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November 19, 2010

Can Our Heresies Benefit You?

Quotes of the Day:

“Who are you who wanted only to be told what you knew before?” — Walt Whitman, from “By Blue Ontario’s Shore.”

“In some situations honesty is incompatible with silence.” — Walter Kaufmann, from “The Faith of a Heretic”

In this Dispatch: A proposal for an Our Heresies page

Aside from a few broadsides at the “lame duck” Congress, we’re spending the bulk of November and December discussing the most important subject of all . . .

How to get what YOU want

When last we dealt with this subject we established the following . . .

* Two more years must now pass before you can make any more changes through the electoral process
* Using your “right to petition Congress” is now your only mechanism for causing change
* Increasing the number of Downsizers in YOUR Congressional district will enhance your ability to do this
 
So how can we recruit more people in YOUR district?

As we told you last week, we’re working to create something called “Your Downsize DC Toolbox.”

* When you log-in at our website the intro text in the right hand column of the homepage will be replaced by the “Toolbox.”
* We’ll gradually fill this area with tools that you can use to become more powerful.

The first of these tools will be measurement tools focused on your Congressional district . . .

* The number of DC Downsizers
* The number of active users of the Educate the Powerful System
* The number of letters sent to Congress

The new tools that come after that will provide you with ways to increase those numbers. But not all of the changes we make will be new tools. Some of them will be new approaches . . . new strategies for solving subtle problems.

Problems like this . . .

* Single issue organizations, like the NRA and AARP, tend to be huge, while . . .
* Multi-issue organizations tend to be much smaller.
* We are, by the very nature of our name, Downsize DC, a multi-issue organization.
* And that creates a problem . . .
* Each additional issue we deal with will attract some, but repel others, thereby limiting our growth.

We’ve tried to address this by focusing on trans-partisan proposals with broad public appeal — things like the Read the Bills Act.

But . . .

Sometimes honesty is incompatible with silence. We cannot ignore other issues. To downsize the federal government to the size of the Constitution we must cope with the fact that . . .

Some Constitutional positions are heresies. 

People of all ideological stripes invoke the Founders intent or vision when it suits their interests . . .

… the letter of the Constitution when it suits their interests,
… the Supreme Court and “settled law” when it suits their interests,
… or they ignore the Constitution when THAT suits their interests.
 
But Downsize DC isn’t like that. We’re considered “heretics” on many issues by many people for the simple reason that we are philosophically and constitutionally consistent.
 
* We oppose BOTH gun control and drug prohibition for the same fundamental reason
* We oppose BOTH foreign aid AND wars that are not formally declared by Congress
* We believe there should be no federal restrictions on pornography OR campaign finance laws, for the same First Amendment reasons
* And we seek to dismantle both the bloated federal welfare state AND the bloated Pentagon budget
 
We are “heretics” because we adhere consistently to the philosophy behind the Constitution. But most people don’t do that. They make exceptions, even if that results in contradictions. They are inconsistent, and ruthlessly so. This means . . .

We must find a way to recruit people to work for Constitution-sized government even though many Americans view some aspects of the Constitution as heretical.

Can this be done? We think it can, and our plan for doing it is fairly simple.

We want to create two campaign sections on our website using these labels . . .

* Our Campaigns
* Our Heresies

These two separate campaign pages would be used a follows . . .

Our Campaigns would contain all of our trans-partisan agenda items like the Read the Bills Act and the One Subject at a Time Act, as well as anything that has broad public appeal.

Our Heresies would contain campaigns that may not yet enjoy majority support, but that are crucial for restoring Constitutional government. For instance, things like ending federal gun prohibition and drug prohibition.

We believe that labeling our less popular positions as “heresies” would go a long way toward removing the sting from these issues. We also think it would . . .

Foster reflective thinking, rather than reactive thinking

We would stress that people can support Our Campaigns while choosing to NOT participate in Our Heresies. But we would urge those who disagree with us to at least consider Our Heresies for their educational value. After all . . .

“Who are you who wanted only to be told what you knew before?”

Could this one simple step of re-framing our positions . . .

* Save us one person per-day who might otherwise have left our ranks?
* Recruit us one new person per-day who might not otherwise have joined?

If so, then this would add up to huge positive results over time.

Do you like these ideas? Do you want to see us try them? If so, we hope you’ll help pay for the work that needs to be done. Here’s what we need . . .

* We need to average $1 per month per Dispatch subscriber in the coming year, allowing us to, among other things . . .
* Bring our part-time programmer full-time, so we can build more and better tools for you at a faster pace

Could you help achieve these goals by starting a monthly pledge today, or by making a one-time contribution?

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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