The stunning, libertarian thing a Barack Obama supporter said

What’s the ‘starting point’ for addressing every social problem? Retweet

One day Brandon made a stunning admission…

“I think every regulation we create should give priority to reducing the amount of force to the absolute minimum.”

What was surprising about this was that Brandon was a Barack Obama voter, a left-statist (progressive) through and through.

He’s still a left-statist!

Brandon’s hobby horse issue was the environment. No matter how many times his voluntaryist friend spoke to him, he was insistent that regulation and even taxation were necessary tools to protect climate and shelter habitats.

But after several months of dialogue, the quote above tumbled off Brandon’s tongue. It was hard to tell if Brandon realized his shift. After all, he hadn’t changed his mind about State involvement in environmentalism. But the alteration in Brandon’s approach was clearly visible to his voluntaryist friend.

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Brandon’s patient, libertarian acquaintance couldn’t help probing for details. He learned that Brandon now believed that…

  1. Persuasion or voluntary solutions should be pursued until exhausted, before imposing state regulation or taxes.
  2. The level of force in any regulation should be narrowly tailored — targeted and minimized to only do what was absolutely needed.

In fact, he outright declared that…

“When the regulators sit down to write their rules, the very first question they should ask is, ‘How can we reduce the level of force?'”

Holy Cow! Do you see what we see?

Our core libertarian issue is now on the table, and in a prominent position to boot! The voluntaryist who spoke with Brandon, all those months, said he was referring to and even sharing our Mental Levers, constantly.

Now, imagine if every left statist was like Brandon. Do you believe our national policy dialogue would be improved?

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We tend to think only outright conversion equals success, as if our libertarian progress requires complete and total agreement.

But every bit of progress is progress. And it starts with the concept at the core of our newest Mental Lever…

Should zero aggression always be your starting point?

This 153-word mini-article is part of our Zero Aggression Basics collection.

Brandon was on to something. Indeed, if you think about it, it’s not all that great a leap. It’s what decent people do. So can we get more Brandons?

Sharing Mental Levers might be one of the ways we get there. There are now 87 of them. These mini-articles can be more effective than lending books that are neither read nor returned. They’re far easier to share and short enough to actually be read.

  • You can use them online discussions, such as in Facebook comments (we do)
  • You can use them as hyperlinks in your editorials (as you just saw in this article, we do that too).
  • You can learn and rehearse the ideas and share them in conversation when you’re talking to your particular “Brandon” (just like the voluntaryist in this story did).
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Jim Babka & Perry Willis
Zero Aggression Project

Show Comments 1


  1. This is awesome! We have progressed indeed if a supporter of one of the biggest left-statists in recent history is seeing the light of the Golden Rule on this. 🙂 Halleluyah! I’m not on as many forums as I once was, but I still try to spread the ZAP to those open to it, on either side of the aisle, (especially calling staffers of Congressmen and women)

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