Can you induce people to reject statism?

Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed that…

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

But the Rubber Band Effect tells us how hard it is to stretch a mind that far. So…
What we need are ideas that EXPLODE the human mind to vast new boundaries.
The ideas that do this best are those that induce cognitive dissonance by exposing hypocrisy and self-contradiction.
Cognitive dissonance induces psychic pain. To seek relief, the mind is compelled to work overtime clarifying and clearing out the discomfort of contradictory beliefs. This arduous process continues, even subconsciously. Relief can only be found in adopting new ideas that mesh without contradiction. Ideas that have this twin power to expose contradictions and then resolve them are called…
Mental Depth Charges
A depth charge is a naval bomb that must sink to a certain depth before it explodes. A Mental Depth Charge works in a similar way. It needs time to sink-in before it can explode in the mind. This means that you’ll rarely get to see the culmination of your work. Instead…

  • You’ll see the discomfort that comes from exposing a contradiction
  • This may manifest as frustration, even rage, given that most people treat political conversations as ego contests rather than a search for truth

How to deploy…
Your task as a change agent is to induce the discomfort but without rubbing salt in the wound. Simply plant your Mental Depth Charge. Then withdraw! We recommend this procedure…

  • Look for contradictions
  • Identify the libertarian ideas that expose and resolve that contradiction
  • Plant these ideas — deploy your Mental Depth Charges and pull back

It will be up to the other person’s mind to do the rest. Many people manage to live with cognitive dissonance their entire life. Some even self-medicate to cover the pain instead of dealing with it. Others cannot stand the conflict and must resolve it.
You’re looking for this last group — people who value consistency. And there are millions of them out there!
Whenever you find them, recommend that they sign-up to our free newsletter.

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of, Inc., defending free press rights all the way to the Supreme Court. He and Susie are the proud, home-schooling parents of three teenagers. He enjoys theology, UFC, target practice, and Tai Chi.

Perry Willis

About the Author

Perry Willis

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Perry Willis is the co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and Downsize DC. He was the National Director of the Libertarian National Committee on two occasions, and ran two Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He has an extensive background in marketing and fundraising, and has ghost written direct mail appeals for numerous luminaries, including Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Charlton Heston and Harry Browne.

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Show Comments 8


  1. A few examples would be very helpful, particularly real examples that include a description of the setting, the actors and any observable consequences.

  2. Hi, Could you please show examples from start to finish on different subject matter to utilize these techniques. I think starting a section on the site where people can contribute examples might be helpful as well. However, I sadly think it will just lead to more people popping more pills to block out the contradictions.

  3. The libertarian classic, “Taxation is theft” is an example. Engage a statist in a conversation about ‘regular’ theft in which you both agree on some definition like, “Theft is taking someone’s property without their consent” using, say, taking his bicycle without asking as an exemplar. Next, ask them if they consented to paying taxes, and, while they are still foundering, ask them, “If you didn’t consent to your money being taken, can you explain to me how taxation ISN’T theft?” and just leave them to struggle. This is exactly what worked on me about 5 years ago.

    1. I’ve found this to be an ineffective argument, as the counter is that we live in a representative republic, and my consent is implied as the taxes are levied by my elected representatives. I’d be interested in hearing how you counter that.

  4. No one can delegate to another something which they are not entitled too. You are not entitled to take someone’s property without their direct consent. Implicit consent is insufficient. Consequently, no one can delegate to another the right to take another’s property.

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