Washington DC is 700 miles from Florida. The average citizen has very little ability to impact federal policy. The bulk of the laws that govern your daily life come from the city, county, or state.
Too much focus is put on the presidential race and not enough on the elections that really matter, like the County Sheriff, the State Representative, or the City Council.
Most people know that there are problems in this country, and we see more passion and conviction among the body politic as the information age brings news of government power grabs to our smart phones.
Despite this, most people feel shut out from the process and just don’t know what to do. The Free County Initiative is designed to empower the community to get involved, by providing a program to work from the bottom up to help restore liberty, rather than waiting for a savior from Washington D.C.
The idea starts with inspiring families to take a little time to better the community.
The Libertarian Party of Florida has gathered a core of experienced activists, current and former elected officials, active duty and veteran military personnel, educators, businessmen, and more, to help and mentor our fellow Americans.
We are setting up county affiliates, using social media to find like minded people from coast to coast. The initiative is designed for you to immediately get to work, and learn as you progress.
If you are reading this and are interested, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Free County Initiative” in the subject line, and find out if we are operating in your county yet.
If we are, you will be put in touch with a county representative. If not, YOU will be your county representative. Either way, we want help. Many hands make light work. So think about family and friends who are interested in politics and have similar beliefs as we do.
We all know the people on our social media pages that always post about politics. Reach out and ask if they would like to do more than post memes and complain.
Don’t spend too much time convincing, the person you want is going to be waiting for you. They won’t say maybe, they will say “yes, how can I help? ”. Explain that you can make a difference and you do not need to have any experience.
Your families and friends form the local group. These local groups can then combine to effect changes at the county level. These county affiliates combine efforts to influence state policy, with help from our state officers and committees.
The end result is a general revival in local politics, which grows into a state, then national movement. You only need one person in a county to start making change, and 3 to form county affiliate. Most can find a friend or two to help get it moving.
For government to remain accessible and efficient, things should be decentralized and handled at the smallest level possible. We should consult our local businesses and neighbors to solve problems in our counties, not wait for those in our state capitol or Washington DC to come to the rescue.
Rather than allow our lives to be regulated by laws crafted by lobbyists, paid for by special interests, crafted in far off places, let’s just get together and see what we can do.
In keeping with the spirit of the project, there is no specific agenda, each county has its own issues. The only thing everyone supporting the initiative must agree on is that our founding principles are individual liberty and personal responsibility. Restoration of the Bill of Rights, and opposition to anything that advances Marxism. You can read the state platform at LPF.org
We should remove laws or regulations, or scale them back towards that end. We should praise public officials who take their oaths seriously, and encourage innovation. This is the Firestarter.
Each local and county group will have different things to work on, and hopefully good ideas spread throughout the nation. Do not allow fringes to create division. If you disagree with something, don’t go to that activity. Agree to disagree and work on common ground rather than argue about your differences.
You are going to a meeting! Hopefully you can build a rotation and eventually make sure someone is at every meeting, forever. If we do not remain vigilant, we will be back in the same position we are now.
Many men fought and died to gain our freedom. The LPF exists to regain it and ensure we never lose it again.
You will start with the city council, hopefully each city in a county can eventually have members to cover. You may have to go to all; I will be going to 3 in my county.
Why do you think state legislatures, county commissions, and city councils have public comment time? It’s because our system was designed to be participated in! If you read the writings of the founders, it is an integral part of the plan. How can we be a well informed electorate if nobody participates in these meetings?
Even in bigger towns and large metropolitan areas, there is hardly anybody there. Those who are there are generally the same paid lobbyists who show up whenever their employer’s issue is involved.
When a citizen takes time out of their life and shows up, they listen. When they deliver a passionate speech, they REALLY listen. I am frequently complimented by the paid lobbyists from opposing sides of bills in State House or Senate hearings.
Of those who show up, it is often a few kooks that people roll their eyes at; rarely do I see a well put together presentation by a citizen. It isn’t any harder than a middle school book report. I simply show up, dress decent (slacks and a sport coat, for example), respect the traditions, follow the custom, show a little respect to their house, and have class.
There has been multiple people who expressed a desire to help, but worried that their tattoos would prevent participation. I have head, hand, and neck tattoos. It has actually been a source of interest, and if anything was mentioned, it was positive. It makes you more interesting and memorable. So do not be discouraged if you don’t look like the typical politician, that an be an asset, and we want all walks of life to participate.
Keep your testimony on topic. Practice a couple times in front of your spouse or friends. Bring documentation of facts and figures if the issue is controversial. Often, a hostile legislator will attempt to trip me up with technical questions. I would have documentation available. There is nothing better than a quick and well documented answer that makes them eat their snark.
Most, however, are very friendly. Remember, it’s a job to them, so they will be way more interested in you than some paid lobbyist they see all the time, who are just paid to say whatever the client asks.
When good people speak from the heart, it is likely the highlight of the day. Many times I have had one seek me out to compliment me.
I am telling you that you matter, you can do it! Remember, even if you push for something and lose the vote…you set the agenda, rather than read about what happened the following week. You took part. You learned more about the process, you got to know the legislators.
When you go to a new legislative body, be observant. You need to assess who is powerful and friendly, as well as who may be powerful opposition. You want to make these determinations early, so that as you advance you will have the information necessary to craft an effective strategy.
Keep an eye out for hostility toward the initiative, and you may find the corrupt individual, who may worry about new people going through the books. Do a little background research afterwards. If possible, have one person observe and take notes. There is always a hierarchy, obviously you should focus outreach on those higher up .
It is important to record any member speaking. Even cell phone video is good. When other citizens see that anyone can do it and make a change, they will be inspired. Video puts them in the room and is far better than a write up afterwards. Take some photographs as well for outreach efforts and social media later, especially with newsworthy individuals or elected officials.
The most important thing is to be nice, never insult or threaten a legislator or opposing speaker. This is not a game, we want to be successful. If we build a reputation as well-intentioned and passionate people, and treat them with respect, we can accomplish more.
Be aware of common tactics the left uses to neutralize people and groups. There were times media would come to my open carry events, and had I been on camera with a fresh shave on my head, the opposition could use that film and pictures against me to reinforce the “angry white male” negative gun owner stereotype the media wants to perpetuate. My partner at the time was a middle aged business owner, so I had him do it.
In other words, outsmart them. They cannot win with facts, so stay one step ahead of them; they will “go there”. That is all they have to work with.
In my early involvement with the Libertarian Party, I learned some things to avoid. Some LP members often focus on ideology, arguing about who is not a libertarian, or who is more libertarian, and refuse to tailor their message to be effective.
It is getting better today, but in earlier years they made some big mistakes. They were loud about legalizing drugs when America was shouting “just say no” in the 80’s. The smart move would have been pointing out decriminalization lowers drug use. Craft your delivery carefully.
Welcome people who agree on enough of your agenda to win broad support, and avoid things that cause division. The military looks for weak spots in the enemy defenses, not attack them at the strongest point with your weakest force. That is why the Libertarian Party spent a long time as a distant third, despite being correct on almost everything. We need to find ways to reach people not beat them over the head with statistics.
Conservatives are usually libertarians who don’t know it, they don’t want to let the left wing win, so they keep pulling the lever for the Republicans. We could easily turn the tables on the big two parties, if some effort was paid to tactics. So make a concession to move the game piece in our direction. Half of what we want is better than what we have now, which is zero. Go back again later for the other half.
Since there is plenty to do that lies on common ground, get to work on that. Then you can convince him on the other couple issues. 30% of republicans are unsatisfied, 20-40% independent or NPA in some states. The apple is ripe for the picking and the LPF is heading over in a truck. We intend to mobilize them all.
Here are step by step instructions to implement the Free County Initiative.
1. You need one person to start. This person should be sociable and have some basic political knowledge, and not afraid of public speaking.
2. Find your county LPF Facebook page and search for locals, and ask to be made an editor so you can post and publicize your efforts and successes, and network through the community.
Send out invites, perhaps call or text particularly politically active people in your area. Post articles, especially of local interest, in order to begin identifying areas of concern. We don’t want each page to mirror the others in the state.
Since we’re starting local, keep a large share of the posts referencing local events and issues. It is very important to post pictures and ESPECIALLY video of members speaking in these meetings.
To see citizens like you speaking truth to power will inspire others to do the same. Create interest, set those brushfires of liberty in the hearts and minds of men. Post any articles about the initiative.
3. Find a volunteer to make a logo and make stickers similar to what the Chamber of Commerce makes for member businesses. These will be put in doors and windows of businesses to show support. This will help weave you into the fabric of the community. Make it unique to your local culture. T-shirts, bumper stickers, get your name out, be visible.
4. Begin at the city councils in your county. Outside of major metropolitan areas it should be easy to find support. Have a resolution introduced supporting the project. A sample resolution will be provided below. It is deliberately vague so as not to generate opposition and get a foot in the door.
5. Examine local regulations for outdated laws. There are a surprising number of these on the books. The next meeting, move to repeal them or bring them up to date. Things like married people cannot cohabitate, or horses cannot be hitched overnight at taverns.
They may argue that they no longer enforce that statute, the answer is, “exactly!”. Why would we keep stupid outdated laws on the books? These will be no brainers and will teach you about the process and the different personalities of the governing body. You will get to know each other a little, and hopefully you will find an ally or two or three.
Watch enemies and observe who are power brokers, and who are not getting their way.
6. Solicit support from local business and ask them to put a sticker up. Have them read the resolution and if they agree, they are a supporter. Find any pro-liberty groups in town who may already have issues to air, and combine your efforts and promote mutual support.
Charities, churches, and civic organizations should all be approached. You’ll just have to figure out who is interested in freedom. This is a fun part of it.
7. After you have gone around and met some local business people and generated some interest, hold a town hall meeting. Have local business owners, activists, and any other interested parties air any grievances or suggestions for improvement.
Identify which city departments are efficient, and which are run badly. Use this input to create a list of ideas, then bring to the city council. Perhaps not all ideas will be implemented right away. It will at least open up conversation on these issues that may lead to ideas that surface later. Make a facebook event page and promote it.
Be on the lookout for owners of bars or restaurants, or pastors of churches. These people have space for events. Seek to enlist support from them early. Meeting face to face is a big part of this, we have to get out and meet people and work together.
If you have a good size city get a group of owners and you can form a coalition, at this point everyone knows you now speak for a decent size group of the tows business…you have their ear.
8. Repeat the same for the County Commission. Meet and talk to them, have a resolution introduced, and by now you should have some allies from other towns supporting you. See if the city could more efficiently handle something the county does currently.
At each level, think decentralize. See if the various cities, or businesses, or community organizations have complaints about the counties and develop a plan.
9. At this stage you should have some new energy in local politics, and it will be up to local leaders to step up and keep the pressure towards freedom. Get some local guys elected to the state House or Senate. Keep a presence at city council, school board, and county commission meetings.
There always seems constant pressure towards more regulation, more taxes, more government. We need to put the pressure back or we will see our freedoms slowly eroding. This republic was designed for a well-informed and active electorate; nobody will do it for you.
Our biggest enemy has been apathy. If we can usher in a trend toward civic involvement, and take care of things at home rather than sub it out to the state capitol or Washington D.C., we can start inching steadily towards liberty.
10. During this time, build your tribe. You will find that many of your neighbors also believe the same things. Make it a point to build relationships with other like-minded families. Look to create self-sufficiency in your family and in the community. Perhaps one member has land with water, another a secure place out of the way, think about what you will need to survive without power or in case of a fight with government or an invader. You don’t want to end up at the superdome.
In this manner, every city could have local groups not only helping to reform government, but prepared for disaster. Our country will be stronger, and we will start participating in government and pushing back. People will see that they do have a voice, and we can change things if we are willing to put in a little time. The rewards are well worth it.
View any law with the following lens: Does the action respect the Bill of rights, and is it hostile to any of the ten points of the communist manifesto? That is something to promote. If not, fight it! Both are printed below for reference, with some notes on the ten points.
If other legislation comes up, apply an originalist view to it, and that is where you stand. Part of the power of this is the local presence. You will have to see where there is corruption, inefficiency, and attack the easiest targets, and the lowest hanging fruit to get established. After that, it will generally unfold for you.
Oppose what the local left wing and social justice warrior crowd support. However, you must get out front, and offer solutions, and force them to oppose you as well. You do not want to react all the time, make them react to you. Seize the narrative.
There are people all over the US doing the same things, so ideas or advice should be in abundance. Good ideas will spread, bad ideas will die. This is where you forge brotherhood and sisterhood. This is when we become much stronger.
No more talk. Your nation is once again calling for her Sons and Daughters of Liberty. Get to work.
The Bill of Rights-
Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The Ten Points of Marx and Engles, and their modern use-
Although Marx advocated the use of any means, especially including violent revolution, to bring about socialist dictatorship, he advocated instituting Democracy. This nation was designed as a republic, but Marxist progressives in the early 20th century turned it into a democracy. suggested ten political goals that would help usher in socialism for developed countries such as the United States. The following are Marx’s ten planks from his Communist Manifesto, with some commentary pointing out examples of Marxist policy or agencies related to each point. Each county will face different issues, that is why we leave it to each county to find the loose bricks and start tearing them out.
1. Abolition of private property in land and application of all rents of land to public purpose.
The courts have interpreted the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1868) to give the government far more “eminent domain” power than was originally intended, there is various zoning regulations, land use regulations by the Bureau of Land Management, property taxes, private property rights have become very diluted. Private property in the form of land, vehicles, and other forms are seized almost every day in this country under the “forfeiture” provisions of the RICO statutes and the so-called War on Drugs..
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
This is any tax that raises the rate as income goes up. It is designed to punish success. that is not what America is about.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
Federal & State estate taxes and other inheritance taxes are totally communist
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
We call it government seizures, tax liens, asset forfeiture, the imprisonment of “terrorists” and those who speak out or write against the “government” (1997 Crime/Terrorist Bill); or the IRS confiscation of property without due process. The Patriot Act, NDAA
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
The Federal Reserve System, created by the Federal Reserve Act of Congress in 1913, is indeed such a “national bank” and it politically manipulates interest rates and holds a monopoly on the currency of the United States. Every dollar in circulation was borrowed from this private bank with interest owed. This is exactly what Marx had in mind and completely fulfills this plank, another major socialist objective.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Department of Transportation, Interstate Commerce Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, The federal postal monopoly, AMTRAK and CONRAIL — outright socialist (government-owned) enterprises. Undermine wherever possible.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan
We have a significant degree of government involvement in agriculture in the form of price support subsidies, acreage allotments, and land-use controls. The Desert Entry Act and The Department of Agriculture, as well as the Department of Commerce and Labor, Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, and the IRS. The socialist plan is very advanced in this arena, and has recently sparked violent protest.
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of Industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
The Social Security Administration and The Department of Labor, The National debt and inflation caused by the international banks essentially obligates all of us to an annual debt, the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, assorted Socialist Unions (Marx called unions…industrial armies), affirmative action, the Federal Public Works Program, are all part of this plank. Equal obligation is now being extended to women, who they now want to draft. This is all communist.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
We call it the Planning Reorganization Act of 1949 , and many other ways people are being herded into or out of cities, and government attempts to control where we can and cannot live.
10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc.
Government schools, which are designed to suppress critical thinking in order to create subservient wage slaves, must be reformed. Zero tolerance policies should be opposed. Self-defense must not be punished or we will raise a nation of cowards. Teachers unions must be broken. Promote home schooling and vouchers. Eventually we should eliminate the Department of Education.
To those who read and act,
I will never be able to adequately express my admiration and love for those of you who would stand up in our national hour of need, and join in what the LPF is doing.
See you in the trenches brothers and sisters!
About the author:
Ryan Ramsey is a US Navy veteran, and lifelong grassroots political activist and organizer. He is the founder of Jacksonville Open Carry, and sings songs of freedom with his band Lovecrime. He currently serves as the Region 4 State Representative and Bradford County Chairman for the Libertarian Party of Florida. He is also Florida’s Vice President of the American Guard and Director of the Florida Liberty Project.