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SWAT Teams: We’re Above the Law

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 11 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

From a recent Washington Post column by libertarian Randy Balko, entitled “Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws”:

SWAT Raid

“[A] number of SWAT teams in the Bay State are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. These LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board ….

“Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests.

“Let’s be clear. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences.

“And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws. The state’s residents aren’t permitted to know how often the SWAT teams are used, what they’re used for, what sort of training they get or who they’re primarily used against.”

How NOT to Talk to People About Liberty (VIDEO)

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

One of the best ways to learn how to better communicate the ideas of liberty is to see someone doing it… the wrong way.

How NOT to Talk to People About Liberty by The Libertarienne Show is a fun, funny, short video that shows you exactly that.

In just a quick minute and a half, you’ll see a catalog of ways guaranteed to turn most listeners off to libertarian ideas — maybe forever.

In addition to laughing — this is some funny stuff — you might go, “Oops!” and blush with self-recognition once or twice. I know I did!

If you like this video be sure to also check out their Facebook page, which has lots more great stuff.

How NOT to Talk to People About Liberty stars Cathy Reisenwitz with special guest, Libertarian Girl.

Gandhi’s Simple Lesson

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

Mahatma GandhiWould you like people to carefully listen to every word you say about liberty?

Do you want them to be receptive and responsive to your libertarian ideas and evidence?

Would you like people to thoughtfully consider your libertarian point of view?

It may be possible — if you learn and live Mahatma Gandhi’s lesson.

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Gandhi.

Be a careful listener — and soon others will carefully listen to you. Be a receptive and responsive person — and people will receive and respond to you and your ideas. Be a reflective and thoughtful conversationalist — and you’ll find your world filled with like-minded people.

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Gandhi.

What kind of listeners do you want?

Reasonable? Empathetic? Courteous? Enthusiastic? Passionate? Curious? Tolerant?

Be what you want to see.

You can fill your life with any kind of people you want. Provided you become what you want to behold.

You can do the same with the cause of freedom. Because who you are determines what kind of people you will affect and attract into the libertarian movement. And who the new libertarians are will determine the kind of people they reach and draw in.

Gandhi’s lesson is simple. But it can make a huge difference.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud’s brand-new book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.

In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.

Turn Objections Into Objectives

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

* “But if we legalize marijuana, wouldn’t millions and millions more Turn Objections Into ObjectivesAmericans try it, become regular users, and waste their days stoned and unproductive?”

* “Gun control laws aren’t perfect, but if just anyone were able to buy and own a gun, and carry it in public, wouldn’t we have radically more gun violence?”

* “Legalize prostitution? You can’t be serious! Sexually transmitted diseases would skyrocket. Married men would stray more often. And crimes surrounding prostitution would go up.”

Many libertarians treat objections like these as total deal-breakers to our libertarian proposals. As insurmountable obstacles to getting someone to favor expanding freedom in controversial areas. As unshakeable opinions held by those who want to limit liberty.

But what if these objections are NOT total, absolute, unalterable deal-killers?

What if they are instead genuine concerns to be answered, problems to be solved, or fears to be neutralized?

What if we turn these objections into objectives? Into goals and targets?

* Try this: “So, John, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that before you will support legalizing marijuana, you want to make sure that marijuana use and abuse wouldn’t skyrocket. Is that a fair summary of the points you raised?”

(Wait for “Yes” response.)

“Would you like to look this up with me?”

Then simply Google or Bing for the facts. Or go to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Or Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Or another reliable source of facts on the issue.

* Try this: “So, Mary, if I’m hearing you right, you have serious concerns about more Americans owning and carrying guns. You’re concerned that, even in the hands of law-abiding Americans, more guns might lead to more gun violence? Mary, is that pretty much what you’re asking?”

(Wait for “Yes” response.)

“Would you like to see what we can learn from reputable, knowledgeable sources?”

Then search for the facts on Google. Try the Fact Sheets at Gun Owners of America (GOA). Or try GOA’s “Just for Skeptics” FAQ. Or the book More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott.

* Try this: “So, Jane, you have 3 serious concerns about legalizing prostitution. Would it cause sexually transmitted diseases to skyrocket? Would it cause more married men to have sex outside their marriages? And would crimes surrounding prostitution go up?” Are these your concerns?”

(Wait for “Yes” response.)

“Would you be willing to look up the facts on these things online or from knowledgeable sources?”

*  *  *

When we turn objections into objectives, we remove a strong emotional charge from the issues, and open up the possibility that our conversation can instead be guided, influenced, and decided by the unbiased facts.

And this is great for libertarians, because the facts are friendly to freedom.

* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud’s brand-new book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.

In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.