry