Should You Have Political Discussions on Christmas?

December 25, 2014
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Will you discuss politics at your Christmas gatherings?
We hope you’ll avoid it. Instead…
We want to encourage you to ask powerful questions that will plant what we call Mental Depth Charges.
We rarely use the word “freedom” here. That’s because there are three basic versions of freedom. Two of them are frauds. These two are…

  • A right-wing view, where men with uniforms “rain” liberty on behalf of those who aren’t sufficiently grateful
  • A left-wing perspective, where we all are forced to pay for the failed life choices of others

Freedom in either sense is merely the sin of pride. The expositors of these views want others to know that they’re better than everyone else. If you disagree, they are morally superior to you.
Frequently, they will try to shame you into silence. Please don’t miss this point. They essentially want to bully you, even in conversation.
Perhaps in the past, you have been silent. It kept the peace. But why was that burden imposed on you? Maybe you didn’t know what to say. Then let us offer some advice…
Don’t “sell” your policy remedies! Try to avoid talking about politics. That means…

  • Don’t start such a conversation; let the family blowhard do it
  • When such a “debate” starts, offer no partisan tribal defenses nor public policy proposals
  • You have something better to offer, and that is what Herbert Spencer called the Law of Equal Freedom…

 Each person has the right to do whatever he or she wills, so long as they don’t infringe on the equal freedom of other persons.

This is the third, unheard, and most genuine freedom. This is actual liberty.

  •  It requires no flag-waving applause for those who brandish State insignia
  • It does not seek the power to make humans more perfect through the imposition of coercive force

Yet this view will have no TV commercials. It won’t be saluted at half-time. And that’s because the hierarchy — the structures of power —  can’t figure out how to cash-in on it. The forms of so-called freedom they embrace are grounded in avarice — the raw lust to maintain and expand power over others.
Today, there’s little we can do about the fact that our views are not yet broadcast. But around the dinner table, there is something YOU can do.
Instead of discussing politics — the partisan personalities, the abstractions of statistics, and the superstition that any politician can solve a social problem — try bringing a Moral Mirror with you.
Take this Moral Mirror and gently, carefully, and humbly hold it up to the person who drops rhetorical bombs over dessert. Ask questions, designed to cause reflection, rather than mere reaction. Make them see their views in a mirror. Let them see that their proposals…

  • impose upon individual conscience
  • steal personal liberty and property
  • damage the moral and social fabric of the community

Use the Law of Equal Freedom. Deploy the Zero Aggression Principle…

Don’t threaten or initiate force.

Ask them, as the situation calls for it, questions like…

  • Why they are okay with initiating coercive force to impose their plan or personal preference on others?
  • Do they realize that they’re violating the conscience of others?
  • When is it okay to use violence? …even to kill others? Is this one of those situations?
  • Must violence be used to fund their pet project?
  • Can the social problem before us be solved through voluntary means? If so, how? What might the benefits be?
  • How would they feel if these things were done to them?

Asking these kinds of questions will plant Mental Depth Charges — powerful ideas that will detonate in their minds at some later point, after they’ve had a chance to sink in. But something else will happen first. You may witness discomfort. You conversation partners voice may even rise. This is the outward manifestation of cognitive dissonance. That means the Mental Depth Charge has been planted.
When the explosion eventually occurs, when their awakening happens, you probably won’t even be there. The person might not even realize you originally planted the charge. But that’s okay, right? Isn’t the goal to turn people away from statism and toward true freedom?
So don’t become a salesman and definitely don’t get into a heated argument! You don’t need to win the debate this holiday season. Besides, there will be others observing the discussion…
Maybe they will be quiet — unsure what to say — like maybe you were at previous Christmas discussions. They might even wish the conversation would end and move to something more pleasant. But if you’re polite, the Mental Depth Charge will be planted with them as well. And if you didn’t shout, hurl insults, or roll in the partisan muck, that is likely to be observed by those around you, making their hearts and minds more open and receptive to your ideas.
Finally, this article only scratches the surface. It’s leads into a set of techniques that Perry Willis and I have been using.
We’ve had real success moving people, gradually, in the voluntaryist-libertarian direction. Notice, I didn’t say we had sudden conversions. In most cases, people who once opposed us have softened their views. But that never happened, so routinely, before.
Moreover, most of these individuals have wanted to continue the conversation. I get messages from them, asking for my opinion about other issues. Where once they debated me, now they’re listening to me and carefully considering, even seeking my view.
Therefore, I’m persuaded that, with sufficient time, some of them will become libertarians.

Do you want the same ability?
And what if a system existed, whereby you could invite Perry or me to talk with your friends? Would you want that?

Such a system is coming, very soon. It’s three years in the making. It’s Version 3.0 of the Zero Aggression Project. You may have seen the test version of this that we unveiled about a year ago. But the new version moves far beyond that earlier offering. We believe we’re less than a month from launching it. Stay tuned. In the meantime…

  • Don’t have partisan political discussions over the holidays
  • But don’t stay silent either
  • Instead, ask questions based on the Zero Aggression Principle
  • Doing this will plant Mental Depth Charges that will explode later

It may take a while for you to get good at this, and to feel completely comfortable with it. So go slow at first, but start the journey.
Merry Christmas,
Jim Babka
Zero Aggression Project


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