Why do statist ideas defeat libertarian ideas in the political arena?

Visibility parity & Operation Everywhere

Statist ideas are seen and heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. This is because…

  • Left-statists control the schools, the media, most of the bureaucracy, and roughly half of elected positions.
  • Right-statists dominate talk radio, have major visibility in most other media outlets, control part of the bureaucracy and roughly half of elected positions.
  • Libertarians are visible only on the internet.

These realities make it all the more remarkable that there are nearly as many libertarians in America as there are left-statists and right statists. Gallup estimates the Right to be roughly 88-million people, with the Left at roughly 61-million. Various studies place the number of libertarians at somewhere between 64 and 70-million.

But one is forced to notice that very few libertarians are actively “libertarian.” One must also wonder how many libertarians there would be if we had visibility parity with the Left and the Right. We think visibility disparity is the major reason for the rubber-band effect — where people seem persuaded by a libertarian argument but then “snap back” when re-exposed to a world dominated by statist disinformation. These problems are related…

  • If more libertarians became active, libertarian visibility would increase
  • As libertarian visibility increases the rubber-band effect would diminish

Indeed, visibility parity with the Left and Right would probably take the snap out of the rubber-band effect. So our strategic objective is clear…

We must find and mobilize dormant libertarians so as to achieve visibility parity. We must make our ideas seen and heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. We call this goal Operation Everywhere.

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of RealCampaignReform.org, 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 15


  1. You’ve highlighted a significant missing factor in the libertarian approach. Your recommendation would be even more useful if you define “active participation” and provide examples.

    Thank you for your great work!

    Michael R. Edelstein

    1. Great question Michael. We think all of the following are important…

      1. Sharing libertarian ideas with people — especially the Zero Aggression Principle
      2. Pressuring Congress and other politicians — it’s probably easier to influence politicians than replace them
      3. Jury nullification — making it impossible to enforce laws is the same as repealing them
      4. Our 501c3 status prohibits us from saying much about voting, but voting is the thing most people think of first in this context.

      Jim and I have current and future plans for all of these areas.

      Thanks for the support and encouragement.

      1. I have had quite a bit of fun calling my Congresspersons of late, primarily because of your cards. The fact is, you won’t always reach the same staffer every time you call. So at least part of the time, you will reach quite a few people by calling. In many ways, it can be more fun than writing an e-mail. (maybe I’m wrong on this, but I like to think that we who call Congress at least have some influence on Congress- especially when we see them break with party lines to vote for smaller government or restoration of our natural rights) Even an abstention from voting for or against a bill can be a small victory, for someone who typically tows the party line.

        1. Those are excellent points Penni B. – now if only more people would find their way here and see them! Yes, i agree it really may help to explain our whole lines of nonconformist reasoning to ….well basically every person we possibly can actually. Then what I also like to do is that same sort of thing to practically everybody else I talk to as well. I mean those few real humans who do business conversations by phone. It’s great when they habitually intend to finish the call with, “Is there anything else I can help you with”. If I happen to have the time for it I just can’t help but say “yes, can you vote for any libertarians on the ballot the next time you get a chance?” Believe it or not, It’s at least 80% of the time those people really welcome having a little conversation about the whole subject, and seem to be genuinely interested in it all. It seems like it usually even goes beyond them just welcoming a break from the normal boring conversations they’re forced to have all day every day. Try it next time you get the chance.

      2. Yes, great question, great responses here. Thanks for adding your link Dr. Edelstein. I think I used to like hearing you on the radio. no? I have to spend more time with your website now too!

  2. I agree with your zero aggression, however it is because as a Christian , Jesus wants us to put forth the truth of the gospel and live the Christian life as a witness for him . We are not to join activist groups working overtly against the evils in this world except to speak out the truth along with our living witness for Jesus Christ.

    1. We are not to join activist groups working against the evils in this world… Curious why you’d suggest that was the case? I can think of contra-Biblical ideas to that notion. Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah were all involved in government.

      1. This mystified me as well. Paul took full advantage of his rights as a Roman citizen, including making an appeal to Caesar.(had he chosen not to appeal to Caesar Nero because of threats on his life, King Agrippa told Governor Festus, he could have been set free.) Believers are commanded to be salt and light where ever they are. In the history of both Great Britain and the U.S. we have had men like William Wilberforce and Samuel Adams who served in government to prevent corruption and the eroding of our rights. Ron Paul would be the closest modern example, but his son Rand is attempting to follow in Ron’s foot steps, and so are a few others. They do everyone a service by standing up for our rights.

  3. Statist “ideas” do not defeat NAP ideas in debate, assuming ONE basic premise is agreed upon: self ownership. If anyone believes it’s his proper place to be even remotely held captive to collectivist proprietorship, everything else unravels. I am owned 100% by Jesus Christ (Acts 5:29); not by another human. For secular humanists of all stripes, pick a side. Collectivism brings in the coercion aspect.

    Now push debate aside. Without empirical proof these “individualist” ideals can provide for the “pursuit of happiness” so many Americans “need”, again, NAP ideas will receive defeat. We need to build Free Town Projects. Free County Project. Free City Project. Show me; don’t tell me. Christians can be easily persuaded towards NAP with very little effort (assuming one can even get a discussion started), but we are dealing with very few Christians who don’t act like trained monkeys and want to be challenged. That is where I seek fertile ground for recruiting.

    Self-ownership. Go to the source.

  4. The ideas of the left and right are the most familiar to the citizens of this country. Their separate though similar camps are home to them. It’s like staying in a cage that is unlocked but choosing to remain inside because the outside is unfamiliar and frightening to them. Libertarians continually use terminology and concepts that they experience as foreign. Too often Libertarians are guilty of shoving too much down their throats at once, often getting into argumentative debates when it would be more beneficial to wean them slowly out of their comfort zones and into more freedom. Too much, too soon results in the rubber band effect.

  5. There’s one other important thing to consider here, and I suspect it’s really the main cause of the Rubber-band Effect. The state/the rulers of the state is (or are) something that we serve, be it willingly or only because of being forced. And here is something I’ve come to believe strongly following about 60 years of study; working to truly understand this thing we call human nature – one of the very strongest needs we have is to feel that we are meeting our level of need to serve. If only we work to understand this need for what it is and how it functions in our entire mental process, it might help us along toward choosing better masters to serve, and helping our fellow crew members of spaceship Earth to do the same i’d think.

    1. One of the more difficult problems arises when the LP tries to offer Left-statist lite (or Right statist lite) when many have been inoculated against another round of it. One of the reasons I felt free to vote Libertarian in local races but not on the presidential ticket was actually hearing all the candidates in the Libertarian debate, and finding the two least electable of them were more truly libertarian. The LP managed to pick the candidate closest to a left statist position, and I could see no reason to vote for him over Clinton or Trump. So I didn’t.

  6. Looking through all these comments again I get a strong urge to generally give a thumb up to all, but then in this forum that means having to give more/clearer details – if ONLY I had the time to do everything I want to do, it would take me at least another lifetime. The one point (or maybe series of points) I will spend the time to say here is that I especially like the mention of our need to work together more/more effectively, with the tiny fragment of modern society who I call the anti collectivists. Along with that I say it may be a great help if we would start thinking and talking in terms of dividing the humanity between those who feel groups of people have more rights than any individual, and the rest of us, who are something closer to voluntaryists – or anti collectivists, just so we have some generic name for ourselves? Along with this I have to say over the years I’ve been listening to many of the YouTube stars plus bits of everyone else’s news and views from everywhere. Of them all, I think it’s Jim Babka, Perry Willis and Larken Rose who are the best at dealing with the specific subject of opening eyes and minds. And that is the singular most important goal for us that there is! Maybe because listening works better for me than reading, I think Larken’s Candles in the Dark talks are the most helpful for polishing our mind opening skills for collectivists. It would be nice to see everyone else’s thoughts about this.

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